Abriendo Las Puertas

See more posts on AVAI and our work in the RGV.  

On December 3rd,  Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator will celebrate the work of Artist in Residence Celeste De Luna, Rigoberto Gonzalez and Nancy Guevara and the future of arts, culture and civic engagement in Historic Downtown Brownsville.

De Luna’s large scale wood-cut prints about resistance and rebellion in the valley will be displayed throughout the Historic Market Square.  Her works include portraits of the Buffalo soldiers, Americo Paredes and visualizations of corridos written by Brownsville residents. Guevara will display two large fabric murals made of ropa usada that portray female grassroots activists from the Valley.  Gonzalez will reveal a 14 foot long movable mural to be displayed in the street, that addresses challenges experienced by the homeless in Brownsville.   

Additional programing will include live music performances by Caldo Frío, photographs from the Taquerías of Southmost exhibit, , produced by Texas Folklike and the Brownsville Historical Association and the dance, #soyBrownsville, choreographed by Caty Wantland. Screen printing workshops will be held by Nancy Guevara and Celeste de Luna throughout the event.  All programing is free and open to the public.  

Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator is an art and public interest design initiative in Market Square  in Historic Downtown Brownsville. Artists collaborate with community members to create art that explores the cultural, social, political and economic life in this region. The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Brownsville and BCIC and produced by buildingcommunityWORKSHOP.

For more information on AVAI or Abriendo Las Puertas follow up on Facebook!

Celebrating Ivy City Is...

Learn more about Crossing the Street: Ivy City and our work in DC.

Photos by Vinnie Accardi (top left), Lotanna Obodozie (top center-right) and Nando Alvarez (center and bottom rows). 

On Sunday, November 6th, we celebrated the opening of “Ivy City Is…”, a collaborative, resident and artist-led creative project that culminated in the creation of a three-dimensional, 5’ by 20’ screenprinted, plywood installation, spelling out “IVY CITY”. This project is intended to celebrate the neighborhood’s rich heritage and foster a dialogue about Ivy City’s identity in the face of rapid development and demographic change. Over 200 Ivy City residents, creatives, and community stakeholders joined us at this event with on-site screen printing, free t-shirts, food, and performances by local artists at Lewis W. Crowe Park.

Each letter was crafted using a collage of historic photos, maps, and portraits of residents who customized individual yard signs declaring what Ivy City means to them. A diverse community of local artists collaborated with area youth to host a series of free screen printing workshops, where residents learned how to screen print and helped create the seven large letters that spelled out “IVY CITY”. Prior to this celebration, these individual letters were on display in key locations throughout the neighborhood, including Bethesda Baptist Church, Louis Carryout, Hecht Warehouse, and Trinity Baptist Church.

This “place-keeping” installation serves as a landmark to the historic neighborhood and invites residents of all backgrounds to celebrate Ivy City and collectively envision its future. This project is a collaboration between Empower DC, The Sanctuaries, Open Studio DC, LISC, [bc], and the DC Office of Planning (DCOP). This project is supported by DCOP’s grant from the Kresge Foundation, “Crossing the Street: Building DC’s Inclusive Future through Creative Placemaking”.

Little Free Libraries: Dallas Development Code Amendment

The proposed Dallas Development Code amendment that will affect current and future Little Free Libraries (LFL) in our community. Free outdoor little free libraries encourage vibrant, connected public spaces and help to increase access to books throughout our community. 

Here are few of the highlights on how the code amendments and how it affect current and future LFLs:

  • Proposed amendments are rigid on location and size.  Size and location requirements in the front yard limits LFL to small boxes located in very specific locations that leave no scope for creativity.
  • Under the proposed amendments, there is no possibility for the existing LFLs to be grandfathered in as the proposed requirements will be applied retroactively.
  • A survey of existing LFL in Dallas found that more than half of the LFL would become illegal if the new amendments are passed as presented. The vast majority of those are located in front of single family homes, designed and built by families.
  • It also means that out of 19 LFLs available to be purchased online on LFL National site, only 3, would be allowed under the proposed amendments.
  • No other big cities of Texas - including Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso - have any code regulations for LFLs. Other cities around Dallas - Frisco, Plano, Fort Worth, Richardson and Irving - do not have any code regulations for LFLs. Only one suburban city, Pearland has rules that disallow LFLs.

