Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Colorful mural welcomes visitors to Dallas’ South Side
The bridge used to be a popular target for graffiti and litter.
DALLAS Residents of the Cedars area in South Dallas have a completed entrance to their neighborhood, a colorful and culturally significant mural helped by local creative firm Imaginuity. Volunteers painted the panels of the Cadiz Street bridge, which is the main access point to South Lamar coming from Riverfront, and a block from the South Side on Lamar complex where Imaginuity takes residence.
Work on the mural began in November. Designed by Imaginuity Executive Creative Designer Tim Langford and his team, volunteers painted the remaining panels Saturday and touched up many of the others that had gotten smeared during last year’s drizzly painting session.
When approaching Lamar Street on Cadiz, the art-deco-inspired paintings on either side are intended to direct people to the activities they might find in those parts of the city. On the left side, representing downtown Dallas, are panels showing local sports, Thanksgiving Square, Reunion Tower, and the famous red Pegasus. The newest panel of a violin represents the Arts District.
The right side of the street is dedicated to activities in South Dallas. Panels show a movie clapperboard representing the growing film and TV industry, a coffee cup and fork to highlight local dining, a guitar to represent the live music venues such as the Palladium Ballroom, and a paintbrush to represent local artists. The final panel, added on Saturday, highlights the growing fashion industry in the area.
The final painting session for the 60 volunteers turned into quite the event, with local food truck Jack’s Chowhound on site providing breakfast and lunch. A group of gentlemen nuns from The DFW Sisters arrived later in the day wearing their black dresses, colorful headwear, and platform boots to liven up the event when volunteers were getting worn down by the midday heat.
The concept for the reformation of the bridge began when Gary Hooker, a vice president for the company, started a discussion with Jack Matthews and Jeff West of Matthews Southwest, a development firm behind South Side.
“We alerted them last year that we were going to start a project every year where we did something in or around the community we all work in, which is South Dallas or South Side Lamar. Immediately their eyes lit up,” recalled Hooker. “They said ‘We need to tell you about the Cadiz Bridge. It could use some help.’”
Hooker recalls how it looked the first time they examined the bridge, which was a popular target for graffiti artists and haven for discarded trash from passing cars.
“It looked really bad. It had been tagged several times,” he said. “The city had come out and primed over the tags, but there were these primed spots everywhere. So when you went through, it looked a little like a patchwork quilt.”
The team dedicated Saturday’s event to West, who died last month before seeing the mural completed. West was an instrumental figure in the revitalization of Dallas, serving as executive director of the Sixth Floor Museum and managing director of Dallas Theater Center before coming to Matthews Southwest.
“He was really our biggest advocate and one of our biggest cheerleaders,” said Langford of West’s involvement. “Without Jeff West, this would not have happened.”
Hooker hopes the new murals will help not only revitalize the area, but serve as a good representation of it. “South Dallas is a great place. It has a lot of great culture. I think it is definitely a new area of Dallas that people need to be made aware of,” he said.
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