The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

DART connects students to new parts of Dallas

In a time when green is everybody’s new favorite color, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit is following the trend by adding its own touch to the city: the Green Line.

On Monday, four brand new stations are opening in some of the most historic districts of Dallas, each with its own personality incorporated into the design.

The MLK Jr. Station is farthest south on the Green Line in a historical community that has been, since the turn of the 20th century, predominately black.  Upon arriving at the station, visitors are welcomed by the “Walk of Respect,” a sidewalk extending from the transit that is lined with symbols from African kuba, a form of textile art.  The symbols represent fundamental elements of an African community such as unity and respect.  Father down, sculptor Steve Teeters created his interpretation of African-American culture with two 17-foot tall African “talking drums.”  He said in an interview that drums are among the most important art forms in the African culture.

One stop north is Fair Park, the infamous spot for the State Fair as well as the location for the Cotton Bowl. 

The new stop at Baylor University Medical Center provides a hopeful message to patients and their families.  There is an enormous fingerprint embedded in the concrete outside the station.  Surrounding it are mosaics that represent all five human senses.  This project included a two-acre park encompassing the hospital; now patients can feel free from the hospital itself.

The last station is located in Deep Ellum, a neighborhood looking to rejuvenate its entire culture and dispel its negative reputation with the opening of the DART. This transformation may be the most drastic of them all.

Since 2007, the Deep Ellum Community Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the revival of Deep Ellum, has been implementing projects such as the Mural Project, an artistic mission visible on the sides of almost every historical building, and a new sustainability initiative to clean up and add life to the neighborhood.

“I always thought of Deep Ellum as a piece of clay that you could mold and shape how you want it to be,” said Frank Campagna, owner of Kettle Art Gallery on Elm St., and longtime visitor.  “If you take a piece of clay and you squeeze it tighter and tighter into a tower of some sort, it will eventually fall down, which [Deep Ellum] has done in the past.  Now it’s a ball of clay again, so we can rework it and hopefully it will be a little safer and structurally sound this time around.”

Steven Bourn, DART’s project manager for the Green Line, said, “We can all be very excited about what’s going to happen in Deep Ellum.”

He, alongside a special DART team, worked with the Deep Ellum residents and business owners to capture the essence and history of the neighborhood within the design of the train station.  This half-million dollar endeavor called “The Deep Ellum Gateway Project” includes a huge boulevard leading north from the Dallas Arts District straight into Deep Ellum and a three-piece installation entitled “The Traveling Man.”

Two years ago, Deep Ellum hosted a design competition for an imaginative and highly visible public art structure that would welcome visitors to the neighborhood.  Brandon Oldenburg from Reel FX Creative Studios – located in Deep Ellum – and Brad Oldham of Brad Oldham Inc. – also located in Dallas – won the commission and created a stainless steel series that will forever represent Deep Ellum.

Part one, “Awakening,” is the Traveling Man’s eight-foot wide head. It rises from the ground at the intersection of Good-Latimer and Elm St. as if to interact with the people passing by.  Part two is called “Waiting on a Train,” which features a nine-foot metal man leaning against the old Good-Latimer tunnel and playing his guitar while waiting for the next train. The last and most notable part to the installation series is a 38-foot-tall man called “Walking Tall.” All three installations are complimented by little stainless-steel birds, the perfect height for sitting.  Don’t be hesitant, that’s what they are there for.

Residents are enthusiastic and optimistic about the effect of the Deep Ellum Gateway Project and the Green Line.  Many believe it will attract new waves of people and make Deep Ellum more accessible for tourists.

“Everywhere that DART goes, there’s usually some genesis of development,” Bourn said.  “They’re going to see these sculptures and say ‘What the heck is that?  I want to see what that is.  I want to go down there.'”

Saturday, the neighborhood is hosting an opening festival for the DART with two stages of live music and the streets from Elm to Live Oak lined with booths. Local artists will be selling their work and the DART will be free. 

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and concludes with the ribbon cutting of a new Art Park under Highway 30.

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