Dallas City Council will be considering the proposed amendments at the next council meeting on October 26th, 2016 at 9 am, in City Hall

CLICK HERE for a brief description of the LFL program in Dallas, research on how the
proposal affect LFLs, and a copy of the proposed amendment.

We encourage you to reach out to your council member to express your opinion on the proposed amendments and attend the council meeting on October 26th to make your voice heard during the public hearing.  

If you have any questions about the attached document, please feel free to contact us at lfldallas@gmail.com or inform@bcworkshop.org.

Press written about the code amendments include: 

Ivy City Artist Selection

See more posts about Crossing the Street and our other work in Washington, DC

The Sanctuaries  artists and  Empower DC  youth community organizers screen print yard signs for residents. Photos (above and below) by  Rev. Erik Martinez Resley  of  The Sanctuaries .

The Sanctuaries artists and Empower DC youth community organizers screen print yard signs for residents. Photos (above and below) by Rev. Erik Martinez Resley of The Sanctuaries.

[bc] with LISC is excited to share the proposal selected for the Crossing the Street: Ivy City project. Crossing the Street: Ivy City is a temporary creative placemaking initiative in northeast Washington, DC. The collaborative team of EmpowerDC , The SanctuariesOpen Studio DC and resident Taylor Johnson have already been hard at work engaging residents in conversations about Ivy City's neighborhood identity and the community's desire for recreational amenities. Their project invites new and old Ivy City residents to customize a sign that expresses what "Ivy City Is" to them as well as to participate in a screenprinting and poetry workshop. The photos of residents with their signs, the poetry developed, and other curated images will be used to develop a large, screen printed installation. This installation will be unveiled at a community event on Saturday, October 29th. Be sure to stay connected with us on Facebook for future updates and opportunities to participate! 


Little Free Libraries "Call for Volunteers" event recap

Thank you to all those who could attend the “Call for Volunteers” event for the new phase of  Little Free Libraries commemorating the fallen officers. Those who were unable to attend the event last week, here is a quick recap of the evening and how you get involved!

"Call for Volunteers" event brought together people interested to help design and build 5 little free libraries to commemorate fallen officers

"Call for Volunteers" event brought together people interested to help design and build 5 little free libraries to commemorate fallen officers

The evening began with a brief introduction and history of Little Free Library/ Libros Libres program. This program began three years ago as a collaboration with BigThought and the Dallas Public Library. The current project was introduced by the reading of a letter from donor Helen Stassen, which explained her interest in donating the libraries in memory of the officers. Helen lost her son to gun violence 6 years ago. This tragic loss made her family feel the need to “do something” that would help them remember and heal from the loss. They decided to build a Little Free Library in memory of their son. While keeping the memory of their son alive, the library has helped them connect and contribute to their community. After the July incident in Dallas where five police officers lost their lives, the Stassen family felt the need to do something to help the healing of Dallas community. They hope to do so by donating 5 little free libraries as memorials for the fallen officers. They wish that the Dallas community is able to benefit and heal by helping and contributing to the community through these libraries.

Joli Robinson from Dallas Police, community affairs department spoke about their hopes and the significance of the project as a memorial for the officers. The evening then continued into feedback activities asking the attendees regarding preferred locations for the LFLs in Dallas, hopes and expectations from the project, and stewards,designers and locations suggestions.


