Arts tycoon on hunt for photographers to document life of Dallas Arts District

Michael Granberry, Dallas Morning News

Craig Hall has made no secret of his passion for the arts. He was the force behind the massive Hall Arts complex in the Dallas Arts District. He created Hall Park, the 162-acre complex in Frisco, near the Dallas Cowboys’ new headquarters, The Star.

The Frisco location is adorned with outdoor sculpture, and art permeates the Hall Arts complex. But now, it’s going a step further.

Hall has spearheaded a new endeavor titled “Through the Lens: Dallas Arts District.” It’s a call to action for “professional photographers, emerging photographers, mid-career photographers and students” to start snapping their shutters. The goal is to create a body of work that captures “a glimpse of the life and vibrancy that defines the Dallas Arts District,” whose 20 square blocks will become the photographers’ tableau.

The selected winning photographs — Hall hopes that number will be in the hundreds — will be featured in a coffee table book and will be considered for display in the Hall Arts Hotel, set to open in 2019. Photographs are being accepted and will continue to be through April 30, 2018.

A who’s who of civic and artistic leaders will select the winning entries. The judges include Mayor Mike Rawlings; Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center; Agustín Arteaga, director of the Dallas Museum of Art; noted art collector Howard Rachofsky; and Sam Holland, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.

“Take the idea, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ How about a whole bunch of pictures?” Hall says. “That could be a great way to celebrate a real treasure of Dallas.”

Missy Finger, co-owner of the photographic PDNB Gallery, applauds what she calls the “democratic” nature of the program, which opens the door to professionals, emerging photographers and students. She especially loves the fact that Hall is not charging an entry fee. That, she says, is rare.

Given the artistic chops of the high-profile jury, “it would be a very high honor to be selected,” Finger says. “It gives photographers a chance to interpret their city, their arts district. You know, everybody has a camera.”

Hall hopes to raise money through the sale of the book, “which we are going to pay for ourselves, and then 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Dallas Arts District Foundation for smaller organizations. The intent is to help the more difficult-to-fund organizations that really need the help.”

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