Activating Vacancy will explore how design and art can re-imagine the forgotten or neglected spaces in the Tenth Street community as part of a dialogue about what the neighborhood is, was, and could be. Up to six collaborators will be commissioned by bcWORKSHOP to immerse themselves in the community, working with residents and stakeholders to develop and execute six projects. Together, these works will challenge common public perceptions of vacancy in Tenth Street and critically consider historic preservation, among other urban conditions, as they relate to the neighborhood.
Diverse artistic media will be applied throughout Tenth Street, exploring sites and issues critical to the neighborhood’s past and future. Through creative interpretation, Activating Vacancy will enable both community members and the larger city to rediscover this culturally and historically significant place. Artists, designers, and arts educators are encouraged to respond to an open Call for Collaboration and submit qualifications to be a part of Activating Vacancy.
Recognized by both the National Register of Historic Places and the City of Dallas Landmark Districts, Tenth Street was founded as a freedman’s town shortly after the Civil War. As a result of segregation, the neighborhood was driven to self-sufficiency, and African-American businesses, churches, and families thrived. When integration opened opportunities in newer suburban areas and South R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35E) was forced through the heart of the area, the aging Tenth Street neighborhood began to decline. Today, it is both one of Dallas’s oldest and most culturally significant neighborhoods, and one whose history is at greatest risk.
The Initiative begins Fall 2013 and is produced and curated by bcWORKSHOP, a Dallas-based community design center, in partnership with the Dallas CityDesign Studio who will be developing a policy framework and guide for future development for the historic district. Based on this partnership, Activating Vacancy will be part of a unique environment where art can influence, not respond to, policy creation.
Activating Vacancy is made possible through generous funding by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Trinity Trust Foundation, the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundaiton and local arts patrons.