October 15 - November 2, 2016: Our Fall Trip to Florida
October 1, 2016: Autumn at the Arboretum with Guy
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October 1, 2016
A Visit to the Nasher Sculpture Center
and Thanksgiving Square


 

This afternoon, Fred and I are going to take Guy downtown to the Nasher Sculpture Center to take advantage of the fact that it is free today. We are also going to visit Thanksgiving Square, a place we didn't have time to see last time Guy was here and we walked around downtown.

 

 

Getting to the Nasher Sculpture Center

Both the Nasher Sculpture Center and Thanksgiving Square, the two sites we'll visit today, are downtown near both the Meyerson Symphony Center and the Dallas Museum of Art.


Getting to the Nasher Sculpture Center is easy (which is one of the nice things about living where I do). We headed down Lemmon and then Turtle Creek to the Uptown area on the northwest side of Klyde Warren Park and we parked there near the park.


Then we just walked southeast across Klyde Warren Park on Harwood Street, where I got a beautiful view of Klyde Warren Park and Museum Tower. On days when the Nasher doesn't charge admission, the large gate on Harwood that provides access to the sculpture garden is opened, and so we didn't have to go around to Flora Street and go through the main entrance.

 

 

The Nasher Sculpture Center

Open since 2003 and located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the Nasher Sculpture Center is home to one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculptures in the world, the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, featuring more than 300 masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, Serra and more. The longtime dream of the late Raymond and Patsy Nasher (Nasher was the original developer of the famous NorthPark Mall here in Dallas), the museum was designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano in collaboration with landscape architect Peter Walker. The Nasher Sculpture Center presents rotating exhibitions of works from the Nasher family collection as well as special exhibitions drawn from other museums and private collections. In addition to indoor gallery space, the Center contains an auditorium, education and research facilities, a cafe and a store.

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The first thing we did here at the Nasher was to walk around the outdoor sculpture garden, looking at the various installations and taking pictures and movies.

This is the garden that has been affected by the construction of Museum Tower a block away; on many days in the year, when the sun is shining brightly, it reflects off the tower and right down into this garden; the resulting glare makes looking at some of the sculptures very difficult at various times of the day. I think the litigation is ongoing, but I also understand there are some sorts of remedies the tower can employ to reduce or eliminate the problem.

Please have a look at the pictures we took today; they are in the slideshow at left. As usual, you can move from one picture to another using the forward/backward buttons in the lower corners of each slide, and you can track your progress through the show with the numbers in the upper left corner of each slide.

I also made two movies out here in the sculpture garden, and perhaps they will give you a better idea of what walking around outside here was like. At least you'll get to see and hear the fountain.


(Mouseover Image Above for Video Controls)
A Look Around the Nasher Sculpture Garden

(Mouseover Image Above for Video Controls)
The Fountain and Lily Ponds

We also spent some time inside the Nasher Galleries, where there was an exhibit called "Run for President" with some politically-oriented photographs and interactive displays. I could not find attributions for all the indoor pieces, but you might want to see some of them anyway.

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I have two slideshows here, one for the portrait pictures and another for the landscapes. In both the shows at left and below, you can use the backward/forward buttons in the lower corners of the pictures to move through them, and you can track your progress using the numbers in the upper left corner.

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Walking around the garden and the galleries at the Nasher was interesting, although I'll admit I wasn't fond of much of the indoor sculpture.

 

 

The DMA and the Walk to Thanksgiving Square

Guy wanted to drop back in to the Dallas Museum of Art (we were here about ten days ago) and take a picture of a particular piece of furniture and its explanatory plaque. He has a piece like it and wanted to compare the two.


We came into the DMA via the entry facing Klyde Warren Park, and I thought that the view at left, of the sculpture currently outside that entrance with the park and Dallas skyline beyond, was interesting. Inside that entrance, there is a Chiluly installation that is spread across the three-story windows at that end of the building, and when we went upstairs, Fred was able to get a nice view of part of it:


At the top of the stairs there is a hall leading across to the gallery Guy wanted to visit, and as we walked down it, there were two pieces that caught my attention:

From the DMA, we walked towards Thanksgiving Square along St. Paul street, and this brought us past the front of the new portion of the First Baptist Church of Dallas.


It doesn't look much like a church, save for the cross. But then the church isn't much of a church, what with its far right-wing pastor and matching congregation. Jeffress runs it like a business- actually more like a personal fiefdom that gives him a platform to spout all kinds of nonsense. I will admit that the building and fountain are interesting:


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Walking Past First Baptist Church

We continued walking southeast along St. Paul Street, jogged left on Ervay, crossed Bryan Street and came to the northwest corner of Thanksgiving Square.

 

 

Thanksgiving Square

In 1964, four businessmen— Joe Neuhoff, Julius Schepps, John Stemmons, and Peter Stewart— wanted the City of Dallas to be known not only for its worldly aspirations and economic accomplishments, but also for the enduring heart of its citizens. (Only in Dallas would civic leaders want a "Memorial to God" in a public square in the center of town.)


I wasn't here in Dallas at the time, but had I been, I would have read in the Dallas Morning News that "Researchers and spiritual leaders discovered a long history of 'giving and living thanks' in Dallas" (as if this was a surprise or as if other places wouldn't have the same history). These businessmen and the people working with them, concluded that "thanksgiving"— gratitude in action— was recognized as a human universal, present in cultures and faith traditions around the world. The Thanks-Giving Foundation was chartered to create a public space in the heart of the city dedicated in gratitude to God and to the “most ancient and enduring of American traditions.”

