Design District’s SITE131 Bowed Out The Art Scene Last Weekend, A Casualty Of The Pandemic. Do Not Let These Dallas Art Galleries Be Next.

Dallasites dressed in all white, clinked glasses and indulged in snow cones as SITE131 bowed out of the Design District with its final exhibition on Saturday — Exploring Constructs by New York’s Harriet Korman and Houston’s Ronald Llewellyn. 

The gallery, which was founded by Seth Davidow and Joan Davidow, has been a leader in the local arts scene. For seven years SITE131 has opened doors for emerging artists by featuring 21 exhibitions with works by 114 diverse artists, many of which were Texans. 

The gallery is the latest DFW COVID-19 casualty. 

“It has everything to do with the pandemic,” Joan Davidow said to CultureMap. “We were closed for more than a year, and since we reopened, our attendance has been down.” 

According to CultureMap, attendance has dropped as low as a mere 16% as compared to pre-pandemic attendance. 

As we have seen in the food scene, local closures are rampant. It is a rare week that we do report a closure through “The Spread.” We can’t help but fear that the closure of SITE131 indicates that the art scene is next. 

It is too late to save SITE131, but there is an abundance of art galleries and artists who need our support navigating the future. We implore you Dallas, show up for DFW’s art scene and support these art galleries and their latest exhibitions. 


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Msanii Hous Fine Art

Nestled away in Historic Downtown Carrollton is a revolutionary art gallery. Founded by power couple Gregg Young and the Missy Burton (award winning photographer Missy Burton), Msanii Hous Fine Art uplifts the works of artists of all mediums including paintings, sculptures and photography. Since its 2019 opening, Msanii has been a leader in bridging conversation between artists and their audience. Their upcoming exhibition is no different. 

Msanii is set to open Eclectic Shine on June 24. Eclectic Shine, will be local abstract expressionist Amy Daniels’ first solo exhibition. The opening reception will feature an artist talk at 6 p.m. which will center the conversation between artist’s expression and viewer’s perception. Do not miss this opportunity to capture history in the making with Daniel’s inaugural exhibition. 


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500X Gallery

For 44 years, 500X Gallery has been fostering Dallas’ art scene. Artists Will Hipps and Richard Childers transformed a 3000 plus square foot tire factory and warehouse into an exhibition space that would cultivate the growth of local artists such as Otis Jones, Tom Orr, Randall Garett and others. 

500X is an artist-run gallery through a membership program. Current members include oil on canvas painter Scott Bell, fine art photographer Ross Faircloth, multidisciplinary artist Jamila Mendez, installation and sculptor Kasey Short and 7 other Dallas artists including current exhibtionist Steven Hector Gonzalez. 

Fade into You by Gonzalez opened June 11 and runs until July 3. Gonzalez utilizes video, photography and performance to unveil a new perspective on intimacy through trauma processing. Centered on Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You,” the exhibition speaks to the desire for wholeness. 

The gallery unexpectedly relocated to West Dallas last year. Afterwards, 500X released a Financial Transparency Report as a call for public support through donations to keep the gallery running. Like SITE131, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an onset of financial strains that impedes on the gallery’s stability. Through support and donations, the gallery aims to obtain non-profit status. 

Latino Cultural Center

The Latino Cultural Center (LCC), part of the City of Dallas Office of Arts, is not your typical art gallery. It is a welcomed breath of fresh air that is rented out to nonprofit organizations that elevate Latino art and culture. The possibilities for celebrating Latin culture and arts are endless at the LCC. The center serves the arts with a 27,000 square foot facility that includes a theater, gallery, sculpture courtyards, multipurpose space and an outdoor space for events. This has allowed the space to be used not only as a gallery, but also as a space for youth and senior programming, dance performances and even posadas. 

Two current exhibitions are on display at LCC. 

Queer-ltura y Queerpo curated by Jose Villalobos spotlights eight queer artist. Austin Alegria, Sam Fresquez, Andie Flores, Carly Garza, Alexander Hernandez, Joy Regalado and Christopher Najera display how the body can be an art medium for socio-political discourse and identity. The exhibition displays arts through a variety of mediums including installation, fashion, drawing, sculpture, photography and performance. Queer-ltura and Queerpo closes August 13. 

Someone, like me., curated by Angel Faz, features eight femme and non-binary artists. Ciara Elle Bryant, Cher Musico, Ofelia Alvarenga, Danielle Ellis, Quel Hynson, Gibson Regester, Krysta Chalkey and Kay Seeding confront the commodification of queerness through their art. They refrain from being subject to the male gaze and celebrate gender fluidity through various mediums. Someone, like me. is on display until August 20. 

Daisha Board Gallery

Daisha Board knows the importance of representation. As an art enthusiast, Board noticed the lack of BIPOC representation in fine art spaces. So, she created her own. In 2021, Board paved a way for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and disabled artists to enter the contemporary art realm by opening Daisha Board Gallery. Since then, she has curated and collaborated on exhibitions that forefront diversity, inclusion and visibility. Most notably, she has created a home in Dallas’ art scene for Black artists. 

Currently on display is journalist and filmmaker Rodney Hawkins and photographer Kwesi Yanful’s The Mount. The exhibition showcasing the restoration of Nacogdoches’ Old Mount Gillion Cemetery. Through the restoration, a wealth of African-American history is uncovered. The Mount is the photographic documentation of the restoration and unveiling of buried history. The exhibition is on display until July 9. 

Photo via the Pencil on Paper Gallery on Instagram.

Pencil On Paper Gallery

Owned by Dr. Valerie Gillespie and Emmanuel Gillespie, Pencil on Paper Gallery marries education with artistic expression. As educators and artists themselves, the Gillespies know education is fundamental to the sustainability of an artist. 

Apart from curating exhibitions, Pencil on Paper Gallery is a valuable resource for curious students yearning to become emerging artists. For four years, the Design District’s Pencil on Paper Gallery has planted the seed for a blossoming art scene in Dallas through studio art classes for students of all ages. Once artists feel prepared to enter the art scene, Pencil on Paper Gallery prepares them to embark on their journey with an advanced class that prepares a portfolio fit for college and beyond. It is a cocoon where the youth develop their wings while watching their predecessors soar. 

Oklahoma’s Stacie Monday returns to Paper on Pencil Gallery next month in another solo exhibition on display. Opening July 9, Let the Church Say Amen will feature Monday’s acrylic paintings. The exhibition is activism in art form. It encapsulates the experiences of being a Black woman in America by dismissing negative connotations and restructuring the narratives of Black women. 

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