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Arts District Sunday Open House
by Jerome Weeks 19 Oct 2009

After a week’s worth of galas for the black-tie and ballgown benefactors at the AT&T PAC, the entire Arts District threw an open house Sunday to celebrate the new halls. And regular folks showed up in what are technically known as droves.


outfront winspear crowd

  • KERA radio story:
  • Expanded online story:

[Crowd sounds and Folklorico music in background]

Perhaps it was the cool, sunny, weekend afternoon – the first in a month — that drew more than 25, 000 people to the Arts District. Or it was the dozens of shows at the new Sammons Park – with everyone from the gymnast-aerialist troupe, Anti-Gravity (right) to the Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico.

anti-gravity 2But for many, it was the chance to look inside the two new buildings they’d heard so much about, the Wyly Theatre and the Winspear Opera House.

Leslie Kennedy just heard chamber music performed onstage at the Winspear. And she couldn’t be happier with the new opera house:

KENNEDY: “The acoustics were excellent. Outstanding. So good job. Bravo.”

At the Wyly, Johnny Spacek came out of the tour still marveling at the theater’s design and how it could completely change its layout in a few hours.

SPACEK: “It’s mind-boggling. The seating re-configuration is just mind-blowing.”

The only complaint – beyond parking or traffic – was that the lines for the tours were long, while the tours were short.

Spacek wanted to see more of the Wyly’s technology in action. He thinks tours should be a regular feature there.

Spacek: “It’s just not a long enough tour. And I’d be more than willing to pay to see something like that.”

Deedie Rose was a leading benefactor behind the Wyly. For her, one of the most exciting aspects of the day was the Dallas public itself – walking outdoors, downtown, in droves, enjoying the Arts District.

ROSE: “It is jammed with people. You start getting down here, there is every kind of person in the world here. This is the vision of what our city can be. Right now, this afternoon.”

[Folkorico finish and crowd applause.]