Few suggestions that emerged through the feedback activity during the event,

“wonderful way to honor the officers on an ongoing basis...another opportunity for communities to come together”

“I think our community will really appreciate having an accessible reminder to the events that transpired - a meaningful place where community can come together”

“Continues community engagement around a positive memorial that gives back to the community”

“it will be seen as a positive way for the communities affected to engage, heal and grow together, in the hope of preventing further violence”

Do share your hopes and expectations from the project.    


Between now and 10th September we will be finalizing locations, stewards and designers for the 5 Little Free Libraries. Using the total budget of $3000, volunteer designers, stewards and interested participants from the community will work together to design and build the 5 libraries. If you are interested to be a steward or a designer for one of the 5 little free libraries or would like to suggest locations to host these libraries, please write to us at amruta@bcworkshop.org or call us at 214.252.2900

Here is a brief background and images of the Little Free Library/ Libros Libres project so far.

Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres is a literacy and community design initiative in Dallas that uses free book exchanges to support community and promote a culture of reading. The program has brought together local artists, designers, and community leaders to design and build a range of public outdoor book exchanges in West Dallas, South Dallas/Fair Park, and south Oak Cliff. The design and function of the libraries are site-specific and developed through a collaboration between designers and community leaders. 20 LFL/Libros Libres have been completed. You can read more about the project at lfldallas.org


Images of all 20 Little Free Libraries designed under the Little Free Library/ Libros Libres program since 2014

AVAI Artist Proposals

See more posts on AVAI and our work in the RGV.  

Playing with Production: Walking tour    Photo by Elaine Morales

Playing with Production: Walking tour

Photo by Elaine Morales

[bc] is excited to share the project proposals for our three Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator Artists-in-Residence. Celeste De Luna, Rigoberto Gonzalez and Nancy Guevara have been hard at work in their studios and throughout the city of Brownsville; meeting local stakeholders, longtime residents, historians and academics. In June & July, they synthesized the knowledge they have collected to generate an exciting series of proposals for projects for the City of Brownsville.

Their projects will unfold from August through November. Learn about each artist’s projects below and join in the workshops and programming that they have designed over the upcoming months. Be sure to stay connected with us on Facebook for future updates and opportunities to participate in forthcoming events!


Celeste De Luna   (R) sharing her prints and collecting stories about Brownsville with an attendee at   Playing with Production,   Photo by Tom Hill

Celeste De Luna (R) sharing her prints and collecting stories about Brownsville with an attendee at Playing with Production, Photo by Tom Hill

Celeste De Luna’s project will center around historical and contemporary narratives of strength and resistance native to the Rio Grande Valley. Over the past months she has identified central figures from Brownsville history, including Americo Paredes and Juan Cortina. In partnership with members of the community, she will work to identify how local stakeholders connect with their stories and collaborate with them to generate visuals representing their own stories of protest.  

De Luna will conduct a series of workshops beginning in August that will include a steamroller printing workshop, a storytelling workshop and a kite making workshop in Lincoln Park. In November she will exhibit 5 large scale prints representative of the stories shared with her by local residents and the history of the region. Prints from the large woodcuts will be wheatpasted throughout the downtown and the final carved blocks will be exhibited at the conclusion of the residency.  

Rigoberto Gonzalez   (L) speaking with an attendee and collecting stories about Brownsville with an attendee at   Playing with Production,   Photo by Tom Hill

Rigoberto Gonzalez (L) speaking with an attendee and collecting stories about Brownsville with an attendee at Playing with Production, Photo by Tom Hill

Rigoberto Gonzalez will work over the upcoming months on a large scale, moveable mural based upon a series of interviews he will conduct with Brownsville residents. As a longtime resident of the Rio Grande Valley, he is particularly interested in the cultural traditions of the region and the stories that accompany them. At the recent AVAI Open Studio event, Playing with Production, Gonzalez invited attendees to sketch their ideas for the mural and to share stories of their experiences downtown.   

During his forthcoming workshops Gonzalez will hold personal narrative workshops to record oral histories and create portraits of the people whose stories he collects. The recordings will become sound installations to accompany Gonzalez’s murals in filling vacant spaces with the stories of Brownsville.

