For me, I think Oak Cliff has always had people with artistic hands and minds. My mother is an artist, but then there are others with creative minds that have individually and collectively formed their ideas to improve the area.
I think Oak Cliff (I call southwestern Dallas, Oak Cliff) has the natural beauty lacking in so many other parts of Dallas and Dallas County. It just breeds inspiration into an artist.
Before the current Tour of Homes set up, many times the Tour began with a parade and always included a street fair. At least 20 years ago, there was a big celebration held at Kidd Springs Park. There may have been some artists outside Oak Cliff invited, but I’m pretty sure most were natives to the area. They had everything from pottery to hand made crocheted items, to paintings and many other things. Sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical. Someone in the league got greedy, charged whopping rent for the two day event and it went away.
I haven’t been in years, but if you’re interested in local art, call Mountain View College to see if they still have a show on a Saturday in November or early December. It’s been a while, but it had to be a lot of different types of art because it went from one end to the other of that campus on two floors. It’s all handmade.
There have always been artist of a sort in this neighborhood. At the turn of the century, people used their talents to make a living. Many were craftsmen by trade, that’s why so many of these houses have workshops on the back of the property — it wasn’t always a rental unit.
The man that built our home — the original homeowner — was a cabinet maker. There have been many craftsmen/women of this sort in our neighborhood. After living with one or the other you learn a few things. Anyway, Charles Lee in the neighborhood is a tile layer, and Richard Fitzgerald stays pretty busy redoing houses in the area. He also volunteers a lot of his talent. Both are very good. Donna Eller once lived in the area. She is well known for taking a hobby of leaded glass and building a business by first teaching others. She was one of the original shopowners in the Bishop Arts area and ended up having several books published. Jason and Carrie design landscaping. I understand there are many writers living in the neighborhood, too. There are various, creative ways to express talent; sometimes its bigger than you can hold.