This winter, the City of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) had an open call for artists interested in contributing to the still-developing Cultural Plan. And today, they’ve announced the six groups and individuals that will spend one week working with various city departments.
The goal of these week-long micro-residencies is to have artists embed themselves in those departments, then suggest ways creative or “artistic” thinking could help improve processes.
The OCA says they want the artists to help divisions of City government see how artistic thinking and creative approaches can give new perspective. But more important, the OCA hopes that this will show artists how the city works and even lay the foundation for further collaborations and longer-term residencies.
This is a big step for Dallas, seeing as other Texas cities have already gotten into the artist residency game. Austin partnered with Central Texas painter Rehab El Sadek for nine months. She spent her time in the city’s Austin’s Watershed Protection Department. She learned what the department does, why they do it and how city business flows (pun intended). Houston’s kicking up dirt and looking for three artists to take part in a 16-week program.
The Dallas micro-residencies started this month and will continue through the first half of April. After each artist and group completes their time inside the various city departments, the OCA will host a talk back about the artists’ and departments’ experiences and discoveries. That’ll be held on Monday, April 23rd, 2018 at the Latino Cultural Center from 6:30pm – 8:00pm.
Find out more about the artists, groups and city departments participating in the micro-residencies below:
Kael Alford & Office on Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs
Kael Alford is a photographer, writer and educator. Her works seeks the accountability of dominant power structures and the responses and innovations of communities and individuals in search of security and self-determination. As a photojournalist, she covered the dissolution of Yugoslavia from 1996-2002, the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, and the impact of oil and gas drilling, coastal erosion and climate change on communities in coastal Louisiana. In Dallas she teaches photography at SMU, Texas A&M Commerce and Eastfield College.
The Office on Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs (Dallas WCIA) was established in March 2017 to promote the civic, social and economic engagement of immigrants residing in Dallas. The WCIA’s seeks to be a bridge connecting Dallas’ diverse immigrant community with existing Dallas residents so that common ground, shared leadership and equitable participation in Dallas civic life can be realized.
Artstillery & Libraries Department
Artstillery is an experimental performance company that empowers marginalized communities and reveals the rawness of truth in human life. Our work consists of live performances, soundscapes, video and puppetry in an immersive experience for audience members.
The Dallas Public Library strengthens communities by connecting people, inspiring curiosity and advancing lives.
Iv Amenti & the Department of Parks and Recreation
Iv Amenti is a Creative Social Practitioner in the city of Dallas for more than 15 years. As a professional in the performing arts, she partners with communities to create storytelling opportunities using various artistic mediums.
The Dallas Park and Recreation Department’s mission is to champion lifelong recreation and serve as responsible stewards of the city’s parks, trails, and open spaces. With that mission in mind, the Department’s vision for the future is for a comprehensive system of parks, trails, open spaces, and recreation facilities that sustains, inspires, and invigorates.
Justin Childress/Gray Garmon & The Department of Code Compliance
Gray Garmon is a Clinical Professor of Design and Innovation at Southern Methodist University. He has a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and practices Human-Centered Design to understand and deeply appreciate the context of humans behaviors, emotions, and motivations to design more innovative solutions. Gray is a Returned Peace Volunteer (Ghana 07-09), an American Institute of Architects Henry Adams Medal Winner, and a University of Pennsylvania Social Impact Fellow.
Justin Childress is a Creative Director and partner at Switch, a strategic branding and interactive design studio with offices in Dallas and Oklahoma City. He received his BFA in Communication Design from TCU and his MFA from Texas A&M University-Commerce. From 2016-2017, Justin served as Designer in Residence for SMU’s Master of Arts in Design and Innovation graduate program, and in 2017 he joined MADI’s lecturing faculty.
The Department of Code Compliance’s mission is to foster clean, healthy, safe, enriching communities while preventing physical blight from Dallas neighborhoods.
Melissa Gonzales & the Department of Planning and Urban Design
Melissa Gonzales is a Gallery Educator at the Nasher Sculpture Center of Dallas, where she primarily leads student tours; develops resources for teachers; and teaches workshops for students, teachers, and adult visitors. She previously spent 15 years with the Education Department of the Dallas Museum of Art. At the DMA, Gonzales oversaw the Go van Gogh school and community outreach program, which provides volunteer-facilitated experiences in classrooms throughout Dallas. She also developed partnership programs with the South Dallas Cultural Center, Big Thought, and DFW YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs.
The Planning & Urban Design Department develops comprehensive plans, policies, and programs through effective community engagement. Our goal is to advance livability, economic vibrancy, sustainability, and equity throughout Dallas.
Constance White & the Office of Environmental Quality
Constance Y. White is a professional creative who imagines and manifests the possibilities of meaningful beauty and design in neighborhoods and urban spaces. Through planning and co-design she seeks to thoughtfully craft relevant and creative opportunities that allow communities diverse, innovative and site-responsive ways to express their unique and collective voices.
The Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ) is committed to protecting and improving the environment by leading and guiding the City of Dallas in our efforts on environmental compliance, pollution prevention, and continual improvement.