Full disclosure: Patrick Short makes really strong drinks. The outspoken twenty-three year old bartender at TMC on Cedar Springs has more up his artistic sleeves than concocting shots – he’s also an accomplished artist. Armed with an arts degree from Boston University, he came back home to Dallas after living in Boston and New York to start GuerillaArts – a new non-profit forming in East Dallas that will assist emerging contemporary artists. His new program will include a “Guerilla Art school” an evening and summer program geared towards portfolio development for high schoolers planning on pursuing art degrees in college. He and his team hope to run a residency with art teachers, staff and studio spaces at a building on Haskell (near vintage haven Dolly Python). We briefly chatted with Short recently:
What is GuerillaArts all about?
GuerillaArts grew out of my own personal frustration with the Dallas art scene and my own experiences and dealings with the Texas art world after moving down here from Boston. Bottom line: there is very little support down here for the young artist. GuerillaArts is a solution for the young artist, from a young artist.
What’s wrong with the art community in Texas?
Texas has some of the most advanced metropolitan societies in the world and yet the support for the arts, especially concerning education, is insulting. To your average Texan, art is purely decorative. It’s primary function is to look nice with the new couch and drapes and impress everyone who comes to see it. Most people don’t understand contemporary art and no one is impressed by that which they do not understand, and very few people understand art as a harbinger of social progress. The few galleries that do show progressive contemporary art in Dallas, do so like they are in Chelsea in New York – which is high minded work, weighty price tags and a copious amount of attitude. How is this accessible? And how can the average person even relate to it? Good art challenges the viewer and the ultimate goal of art-making is to facilitate a profound reaction from your audience.
How will your group change that?
Through community involvement. We are going to have our messy little fingers in everyone’s pots. The space will not only be used for exhibitions, but for movie nights, artist talks, after-school programs, studio spaces, public art project headquarters and an event and performance venue. The kind of work we show may vary, but it will all have the continuity of being risky and thought provoking. There will be no gallery/artist split when work sells – buyers will get in touch directly with our artists and any sales will be in the artists’ hands. Phase Two is to open our 2,500 square foot sudio space upstairs from our exhibition room and offer studio residencies to local young artists. We aim to recreate the communal environment of making art in college and to keep talented young artists making work, learning from each other and reacting to relevant social issues. Phase Three is to get the school up and running. The exhibition space is 1,200 square feet and we plan to use it for lectures, workshops and after school programs and portfolio building intensive for high schoolers planning on pursuing art in college. We want to create an environment where they are comfortable asking questions and are rigorously challenged.
The GuerillaArts launch will be epic in scale and happening some time in August or early September! I’m blind to any possible setbacks and challenges. The gallery space will open first and be easy to work out with new plumbing, electrical and some false walls. The other spaces require substantially more work and money and will be coming in later months.
For more information or to contact Short, send an email to [email protected].