Dallas Observer Masterminds 2014: Meet the Winners of Our Annual Art Awards

Categories: MasterMinds

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There's a peculiar magic that surrounds creation. A collision of matter, sparked by energy, goes on to be viewed as destiny. In recent years our city has experienced a push of new life, a rupturing of culture. An Arts District was built. A museum became communal space. Public art was created to engage and interact with those who discover it. And somewhere in there we've begun reaching toward a better appreciation and understanding of who we are. The possibilities for what comes next feel electrifying. Infinite.

It's an exciting time to be in Dallas and to examine its culture, stew over its potential growth and reflect on those responsible for its current momentum.

Here at the Dallas Observer, we do that annually through our Masterminds awards, surveying the cultural landscape -- film, visual art, stage, activism -- to identify and honor those fostering our city's artful eruption. The parameters are intentionally loose. We might select an artist whose contributions over several decades proved pivotal for our city's evolution. We might choose a new name whose bold decisions changed how we communicate with and relate to the world. We might pick someone who makes us simultaneously laugh, think and wonder. But once we find them, we declare them Masterminds. Then, we throw money at them.

We selected six winners this year, and I'll hand a check for $1,000 to them Saturday at Artopia, our annual art-fashion-dance party. You should join us for that at Three Three Three First Ave., a restored 1926 industrial building with stunning panoramic views of our city. We'll have runway shows, dance groups, performance artists, live music, a magician, visual artists, a ceremony for these Masterminds and probably way too much tequila.

Selecting these winners from the field of talent wasn't easy. I leaned heavily on a collection of thoughtful minds, composed of members of the art community and last year's Masterminds. Weighing in from 2013's batch was photographer (and storytelling treasurer) Dylan Hollingsworth; flamenco dancer extraordinaire Delilah Muse; video artist Carolyn Sortor; performance artist and community organizer Erica Felicella; the twistedly wonderful chimeral minds of Brian K. Jones and Brian K. Scott; and the brilliant director and set designer Jeffrey Schmidt. From the city at large I lured in art critic Betsy Lewis, Ro2's co-owner Jordan Roth and Danette Dufilho, the director of Conduit Gallery's experimental project space.

Once all were inside the Observer conference area, I locked the door. When we finally emerged, weak and shaky, the space resembled a tattered war room.

Very few beers remained intact.

Read all about this year's recipients in the following pages. They can do whatever they like with the money, whether it's developing a new branch or work, framing pictures for their next big show or just finally paying off that bar tab at the Double Wide. We just hope the $1,000 helps them do what they do best: create. --Jamie Laughlin, culture editor

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Dallas Observer Artopia 2013: Thanks for Coming, Being Weird

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Jay Barker
Don't worry, it was just a fashion statement.
Last week we introduced our 2013 Masterminds, local artists to whom we awarded $1,000 each for their work making Dallas a stranger, more interesting place to live. And on Saturday night, we honored them at our annual Artopia culture jam, featuring art, fashion, food, music, and some seriously shiny low-riders, part of the Dallas Contemporary's new exhibition.

See also:
- Dallas Observer Masterminds 2013: Meet the Winners of Our Annual Art Awards
- The People of Dallas Observer Artopia 2013, Part One
- The People of Dallas Observer Artopia 2013, Part Two

It was as eclectic as a crowd as you'll find in this town, and everyone was quite lovely. Thanks to everyone who came. To everyone who didn't: You'll get'em next year. In the meantime, see what you missed in our slideshow, "The People of Dallas Observer Artopia 2013."


Dallas Observer Masterminds 2013: Meet the Winners of Our Annual Art Awards

Categories: MasterMinds

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Late last year, as most of the city's creators went into holiday hibernation, the Observer's culture editor, Jamie Laughlin, assembled a team of fellow cultural obsessives and went to work, looking for this year's Masterminds.

See also: The Dallas Observer 2011 MasterMinds Awards

It's the third straight year we've done this -- identified a group of cutting-edge art producers, thanked them for making Dallas a weirder and more wonderful place, and lavished them with our love and some no-strings-attached cash. Last year, that meant $2,000 gifts to three visionaries: photographer Frank Lopez, dancer Katie Toohil and the folks behind La Reunion, a budding artists colony.

This year: Who knew? Jamie and the folks listed below tiptoed toward the ocean of nominations. Then they dove right in.

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The Artopia Party at the Dallas Contemporary in Marvelous Video

Speaking of montages...

