Five must-see local art galleries.

Design District’s SITE131 bowed out of the art scene last weekend, a victim of the pandemic. Don’t let these Dallas art galleries be next.

Dallasites dressed in white glasses and clinked glasses and indulged in snow cones as SITE131 left the Design District with its final exhibit on Saturday – Explore Builds by Harriet Korman of New York and Ronald Llewellyn of Houston.

The gallery, founded by Seth Davidow and Joan Davidow, is a leader in the local art scene. For seven years, SITE131 opened doors to emerging artists by presenting 21 exhibitions with works by 114 diverse artists, many of whom were from Texas.

The gallery is the latest victim of DFW COVID-19.

“It has everything to do with the pandemic,” Joan Davidow told CultureMap. “We’ve been closed for over a year, and since reopening our attendance has been down.”

According CultureMap, attendance fell just 16% from pre-pandemic attendance.

As we’ve seen in the food scene, local shutdowns are commonplace. It’s a rare week that we signal a close via “The Spread”. One can’t help but fear that the closure of SITE131 signals that the art scene is next.

It’s too late to save SITE131, but there are an abundance of art galleries and artists that need our support to navigate the future. We implore you Dallas, show up on the DFW art scene and support these art galleries and their latest exhibitions.

Msanii House of Fine Arts

Nestled in historic downtown Carrollton is a groundbreaking art gallery. Founded by power couple Gregg Young and the Missy Burton (award winning photographer Missy Burton), Msanii Hous Fine Art elevates the works of artists across all mediums, including paintings, sculpture and photography. Since opening in 2019, Msanii has been a leader in the transition conversation between artists and their audiences. Their next exhibition is no different.

Msanii is about to open Eclectic shine June 24. Eclectic shine, will be the first solo exhibition of local abstract expressionist Amy Daniels. The opening reception will include a talk about artist at 6 p.m. which will center the conversation between the artist’s expression and the viewer’s perception. Don’t miss this opportunity to capture history in the making with Daniel’s inaugural exhibition.

Gallery 500X

For 44 years, the 500X Gallery has encouraged the Dallas art scene. Artists Will Hipps and Richard Childers transformed a 3,000+ square foot factory and tire warehouse into an exhibition space that would cultivate the growth of local artists such as Otis Jones, Tom Orr, Randall Garett and others .

500X is an artist-run gallery through a membership program. Current members include oil on canvas painter Scott Bell, fine art photographer Ross Faircloth, multidisciplinary artist Jamila Mendez, installation and sculptor Kasey Short and 7 other Dallas artists including current exhibitionist Steven Hector González.

Melt into you by Gonzalez opened June 11 and will run through July 3. Gonzalez uses video, photography and performance to unveil a new perspective on intimacy through the processing of trauma. Centered on “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star, the exhibition speaks of the desire for plenitude.

The gallery unexpectedly moved to West Dallas last year. Subsequently, 500X released a Financial Transparency Report as a call for public support through donations to keep the gallery running. Like SITE131, the COVID-19 pandemic has created the onset of financial stress that is hampering the gallery’s stability. Through support and donations, the gallery aims to achieve non-profit status.

Latino Cultural Center

The Latino Cultural Center (LCC), part of the City of Dallas Office of Arts, is not your typical art gallery. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air that’s rented out to nonprofits that elevate Latino art and culture. The possibilities for celebrating Latin culture and arts are endless at LCC. The center serves the arts with a 27,000 square foot facility that includes a theater, gallery, sculpture classes, multipurpose space, and outdoor space for events. This allowed the space to be used not only as a gallery, but also as a space for youth and senior programming, dance performances and even posadas.

Two current exhibitions are presented at the LCC.

Queer-ltura and Queerpo curated by Jose Villalobos highlights eight queer artists. Austin Alegria, Sam Fresquez, Andie Flores, Carly Garza, Alexander Hernandez, Joy Regalado and Christopher Najera show how the body can be an artistic medium for sociopolitical discourse and identity. The exhibition presents the arts through a variety of mediums, including installation, fashion, drawing, sculpture, photography and performance. Queer-ltura and Queerpo closes August 13.

Someone like me., curated by Angel Faz, features eight female and non-binary artists. Ciara Elle Bryant, Cher Musico, Ofelia Alvarenga, Danielle Ellis, Quel Hynson, Gibson Regester, Krysta Chalkey and Kay Seeding confront the commodification of queerness through their art. They refrain from being subject to the male gaze and celebrate gender fluidity across various mediums. Someone like me. is visible until August 20.

Daisha Painting Gallery

The Daisha Board knows the importance of representation. As an art enthusiast, Board noticed the lack of representation of BIPOC in fine art spaces. So she made her own. In 2021, Board paved the way for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and disabled artists to enter the realm of contemporary art by opening the Daisha Board Gallery. Since then, she has curated and collaborated on exhibitions that highlight diversity, inclusion and visibility. Most notably, she created a home in the Dallas art scene for black artists.

Currently on view, journalist and filmmaker Rodney Hawkins and photographer Kwesi Yanful’s The mountain. The exhibition presenting the restoration of the old Mount Gillion cemetery in Nacogdoches. Through the restoration, a wealth of African-American history is uncovered. The mountain is the photographic documentation of the restoration and unveiling of buried history. The exhibition is visible until July 9.

Photo via Pencil on Paper Gallery at instagram.

Pencil On Gallery Paper

Owned by Dr. Valérie Gillespie and Emmanuel Gillespie, the Pencil on Paper gallery combines education and artistic expression. As educators and artists themselves, the Gillespies know that education is fundamental to the sustainability of an artist.

Besides curating exhibitions, Pencil on Paper Gallery is a valuable resource for curious students aspiring to become emerging artists. For four years, the Pencil on Paper Gallery in the Design District has planted the seeds for a thriving art scene in Dallas through studio art classes for students of all ages. Once artists feel ready to enter the art scene, Pencil on Paper Gallery prepares them to embark on their journey with an advanced class that prepares a portfolio suitable for college and beyond. It is a cocoon where the young develop their wings while watching their predecessors take flight.

Stacie Monday from Oklahoma returns to Paper on Pencil Gallery next month in another solo exhibition on display. Opening July 9 Let the Church say Amen will feature Monday’s acrylic paintings. The exhibition is activism in art form. It encapsulates the experiences of being a black woman in America by discarding negative connotations and restructuring the narratives of black women.

Mildred D. Field