A community art project that connected the residents of Dallas’ most diverse neighborhood, Vickery Meadow, with one another and the city at large.
The work of Houston-based artist Rick Lowe tempted viewers to question where process ends and product begins, what is “art” and what is community activism. With roots in the philosophy of Joseph Beuys, most notably the idea of “social sculpture,” Lowe professed that a large part of his work included “introducing poetic moments into mundane activities.” Like Beuys, who proposed an enlarged definition of art that could include every conscious act, Lowe worked toward a social system in which every person is a creator.
Rick Lowe’s Nasher XChange project took place in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood, a three-square-mile area that makes up one of the most culturally diverse sections of Dallas. Dubbed Dallas’ own “United Nations,” Vickery Meadow is home to 30,000 residents speaking as many as 27 languages from countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The project, entitled Trans.lation, facilitated a new vision of what public space and interaction can look like in Vickery Meadow.
Lowe considered the process by which he connects with and learns about a community to be an integral part of his art. He held numerous community meetings with residents and property owners, who shared an overwhelming desire to feel more connected to one another and to the city outside of Vickery Meadow. Working with an eclectic group of artists, community organizers, designers, and residents to highlight and translate the cultural diversity of Vickery Meadow into an asset, Lowe and the Trans.lation team identified residents’ creative strengths and connected them with local artists for collaboration and mentorship to ultimately engender opportunity and entrepreneurship.
Trans.lation culminated in a series of Pop-up Markets open to the public on October 19, November 23, December 21, January 18, and February 22 which enabled the Vickery Meadow community to share their artistic talents and cultural traditions with one another and the greater Dallas community.