Nancy Guevara   (center) speaking with an    attendees at    Playing with Production,   Photo by Tom Hill

Nancy Guevara (center) speaking with an  attendees at  Playing with Production, Photo by Tom Hill

Nancy Guevara’s project, Intersections of Transformation on the Border will investigate the experiences that lead people to become activist leaders. Throughout the residency Guevara will work with local women and community leaders to create portraits using fabric from local ropa usada stores that reflect the leaders’ experiences of personal transformation, self-actualization and empowerment. By working closely with community leaders to create designs based on their experiences of struggle and complexity, Guevara hopes to engage aspiring artists and activists in using art as a tool for social justice.

Leading up to the presentation of these works to the public, Guevara will hold a series of workshops and discussions about catalyzing change and cultivation of leadership. Included in this series will be a manta workshop, in which participants will decide upon an issue that has deep personal importance to them and then make a banner representing a cause.  

Playing with Production: Walking tour, Photo by Jesse Miller 

Playing with Production: Walking tour, Photo by Jesse Miller 

AVAI will continue throughout the Fall and will culminate in mid-November with installations, performances and exhibitions throughout the month. Follow AVAI on Facebook for updates on the Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator, important information on our monthly events and more details about the artists’ upcoming workshops.  

Activating Vacancy Fall Calendar


8/27 Rebel Corridos: Corrido Writing Workshop with Celeste De Luna

8/27 El Círculo de Mujeres: Manta Workshop with Nancy Guevara



9/24 Make your own Chingona Outfit: Costume Making Workshop with Nancy Guevara

9/24 Kites Sin Fronteras: Kite Making Workshop with Celeste De Luna



10/7 Day in the Neighborhood: Brownsville’s first 24 Hour Film Festival begins

10/8  Painting Class Part 1 with Rigoberto Gonzalez

10/8 Work it Out: Open Lab Q and A for 24 Hour Film Festival

10/22Painting Class Part 1 with Rigoberto Gonzalez

10/22 Films from 24 Hour Festival Screened in Collaboration with the First Annual Brownsville International Film Festival

10/29 Steamrolling to the Future: Steamroller and Printmaking Workshop with Celeste De Luna

10/29 Platica Mujeres Líderes en Brownsville with Nancy Guevara



11/5Painting Class Part 1 with Rigoberto Gonzalez

11/9 Noche de Filosofía y First Brownsville Story Share: A Brownsville Symposium

11/12 Steamrolling into the Future: Steamroller and Printmaking Workshop with Celeste De Luna



12/3 Abriendo las Puertas: Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator Bridge Event with Artist Exhibitions, Charrettes, Panel Discussions, Performances and Live Music





Crossing the Street: Ivy City

See more posts about our work in Washington, DC

[bc] with LISC are excited to announce a call for collaborators for the Crossing the Street: Activating Ivy City project. This art and creative placemaking initiative in the historic Ivy City neighborhood of northeast DC will implement a temporary, creative action that promotes community building, reflects the neighborhood’s rich heritage, and declares residents’ vision for the future of Ivy City.

Crossing the Street: Activating Ivy City will be carried out over the next four months produced and curated by [bc] with LISC in partnership with the DC Office of Planning. [bc] and LISC believe collaboration of local and technical expertise is essential to quality placemaking.

Residents and artists, are encouraged to respond to the call for collaborators. If you have had a creative project in mind that will activate or inspire your neighbors or if you are a person who creates for a living and you want to do something creative and artistic in Ivy City then we want you to apply!

More information on Crossing the Street: Activating Ivy City can be found here and interested parties should apply via an online application found here. A neighborhood tour and Q&A session will be held on July 21st for applicants to familiarize themselves with Ivy City and the application process. We encourage you to attend this session. Applications are due by midnight on Thursday, July 28th. Finalists will be notified by Monday, August 1, 2016.

