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The How and Why of ArtsPark at North Park
by Anne Bothwell 27 Sep 2010

This weekend, 100 arts groups gather at North Park to let you “shop” for a cultural experience that fits you. Guest blogger Katherine Wagner tells how the opportunity came about.


Guest blogger Katherine Wagner is the CEO of Business Council for the Arts, a partner responsible for North Park ArtsPark, which happens this Saturday.

Studies show that involvement in a passion creates “optimal experience” or happiness.[i]To this end, we often hear friends and colleagues say that they would like to be involved in the arts, but aren’t sure where the best opportunity lies.

Katherine Wagner

On the flip side, we also know that arts organizations need to build up their audiences if they are to thrive.[ii]

The brilliant idea of fashioning a huge open door to arts and culture that would address both sides of this coin was not mine, though I wish I could say it was! It was Nancy Nasher’s concept to create a day and a place where everyone could learn about arts organizations big and small  -and she offered NorthPark as that place.

It’s called ArtsPark – a one-day only event where you can essentially shop (for free) from among 100 arts organizations with lots to offer you.  Everyone knows where NorthPark is; it’s elegant, the parking is free, and it’s already a center for the arts. Could it be a more perfect fit?

So, if you’ve thought about trying your hand at sculpture, or writing, or painting in wax you can come to ArtsPark and find the nonprofit group that fits your interest. If you want to join a smaller art group that is more club-like, you will find it. If you are interested in volunteering, representatives from the Dallas Museum of Art, the Sixth Floor Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and many more will be on hand to greet you. Interested in live theater? Want to be a volunteer usher, perhaps? Meet the Dallas Theater Center and Undermain Theater.  Networking opportunities? They’ll be here too. We have a fantastic art community in North Texas – it’s what we are becoming known for – and there’s no reason why you can’t play a part.

Help us with an awareness survey about public art if you are interested. Register to win some terrific prizes. Maybe win some free tickets. Be there all day or just for an hour, come alone or bring friends and family. Any way that you come, I think you are going to feel the energy and excitement of our North Texas cultural renaissance and the way you can absorb it for your own.

ArtsPark is a partnership project of NorthPark Center and Business Council for the Arts. October 2, 10 – 6 PM at NorthPark Center.  100 booths featuring arts and cultural organizations from throughout North Texas, performances, prizes and more! It’s free.

For information, call 972-991-8300

[i]Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1988), “The flow experience and its significance for human psychology”, in Csikszentmihalyi, M., Optimal experience: psychological studies of flow in consciousness, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Pres

[ii] Deloitte and Business Council for the Arts, 2010 Economic Impact Study of Arts and Cultural Organizations in North Texas

  • In 1991, Ray Nasher authored an inspiring column about the role of art and culture in measuring a city’s vitality. Almost twenty years later, that is more true than ever. I had the honor of meeting with him about the very first Fine Art in Dallas in 2006 and dedicated the second year’s book to the man who got butterflies when he bought a piece of art that moved him. Man’s desire to create in an attempt to express himself is a driving force in all of us. Art is our shared history of the past, present and future. Without art, without creativity, without sharing and supporting art…where would we be? Ray Nasher was en pointe; “art is for everyone”.

  • Thanks so much, Jennifer – agreed!