Art Tours in Dallas

Expert-led tours brings art to life.

Posted on Apr 23, 2019 By Jennifer Simonson

Dallas is a world of inspiration, and that reigns true when it comes to the art scene. From the Dallas Museum of Art (one of the tenth largest museums in the country) to the most unusual locations (think football stadium), sometimes you need a little help navigating your way through all the great art. Here are seven of the city's best art tours.

AT&T Stadium
While some might consider the team that won back-to-back Super Bowls in the mid-1990s a work of art, most do not associate art with football. Dallas Cowboys owners Jerry and Gene Jones want to change that. With the help of collectors, museum curators, and professional art advisors, the couple assembled 86 pieces of world-class collection of contemporary art to display across AT&T Stadium in Arlington and The Star in Frisco. 

The stadium provides guided art tours Monday-Thursday. The tour guides point out easily overlooked insights such as Franz Ackermann's nod to the past, with the former Cowboys Stadium painted into the background of his mural that wraps around the monumental staircase. They also offer fun facts like the popular 35-foot Sky Mirror sculpture on the East Plaza that weighs 15 tons! 

Photo credit: AT&T Stadium

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Art Program
Art lovers finding themselves with a long layover in Terminal D at the DFW airport are in luck. The nation's fourth busiest airport doubles as an art museum housing an estimated $8 million art collection. The majority of the painting, sculptures, mosaics, and other air pieces are displayed throughout Terminal D and the Skytram.

One of the most popular pieces is a labyrinth made with varying sizes of colored glass.  Christopher Janney's interactive sculpture, Circling is located on the south side of Terminal D. Labyrinths are traditionally used as an active calming meditation, perfect for when you hear that the plane is delayed, again.

Outside of the terminal visitors can walk through the DFW Sculpture Garden where several pieces from the Nasher Sculpture Center are displayed. Art lovers can schedule docent-led 60- or 90-minute art tours, no plane ticket needed.

Dallas Museum of Art
The pinnacle of art in Dallas is the Dallas Museum of Art. But with 24,000 works of art that span 5,000 years it is hard to know where to start and where to end. Get right to the good stuff with the museum's free docent-led art tours every Saturday at 2 p.m. The Spotlight Tours depart from the visitor's desk and zig-zags through the museum hitting the highlights of the museum's collection.

Fair Park Esplanade Tour
Attention Art Deco fans: there is no need to book a trip to Miami for a design fix. Instead, just head to Fair Park. One of the largest collections of Art Deco architecture in the country is spread over the 277-acre fairgrounds. The self-guided Esplanade tour will lead you past the west entrance's 85-foot pylon towards the Esplanade - a 700-foot reflecting pool capped with three fountains. The monumental work of art was the grand focal point of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. Six sculptures, each representing the flags that have flown over Texas, stand on either side of the Esplanade. The tour continues to the Centennial Hall showcasing numerous wall-paintings and two Texas-themes murals by Italian artist Carlo Ciampaglia, several bas relief murals, and ends at the Hall of State building with a mural depicting the oil boom in Texas.

Photo credit: Fair Park

Dallas Arts District Architecture Walking Tour
If your idea of an art tour is getting outside, stretching your legs, and feeling the sunshine on your skin while you look at great works of art, then join the Dallas Arts District for an architecture walking tour. For 90 minutes, a tour guide weaves you through the streets of Downtown Dallas while noting the architecture detail of buildings from the 1890s to present day. You will also learn the fascinating history behind some of Dallas' most famous buildings. For example, did you know that the building that houses the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts was built in 1922 as the first African American High School in Dallas? Tours are held on the first and third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m.

Dallas Love Field Public Art Program
While public art has been a part of the airport for decades, the airport's Love Field Art Program introduced new works of art in easy-to-enjoy locations throughout the airport. Designed by local and national artists, the collection – 23 pieces in total – enriches the experience of your airport experience and proclaims the cultural diversity of Dallas. Guided terminal tours are available free of charge, require a reservation and can take up to 90 minutes.

Photo credit: Dallas Love Field Art Program

City of Dallas Public Art Tour
Interested in taking a self-guided tour of Dallas' most prestigious public art? The City of Dallas Public Art Program has over 300 works of art in its current collection all across the city including Downtown, Fair Park and Dallas Love Field airport. A self-guided tour of 15 stops is offered and highlights include Genesis, The Gift of Life, a beautiful mosaic outside the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Cattle Drive sculptures at Pioneer Plaza.

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