45,000 People Turned Out to Yesterday’s PAC Gig

You can read the full release for yourself after the jump. But the Performing Arts Center folks are guessing 45,000 people showed up yesterday, raising the DMN‘s published number of 25,000. Of course, no one really knows, which is why I’m officially putting the number at 500,000.

Estimated 45,000 Visit Dallas Arts District for Celebration of New AT&T PAC During Spotlight Sunday

DALLAS (October 19, 2009) — The AT&T Performing Arts Center’s week-long Grand Opening celebration in Dallas culminated with an estimated 45,000 people participating in Spotlight Sunday, a community open house with events throughout the Dallas Arts District. Visitors arrived from across Texas for free performances, concerts, tours, fireworks and other family activities organized by the AT&T Performing Arts Center and other Dallas Arts District institutions.

Grand Opening Week and Spotlight Sunday marked the inauguration of the Center and the opening of its Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, and Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park. The week-long celebration included a civic dedication, gala performances featuring stars of theatre, Broadway, opera, dance and film, architecture forums, outdoor concerts and more.

The new buildings, designed by Foster + Partners and REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus (partner in charge) and Rem Koolhaas, have been lauded by architecture and performing arts critics as “stunning addition[s]…to the cultural landscape,” (Cathleen McGuigan, Newsweek) whose “strong, serious forms… give Dallas the cultural presence that it has never had,” (Nicolai Ouroussoff, The New York Times) and bestow “a truly worthy home to Dallas’ artistic assets” (Vanity Fair). Sammons Park, which connects the venues with other Dallas Arts District institutions and surrounding urban neighborhoods, “could become the city’s liveliest civic space,” (James S. Russell, Bloomberg News). The people of Dallas and North Texas already think so; more than 25,000 followed Town & Country’s encouragement to “come and applaud the determination of Dallas, where architectural innovation has two new homes.”

“This was a day that Dallas will always remember,” said Mark Nerenhausen, President/CEO of the AT&T PAC. “The community has truly embraced our new Center, as evidenced by the tremendous crowds we saw during Spotlight Sunday who came to explore the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre, watch a variety of performing arts performances, and picnic in Sammons Park. The Center really is a gift to the city of Dallas and we look forward to welcoming many more families from across the region in the coming weeks as our resident companies premiere their first performances in their new homes.”

Grand Opening Week and Spotlight Sunday launched the AT&T PAC’s inaugural season, which will include more than 500 different productions of theatre, opera, contemporary dance, ballet, music and other events. The $354-million AT&T PAC provides new state-of-the art homes for The Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Texas Ballet Theater, Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico and other Dallas-area performing arts organizations. The AT&T PAC also produces original programming and presents performances by a diverse range of cultural organizations from around the world, including its Lexus Broadway Series, Brinker International Forum and TITAS.

Early reviews of performances at the AT&T PAC praised the venues for creating dynamic audience experiences. “Acoustically, the 2,200-seat auditorium [of the Winspear Opera] passed its first tests with top grades,” (Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News), and the Wyly Theatre’s performance hall has been dubbed “yoga-flexible” for how easily it can be reconfigured for nearly any type of performance (Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times). “If used well, [the Wyly] should allow for continual reinvention of the theatergoing experience” (Nicolai Ouroussoff, The New York Times).

More than 1200 families, individuals, corporations and foundations have also expressed their support for the AT&T Performing Arts Center through contributions to the capital campaign with gifts ranging from $1 to $42 million. To date, the campaign has raised more than $337 million, including 133 gifts of $1 million and above. For many donors, their gifts to the Center were their first to the arts. This resounding support has completed the 30-year vision for the Dallas Arts District, and drawn national and international attention for the cultural strengths of North Texas.

The entire Dallas Arts District created a variety of free programs to celebrate the opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center for Spotlight Sunday. Thousands visited the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center and Crow Collection of Asian Art. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for a full house at the Meyerson Symphony Center, and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts hosted capacity crowds for student performances, among many other Arts District events throughout the day.

About the AT&T Performing Arts Center

The AT&T Performing Arts Center, a new multi-venue Center for music, opera, theatre and dance opens in October 2009, completing the 30-year vision of the Dallas Arts District. Located at 2403 Flora Street, the Center serves as a gateway from downtown Dallas’s business center to the Dallas Arts District. Featuring multiple state-of-the-art facilities that are woven together by a ten-acre urban park, which creates a dynamic cultural destination that is unparalleled in the world, the Center includes:

· The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, designed by Foster + Partners in a modern horseshoe configuration, seats 2,200 (with capacity up to 2,300).

· The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre designed by REX/OMA, Joshua Prince-Ramus (partner in charge) and Rem Koolhaas, seats up to 600 and uses a superfly system to rapidly change the performance hall’s configuration to proscenium, thrust or flat floor, depending on the nature of the performance.

· The Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park, designed by Michel Desvigne, is a lush urban park that unifies the AT&T PAC’s venues with the Arts District and surrounding neighborhoods of Dallas.

· The completely new Annette Strauss Artist Square, designed by Foster + Partners, is the Center’s outdoor entertainment venue. (Opening 2010.)

· The City Performance Hall, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, provides main stage production space for many of Dallas’ smaller performing arts organizations. (Opening 2011.)

· Two underground parking areas that accommodate more than 850 vehicles.

The Dallas Fort Worth Lexus Dealer Association is the title sponsor of the Center’s Lexus Broadway Series. Lexus is the official vehicle of the Center and its resident companies, the official valet sponsor and the naming rights holder for the Center’s two underground parking areas.

More information on the AT&T Performing Arts Center is available at www.attpac.org <http://www.dallasperformingarts.org/> . For tickets, call 214.880.0202.


  • Tom

    How many of them tried to get there on DART trains and got delayed and/or had thugs break into their cars at White Rock Station?

  • MAL

    What a wonderful experience !
    There was so much going on- and all the people! A great job was done by the city- and we should be proud to finally have this culture in Dallas!

  • Topham Beauclerk

    I loved the energy yesterday, but when I walked through the PAC at noon today — without the crowds and the outdoor stage — I was struck by how the Wyly feels like it’s miles away from the Winspear. The space just bleeds out at the corner where the outdoor stage was. Something must go on that corner ASAP. And when Craig Hall gets around to building his skyscraper (probably during the first Sasha Obama administration), the city must insist that it include some sidewalk cafes (with tons of trees, per Jerome Weeks’ observations) and street-level retail. In fact, that needs to be the rule for all commercial development from the DMA to One Arts Plaza. The LA and NY Times guys were right: street life is essential to making the big buildings more than just giant sculptures.