Arts in the Park: Dallas Has Big Hopes for New Center

The Dallas Center for the Performing Arts won't put the arts on a pedestal.

Boosters say they hope the performing arts center going up in downtown Dallas will help transform the area.

The Dallas Center for the Performing Arts will open in October. Mayor Tom Leppert said additional development is already happening in area.

"People are moving in that area, you've got new restaurants, and that's exactly what we want to have happen," he said. "That's exactly what happened with American Airlines Center."

The big, red building under construction on the Woodall Rodgers Freeway is the Winspear Opera House. The Wyly Theater, a boxy-looking building with an out-of-box interior design, is going up right beside it.

The Wyly has a vertical design, unlike any other in America, according to Performing Arts Center CEO Mark Nerenhausen. 

"The whole stage configuration, all of the seats in the building, move," Nerenhausen said. 

The center, which must sell tickets to raise money to operate the buildings, is in a setting that is accessible to the public, Nerenhausen said.

"This is not a performing arts center that's set on a pedestal like a temple for the arts," he said. "These are buildings located in a park."

Many outdoor events will also be free.

The construction project is funded with millions of dollars from the city of Dallas, but Leppert said the vast majority of the $330 million center is funded with private donations.

"I think that says an awful lot of good things about people standing behind Dallas and wanting to see the community move forward," he said.

Contact Us