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CHANGE IS IN THE AIR
by Todd Camplin

A few shake-ups are occurring in the Dallas art scene for 2015. McKinney Avenue Contemporary is
moving to1601 South Ervay Street. Holly Johnson Gallery and Cris Worley Fine Arts have moved to
1845 Levee Street, right next to each other.
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When I read that the McKinney Avenue Contemporary was beginning their move to the Cedars
Neighborhood in South Dallas in 2015, it didn’t come as a complete surprise. A fringe theater like
Kitchen Dog is just not Midtown Dallas. The MAC’s current neighborhood has seen galleries flock
south to more inexpensive spaces below I30, west of I35, and east of 75. These three key areas
have allowed commercial galleries to thrive and institutions play an important supportive role.
The MAC in its current location can no longer act as a partner to the art scene, because that
scene has dried up. West of I35, the Dallas Contemporary and the Goss-Michael Foundation
act as key support institutions for that scene. East of 75 in Deep Ellum/Fair Park area, Central
Trak and 500x help to support their area. However, just south of I30, no strong institution is there
to fill that gap. So, when the MAC fully moves in, they should act as that corner stone. Right
now the area has Re Gallery and the Cedars Open Studios Tour in November, but I foresee
more galleries and artists being attracted to the area after the new center is completed.

Holly Johnson Gallery was a key player in the reason why Dragon Street was such a successful
art scene, but the gallery was victim of that same success. The street has seen bars move in
and residential buildings have been rising around the gallery spaces. The area has started
to become a popular scene. This enviably pushes rent up and landlords are unwilling to
budge on prices. Galleries have a thin profit margin, so many times it is cheaper to move.
Not long ago, Cohn Drennan Contemporary made the move off of Dragon Street to a
nice little space near Fair Park. The shows in the new space have been a lot more focused
and I dare say better than those in his warehouse size space on Dragon Street. The move
for Holly Johnson Gallery should generate curiosity about the new space. The gallery is
opening January 17th strong with works by artist Kim Cadmus Owens, and continuing the
painting show of Gael Stack. Plus, it was smart to move at the same time with another gallery.

Cris Worley Fine Arts needed a larger space. Especially for her back stock. I find it quite
enjoyable to browse through the back rooms of galleries, with their permission of course,
but Cris Worley Fine Arts had very limited storage to say the least. Plus, her location was
a bit hidden, so with this two gallery combo,  Levee Street will become a destination for
gallery enthusiasts. Cris Worley Fine Arts will be opening a groups show on January 17th.
The opening show titled: Studio Visit - 1.2 will feature gallery artists and guest artists. I look
forward to seeing Timothy Harding’s work.  

Really the move from Dragon to Levee isn’t significantly far. In fact, Holly Johnson Gallery
and Cris Worley Fine Arts haven’t moved out of the west of I35 scene, but as Dragon starts
to look more like MidTown, the galleries leave and the institutions will fill in. MidTown doesn’t
remember why it was cool and Dragon will surely follow in those very same footsteps.
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