Tour Dallas' Public Art With this Cool, Cheap App

Henry Moore's "The Dallas Piece," by Flickr user Hanneorla Hanneorla
Today the Nasher reveals the first of ten pieces of public art being commissioned for Nasher Xchange, the sculpture center's city-wide arts initiative. The announcement celebration at the Trinity River Audubon Center (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) comes with some family-friendly perks like free admission, nature hikes, homing pigeons and face time with an owl. Artist Ruben Ochoa will be there, available to chat about what he's planning for his site-specific installation.

The ten projects won't be unveiled until October, so why not use the summer to learn about Dallas' already existing public art collection? An app by CultureNOW, Museums Without Walls, won the award for Best Culture app in New York in 2011. It's since expanded its mission of turning public art education into a tech-rich scavenger hunt by adding dozens of major cities' collections to its mapping technology, Dallas included.

See also:
- The Nasher Will Spend Several Million Dollars on a Dallas-Wide Public Art Installation
- The Nasher's Plan to Announce its Public Art Locations Includes a Bunch of Homing Pigeons

While you could use the super clunky, but free, map provided by Business Council for the Art's Public ArtWalk Dallas, it's limited to information on 30 works, all located downtown and is frustrating to access on your phone.

CultureNOW's app costs less than a buck, is made for mobility and is constantly updated -- so Deep Ellum's recently constructed Brad Oldham sculptures and the new Love Field additions are included, along with more established city staples, like Marta Pan's floating red polyester resin spheres.

Give it location access and Museums Without Walls generates a detailed list of public artwork, starting with whatever's closest to you so you can start hunting immediately. Or just plug in an address, then go explore around a specific destination area, like the Audubon. More famous pieces have audio content, giving you podcast history behind the work, its author and how Dallas acquired it. The rest show nice photos, give artists credits, years acquired and ownership information. This cheap investment provides instant joy, setting you on a quest to conquer 150 pieces of explorable art.

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My Voice Nation Help

This app keeps crashing; I should have listened to the reviewers, who warned me, but I thought, "Surely, the Observer wouldn't recommend an app that doesn't work." :(


Too bad most public art in Dallas is uninspired - the Observer has written about it many times. XChange should change some of that, but until then, I think I'll be fine without seeing crap animal statues, and PC family sculptures.

The only public art I recommend: Traveling Man in Deep Ellum, The Cedars Bowler Hat in the Cedars, Mobias Bench in West Dallas, the T-Rex in Expo Park, and some of the murals in Deep Ellum, Expo Park, Oak Cliff, and West Dallas.

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