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100 West Corsicana

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Art & Soul

By Kristie Ramirez, Rhonda Reinhart and Krystal Sarna

“All I Want is You,” 2016 © Tracey Emin, Image courtesy of HV-Studio, Brussels | Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts photo by Matthew Yarnell

11.21.17

The creative scene in Dallas has never been better. Visual and performing arts take center stage in this feature as we shine the spotlight on the people who matter most right now.

AN ARTIST'S OASIS
Could Corsicana be the new Marfa?

A tip from a student in artist Kyle Hobratschk’s printmaking class led him on a futile search for a Dallas-based studio. He found himself 20 miles outside the city, calling a Realtor to say he’d somehow missed Corsicana—turned out he had 40 minutes to go. Finally, he arrived at what is now 100 West Corsicana, an 1898 Odd Fellows Lodge that he and co-founder Travis LaMothe transformed into a residency for artists and writers. “We showed up to this building and it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before; in a forgotten state, dusty with a couple of broken windows and a lot of leaks,” he says. Naturally, he bought it. Five years later, 100 West, dubbed “the new Marfa” by Dallas art scenesters, has three floors of studios that house a rotating roster of artists and writers who come for a month at a time, such as December’s Annika Berry (Portland, Ore.), Eric Diehl (NYC), Evan Yionoulis (NYC) and Jung Young Moon (Seoul, South Korea). “It just felt like an enormous playground, a sandbox far removed from everyone else’s playground, where the possibilities seemed broader,” says Hobratschk. Dec. 9, 100 West is debuting Everything Beautiful is Far Away, a film by Pete Ohs, a former resident who won the U.S. Fiction Cinematography Award at the 2017 LA Film Festival.

SPOTLIGHTING SCULPTURE 
Dallas power couple Christen and Derek Wilson chair the 2018 Nasher Prize.

Where is one likely to find art collectors with a low-key profile? “You can find us at the beautiful new restaurant Bullion downtown or sweating on the Katy Trail,” says Christen Wilson. A collection of sculptures, which began with acquisitions of minimalists, accents their affinity for art. “Most of our favorite artists, such as Eddie Peake, Aaron Curry and Alex Israel, work in multiple disciplines,” shares husband Derek. As does the 2018 Nasher Prize Laureate, Theaster Gates. The couple describes Gates as “an artist who has blurred the lines even more between sculpture and society.” The Nasher Prize is the only international award dedicated to sculpture. The Wilsons support the Nasher Prize Dialogues, which serve as a platform to bring awareness to sculpture. They are on committees for New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art and the Tate Modern in London. So how do they define Dallas as an arts city on a global scale? “Small but mighty strong.” 

 

THE DANCE PROS
Booker T.’s dance program is making waves.

At this moment 10 dance students who matriculated through Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts attend The Juilliard School in New York City. Four seniors, one sophomore and five freshmen. Let that soak in for a few. While the school is known in the community for having graduated music phenoms Norah Jones and Erykah Badu, over the last few years, the dance program has also gained much attention. “We have an incredible faculty. And it’s not just the dance department, it’s the entire school. Everyone has a hand in the growth of these kids,” says dance department chair Kate Walker. Through a grant with the Kobes Arts Foundation, Booker T. has secured three-year residencies with professional dance companies. The 230 dance students take a minimum of three hours of class a day, excluding after-school rehearsals. Seniors perform solos for college recruiters. “We’ve had kids offered full college rides on the spot,” says Walker. “These kids are passionate and hungry to learn. They soak up everything.”

THE CREATIVE SPACE 
James Cope’s And Now leads the charge in the Design District.

James Cope is exactly the kind of art dealer from whom you’d want to buy. He maintains a low-key demeanor and has an understated elegance. He’s decidedly quiet about his work as associate curator for The Goss-Michael Foundation and his subsequent time as the director for the acclaimed Marlborough Gallery in New York City, and is more interested in ushering art to the forefront. And Now, the Brit’s 4-year-old gallery in the Design District, is where he works as both art dealer and curator. “The type of work I’m interested in has to be challenging,” he says. “The weirder, the better. When it’s more difficult to understand and you have to figure it out, it keeps you engaged.” To that point, this month he opens a solo show of work by Ann Greene Kelly. Originally from New York City and now living in Los Angeles, the sculptor was part of one of Cope’s And Now group shows last year. “She deserved to have a solo show,” he says. “It’s weird and I can’t really understand her work. But I like it.” Sounds perfect. 

 

VISUAL EFFECTS 
MTV:REDEFINE honors Tracey Emin, icon of contemporary art.

Since 2011, MTV RE:DEFINE has brought major artistic star power to Dallas—including Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn and Michael Craig-Martin—all while raising millions of dollars for HIV and AIDS causes, as well as contributing to Dallas Contemporary’s commitment to arts education. Founded by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and The Goss-Michael Foundation, the annual charity art auction and exhibition will up the ante in 2018 by welcoming Tracey Emin as the honored artist. Known for provocative works ranging from painting and sculpture to neon and needlework, the celebrated British contemporary artist is a longtime friend of The Goss-Michael Foundation co-founder Kenny Goss, who calls her involvement “a real game-changer for MTV RE:DEFINE.” “Tracey is one of the few artists to reach the kind of fame that she has globally,” he says. “When I’m in London, the cabbie knows who Tracey Emin is. ... She surpasses just the arts—everybody relates to her.” As for the piece Emin will donate to next year’s auction? “If I know Tracey,” Goss says, “it will be a fantastic Tracey Emin work.”