"Pay It No Mind" (Courtesy of Brian Kenny)
"Dream" by Jeremy Biggers
"Stay, Wild, Texas" can be found in Trinity Groves near the Overlook.
Though Fort Worth museums have begun welcoming back visitors, Dallas’ institutions have remained closed during the summer of the pandemic. Thankfully, the DMA has come up with a fun alternative: the Dallas Public Art Tour. The interactive map features 13 must-see outdoor artworks that can be viewed from the comfort of your car, or during a neighborhood stroll.
Starting at the entrance of the DMA on Ross Avenue, “Ave” by Mark Di Suvero is the first sculpture the museum suggests visiting on the map. Made up of 12,000 pounds of red-orange painted steel, the giant sculpture was created in 1973 and is a part of the museum’s permanent Contemporary Art collection. More likely than not, “Ave” will be a familiar sight for any Dallasite who’s spent time downtown, but the Dallas Publix Art Tour offers an opportunity to slow down and take in the messages behind our city’s public art.
Next, the map suggests a drive to Oak Lawn, where “Pay It No Mind” by Brian Kenny resides. The mural, situated behind a Cedar Springs tattoo parlor, honors Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender women of color who pioneered the Stonewall Riots and Queer Liberation Movement. It’s currently the largest mural in the U.S. dedicated to two transgender people.
Over in Uptown, the third suggested stop on the self-guided tour is David Newton’s “The Dream of Freedom” at Freedman’s Cemetery Memorial. The landmark destination features five sculptures by Newton commemorating the lives of 5,000 freed slaves who were buried here.
Next, you’ll head back to downtown’s West End to view Erik Blome’s “Rosa Parks,” commissioned by DART. At El Centro College, make sure to check out Dallas artist Kate Firth’s “Ashley,” a sculpture made of raw industrial steel and painted with bright colors. Naturally, “The Pegasus” by Texlite is on the this tour. Now located at Omni Hotel, the restored Dallas icon sat atop the Magnolia Building from 1934 to 1999 dotting the city skyline. The “Dallas Piece” by Henry Moore in front of Dallas City Hall completes the downtown section of the tour.
Heading east to Deep Ellum, a new mural called “Spread Love Not Hate” can be seen along Elm Street. Dallas-based painter Gabriel Thomas transformed boarded up windows into portraits of George Floyd, Atatiana Jefferson, Jordan Edwards, and Botham Jean. In Fair Park, be sure to visit “Dream” by Jeremy Biggers. You can also drive by another of Biggers’ great pieces at 338 W. Jefferson Avenue — a two-story mural of Selena.
In Trinity Groves, set your sights on “Stay, Wild, Texas” by Stephanie “SM” Sanz. The 2019 mural was a part of a project to beautify the warehouse-ridden area — three cowgirls really brighten up an otherwise dilapidated street. While you’re nearby, you might as well go catch some incredible views of the Dallas skyline from the Trinity Groves Overlook.
Another new mural just south down the Trinity River in Oak Cliff, “The Sky, The Trees, and The Water” by Sour Grapes Crew is a fun and colorful mural with three sections emphasizing different aspects of river-adjacent nature.
Lastly, number 13 on the list, “Selena Forever” is a mural located on the side of Country Burger. By local artists Ponchaveli and Arturo Donjuan, the piece was done in just four hours during the annual 214Selena celebration in 2017.