Last week, we reported a story about artwork in West Dallas that had stirred up some controversy. The focus of the story was a piece of art that reflected upon the neighborhood’s controversial housing and development issues. The work was commissioned by the city, hung in a city community center and then removed by city officials. After an opinion piece was written by artists Carol Zou and Darryl Ratcliff for D Magazine, the city said the work could go back up. But the artist says she’s not going to rehang it.
The hand-crafted banners featuring woodblock prints created by artist Angela Faz touch on housing issues in West Dallas.
Residents in hundreds of rental homes have to move out by June because the properties are not up to code. One of those residents is Faz’s aunt, so the issue hit close to home. Her banners feature quotes from residents in West Dallas that say they’re not leaving.
The staff at the city-owned Multipurpose Center thought that was too political and removed them.
Faz, Ratcliff and Zou met with city officials on Thursday. The community center offered to let Faz reinstall the banners – but she says she’s not interested.
“With all this talk about getting them back up and then hearing the community center’s viewpoints on the content of the banners, it seems like to me that maybe it’s not the best collaboration for the space,” says Faz.
Faz was one of 10 artists selected by an arts group to participate in Decolonize Dallas – a project aimed at bringing art to neighborhoods away from the arts district.
Jennifer Scripps is director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for Dallas. She has said she was disappointed with the original decision to remove the art. But she says she understands the Multipurpose Center’s desire to stay out of politics.
“A lot of the people that find their way there are in a little bit of a crisis and so they try to not add to that anxiety,” says Scripps.
Faz, Decolonize Dallas organizers and city officials say the conversations they had Thursday may have been more helpful to have weeks ago. And they hope to find ways to collaborate again, especially as city embarks on an effort to update its cultural plan.
Meantime, Faz is trying to use the designs on the banners to raise money to help her aunt – who’s losing her West Dallas rental home.