Oak Cliff may not yet be a hot spot for Dallas galleries, but the neighborhood’s most enduring arts organization is hoping to change that status with an aesthetically inclined fundraiser.
Home to the Oak Cliff Society of the Arts, the 101-year-old Turner House debuts it “Rising Star” exhibition and fundraiser September 28-29, highlighting the work of 12 talents on the rise. Some of our best contemporary art galleries — including Barry Whistler, Conduit, Craighead Green, Cris Worley, David Dike, Galleri Urbane, Holly Johnson, Mary Tomás Studio, Photographs Do Not Bend, Reading Room, Valley House and Talley Dunn — have each selected the work of an artist who is not yet represented in the city.
“We’re really trying to give [the artists] an opportunity to get their work known to a much broader public,” says co-chair Kenda North.
“Some have had training and been fairly active professionally, and some have not,” says event co-chair Kenda North, an artist and photography professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. “Our criteria was that they don’t have a lot of exposure in the Dallas scene.
“Generally, the gallery directors selected artists who have crossed through their door they were impressed with. We’re really trying to give them an opportunity to get their work known to a much broader public.”
The vetting process began in early summer, with the finalists chosen a week ago. Attendees at the September 28 fundraiser, which features a presentation on contemporary Texas art by gallerist Barry Whistler, can purchase pieces ranging from $500 to $3,500. The general public can see the exhibition for free on Sunday.
For North and her co-chair Diana Pollak of the Creative Arts Center of Dallas, the weekend will also be an opportunity for those unfamiliar with Turner House to learn why this historic Winnetka Heights building has been a center for art, music, poetry, literature and drama since the OCSFA took it over in 1938.
“[Turner House] was owned privately for some time before the OCSFA became its stewards, and in the last 10 to 12 years, a group of people have come together to pull it back to its former glory. People love to walk through it; we have a collection of early Texas art on display, and there are beautiful stained glass windows and beautiful architecture.”
North says the regaining of Turner House’s former status will only help make the neighborhood a destination for more than just the hottest new restaurant. “As we renovate the house, it can continue to be a vital community partner,” she says. “People call it the Bishop Eats District, but those of us who live here are pretty convinced Oak Cliff is the center of the universe.”
The “Rising Star” exhibition and fundraiser opens Saturday, September 28, 7-9 pm. Tickets are $50 for OCSFA members and $75 for non-members. There is a free public reception Sunday from 6-8 pm. For more information and tickets, visit the Turner House website.