Dallas may be better known for music and football, but its art scene is nothing to slouch at. Back in 2013, the city launched Dallas Arts Day, which quickly turned into Dallas Arts Week. Four years later, Dallas “arts mayor” at the time, Mike Rawlings, turned a week of art into a full month of celebration every April with the inauguration of Dallas Arts Month.
The event is concentrated in the Dallas Arts District, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in February 2023. Located in the northeast corner of downtown Dallas, the area is “the largest cultural district in the nation with many arts venues, a deck park with a community stage, Sammons Park with a community stage, along with other site-specific locations,” according to Lily Weiss, the executive director of the Dallas Arts District. For reference, the district is 118 acres or almost 20 square blocks. Sammons Park is also home to the event’s annual Changing Perspectives Block Party.
While thousands of Dallasites celebrate Dallas Arts Month every year, it’s definitely not just a residents-only affair. Texas travelers are encouraged to immerse themselves in the artistic and cultural landscape of Big D as well.
“Dallas Arts Month is a huge celebration of the city’s cultural treasures at a time when the arts are critical to bringing our communities together,” Weiss says. “On our stages, in our museums, and at our incredible arts venues, artists are ready to delight and inspire you, to help you escape to new places, and to make you feel and think differently about the world around you.”
There’s something for everyone, but here are our top picks for where to stay and what to do during Dallas Arts Month.
An Arts-tastic Hotel Stay
The HALL Arts Hotel Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton was the first hotel in the Dallas Arts District and is the perfect gateway to experience all that Dallas Arts Month has to offer. This upscale property provides stylish rooms and a rooftop pool, as well as a stunning 25-piece collection of museum-quality artwork that guests can learn about on a private tour, Thursday through Saturday at 4:30-5:30 p.m.
The collection includes a light sculpture that covers the length of the ceiling in the on-site Ellie’s Restaurant and Lounge, gigantic paintings in meeting rooms, and two Instagrammable works of art in the lobby. You need to book a room, as the tour is for hotel guests only, but the art is placed in public spaces of the hotel and restaurant, making it easy to experience some of the works without an overnight stay.
During Dallas Arts Month, the hotel is providing an Art Fair Package and pop-up experiences at Ellie’s including a Watercolor and Wine workshop with a Dallas artist, a public interview with Canadian artist Yifan Jiang, and performances by students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts every Tuesday in April at 5:30 p.m.
5 Not-to-Miss Dallas Arts Month Events
Dallas Spring Arts Festival
This two-day fine art outdoor festival held in Reverchon Park features 100 painters, photographers, sculptors, jewelers, glass artists, and other creatives. Come for the art and stay for the live music, food, drink, and artist demonstrations.
Cara Mía Theatre presents the world premiere of Orígines/Orgins, a collaborative project between Cara Mía members and Mexico City’s Laboratorio de la Máscara. Directed by Alicia Martínez Álvarez, the play is about a teen sent to live in the United States with her father and is performed mostly in Spanish with English projected supertitles. Over the course of two weeks, you can see this touching theatrical story about home and identity at the Latino Cultural Center.
Dallas Art Fair
The Dallas Art Fair is once again bringing collectors, art professionals, and the public together to enjoy modern and contemporary artworks from over 85 national and international art dealers and galleries at the Fashion Industry Gallery. Expect artist talks, panel discussions, exhibit openings, a brunch, book launch, and documentary screening at various places around town.
Dallas Black Dance Theatre: Encore! Rising Excellence
For two days only, the young promising dancers from Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s dance academy will give a multicultural performance of various works by Japanese, Polish, and African American choreographers at Moody Performance Hall.
USA Film Festival
Watch a curated selection of new American films and foreign shorts and features at the Angelika Film Center during the 53rd annual USA Film Festival. The festival also offers director presentations and the 41st annual International Short Film and Video Competition.
Top 5 Dallas Arts Destinations
You may have heard about the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, but there are so many other spots to check out art in Dallas. Step into the mind and paintings of famed artist Frida Kahlo at the Immersive Frida Kahlo experience before heading over to the campus of Southern Methodist University and the Meadows Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain including works by El Greco and Picasso.
Spend a few hours in the Dallas Design District exploring the numerous free art galleries including Laura Rathe Fine Art and Ferrari Gallery, as well as the Dallas Contemporary art museum. At night, catch a performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, like this ’80s-hits concert in mid-April, then head to Sweet Tooth Hotel, a mock hotel where you can grab a cocktail and have a night of fun looking at the hands-on art exhibits designed by various artists.
The full list of free and paid events for Dallas Arts Month can be found at dallasartsmonth.com.