Nearly 30 months ago the City of Dallas contacted members of the Bishop Arts District Merchant Association to let them know that a grant was available to fund a piece of public art through the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs.
A call for proposals was put out to sculptors and artists throughout the state, and a panel of artists, art patrons and Bishop Arts area neighbors were brought together to judge the entries and pick the winning artist who would would be awarded the grant to create the sculpture.
Longtime Cliff dwelling resident and artist Art Garcia provided one of the submissions, and was subsequently named the winner of the grant. Now 24 months after being named the winner, Garcia’s sculpture entitled Seventh has been installed in the pocket park near the intersection of Bishop and Davis.
The sculpture is a blending of the shape of a street car wheel with elements that represent the street car track. Quotes are engraved into the sculpture that represent the people and times surrounding the Bishop and 7th trolley stop.
The area surrounding the sculpture is still being completed, including the installation of lights, the finishing of the concrete pad that the sculpture is mounted to, and the installation of a plaque that includes a statement from the artist.
Go Oak Cliff received an advance copy of the artists’ statement, which you can read below.
In August 1903 a new extension of streetcar tracks was completed to improve service between Dallas to Oak Cliff. Known as the “North Loop,” it joined the “South Loop” to Jefferson and gave the mostly blue-collar neighborhood dependable transit to their jobs in Dallas.
The Seventh took passengers home to Oak Cliff – the 7th Belmont line traveled to Seventh Street and Bishop Avenue, one of the city’s busiest trolley stops between 1902 and 1956.
Inspired by two 1903 original streetcar tracks that were excavated at Bishop and Davis during street recent improvements, and the book by Robert L. Crockett, The Bishop Arts District – A Brief History, I began to reflect on my own experience on a streetcar growing up. While reexamining Mr. Crockett’s book, this concept materialized: That deep rumbling sound of metal wheels resonated with me. “Could it be possible for the rolling sound of the metal to record the conversations and events during its service?” These rails are a time capsule, the history of the Bishop Arts District is on display for you. A reminder of a simple time when everybody knew everybody. – Art Garcia, Artist
We also have a video of the installation of the sculpture.