DALLAS – Thanks in large part to the Dallas Mavericks and the Mavs Foundation, some artistic flavor was added to the DART bus stops at Fair Park and the West End.
Sponsored by the Mavs and the Mavs Foundation — hosted by DART and inspiring artists Ebony Lewis and Christina Miller — the Bus Stop Project recently had its dedication to celebrate new art installations at the two aforementioned bus stops. The ceremony was held at the Pizza Lounge near Fair Park.
The Bus Stop Project is a collaboration between the Mayor’s Star Council, Dallas-area students, artists and institutional partners. Its goal is to build a network of public art installations which highlights Dallas’ history and the students’ vision for the future.
“The Mavs Foundation is honored to be a part of this,” said Brian Cuban, who is a board member of the Mavs Foundation and the executive director of the Mark Cuban Foundation. “It’s something that touches the community in so many ways.
“It’s obviously transforming the community, empowering the artistic community, empowering artists in the community and empowering students to take part in the community. How could you not love something that brings that all together at a bus stop?”
A teacher at Permenter Middle School in Cedar Hill, Lewis was confident her artwork would be aesthetically appealing to the eye. She titled the piece: Follow The Movement, and it depicts a train rolling down the tracks with music blaring from the box cars and smoke billowing from its engine.
“Really, the students gave me this great idea,’ Lewis said. “Back in the day when DART was first being established it brought in music, it brought in fashion – the train brought in so many different parts and cultures that we just had to implement it into that.”
“The arrows (in the artwork) represent the movement of Dallas and how we’re moving towards progression, we’re moving forward in our thinking and we’re moving forward in the way that we connect the city together. So that’s kind of the theme behind it.”
Miller, who is an art teacher at Edward Titche Elementary School in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas, titled her artwork a Golden Ticket To DART. The design includes a large Admit One ticket that’s needed to enter the gates of Fair Park, and also displays a Ferris wheel.
“I tried to keep a theme around the Fair Park ticket,” Miller said. “The significance of the statues, the Ferris wheel, the Fair Park in the background, I tried to put all of the elements of Fair Park in it.”
“The year 1936 is a very important date for Fair Park — it’s the opening date. I also tried to incorporate the art deco theme. It’s very evident in the architecture type, so I tried to incorporate that element into my design as well.”
Diana Einstein, the executive director of the Mayor’s Star Council, was ecstatic with how the artists were able to express themselves through their exhibits while also capturing the essence of Dallas’ history.
“The Mayor’s Star Council had been looking for a project that would be a collaboration between lots of different people in the city, different organizations, non-profits, businesses, students, artists, everyone really,” Einstein said. “Each art project consists of local artists, the Mayor’s Star Council, the Mayor’s Rising Star Council, high school students, DART – they let us use their bus shelters to highlight these local artists and students — and our business partners. So of course this one is with the Mavs and the Mavs Foundation.”
“We were able to inspire young Dallas citizens, teach them the history of these different neighborhoods and then turn their ideas into a piece of art that will be enjoyed for decades and also from thousands and thousands of people – the selfies and the stories. They’ll see the history of the neighborhoods and the future of the neighborhoods from the students.”
The art pieces in the West End were inspired by its history as a vibrant rail hub and African American entertainment district as well as its future as the Dallas Innovation District. Meanwhile, the creative art visuals at the Fair Park bus stop – the one located on the corner of Exposition and Parry — were motivated by the 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition and by Fair Park itself.
“What’s interesting about both of our pieces is we tried to connect West End to Fair Park,” Miller said. “So the Follow The Movement (artwork) kind of flows into Admit One – a ticket to Fair Park.
“So that’s basically how our collaboration pieces worked out.”
A few high school art students spoke at the Bus Stop Project ceremonies and expressed how dabbling in the world of art has changed their life for the better.
Brian Cuban noted that what surprised him the most about the artwork was: “How much of the history was brought into one picture. To do that, you really have to reach into the student’s community and into the historians and bring all of that together. I wanted to look at each picture and envision where in the Dallas history that was.”
“But these are the future leaders of our community. We are supporting the artistic community as well as supporting the artists, so we love it. We absolutely love it.”
So does Einstein.
“I’m very excited that a lot of people came out, lots of alumni from the Mayor’s Star Council, the students came out, employees of the schools, previous sponsors, artists from all over,” Einstein said. “And the Mavericks were amazing. “
“First of all, (Mavs owner) Mark Cuban spoke at our leadership conference last year and inspired hundreds of young professionals across the city of Dallas. When I approached him with this project he immediately loved the idea, so we were able to do two stops and teach these young students about the art project because of the Mavericks’ sponsorships, and now like I said earlier, for decades to come the art will be enjoyed by all Dallas citizens.”