The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has launched a new annual competition to highlight local artists, and already there is a winner for 2016: The inaugural Dallas CVB Artist of the Year is the one, the only, Brad Oldham.
Oldham is the nationally recognized artist-sculptor and creator of the "Traveling Man" series that has come to define Deep Ellum. He has been honored by organizations such as the Texas Society of Architects; in 2011, the American Institute for Architects called him Artist/Craftsman of the Year.
The Dallas CVB will commission 25 pieces of Oldham's creation, an iteration of his original sculpture SkaterBird, to be used as thank-you gifts for clients bringing business to Dallas. The budget is $15,000, to include design, shipping, and production, which must be done in Dallas County.
Dallas CVB president and CEO Phillip Jones says in a release that SkaterBird embodies Dallas.
"We love what SkaterBird represents — Dallas as both bold and forward-thinking — and we want our clients to look at it and remember the great time they had here and the optimism and energy of our city," he says. "It says so much more than a plaque."
So much more. On Plaquemaker, an interested party could get 25 personalized plaques, with a custom design frosted in white on clear acrylic, for $17 each or a grand total of $425. The CVB's $15,000 keepsake should maybe recite poetry in your ear or speak five languages.
Oldham was one of a dozen artists who submitted work to the Dallas CVB in November 2015. The judging panel included Dallas CVB executives, with a steering committee comprised of Katherine Wagner from the Business Council for the Arts; Kay Kallos, public art program manager for the City of Dallas; and Diana Pollak, director of the Creative Arts Center of Dallas.
Oldham's winning submission, a 7-inch pewter skateboarding bird mounted on a brick salvaged from historic Dallas structures, is modeled after the 22-foot stainless steel sculpture installed atop his store and workshop on Ross Avenue.
Oldham says that his sculpture is about "confidently looking forward with intensity," adding that, "you cannot blaze a trail if you're looking in the rearview mirror." You also risk getting into collisions, but that's a different topic entirely. We also do not recommend texting while driving.
The Dallas CVB will begin accepting submissions for the 2017 Artist of the Year in fall 2016.