Times of late seem ripe for taking to the streets, and last weekend, two Dallas-area universities did exactly that, though not in protest.
The taken street wasDragon St., that unofficial Dallas arts district, and the venue featured two moving trucks posing as art galleries. Lights ablaze, the alternative art venues signaled a cooperative stance of community inclusion by the area’s commercial galleries. Indeed, embracing these temporary venues fosters a symbiotic relationship between the local rent paying, bricks-and-mortar galleries and the fresh ideas and exploration of energetic students. The student-initiated projects capitalized on the sustained efforts of the gallery owners to draw a crowd, and they also provided the district with a quirky spectacle and infectious enthusiasm, while further bolstering the already significant cluster marketing.
Showcasing a number of photographic images, University of Texas at Arlington’s “Roving Museum of Photography” made use of a 24′ U-Haul truck as display space. This is a semi-annual outing for UTA students and has become an expected method of exhibiting art in theDallasgallery scene. Within this localized context, the novelty of the truck as gallery format has receded, allowing for a more methodical consideration of the works shown, which were strong and intriguing.
Partnering with Cohn-Drennan Gallery,University of NorthTexasgraduate art students showcased their inaugural mobile effort with the “Art Rover,” a twelve foot U-Haul truck. Though smaller than the UTA “museum,” the truck boasted a hand made sign with Christmas lights, lounge chairs with music outside, and a group of excellent paintings and drawings inside.
Striving for exposure and welcoming comradery, these non-traditional venues act as a counterpoint to the often sterile, stereotypical gallery experience. Self conscious and eager to engage, the roving venues were low on pretention and high on conversation, offering these emerging artists and the public a platform for discourse and growth.