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Arts & Entertainment

Oak Cliff Artists Open Their Studios to the SpeedBump Tour

For the past 23 years, Oak Cliff’s SpeedBump tour invites you to stop and meet the artists in their home habitats. Not only can locals see the latest works from artists around town, but the tours are building a community.
By Reagan Mathews | |Photographs by Samantha Jane
Dallas ceramist and illustrator Mylan Nguyen
Kiln Switch: Dallas ceramist and illustrator Mylan Nguyen will show her work at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center, a new stop on this year’s tour. Samantha Jane

For 23 years, artists Brian Jones and Brian Scott, better known as Chuck & George, have been organizing the Oak Cliff Visual SpeedBump Art Tour. (When the Brians were art students, they once drew caricatures of each other on saltine crackers; the cartoon nicknames stuck.) On the second Saturday in May, more than a dozen artists, creators, and crafters will invite guests into their homes and studios to see what it’s like to live and work as artists in the neighborhood. 

Most of the homes and galleries are a five-minute drive from each other, and, aside from the cost of gas, the tour is completely free to the public. The annual tour features ceramics, sculptures, drawings, paintings, and a variety of other artworks spread between Westmoreland and Tyler, Illinois and Davis.   

Some of the more notable stops include Chuck & George’s house, where the entire dining room is dedicated to cartoon characters of themselves; the Divine Shrine, a collection of art and memorabilia that pays tribute to performance artist Harris Milstead; and various exhibitions at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center and Oil and Cotton.

“As an artist, it’s hard to have any opportunities,” Jones says. “If you gather up and group with other people, then you make it a bigger effort, you get noticed more, and it gives a lot more people an opportunity to be exposed in some way.” 

The SpeedBump tour began in 2000, the same week the Brians moved into their home on Marlborough Avenue. While some things have changed, like the original name (the Oak Cliff Drive-By Tour) and the addition of a second weekend in Denton (the Lil’ D SpeedBump Tour), the fundamentals have stayed the same: have fun and share your art. 

“I don’t like everybody’s work on there, and I’m sure they don’t like mine,” Jones says. “I don’t like mine sometimes. As long as they’re having fun, that’s what matters.”  

James Olney, owner of Oak Cliff Pottery, has participated since 2016, when he bought a house that happened to be on the tour. After practicing pottery in places such as New York, North Carolina, and Tanzania, Olney moved to Oak Cliff in hopes of opening his own studio and stayed because of the close-knit artist community. 

“You’re not just this sad, lonely, depressed artist trying to make a living,” Olney says. “The SpeedBump tour has become this unit of people who can throw ideas around and be a part of something bigger.” 


This story originally appeared in the May issue of D Magazine with the headline, “Slow Down for Art. Write to [email protected].

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