Forming the first public-private venture in the city’s history (my goodness, but the Lord really can bring people together), the Thanks-Giving Foundation worked with the City of Dallas to acquire land in 1968. Construction began in 1973. Designated as one of the region’s American Revolution Bicentennial Projects, the Chapel of Thanksgiving and the Bell Tower were dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. President Gerald Ford recognized Thanks-Giving Square as a “major national shrine.” The remainder of the grounds opened in 1977, two hundred years after General George Washington proclaimed the first national Day of Thanksgiving on request of the Continental Congress.

Today, "Thanks-Giving Square continues to serve as common ground where people of all cultures and religions are welcome. What began as a simple park has become a refuge and space to celebrate values, thoughts, and spirituality." The actual square (it is not really a square; it's a triangle) is really quite nice.


Looking Northwest at the Chapel
(Picture at left)
The chapel is actually entered via a raised walkway that is reached by a stairway from the water feature in the center of the plaza.

 

 

 

(Picture at right)
At the top of the stairs leading to the raised walkway, there is an "administrative" building for the square, and I thought that the reflections in the glass windows were interesting.


A Window Reflection at the Info Center


The Information Building and Raised Walkway

This view looks east across the square. Fred and Guy are walking past the bottom of the stairstep water feature and heading over to the stairs that lead up past the Info Building to the raised walkway to the chapel.


The North End of Thanks-Giving Square

The exit from the Chapel is on its lower level, and it puts you out by the sidewalk along the north side of the square. This view looks east and the raised walkway and some of downtown Dallas.

(Picture at left)
This picture was taken from in front of the Information Building and shows Guy and Fred on the raised walkway leading to the chapel that you can see in the background.

 

 

 

(Picture at right)
I am on the raised walkway now, and have taken this picture looking to the northeast at some of the taller buildings in downtown Dallas.

The chapel is the centerpiece of the square (although it is not in the center but at the northern boundary). It is indeed a chapel, with one large, open, carpeted room with circles of chairs where people can sit and, presumably, do whatever one is supposed to do in a chapel. To me, the interesting feature is "The Glory Window" by Gabriel Loire (1904-1996) that was nstalled 1976.

The spiral ceiling contains one of the largest horizontally-mounted stained glass windows in the world, designed by French artist Gabriel Loire in 1976. From his workshop in Chartres, France, Loire became a leader in the modern use of dale de verre, or "slab glass". The glass used in dale de verre work is 22 mm in thickness- much stronger and thicker than traditional colored glass of the Middle Ages. Cut with special tools, the slabs of glass are then set in a mortar of epoxy resin.

The Glory Window (taking its name from Psalm 19) contains 73 panels of faceted glass following the spiral shape of the ceiling. Lower panels feature varying shades of blue, which to Loire represented the color of peace. As the spiral continues inwards and upwards, the color become warmer and brighter until reaching the center where 60 feet above the floor the panels give way to a circle of beaming yellow light. Gabriel Loire meant this progression to "express all life, with its difficulties, its forces, its joys, its torments, its frightening aspects. And then, bit by bit, all of that falls away and you arrive finally at a burst, an explosion of gold; you arrive at the summit."


Artificial lighting supplements the natural daylight to provide an even glow. In 2016, thanks to a generous grant from the Hoblitzelle Foundation, new LED lighting by Walker Engineering, Architectural Lighting Alliance, and Ketra, Inc. improved efficiency and allowed for color-changing effects. An images of the Glory Window was chosen for the official United Nations stamp in 2000 during the International Year of thanksgiving. It was also featured in the 2011 Oscar-nominated film The Tree of Life:


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Our visit to Thanks-Giving Square was interesting; Fred and I have been here a number of times before, but it was Guy's first visit.

 

 

Returning to the Car Through Klyde Warren Park

From Thanks-Giving Square we walked back along a different street to the DMA, then alongside it to the southwest corner of Klyde Warren Park and then through the park to where we had parked earlier. Along the way, I took some casual pictures of downtown Dallas:


At left is a building called Energy Plaza, just across the street from Thanks-Giving Square. Below is the former Main Post Office located catty-corner from the Square; it is now being converted into lofts and commercial space:



At the far right is a building that is atually across the street on the east side of Thanks-Giving Square and which, as you might expect, is now called Thanksgiving Tower.


I understand that Thanksgiving Tower is going to be renamed if a deal goes through for its owner to accommodate a large new tenant who wants to rename it. At left in that same picture is the Comerica Bank Tower.

At the near right is a picture of the original First Baptist Church; you saw the new, modern part of First Baptist Church earlier. When we were passing north of that new structure, the old church was hidden from our view, but now we are walking back one street south.

The final couple of pictures taken on our walk around the Arts District this afternoon were taken at Klyde Warren Park.


As we walked through the park, I got a good view of Museum Tower, and you can see a bit of the glare that is causing problems at the Nasher. It is late in the day, so the glare is not so obtrusive- nor is it reflecting into the sculpture garden. Below is the children's play area at Klyde Warren Park. You've seen pictures of it before, but mostly when it was fairly empty.


We enjoyed our walk through the Arts District with Guy- as we enjoyed his entire visit with us this week- the trip to the Wichita Mountains and our visit to the Arboretum.

 

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


October 15 - November 2, 2016: Our Fall Trip to Florida
October 1, 2016: Autumn at the Arboretum with Guy
Return to Index for 2016