For more information on Ivy City, see these resources.

This project is supported by a Kresge Foundation grant awarded to the DC Office of Planning. To find out more about DCOP’s Crossing the Street initiative, visit: http://planning.dc.gov/page/creative-placemaking.

Belden Trial Connect Ribbon Cutting Event!

Last month the City of Brownsville inaugurated the Belden Connect Project with a celebration ride for the community. The [bc] and Ambiotec Group design is an extension of the mile long Belden Trail that opened to the public in 2013 connecting West Brownsville to Downtown Brownsville and the Mitte Cultural District.

More events are scheduled! Check out the websites below for more information:

Kickoff! Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator

Learn more about Activating Vacancy.

Kickoff AVAI

[bc] is excited to announce a kickoff for the Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator (AVAI), a new art and public interest design initiative in Market Square, the center of Historic Downtown Brownsville. This program will create a viable means for artists to thrive in a region where attaining basic needs can be a struggle. The incubator will provide a catalytic hub for Downtown Brownsville and the arts, creating a platform for artistic production and collaboration between artists and the community. AVAI begins Spring 2016 and is produced and curated by [bc] in partnership with the City of Brownsville.

Come hear about the new Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator and other exciting new initiatives happening in Downtown Brownsville. Share your downtown stories and help us envision the future of arts and culture in Downtown! We'll start off with a social hour, including some creative activities and refreshments, followed by a panel discussion with local artistic and cultural leaders. 

where: 609 E 11th Street

when: friday, april 8th, 5pm social hour , 6pm panel discussion. 




Call for Artists! Announcing the Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator

[bc] is excited to announce the launch of the call for artists for the Activating Vacancy Arts Incubator (AVAI), a new art and public interest design initiative in Market Square, the center of Historic Downtown Brownsville. This program will create a viable means for artists to thrive in a region were attaining basic needs can be a struggle. The incubator will provide a catalytic hub for Downtown Brownsville and the arts, creating a platform for artistic production and collaboration between artists and the community. AVAI begins Spring 2016 and is produced and curated by [bc] in partnership with the City of Brownsville.

Read More

The Second Annual Ark Festival: The History, Present & Future of Tenth Street

Learn more about Activating Vacancy.

Last year, as part of our Activating Vacancy initiative, artist Christopher Blay and [bc] collaborated with the Tenth Street Historic District community to produce the Ark on Noah Street. The Ark is a sculpture, a gallery, a museum and a symbol. When Christopher Blay created the concept of the Ark, a fundamental facet of the project was that it be reproduced yearly to keep art and culture active in the Tenth Street Historic District and to create an opportunity to celebrate, share and reflect on the neighborhood's history and the changes of the year.  

On May 2, 2015, the Ark was again commemorated during the Second Annual Ark Festival, a gathering of the Dallas arts community and the Tenth Street Historic District that was even bigger and better than before! The festival featured a processional of residents with original artwork depicting the neighborhood's history and its growth since the Ark was last seen, a performance of the original Story Corners play "A Freeman Cries for the Future," a visit from the Dallas Zoo, and the return of the Neighborhood Stories: Tenth Street exhibit. There was also a small marketplace for neighbors and arts activities led by Oil and Cotton

The Tenth Street Historic District is one of Dallas’ oldest neighborhoods and one of its few remaining freedmen’s towns, communities built by freed slaves following the Civil War. Despite being designated a landmark district by the City of Dallas in 1993 and being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, the neighborhood has lost population and housing stock at a rapid pace. It has also experienced a growth in crime and a deteriorating public image. In response to these challenges, [bc] initiated Activating Vacancy to encourage residents to reshape the vacancy in their neighborhood from blight to opportunity through a series of public art activities, beginning with the Ark on Noah Street.

