When you stroll down the 200-300 blocks of West Main Street in Downtown Arlington, you experience a slice of days and decades gone by. Thanks to long-time cultural institutions like Theatre Arlington and the Arlington Museum of Art, storefronts along this historic stretch of Main Street have evolved from retail to creative spaces.
Last week, the matriarch of them all – Miss Persis Studio of Performing Arts/Dance – surprised and delighted neighbors by installing a mural on the building’s exterior that expresses all the joy, energy and creativity of dance that takes place inside.
For over seventy years, Miss Persis Studio has inspired generations with dance and theatrical instruction and performance opportunities for all ages. Opened by professional actress and dancer Persis Forster, the studio has been under the direction of her daughter Persis Ann, a professional dancer and singer, for decades.
“We are so excited and proud of this mural,” said Persis Ann. “It was a joy to work with Downtown Arlington and Paul Fulks to bring this dream into reality.”
Paul Fulks, president of 3Di Sign + Design, said his team had fun working on the project. “Integrating those colorful ribbons into the design was challenging, but the result is incredible,” Paul said. “We love these new materials that allow us to create and install large-scale images like photographs on all kinds of indoor and outdoor surfaces. They’re super durable and the colors are great.”
Downtown Arlington sponsored the creation and installation of the mural as a part of its BID Improvement Grant program.
“As the City’s cultural district, we always look for ways to inspire and celebrate creativity,” said Maggie Campbell, president and CEO of Downtown Arlington. “Murals can make that kind of strong visual statement in a way that’s completely accessible to everyone.”
Stay tuned for even more colorful changes to the exterior of Miss Persis Studio.
American Dream Stories
A graduate of the University of Texas with a BFA in Radio/Television, Persis Forster has a varied background in dance and theatre which includes performing, directing, choreography and teaching in all levels of dance and musical theatre. Persis has appeared in leading principal roles at Casa Manana, Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City, Carousel Dinner Theatre in Ohio, Garland Summer Musicals, Irving Lyric Theatre, Gown Town Theatre and Theatre Arlington. She was named a Texas Tap Legend by the Dance Council of North Texas.
Persis Ann Forster
Persis Ann Forster is a graduate of UT Arlington with a BA in Radio/Television and has been teaching and choreographing for over forty years at Miss Persis Studio. Persis Ann has performed principal roles at Casa Manana in Ft. Worth, Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City, North Shore Music Theatre near Boston, and Theatre Arlington. She also served as director/choreographer of the Crazy Horse Saloon Show at Six Flags Over Texas for four years and has led workshops throughout the country.
In 2015, the City of Arlington chatted with Persis about her exceptional career and life in Arlington: