In response to the recent Deep Ellum bad news

Deep Ellum has been getting a lot of negative press lately, spawned from the closing of some long-standing music venues like Trees and Dada. The news attention is quite disheartening to a lot of people that have businesses in that area. The recent articles in the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Observer paint scenes of a boarded up landscape filled with crime, gangs, and lawlessness. What these articles failed to offer was any hope for Deep Ellum, leaving their readers to side with them and write off the area as dying, expecting the public to turn their backs while Deep Ellum releases it’s final breath. Pamela Irwin’s article poses the question, “Why doesn’t anyone seem to care?” Well, there are some who do, and who plan on doing what they can to turn things around.

In June, we are relocating the Art Prostitute Gallery and Boutique to Commerce Street in the heart of Deep Ellum. Already feeling like concerned community members, I recently had the chance to sit for a spell with the Deep Ellum Association president and discuss some of the concerns, and plans for initiating a turn in perspective toward this culturally valuable area of Dallas. As we started making plans to move to Dallas, Art Prostitute deliberated for quite some time as to where we were going to call our new home. With all this recent press on Deep Ellum, we are now more satisfied than ever with our new location. Instead of being fearful and swayed by all the dirt flung about in the media, we view it as the place in Dallas that can benefit the most from what we want to bring to the city. We are looking forward to being a part of a close-knit art, music, and residential community. Already Deep Ellum offers opportunities for businesses and residents to be an active part of events like the upcoming Deep Ellum Arts Festival in April, in addition to other film and music festivals that happen throughout each year. What other part of Dallas offers these kind of culturally diverse community events in one location? Already there are great places to eat, to hang out, and live in the area. Already there is a rich cultural history to build on. Plans are in the works to bring some great things to the area. Talk of free wi-fi across Deep Ellum, building restorations, and making the area just feel cleaner are quickly turning into actual plans. There is some excitement for the future Deep Ellum, it’s just that the buzz at the moment is being made between a few bees. Regardless, where there’s bees, there’s honey.

Of course re-building confidence in Deep Ellum is not going to happen overnight. The whole process of re-building a sense of community starts with actually being a part of the community. Art Prostitute is excited to be a part of it all. With each recent visit to Deep Ellum we’ve made in preparation to our move, we have already been approached by residents, business owners, and the like who greet us with warm smiles and already are making us feel welcome.

4 Comments so far

  1. Brian Gibb (unregistered) on January 13th, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

    I am with Mark on this one. Not only because I have a vested interest in Deep Ellum, but mainly because the most recent article in the Observer, is loaded with sensationalism. Yes Deep Ellum has crime, but what major city does not. The city is not overrun with crime like Detroit was in Robocop or anything of the sort.

    Some of the cited examples of the viciousness of the Deep, I have never witnessed in my life. For instance, “It was so bad when we walked out of the doors toward Malcolm X, you would be accosted by these gangsters,” Yarbrough recalls. “If you were a blond girl, they would pull your hair. Creepy stuff. Totally violent.” Why does she have to be blond? This really sounds like a story told second hand from a drunk dude that wasn’t even there.

    There is still a lot of gas in the tank for this part of the city. The one thing that it has over so many other parts of town is history, it is seasoned, unlike the Mockingbird Stations or the Magnolia area, which for the most part are presenting this über monoculture filled with false history. The hip urban outfits that bite ideas from the underground and then sell it to the ignorant masses trying to get a piece.

    In the end it will all come right back around. The tireless efforts of the people in the neighborhood, will put it back on the front page cast in a whole new light. Swing by 2919 Commerce on June 3, 2006 and witness a giant step in the right direction.

  2. Devin Pike (unregistered) on January 14th, 2006 @ 9:55 am

    Now THIS is the reaction I was hoping to see. It’s going to take a concerted effort by people who actually give a damn about what happens to Ellum for the district to right itself.

    For what its worth, Wilonsky’s article didn’t seem like sensationalism to me, but a wake-up call. The gory details of the leasing debacles, parking screw-ups and police presence were necessary to get the point across — if action isn’t taken now, it may be another 30 years before the area revitalizes itself, much as it took 30 years to get the area rolling to its mid-1980s renaissance.

    Cheers, Mark.

  3. niemah (unregistered) on January 28th, 2006 @ 5:42 pm

    i’ve seen deep ellum go up and down since 1982 when i first started coming to visit dallas, later living here off and on. i’m glad that some visionaries will always keep hope alive in that spot of downtown. i don’t doubt that deep ellum will rise again!

  4. Frank Campagna (unregistered) on January 29th, 2006 @ 9:39 pm

    Looking forward to Art Prostitute joining the area. I’ve watched the area roller coaster up & down for many years. Pure energy is always welcome!

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