Art News

Novel Bishop Arts building commissions 5 art pieces with Dallas theme

Novel Bishop Arts building commissions 5 art pieces with Dallas theme

novel bishop arts
Novel building opens with loads of art. Photo courtesy of Novel

A new residential development in Bishop Arts debuts with public art installations that celebrate Oak Cliff's past and iconic figures, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bonnie and Clyde.

The new Novel Bishop Arts is a 302-unit multi-family property in Oak Cliff, near the Bishop Arts District, developed by Crescent Communities. In its effort to integrate the complex into the community, the company engaged local artists and consulted with a local petanque champion on the design of a petanque court built into the outdoor community space.

The Flatiron-style building is located at the corner of Davis Street and Zang Boulevard. At street level, as many as eight restaurants and retail stores will open up to a European-inspired pedestrian piazza.

Novel commissioned five art pieces for the project.

One is a silhouette-cutout sculpture by Kenneth Craine of Stevie Ray Vaughan strumming his guitar, which overlooks the piazza.

Another, called Zorro on Zang, is a 15-foot mural by Steve Hunter that references a movie poster from the 1940 film The Mark of Zorro, with actress Linda Darnell, a native of Oak Cliff, front and center. True to Hunter's style, it looks like it has survived decades of wear.

"I usually throw color at everything and see what fits," Hunter says. "To have a mural that is pretty much monochrome was exciting to get to do."

Passing Through, a mural by Haylee Ryan Yale, is abuzz with movement depicting a trio skipping in the rain, an old streetcar crossing a viaduct, and a bicyclist cruising past Texas Theater.

Yale incorporated an image of Adelaida Cuellar, who migrated from Mexico in 1893 and opened the first El Chico restaurant and former Oak Cliff staple El Corazon.

"Bishop Arts has been so many things and is changing so much," says Yale, who lives in the neighborhood. "Every part of our history is important."

Dallas legends Bonnie and Clyde make an appearance in a mural by Los Angeles artist Jules Muck, whose depiction of their getaway car trades bullet holes for a cab filled with crimson poppies.

Other touches in the building include a guitar-shaped pool and wallpaper woven with gold-embossed sketches of Oak Cliff scenes by Kevin Sloane, a Dallas landscape architect and artist.

The intersection of Davis and Zang has undergone massive change since 2016, when developers first announced plans for the eastern side of Bishop Arts. Neighborhood restaurants and vacant land have been replaced by a CVS and the last stop of the Dallas Streetcar. Central Market owns land in the same block, although the company has said it has no immediate plans to open a store.

Shane Spillers, president of the Bishop Arts Merchants Association and owner of Eno's Pizza Tavern, is on board, having opened a coffee shop and pub called Brewed Ltd. inside the building.

"This is an example of a project done particularly well, and in a particularly responsible way," he says.