Spend a day walking through Dallas' open air art gallery
Downtown Dallas has impressive collection of artwork that decorate the streets, open courtyards, building entrances and back alleys of this city. From murals, sculptures, mosaics, statues and neons – the works of art range from social commentary and memorials to the truly bizarre. Written by: Jennifer Simonson
Location: 555 S Lamar St.
Pegasus - the mythical winged horse - has slowly morphed from Greek mythological creature into Dallas’ unofficial mascot. Reproductions of the flying red horse are found all over the Big D, but the most famous one sits in an outdoor plaza at the Dallas Omni Hotel. This brilliant red neon was originally placed on top of the city's tallest building, the 29-story Magnolia Oil Company, in 1934. The Pegasus stayed lit atop the old Magnolia building until 1999. It reappeared after a $200,000 restoration outside the Omni Hotel in 2015.
Artist: Philip Johnson
Location: 646 Main St.
One block east of Dealey Plaza sits a tribute to America’s 35th president. The 30-foot high, roof-less square acts as an open tomb that symbolizes the freedom of John F. Kennedy’s spirit. The only written words - John Fitzgerald Kennedy - in the all-white granite structure are painted in gold on a rectangle stone block.
Artist: Tony Tasset
Location: 1601 Main St.
If staring eye-to-eye with a three-story eyeball is on your bucket list, you can see one right here in the heart of Downtown Dallas. The eye is enclosed in the Joule Hotel’s lush garden (and closed to the public) but you can’t miss it when you’re walking by. The ultra-realistic fiberglass eyeball complete with streaky red veins is an exact replica of its creator, Tony Tasset’s eye. The funky art installation seems like it should be a roadside attraction and not on the grounds of one of Dallas’ swankiest hotels, but who are we to judge. After all, art is in the eye of the beholder.
Artist: Erik Blome
Location: 301 N. Lamar St.
Rosa Parks, the famous Civil Rights activist who refused to give up her bus seat in 1955, now sits permanently at the West End DART Station. The bronze statue of Parks sitting on a bus seat is the second casting of the original statue in front of the Rosa Parks Museum and Library in Montgomery, Alabama.
Artist: Robert Summers
Location 1428 Young St
Even though Fort Worth is known as Cowtown, billionaire Trammell Crow wanted to celebrate the trails that brought settlers to Dallas and cattle to market. Crow commissioned artist Robert Summers to recreate a cattle drive with life-size bronze sculptures. The three horse-riding cowboys driving the herd of 49 bronzes longhorns is one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
Artists: Ed Baum and John Maruszczak
Location: South Akard Street and Young Street
Similar to Maya Lin’s iconic Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., the Dallas Police Memorial is a captivating piece of modern art designed to memorialize Dallas’ fallen officers. The badge numbers of every officer killed in the line of duty is cut into the overhead steel canopy. Sunlight shines through the piece throughout the day projecting the badge numbers on the ground.
Artist: Miguel Covarrubia
Location: 1717 N Harwood St,
The 60-foot glass mosaic at the entrance to the Dallas Arts Museum is a masterpiece of postwar Mexican art. The colorful design is based on the Indian concept of life’s four elements: water, earth, fire and air. What was originally commissioned in 1954 to be seen by drivers of Dallas first major highway - Central Expressway - is now the backdrop for Instagramming art lovers.
Location: Deep Ellum
Speaking of Instagramming selfies, there might not be any better place to get your filters ready than Deep Ellum. The funky neighborhood just east of Downtown has long been known as a hotspot for artists, bohemians, and musicians. The 42 Murals Project is the latest extension of that culture giving artists the opportunity to turn the sides of aging buildings into grand works of arts. The murals vary in size, style and subject matter, but many pay homage to the city’s great musical talents like Erykah Badu, Norah Jones, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Hullie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, T-Bone Walker, and Bessie Smith.
Artist: Chris Arnold and Jeff Garrison
Location: 717 Leonard St.
Overlooking the Dallas Arts District is a 150 feet wide by 120 feet tall mural that pays homage to the anxiety-filled creative process. A conductor stands in the middle of the mural with his hands up and eyes closed as 40 local artists swirl around his head frantically working on their craft.
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