150 Years and Counting
Dallas' Deep Ellum to celebrate big birthday with fitting fanfare
Dallas' historical Deep Ellum neighborhood is celebrating a major birthday in a very big way.
The district is coming up on its 150th anniversary, and is throwing a series of fall exhibitions, tours, and public programs focused on its legacy.
The party begins on September 29 when the National Register of Historic Places will unveil a marker installed in front of the Pittman Hotel at the corner of Elm Street and N. Good Latimer Parkway.
On September 30, the Deep Ellum Community Center will hold its grand opening, featuring the permanent exhibition, “When You Go Down in Deep Ellum,” which brings to life the history of Deep Ellum during the 1920s and 1930s and highlights Deep Ellum’s musical legacy with a listening room and operational 78 rpm recording studio.
They will also open two new temporary exhibitions:
- "Unlikely Blues,” featuring the illustrations of Chicago artist Louis Paeth
- “Invisible Deep Ellum,” an outdoor installation that utilizes the concrete columns beneath North Central Expressway to display advertisements and selected pages from 1911 and 1925 Black business directories
The biggest event will be the inaugural Deep Ellum Music Festival on November 18, featuring a diverse range of musical genres, from blues to punk and beyond, reflecting Deep Ellum’s variety of musical talent.
“Deep Ellum was a crossroads, a nexus where people interacted in relative freedom, spawning the growth of Blues, Jazz and Western Swing in the early years of the 20th century,” says writer, photographer, and filmmaker Alan Govenar in a statement. Govenar is the coauthor of Deep Ellum: Where Cultures Converged.
Other events in the series include weekly Deep Ellum History Tours with Jay Brakefield, coauthor of Deep Ellum: Where Cultures Converged, on Saturdays at the Deep Ellum Community Center; Deep Ellum Open Studios on October 21, featuring artists in their studios across the district; two exhibitions at the African American Museum opening on November 9; and “Art and the Urban Experience,” a panel discussion at the Nasher Sculpture Center on November 15.