If you haven’t been Downtown lately, then you haven’t really been to Dallas. We’re just not the same place we once were – and in some ways, that’s a good thing.
It’s been three decades since I first heard someone talk about a Dallas Arts District and at the time, it sounded like wishful thinking – but never underestimate a bunch of Texans. Slowly but surely, we’ve built something very special down there.
The cornerstone was the Dallas Museum of Art. Then venues like the Meyerson Symphony Center, the Winspear Opera House and many others came along. The Crescent and the Ritz-Carlton aren’t far away. Even the DISD Arts Magnet School is down there. Now, there’s Klyde Warren Park and the new Museum Tower. In the meantime, exciting developments have popped up, fell into disuse and been redeveloped. We’ve gotten lost from time to time, but we’ve never forgotten where we’re going.
Dallas’s Arts District is bright shiny and new in a lot of ways, but there are smaller, quieter places that also deserve your attention. Take for instance The Trammel and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art. It’s been a part of the growing Arts District for over fifteen years, yet I’d bet a lot of Dallasites don’t even know it’s there. Here’s some reasons you should visit.
First, you need to know that it’s free. Not just from time to time or on special days. It’s just free – everyday all day long. The Trammel Crow Building is one of the major skyscrapers in Downtown Dallas and in one of the spaces of the building, the Crow family gave us access to this wonderful collection of art out of the goodness of their hearts. That’s just one of the reasons I’m a big fan of that nasty old one percent that’s been kicked around so much lately. So many of the things I love are made available to me out of the generosity of some one percenter’s heart.
The next thing you should know is that it’s relatively small. Taking in the DMA or Nasher is going to take up most of the day, if you want to see it properly. But in comparison, the Crow Collection is bite-sized. Yes, there are three floors, but the footprint of each floor is small and the displays embrace the minimalism of the Far East, where Less is considered More. At the Crow, your brain doesn’t get that same stuffed feeling your stomach gets on Thanksgiving.
The museum is also very quiet. Most museums and libraries are quieter than, say, the mall, but there seems to be an extra aura of peaceful serenity at the Crow. You won’t feel hurried or overwhelmed. You’ll just stroll through and see marvelous things. And marvelous they are. On my most recent visit, I saw a series of golden statues with a fantastic number of limbs in some fairly amazing postures. The labels said they were in the “Mother/Father pose,” but Bill said if the statues were of parents with their children, someone should call Child Protective Services. I’ll let you be the judge of that. The items exhibited change with a good bit of frequency, so if you want to see the Mother/Father poses, you better hurry.
Before you leave the Crow, pop into the lovely little Lotus Shop. Unique items in a variety of price points are available to remind of you of your visit. Then you might want to take a stroll through Klyde Warren Park before the new wears off.