The Murals Of Deep Ellum
Deep Ellum, an arts and entertainment community just east of Downtown Dallas, has more murals per square foot than any other city in the world. OK, that may not be true, but it has them everywhere you turn.
Ranging from historical montages of the neighborhood's past to local musical celebrities and playful renditions of Dallas icons, the street art represents the free artistic spirit the area is all about. Wandering down Elm or Main Street you're overwhelmed by the explosion of color these outdoor works of art play on your senses.
Not unusual for a neighborhood that has 17 art galleries in a three quarters of a mile square area. If you're ambitious and the weather's cooperating, they are all walkable. Deep Ellum is one of the only walking neighborhoods in Dallas. If fact, twice yearly (Spring and Fall), the galleries participate in a "Gallery Walk".
The area is also home to several venerated live music clubs. restaurants and cocktail lounges (maybe sophisticated dive bars would be more accurate). The "Hood" has had its ups and downs reinventing itself regularly. Currently its enjoying a revitalization that's attracting new residents and businesses.
Deep Ellum is arguably the oldest neighborhood in Dallas. Established in the late 1800's, it was a residential and commercial community.
Are Murals Art?
Murals are any artwork that has been painted or applied to walls,ceilings or other permanent structures. They usually represent something significant about the place where they appear. Telling stories of history. Whether it be famous area celebrities or landmarks, local triumphs or struggles or just whimsical renderings, a murals theme can be wide-ranging.
While walking around Deep Ellum, you can literally spend hours hunting down and admiring their beauty. But, are murals art? Some people are of the opinion that murals are "graffiti" Who's to determine what is and isn't art? It's a very controversial subject. Using the old cliché, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".
The champion of "muraldom" in the neighborhood is Frank Campagna, who's also the owner of Kettle Art Gallery. Franks' signature is on many of the most prominent murals in Deep Ellum. Campagna mentors several young talents in this artists' community.
If you've never had the opportunity to witness a muralist materializing his work of art, you'd be amazed at the skill and creativity that goes into these works of art. Visualize Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Except these artists can produce a mural in as little time as eight hours. Using spray paint, brushes, stencils and other tools, watching them work is an experience you'll never forget...
Deep Ellum Art Park
"The Deep Ellum Art Park is a collection of open air murals on dozens of concrete bridge pillars and concrete forms at the intersection of Good Latimer Expressway and roughly between Commerce Street and Canton, and then extending into the Deep Ellum Bark Park. All of the artwork is from local artists, including Frank Campagna, Amber Campagna, Tyson Summers, Dan Colcer, ArtLoveMagic artists and dozens more."
This very unique space is actually under the IH-345 expressway that dissects Deep Ellum from Downtown Dallas. As a visitor, it's a relaxing wander through a very creative array of mural art. Just across the median is the Deep Ellum Uban Gardens, where the tool shed is adorned with a mural (by Dan Colcer) of the neighborhoods gloried past.
Deep Ellum Blues
This Is Only The Beginning
The murals pictured are some of my favorites. But if you visit the neighborhood, you could consume a day discovering all the different mural art that dominates the area. Leisurely stroll the :hood", have lunch, take plenty of pictures, hit some vintage shops or tattoo parlors if you're so inclined and enjoy a day of exploration and discovery.
Deep Ellum is gaining momentum not only locally, but nationally as a quirky, hip and exciting place that rivals any arts and entertainment district in the U.S. If you,re visiting Dallas this is a must see destination. You'll be amazed that Texas is not all about "Cowboys" and "Big Money".
Take my advice and make it a point to adventure into the "wild and wholly" streets of Deep Ellum. You will not be disappointed.
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