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Booker T returning to downtown — incrementally


by Jerome Weeks 29 Feb 2008

Colossus #16, by Socrates Narvaez Dallas’ arts magnet — the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts — is set to move into its old/new campus in the Arts District later this spring. Spire Realty Group is marking the occasion by showcasing 24 student sculptures in the Scrap Can Be Beautiful exhbition in the […]

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Colossus #16 by Socrates Narvaez, second shot

Colossus #16, by Socrates Narvaez

Dallas’ arts magnet — the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts — is set to move into its old/new campus in the Arts District later this spring. Spire Realty Group is marking the occasion by showcasing 24 student sculptures in the Scrap Can Be Beautiful exhbition in the lobby of Bryan Tower, the largest building Spire owns downtown.

Caleb S. Smith, president of the Dallas-based company, welcomed his neighbors back Thursday at the gallery opening. Coordinated by Gail Sachson, the exhibition, which runs through April, features works by 19 students. They use sheet metal, steel bar, gears, springs and spark plugs in both abstract and figurative shapes — flowers, birds, insects, fish and the animal-like “Colossus” by senior Socrates Narvaez, above.

Two years ago, Booker T moved into the decidedly funky Nolan Estes Plaza  in south Oak Cliff while its original 1922 home was gutted (the historical front facade retained) and replaced by a new, $55 million facility, designed by Allied Works Architecture. Although originally scheduled to move into the building over the school’s spring break in March, students and faculty were told this week that the building would not be completely ready (and pass inspections) by March 17.

The plan is now to move over two weekends in April. The Dallas Independent School District promised the current senior students when they won admission to the school as freshmen three years ago that they would graduate from the new building — hence the continuing push to “transition” back into the Arts District before the school year ends. Graduation and ceremonies celebrating the new school’s opening, set for early June, have not been effected.

Nine of the works currently on display at Bryan Tower are available for purchase. The scrap metal came from Commercial Metals Company in Irving, which for 30 years has sponsored the metals sculpture class at Booker T, taught by Patsy Eldridge.

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