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Photo by Evgeniy Kozlov on Unsplash

The folks behind the big Art Quest summer scavenger hunts around Dallas are on to something: Texans love to treasure hunt.

Texas has ranked No. 2 in LawnStarter's 2023 "Best States for Urban Treasure Hunting" report. The Lone Star State has the most metal detecting sites, pawn shops, flea markets, and geocaching locations (a total of 226!) in the nation, the report says. Additionally, the state has the second-higuhest number of treasure hunting groups and geo-tours, and the third-highest number of storage unit auctions.

Those who are new to the hobby and want to find some new gear, worry not: Texas also has the second-highest number of mining, metal detecting, and hardware supply stores out of all 50 states. (Just be aware that you can't metal detect in state parks without a permit.)

For anyone who thinks metal detectorists find only junk, remember this story from a few months back, when a Dallas resident unearthed a class ring dating back to the early '90s and was able to reunite it with its long-lost owner?

The only state to outrank Texas is California, which the report called "a fitting outcome" for the Golden State, considering its history of gold mining in the mid-19th century and popularity in local communities. Washington, also known as "the birthplace of geocaching," ranked No. 4.

The top 10 states for urban treasure hunting include:

  • No. 1 – California
  • No. 2 – Texas
  • No. 3 – Florida
  • No. 4 – Washington
  • No. 5 – New York
  • No. 6 – Pennsylvania
  • No. 7 – Virginia
  • No. 8 – Ohio
  • No. 9 – Missouri
  • No. 10 – Arizona
At the bottom five of LawnStarter's list are Rhode Island (No. 46), Delaware (No. 47), Montana (No. 48), Wyoming (No. 49), and North Dakota (No. 50).
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Art Institutes college chain shuts down all campuses, including Dallas

Education News

In tragic news for higher education, the Art Institutes, a network of colleges in eight cities around the U.S. including Dallas, is shutting down all campuses as of September 30.

The organization announced its closure with short notice on September 22 via an email sent out to staff and students, attributing the close to "external and internal" events over the past 10 years, including COVID-19.

They called the closure the result of "a culmination of events over the past decade, both external and internal to the campus operations. ... The colleges, which already were dealing with the legacy challenges that arose under prior ownership, were unable to absorb the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on schools teaching hands-on and equipment-intensive programs such as culinary arts and fashion design.”

Students were advised to review their contact information on the institute's portal and update mailing addresses if needed, as well as download their student ledger and unofficial transcript.

Academic and financial aid staff will be available on campus through the end of 2023.

"Due to the timing of this decision, The Art Institutes have not had sufficient time to engage with other colleges and universities in their respective markets to sign formal agreements for students to transfer and continue their studies elsewhere," they said in a statement. "The Art Institutes are working with state agencies and The Art Institutes' accrediting agency, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, to identify appropriate academic transfer opportunities for students affected by this closure."

The closures affect all of the remaining eight campuses:

  • Miami International University of Art & Design
  • The Art Institute of Atlanta
  • The Art Institute of Austin, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
  • The Art Institute of Dallas, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design
  • The Art Institute of Houston
  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
  • The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design
  • The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

Although the announcement was abrupt, the Atlanta campus had been listed for lease on September 5, according to CoStar.

At one point, the organization had dozens of campuses across the U.S., but the current and previous owners have been involved in litigation over student debt from education loans, and some struggled to retain accreditation.

The email further states that "The Art Institute colleges were once were part of one of the largest providers of career education in the U.S. and were an important source of design, media arts, fashion, and culinary professionals to fulfill the needs of the local and national employers who sought out Art Institute graduates. Since its founding, The Art Institutes, individually and collectively, provided an academic experience for students who sought education in academic disciplines based in creativity, innovation, and emerging technology. This closure does not diminish the many and varied contributions that The Art Institutes have made to higher education and the knowledge and skills that alumni have taken into their respective fields of culinary, design, fashion, and media following graduation."

Dallas nonprofit Art Conspiracy calls it quits after nearly 20 years

ArtCon is Gone

After nearly 20 years, Dallas nonprofit arts group Art Conspiracy (ArtCon) has ceased operations. In a release, the organization blamed the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, ArtCon was facing mounting pressures in the search for event spaces and navigating growing costs that were hindering our model, which was already challenged by its all-volunteer structure and role as a ‘pass-through’ organization that donates all the funds it raises,” said Geoff Barry, president of the board, in a statement.

“COVID-19 effectively ended our ability to evolve around these limitations, stopping us from not only putting on our signature annual fundraisers, but also from building a steady pipeline of volunteer leadership to execute them. It saddens us to end this important work, and we’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the years - not just the money raised, but also the many connections made and collaborations that have been born from them, which live on. We know we’ve made a positive and lasting difference in North Texas, among our community of artists, our audience, and our beneficiaries.”

