Dallas could soon have affordable artist housing. While some Dallas residents complain that what the Arts District lacks is pedestrian traffic, the proponents behind this new project argue that what it needs is more artists. Robert Meckfessel, an architect and arts supporter, is hoping to remedy this situation by creating affordable housing for artists with his nonprofit, Le Reunion TX. The group has recently applied for $1.1 million in low-income housing grants to subsidize these residences at a new development to be called Flora Lofts. Although the group faces tough competition, the prospect of the change they could bring to Dallas is enormous.
The proposed housing development would stand six-stories tall on Flora Street near two arts buildings: the Nasher Sculpture Center and Museum Tower, a high rise of luxury condominiums.
According to Meckfessel, artist housing has always been part of the planning for the Arts Districts, and up until now, there have been few options that artists could afford. The proposed Flora Lofts would encompass a combination of subsidized housing and market-rate housing, with retail spaces on the ground floor. In the building there would be 39 affordable housing units with rent from $360 to $790 each, with 8 penthouses priced at market rates.
If this new development is given funding, potential residents would be required to prove financial need and to provide a portfolio of their artistic works to apply. The entire process to gain funding is challenging, with a City Council vote scheduled soon for a final application approval, followed by a complex scoring system which typically narrows the pool of applicants by 70% before the final vote. The Flora Lofts groups will not know if they are approved to receive this tax credit until the June 25 vote by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
While the decision has yet to become final, if all goes well, the Dallas Arts District could soon be bustling with a few new residents.
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The streets of Dallas will soon be home to some amazing pieces of contemporary art, thanks to a few of the city’s finest artists. The Nasher Sculpture Center will be commissioning 10 sculptures to be designed, created, and placed in locations throughout Dallas. This special exhibition, Nasher XChange, will take place from October 19 of this year through February 16 of 2014. The exhibition is in honor of the center’s 10th anniversary, occurring on October 20, 2014.
According to the director of the Nasher Sculpture Center Museum, Jeremy Strick, each of the participating artists who are designing the sculptures was inspired by different aspects of Dallas. Artists have used various settings including geographical, cultural, social, historical, environmental, and aesthetic characteristics to inspire their sculptures and their connections to the city of Dallas. Strick also believes that each of the artists will bring a radically different approach to depicting the various locales that make up Dallas.
Many of the artists taking part in Nasher XChange believe that the exhibition will be an inspiring way to bring art to the people of Dallas and to establish a dialogue between citizens and artists. The hope is that through the exhibition, the audience for contemporary art within the city of Dallas will be expanded.
The Nasher XChange sculpture exhibition represents an exciting addition to the Dallas art scene and a wonderful gift from Dallas’ artists to the city. The sculpture center is located in the Dallas Arts District. The center is known for showcasing the sculpture collection of Raymond and Patsy Nasher. Patsy passed away in 1988 at the age of 59. Raymond Nasher, a Dallas real estate developer, passed away in 2007 at the age of 85.
This exciting exhibition will not only bring art to the streets of Dallas; it will bring art to the people, making this great city a more beautiful place to call home.
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