In Michelangelo’s day, artists and architects were often one and the same, creating both iconic buildings and the frescos within them. Today, never the twain shall meet — unless one is decorating a modernist home with an architect-selected piece of contemporary art.
Bringing these two disciplines back together is the inspiration behind Artist vs. Architect, a one-of-a-kind competition and silent auction taking place Saturday, November 3, at Saint Paul Place. Designed to celebrate some of Dallas’ most prolific creatives, the event is the brainchild of founders Merrick Pickens and Vince Wilson.
“In my heart I want to build a bridge between emerging artists and architects and the wealth of opportunity there is for them in Dallas,” says co-founder Merrick Pickens.
“We wanted to take people in the art realm and the architecture realm and put them on the same playing field so they can’t divide,” Pickens says. “In my heart I want to build a bridge between emerging artists and architects and the wealth of opportunity there is for them in Dallas.”
The idea for the annual event came to Pickens last May through Creategate, the company she founded to create opportunity for emerging artists. Wilson, her partner, was aligned with architects through his work with Dallas general contractors.
The duo’s connections in both industries made it easy to source talent, and notable architect Vel Hawes signed a letter of endorsement encouraging participation from the city’s biggest architectural firms.
The duo selected Dwell With Dignity as their first beneficiary, giving the 12 artist and 12 architect finalists — including ArtLoveMagic, Hobbes Vincent, Sergio Garcia, OMNIPLAN and RTKL— the opportunity to explore what poverty looks like using their designs.
“I met [Dwell With Dignity founder] Lisa Robison a couple of years ago, and she described it as a local Extreme Home Makeover for impoverished families,” Pickens says. “Your home should be the place you feel safe, and we decided to make part of the competition an expression of their mission statement.”
“The contestants are expressing what it means to break out of poverty and homelessness, and that’s really powerful,” says Lisa Robison, founder of beneficiary Dwell With Dignity.
In addition to their Dwell With Dignity-themed works (100 percent of those profits benefits the charity), contestants are also allowed to submit two other pieces inspired by the theme of escaping poverty. One will be split 50/50 with the Artist vs. Architect organization and the contestant; the other will profit the contestant alone.
An elite panel of judges, including art patrons, buyers, and museum and theater representatives will award the title of “Dallas’ Best Artist” and “Dallas’ Best Architect” to two outstanding creatives.
Of course, the real winners of the evening will be the homeless families helped by Dwell With Dignity.
“The contestants are expressing what it means to break out of poverty and homelessness, and that’s really powerful,” says Lisa Robison. “It makes you realize how art and public spaces affect our environment.
“You think about a child growing up in a bedroom with a mattress on the floor and nothing on the walls. When you put that same child in a room with art, what is possible for themselves has opened up. It allows [them] to grow and thrive in such an amazing way.”