The artists living and working at CentralTrak, the University of Texas at Dallas’ gallery and residency near Fair Park, have been told to move out by the end of June.
The university confirmed Friday that the lease on the lofts and gallery space at 800 Exposition Ave. will not be renewed, casting into doubt the future of a program that has been a bedrock of Dallas’ art scene since 2008. In a statement, the university says that “CentralTrak is leaving its current location at the end of June. However, UT Dallas is actively looking for new locations and will continue exploring ways of fostering the concept of combining a space for visiting artists and our students to create and showcase their art.”
Sarah Larson, a graduate student who has been in the program for three semesters, says CentralTrak residents were given the news during finals in December, ending a year that had already seen CentralTrak part with its director, Heyd Fontenot. In an email, interim director Frank Dufour says the program “is still in the process of defining the strategy for the future.”
Larson chalks it up to money—the company that owns the building at the corner of Exposition Avenue and Ash Lane could make more cash leasing the artists’ lofts individually, she argues—and to politics within the university. It won’t be the end of CentralTrak, but the program may be forced to evolve into a “nomadic entity” once the lease on its current space is up, she says.
Meanwhile, the four graduate students and the visiting artists now at CentralTrak will be on the lookout for new studios, and new homes. CentralTrak, which opened in 2008, contains lofts for resident artists, studios, and a gallery space that’s served as a busy hub for art shows and critical discussions.
“CentralTrak is amazing and I love what it’s provided,” Larson says, “but I hate what’s happening.”