The group was known for its annual live auction featuring the work of local artists plus performances by local musicians. The proceeds were donated to beneficiaries such as Children’s Health Fund, Volunteers of America’s Resolana program, W.T. White High School, Girls Rock Dallas, Anita M. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, and Cry Havoc Theater Company.

In closing, ArtCon made a final donation of $6,000 to Foundation 45, which provides mental health and recovery services to the Dallas-Fort Worth creative community. They were supposed to be the beneficiary for ArtCon 15, which was to have taken place in fall 2019 but was postponed due to staffing issues.

Although ArtCon no longer exists, they are encouraging support of Foundation 45's next fundraising event, “Art of the Guitar” on Saturday, October 21, a live auction of over 45 local artist-decorated guitars.

The iOS app Art Con remains available in the Apple Store for anyone wishing to seek out and connect with the artists and musicians who have participated in ArtCon over its history.

These are the 8 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This Week in Gluttony

There are two anniversary parties this week and both feature food and drink specials along with live music – one from '80s cover bands and the other from a powerhouse in Texas country music.

Meanwhile, Oktoberfest season is winding down, but there are two opportunities this week enjoy German-inspired eats and beer before the festival ends.

Tuesday, September 26

Lori’s Day at Newk’s Eatery
Mississippi-based sandwich, salad, and soup will celebrate its third annual ovarian cancer fundraiser in honor of Lori Newcomb, wife of Newk’s founder Chris Newcomb, who lost her battle with the disease in 2019. Through Newk’s Cares, founded by Lori in 2014 after her diagnosis, all locations will donate 20 percent of sales to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. Newk’s has locations in Frisco and Plano.

Wednesday, September 27

Cheers to 10 Years at The Rustic with Pat Green
Dallas bar, restaurant, and live music venue owned in part by Texas country music icon Pat Green will throw a 10th anniversary party featuring the superstar himself in concert. There’ll be drink specials and giveaways from Espolon Tequila and Eight Elite Light Lager, with a special appearance by Eight founder Troy Aikman. Doors open at 5:30 pm and concert opener Dalton Torres will take the stage at 8 pm. Tickets are $27 per person, plus a fee.

Laurent-Perrier Champagne Pop-Up Dinner at Knife Plano
Four-course dinner with Naomi Smith from the Champagne House of Laurent-Perrier features some of their new and exclusive offerings paired with Knife's classic seafood dishes. Courses include Yellowtail Crudo, paired with Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut; Arugula Salad and Iberico Ham with Laurent Perrier Brut 2012; Snapper, Asparagus, and Fingerling Potato with Laurent Pierrier Rose; and Banana, Bourbon & Dulce Dessert with Laurent Perrier Harmony Demi Sec. It starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $150, book at Resy.

Thursday, September 28

40th Anniversary Party at Aw Shucks
All five locations of the Aw Shucks and Big Shucks oyster bar chain (Dallas, Richardson, Lewisville, and Frisco) will host a throwback Thursday 80s-themed anniversary party featuring discounted menu items. Specials include a $19.83 platter of crab and shrimp boil, $19.83 dozen oysters on the half shell, $3.83 margaritas, and $2.83 draft beers. Born in 1983? You get a free slice of key lime pie. There’ll also be 80s cover bands at all locations from 5–9 pm. Break out the big hair and leg warmers because there’ll be costume contests for prizes, too.

Yappy Hour at Ellie’s
The terrace at Ellie’s inside the Hall Arts Hotel will welcome four-legged friends and their humans during this rooftop happy hour. Visit from 5–7 pm for specialty drinks and bites and to meet other Dallas-area dog lovers. Admission is free and valet parking is $5.

Basil Hayden Whiskey Dinner at Bourbon & Banter
Statler Dallas restaurant will host a four-course bourbon-pairing dinner featuring Kentucky-based Basil Hayden whiskey. Menu items include spinach & roasted red pepper-stuffed chicken, steelhead trout en papillote, grilled flat iron steak with truffle potatoes, and Basil Hayden chocolate pot de crème. The dinner is $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and begins at 7 pm.

Friday, September 29

Oktoberfest at Harwood Arms
The party will start early at 11 am for all-day specials including $22 beer steins ($8 refills) and German cuisine including Bavarian sausages, chicken schnitzel sandwiches, and potato pancakes. There’ll be live music starting at 6 pm along with two stein-holding competitions at 5 pm and 8 pm. Admission is free.

Monday, October 2

Oktoberfest Beer Dinner at Urban Crust
Plano wood-fired pizza kitchen will celebrate Oktoberfest with a four-course German-themed beer dinner. Tickets are $65 per person, including tax and gratuity, and the dinner will begin at 6:30 pm.

Aw Shucks restaurant on Lower Greenville in Dallas, circa 1983
Photo courtesy of Aw Shucks
A local oyster bar chain will throw it back to the 80s with an anniversary party.