Activating Vacancy existed at a nexus of creative placemaking, public art and community organizing. Inspired by similar initiatives such as the Heidelberg Project in Detroit and Project Row Houses in Houston, Activating Vacancy sought to set in motion the revitalization of an important historic community, provide commentary regarding an array of urban issues such as vacancy and historic preservation and encourage a democratization of exceptional art in Dallas in terms of audiences, geographies and producers. The Ark on Noah Street was an excellent first step towards achieving these goals. The Ark as a gallery featured artwork produced by neighborhood residents. The Ark as a sculpture artfully repurposed discarded materials from Tenth Street's historic homes into a monument and testament to its history. The Ark as a festival brought neighbors, artists, critics and art consumers together to meet each other, rediscover an often forgotten part of Dallas and imagine a city where any neighborhood can be recognized as a source of valuable cultural producers.

At the Second Annual Ark Festival, it was made clear that the Tenth Street Historic District still faces tremendous challenges. Homes have been repaired, while others have been demolished. Crime is tempered, but it persists. There is also evidence of renewed action in the neighborhood: dozens of attendees wore Operation Tenth Street t-shirts, representing a new, forward-thinking neighborhood organization that has secured grant funding for neighborhood improvement projects. The Greater El Bethel Missionary Baptist Church has been repaired and again opens its doors to song and prayer on Sunday morning. And, the Ark has been rebuilt, fuller and more refined than its previous iteration. 

In addition to the above challenges, there are a bevy of questions that have yet to be answered about the neighborhood that will help illuminate how sustainable its recent burst of energy is. Will Tenth Street be able to continue its revitalization with reduced non-profit activity? What will it take for Tenth Street to develop market interest in rebuilding its historic ground? Have recent efforts sufficiently demonstrated the neighborhood's value to the city at large to insist on its survival, whether through ongoing preservation efforts or through continued nurturing of its unique identity and role as cultural producer? Perhaps some of these questions will be answered and shared at the Third Ark Festival.

Recruiting Dallas Designers

On March 13, a group of DFW-area designers, urban planners & architects gathered at our office to learn about [bc]'s various designer partnership opportunities. At the social, [bc] shared with attendees the upcoming projects that need design partners to get involved. Below is an overview of the short presentation given during the social as well as the accompanying slides.

Read More

Call for Design Partners

[bc] has found that the partnerships between designers/architects and community-based organizations are mutually beneficial, building the knowledge and experience of both to better serve others. With that in mind, [bc] is inviting local design professionals to become Design Partners to provide their services to meet the needs of local nonprofit and community organizations. There are a variety of roles for designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, graphic designers, and planners of all levels of experience. 

Read More

Rafting the Resaca

Learn more about our work in the RGV!

As one of the many events along the Cyclobia route, the Resaca Raft and Regatta was an event set up to re-engage Brownsville residents with one of their most under-utilized natural resources, the resaca.  Resacas are abandoned channels of the Rio Grande River that were left behind as centuries of silt build-up and flooding forced the river to jump its banks and find a new path.  This pattern of natural erosion and sediment build-up has left Brownsville with a beautiful but neglected necklace of waterways that flow throughout the city.  

For this event, [bc] completed a "resaca raft," a donut shaped floating platform with a submerged internal platform built from recycled lumber and plastic drums.  The lowered platform and surrounding bench condition encouraged people to do one simple thing:  get  their feet wet!  For nearly every  resident that came to experience the raft, it was their first time floating, boating, or touching a resaca.  Accompanying the raft was a series of educational signs, explaining the resaca's natural ecology, history, and what is next for the future of our resacas.  Kids got involved by building their own plastic boats out of recycled materials.  

Outside of the direct physical experience, [bc] wanted to give resaca raft users the opportunity to ask the question, "Why wait years for the multi-million dollar park construction that is planned along the resaca? Why not do something fun now?" It doesn't have to be expensive, and it doesn't have to take years to bring our underutilized urban spaces to life.

