Guest blogger Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art offering lectures, tours and programming. She is Chair of the Creative Arts Center Advisory Board and past Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission
On a Sunday drop-in drawing class at The Creative Arts Center, you just might find yourself sitting beside the next major emerging art star… Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. As a college student, the Mayor majored in Art for a short while, and as a Mayoral candidate, proclaimed himself, “‘a bulldog for the Arts”. So it should not be especially surprising that on a visit to the CAC at 2360 Laughlin Drive last week, he was especially interested in the drawing class. He confessed that he still has an oversized sketch pad stashed away in a drawer at home. So take him seriously if he asks you to come up and see his drawings.
It should have taken the Mayor only 10 minutes to get to the East Dallas facility from City Hall, but to many Downtown, Uptown and North Dallas residents, the Center remains in unchartered territory. Google Maps says the distance is is only 7 minutes from the Arboretum, 12 minutes from downtown and 15 from NorthPark, yet it is difficult to convince some would-be artists and art enthusiasts to leave the comfort zone of their own neighborhoods, even if they are missing out on soul-enriching experiences of creativity and camaraderie, just minutes away.
The Creative Arts Center of Dallas offers workshops, classes and lectures to novices as well as trained artist in painting, drawing, jewelry making, glass art, clay work, sculpture, stone carving (the only public place to learn stone carving in Texas), mosaics and more. Diana Pollack, Executive Director of the CAC for the past 6 years, stresses the welcoming atmosphere and the non-stressful classes, but she also boasts about the 40 highly qualified instructors, the state of the art tools , 1,800 talented and enthusiastic participants and the masterful art works produced, many of which were on display for the Mayor to see. His Honor was duly impressed and christened the Center “a place for the citizen artist”.
Gold Metal Recyclers were impressed as well and have teamed up with the CAC as part of the Mayor’s Business/ Arts Initiative. Rosewood Corporation has been a generous sponsor of the Glass Art program, and it is known that Phil Romano, restauranteur, artist and creator of the Arts Incubator at Trinity Groves, has taken sculpture classes here. Perhaps the Mayor will draw.
The 45-year-old CAC has been located on Laughlin for the past 12 years, when it moved to the renovated Bayles Elementary School, the first public school in Texas, built by the WPA program during the Depression. Interestingly, the WPA program gave work to many artists then, as the CAC, at the same site, does today..
One Artist/ Metal Sculptor Instructor on site during the Mayor’s visit was Dan Sellers.The Mayor was impressed and delighted with the outdoor welding studio, where he tweeted his presence and smiled for a photo opportunity with Sellers. They look like twins. Add a beard and a few years in front of a hot fire..but then again… isn’t that what the City Council offers?