The fine editors and shooters of YouPlusDallas (shot by Mark Blitch and Matthew Rojas) have posted their super-high-def recap of our Artopia party at the Dallas Contemporary. Very cool, guys. Very cool. I highly recommend jumping over to their site for the humongo-high-res version...alas, our strained servers (damn you, delicious winter cocktails!) are bursting from the weight of four million photos.

The People of Artopia and More From a Nutcrackingly Good Night

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Danny Fulgencio
Check out more in the slide show: The People of Artopia
First let me say: it was a pleasure cracking nuts with you at the Dallas Contemporary.

Lots and lots going on last night to talk about--from the installation pieces (curated by Brian Gibb of the Public Trust) to the fashion show--but the night certainly kept-on with the bright rock-pop of the Burning Hotels. From there, we crowned our MasterMinds winners--an absolutely moving speech from dancer Katie Toohil, by the way-- watched Mr. Bonetangles perform skeleton dance numbers, and spun to the DJs of Lights All Night.

Our roaming photographers Danny Fulgencio and Roderick Pullum have brought back a whole heck-load of great photos that we're still combing through, and we'll have a special treat from the DJ Spin Off for you tomorrow on DC9 at Night, but in the meantime head to our slide show section for more coverage from the night. Much more to come!


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Picture Show: The Winners of the 2011 MasterMinds Awards

Categories: MasterMinds

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All photos by Sara Kerens
The MasterMinds winners: Frank Lopez, La Reunion (Sarah Jane Semrad), and Katie Toohil
It's on the stands and on-the-webs now: the finalists of our second annual art awards (the MasterMinds).

That's right, we've named 'em, and it's all a big ol' countdown to our fancy pants Artopia party on Saturday at the Dallas Contemporary. If you're not going to that, shame on you. Shame. Anyway, in Brentney Hamilton's cover story on the MasterMinds--they are Frank Lopez, La Reunion, and Katie Toohil--she breaks down why these candidates are moving and shaking things up in the art scene in Dallas. Read the whole sucker right here.

Meanwhile, check out the excellent photo trappings of one Sara Kerens--whose masterful camera captured the MasterMinds in their native habitats.

View them in the wild below!

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The MasterMinds Finalists: Part Three

Categories: MasterMinds

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Winnowing down Dallas' growing, dynamic community of artists to three MasterMinds involved some tough choices. The process was like lining up at a vast buffet prepared by an outstanding chef: too many wonderful selections and too little room on our plates. On the way to naming the winners, our judges narrowed down the original list of 45 entrants to 10 tasty finalists.

Each day until the three MasterMinds winners are announced via our next issue Thursday, we're featuring those finalists (in no particular order) right here on the Mixmaster. Check out Monday's and yesterday's if you missed them, and you'll find today's after the jump.


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The MasterMinds Finalists: Part Two

Categories: MasterMinds

Thumbnail image for masterminds600x300.jpg
Winnowing down Dallas' growing, dynamic community of artists to three MasterMinds involved some tough choices. The process was like lining up at a vast buffet prepared by an outstanding chef: too many wonderful selections and too little room on our plates. On the way to naming the winners, our judges narrowed down the original list of 45 entrants to 10 tasty finalists.

Each day until the three MasterMinds winners are announced via our next issue Thursday, we're featuring those finalists (in no particular order) right here on the Mixmaster. Check out yesterday's if you missed them, and you'll find today's after the jump.

More »

The MasterMinds Finalists: Part One

Categories: MasterMinds

Thumbnail image for masterminds600x300.jpg
Winnowing down Dallas' growing, dynamic community of artists to three MasterMinds involved some tough choices. The process was like lining up at a vast buffet prepared by an outstanding chef: too many wonderful selections and too little room on our plates. On the way to naming the winners, our judges narrowed down the original list of 45 entrants to 10 tasty finalists.

Each day until the three MasterMinds winners are announced via our next issue Thursday, we're featuring those finalists (in no particular order) right here on the Mixmaster. Today, we're kicking off with four after the jump.

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Bring Out the MasterMinds, Y'all

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Hey, you. Yes, you. We know you know a MasterMind. Have you nominated them yet?

We need you to tell us about innovative, cultural landscape-paving Dallas-based artists -- those in dance, theater, performance art, visual arts and more. Why? Well, we want to recognize them (in print and at our upcoming Artopia event) ... and give them cash dollars to help further what they do.

So here's what we're asking. Share this, repost it, tweet the pants off of it. Nominate your friends, colleagues, yourself. (Just click here.) And help inspire all those people (and others) to do the same.

If there's a MasterMind-worthy artist inspiring you, tell us -- and shout it loud.

Follow the Mixmaster on Twitter and Facebook.

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