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Engaging art: New DAMC office features work by three local artists

From its beginnings, Downtown Arlington Management Corporation has sought to attract and nurture creative talent of all kinds. In the name of walking the walk, DAMC recently invited three area artists to install original works inside their new office space, creating a mini-gallery that amplifies this artful aspect of the Downtown Arlington story.

Downtown Arlington Mural by Tex Moton

As you walk into the new DAMC office, you’ll immediately see this custom installation: a bright and bold interpretation of the Downtown Arlington logo by our favorite muralist and headwear entrepreneur, Tex Moton.

Tex got his start as a talented graffiti artist, but he really came into his own when he founded the YUMS (You Understand My Style) retail brand in 2007. In 2015, he moved his wildly successful business to Downtown Arlington. Today his second Downtown studio, ALREADY Design Co., channels even more of his creative energy, while YUMS continues to launch new collections and exclusive lines for the Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks and the WWE, to name a few.

“From the moment Tex came to Downtown Arlington, we began brainstorming ways we might collaborate,” said Tony Rutigliano, president and CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation. “His strong street-style aesthetic speaks to the creative energy building in our district.”

“When Tony started setting up the new DAMC office, it was a perfect time for me to offer up some added flair,” Tex said. “Tony gave me a tour of the space and described the other pieces of art that would be showcased too, and my piece starting to take form in my mind right there on the spot!”

“Tex’s mural is so fun and vibrant!” said Tony. “It expresses all the energy and momentum going on in Downtown Arlington.”

Traction by Art Fairchild

Weighing in at 1300 pounds, Traction is made from over 300 individual pieces of steel. Its impressive, cochlear design builds on itself in a way that’s both dynamic and staunch. The artist, Art Fairchild, credits the magic of geometric arrays for inspiring his design infrastructure.

“I like how these forms look entirely different from various viewing angles,” said Art. “I also find it interesting how creating a singular duplicated shape arrayed at equal angles allows the viewer to see multiple arrays within the form.”

While Art studied art in college, it was his business that launched his artistic endeavors. Through his tradeshow exhibit company, Art mastered the creative process from start to finish: from brainstorming to designing to engineering to installing. “We produced some really crazy, fun and innovative ideas,” said Art of his 30-year career, “and this laid a perfect foundation for my eventually pursuing a professional artist career a little over seven years ago.”

Art and Tony share a common interest in bringing public art to the community. Through that interest, they partnered with County Commissioner Andy Nguyen and other Tarrant County officials last year to install another of Art’s pieces, Sator Cube, in front of the Sub Courthouse in Downtown Arlington. Traction is on loan from Art to DAMC in appreciation of Tony’s efforts to bring more public art to the city.

Authentically Arlington and Around the Table by Amy Schultz

“When Tony approached me about creating two photography installations for the new DAMC office,” said Amy Schultz, owner of unplain jane studio, “I immediately envisioned a two-part story. The first part would reflect the incredible range of talent in Downtown. The second part had to be about food, because frankly, great restaurateurs play a big role in bringing a community together.”

Around the Table is comprised of five original images by Amy, sublimated into recycled aluminum sheets so that the images appear to be “washed” in metal. The industrial look complements the DAMC office, and the placement of the piece in the kitchen area works perfectly with the subject matter.

“With so many restaurants, craft breweries, cafes, pubs and tasting rooms flocking to Downtown, it was nearly impossible to select just a few images for the limited amount of space. So I focused instead on the incredible hospitality you experience when you dine out in Downtown.”

The second piece, Authentically Arlington, borrows its name from Downtown Arlington’s current tagline. A 12-part, black and white photographic collage, each image captures a particular moment in time while also representing a broader facet of Downtown. A scene from Guys and Dolls at Theatre Arlington, for instance, evokes all of the great stage performances produced by Theatre Arlington, Arlington Music Hall and UT Arlington. An overhead shot of The Gathering, DAMC’s urban dinner series, reminds us that Downtown is a place where people continually make and keep meaningful connections. Construction workers tossing “two thumbs up” illustrate the ongoing public, private and public-private reinvestment in the district.

While many of the photographs in Authentically Arlington were taken by Amy, some were contributed by Downtown partners. “Curating the collage was an important part of the process,” Amy said, “to ensure the strength of the overall piece by representing multiple points of view. Just like Downtown: it’s eclectic, evolving and most important, real.”

The importance of public art

As a newly-designated Texas Cultural District, Downtown Arlington serves as the City’s hub for creative and cultural activity. In addition to the many fine and performing arts partners and UT Arlington, DAMC’s proactive commitment to public art will further the district’s identity.

But why is it important?

“Tony and I recognize the importance of public art and the effects these communal collections have on Arlington’s sense of place and overall aesthetics,” said Art. “These social offerings create openness and welcome-ness within Arlington’s parks, green spaces, and urban settings.”

“People anchor themselves to a place through the things that set it apart,” Amy said, “and public art sets a place apart in the best possible way. Going to Chicago? Take a selfie with The Bean. Visiting New York?  Strike a pose by LOVE on 6th Avenue. Spending time in Downtown Arlington? Climb on DREAM and say cheese.”

“I truly believe public art creates culture and connects with people on a deep emotional level,” said Tex. “It makes you fall in love with these areas where the art is so prominent. It's just one of those things most people can't even put into words but just feel it!”

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About Downtown Arlington

An official State of Texas Cultural District, Downtown Arlington, Texas blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Downtown Arlington brings together a plethora of cultures and inspirations with a character all its own.