More than 200 Dallas artists, arts advocates and residents made their way to the DMA Monday night for the first of four kickoff events aimed at learning how Dallasites interact with arts and culture. The events are part of the City of Dallas’ efforts to revamp its cultural plan.
“To continue our support and further grow the arts in Dallas, the city is embarking on a year-long process to create a cultural plan. Now, it’s the first time we’ve done this since 2002, and your input is key,” Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings said.
It didn’t look like a typical city meeting. Folks shared their thoughts by creating comic book style drawings, brainstorming on dry erase boards and even building an ideal city with Styrofoam figures.
“So, I am working on my desired infrastructure for Dallas,” said Earlina Green. She’s a writer who lives in the arts district, and she had a block of pink styrofoam in her hand. She wants to see more gathering spaces in the city.
“You know I’ll tell you as a writer it’s very lonely here. And so what I would like to see is more small writing groups. That’s what I would love to see in Dallas. I should make one of those, shouldn’t I?”
Samantha Navarro was drawing a comic book about her favorite cultural experiences. She’s an animator, and she says the city needs more maker spaces.
“Right now I feel like there aren’t a lot of places for me to set up a studio,” Navarro said. “Just affordable places where there’s a kiln for ceramic artists or there’s a woodshop for sculptors or whatever.”
Navarro also wants the city to fund arts projects with substantial grants.
Julia Hosch works for a non-profit that specializes in education. She says she doesn’t have a lot of extra cash, so discount tickets would really help her stay involved in the arts scene.
“What I’d really like is a TKTS type thing where I could see what’s happening in Dallas and find out how I could get last minute, discount tickets to great events.
The city has three more kickoff events planned this week, but there will be dozens of other opportunities over the next 12 months. If you can’t make it out to a meeting, they’re rolling out a survey online that anyone can take.