Everyone is familiar with the Dallas Arts District, but only true Dallas insiders know that the real art scene in Dallas is located in the Dallas Design District. While others flock to the DMA and the Nasher, try venturing to a place where you can actually take home the art!
Saturday night exhibit openings in Lower Oak Lawn up the ante on the trendy, artsy vibe that the area already exudes. But with 20 plus art galleries in the Dallas Design District it's hard to decide where to start when venturing out on a day or evening of gallery hopping. Since Dragon Street is the Rodeo Drive of art galleries, it seemed like a good place to start.
Whether you're a collector, first time buyer or just want to peruse, you can't go wrong with these five can't-miss art galleries.
1. The Cameron Gallery
I hate to play favorites, but it's hard to hide the fact that The Cameron Gallery is my favorite Dragon Street stop. The Cameron Gallery offers a true departure from the stark white walls and concrete floors of the other galleries, making it warm and welcoming for everyone from seasoned collectors to first time buyers.
As you enter, you're drawn into a Tuscan looking villa with art that fills the walls from floor to ceiling. As you ascend the staircase, you're greeted by a bar to your left and a meandering set of rooms filled with colorful, unique canvases, sculpture and jewelry. Rarely do you enter without being greeted by one of the gallery owners: Carrie, Kristi or Steve.
The hospitality and welcoming feel of this gallery help make it my favorite, but The Cameron Gallery is also home to many of my favorite artists, including sculptor Nic Noblique, James Michalopoulos, and, of course, owner and resident artist Carrie Cameron. Carrie utilizes a 3-D oil sculpture technique that I am just gaga over!
The art at The Cameron Gallery is generally decorative and would look great hanging in any space from an office to a residence.
Who to know: The Cameron Girls: Carrie and Kristi. Carrie is the gallery's resident artist and Kristi, her sister, manages the marketing.
The Cameron Gallery, 1414 Dragon Street (map)
2. Samuel Lynne Galleries
The largest gallery on Dragon Street is also the most impressive. Samuel Lynne Gallery's expansive footprint allows for ample room to display their collections in four full art galleries. My advice is to bee-line to the back where you'll find a 30-seat HD movie theater and the wine/espresso bar. Grab a drink. You'll want to take the time to sip and see this magnificent art.
Samuel Lynne Galleries includes works from reflectionists and 21st Century contemporary artists. It boasts an extensive collection of 3-D oils, originals on canvas, mixed media and sculpture. The heart of the space is dedicated to works by the gallery's co-owners: J.D. Miller and Phil Romano (yes, that Phil Romano). Both artist paint with the 3-D oil sculpture technique that I mentioned before.
J.D. Miller's studio is at the gallery and he often hosts live paintings. Be sure to sign up for their email list so you can be notified when one is coming up. It's a truly unique and intriguing experience.
Samuel Lynne's art is almost always colorful and usually lots of FUN! I rarely miss the opportunity to see what's new at their Dragon Street digs.
Tip: Break the no-touch policy here! There is a small room on the right side of the gallery that has a small 3-D oil sculpture painting that you are allowed to touch. According to the placard, it takes a full 150 years for these sculpted oil pieces to dry!
Who to know: Courtney Feavel and Jenna McClelland. The gallery's assistant director and associate, these ladies are always in the know. They'll happily introduce you to the artists.
Samuel Lynne Galleries, 1105 Dragon Street (map)
3. Galerie Zuger
Galerie Zuger brings an eclectic mix of landscapes, fine art, bronzes and contemporary art to their Dragon Street art space. The consistency in the talent of the works displayed at Galerie Zuger secures it a spot on my top five list.
Whether it's James Scopperttone's stunning landscapes, or the funky, mixed media cowboy canvases from Carrie Fell, I find myself mesmerized by the paintings at this gallery. More than any other, I tend to spend time just staring at the artwork and taking it in. Galerie Zuger also houses some of my favorite sculptures and bronzes.
While their exhibits do not change as often as the other galleries, I find myself there monthly just to ogle "Little Classics" by Antal Goldfinger which is one of my favorite paintings. The picture doesn't do this piece justice, trust me. You have to see it in person to understand how incredible it is.
Who to know: Robert Wilborn. Robert is not only the gallery manager but one of the most knowledgeable art connoisseurs in the District.
Galerie Zuger, 1215 Dragon Street (map)
4. Holly Johnson Gallery
Contemporary art isn't always my thing, but when I've found pieces I like, they've almost always been at Holly Johnson Gallery. With rotating exhibits every month, this gallery consistently brings in a wide range of styles from a diverse set of artists. Though this is a rather large gallery, there's always a large crowd on exhibit opening nights so make this your first stop before things start hopping.
Who to know: Holly Johnson. This gallery owner is highly involved in her gallery. She's fascinating to talk to and always has the inside scoop on what's going on around Dragon Street.
Holly Johnson Gallery, 1411 Dragon Street (map)
5. Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery
The only gallery in the Design District dedicated solely to photographic art, PDNB Gallery has a special place in my heart. An aspiring photographer myself, I enjoy seeing how different photographers choose to capture people, places and special moments in time. A smaller gallery, this stop is an easy in and out.
PDNB does a great job featuring exhibits by photographers from the classic to the up and upcoming. Their artists are almost always in attendance at their exhibit openings and regularly host book signings.
Also, PDNB has a great stock of fabulous photographic coffee table books (many of which are signed) which make perfect, thoughtful gifts.
PDNB Gallery, 1202 Dragon Street, Ste. 103 (map)
While these are my five picks, art is so subjective and there are many other great galleries on Dragon Street that might be more your flavor. Other consistently great galleries on Dragon Street include: Cohn Drennan Contemporary, Craighead Green Gallery and Mary Tomas Studio Gallery.
Check out LowerOakLawn.com for information on monthly exhibit openings at Dallas Design Design District art galleries.