Hot Dog Cookout

Capstone Classic Construction, the contractor for The Cottages at Hickory Crossing, grilled hot dogs and handed out cold water and snacks on Thursday for homeless citizens surrounding the Cottages site. An important element of the Cottages is the outreach to the homeless community in the design and building of this innovative housing first model. 

Show Hill Biz Park

Read all the Activating Vacancy posts, and learn more about POP Dallas.

The Tenth Street Historic District was once a self-sufficient place, with a thriving micro-economy that supplied the community with jobs and goods. An intersection between art and economic development, the Show Hill Biz Park activated Show Hill, a streetcar stop and important retail site at 1401 E 8th Street, now vacant, with a pop-up market. The market featured vendors selling locally crafted goods. Vendors had previously completed a certification program designed to develop a small business model that will enable them to successfully bring their goods to market. In addition, the Show Hill Biz Park featured musical and sculptural tributes to the neighborhood’s cultural history. Show Hill Biz Park reinvigorated the latent economic potential of the neighborhood, exploring how local talent can demonstrate the potential for different kinds of commercial and cultural activity in the Tenth Street Historic District.

Check out Photos from the event!

Many of the local vendors had short videos created as part of the program as well. Watch them below!

Ghost Bridges

Read all the Activating Vacancy posts, and learn more about POP Dallas.

The fourth project of Activating Vacancy, entitled Ghost Bridges, took place on June 20th and 21st and was composed of three parts. The event took place on the block bounded by I-35, Tenth Street, Clarendon Drive and Betterton Circle in the center of the neighborhood. A branch of Cedar Creek, now dry, cuts through it, flanked by trees and sloping topography. Paths worn into the ground indicate the desire for a way to traverse this block where currently no roads or trails exist. The lost creek, the footbridges that once crossed it, and a platted street that has only ever existed on paper form the inspiration for Ghost Bridges.

Two site specific installations, one on public land and one private land, remember historic land use and structures, including the now demolished Sunshine Elizabeth Chapel. The works created spaces for the community to gather and reflect on how vacant property is used in the neighborhood and what its future may hold. The third portion of the event was a pop-up gallery around the theme of ORIGINS: Wild Urban Spaces which invited artist from the neighborhood and around the city to display work. A Friday evening tour and gallery opening gave residents and visitors the opportunity to view art and explore the neighborhood in a new way. Tours were also given throughout the day on Saturday. Despite the heat and mosquitos a great time was had by all.

Check out photos from the event!

Library Build Day

Read other Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres posts.

On May 17th, community members, library hosts and stewards, volunteer designers, and project partners gathered at the Lakewest YMCA in West Dallas and the Full City Rooster in the Cedars to build and install their Little Free Libraries. After many weeks of work and much anticipation everyone was excited to finally get to building and reading! It was a beautiful day and much fun was had by all. See for yourself:

Dear House

Read all the Activating Vacancy posts, and learn more about POP Dallas.

Dear House, the third public art project in bcWORKSHOP’s Activating Vacancy initiative in the Tenth Street Historic District, was held on Saturday, May 17, from 7:00-9:00pm at 1319 E Eighth Street.

Dear House explored vacancy as a state, rather than an end, for structures. Through a myriad of artistic actions, Dear House transformed how we, as community residents, understand and engage with vacant structures. Artistic representations were inspired by a series of public writing workshops hosted at local neighborhood institutions including American Care Academy daycare, Eloise Lundy Recreation Center, and Townview Magnet Center. Excerpts from these writings were artistically projected onto the walls of the home via light, video, and other installations, as well as performed as original oral pieces by neighborhood residents during the exhibition opening. Letters and mail art received from both near and far were also featured throughout the home, allowing visitors to open envelopes containing messages of hope and renewal for the vacant structure. Together, these activations challenged the status quo of how vacant structures are cared for, encouraged dialogue and expression with a wide audience about abandoned and vacant spaces, and empowered the community to take ownership of beautifying the house, all while making the surrounding area a safer and more vibrant place to live.

Check out photos from the event!