Dallas is trying to buy culture.
Over the past few years Dallas has been building The Dallas Arts District, the “largest arts district in the nation, spanning 68 acres and 19 contiguous blocks.” The venues include museums and performance halls. It’s an impressive show of public initiative. And the buildings are beautiful.
But there’s nothing to put in these beautiful buildings.
Well, technically, there is. There is the Dallas symphony, and some other exemplary performance organizations. I don’t want to take anything away from them. But the fact remains that Dallas is a city of real estate deals, expensive cars, and big diamond wedding rings. Buying museums is not going to change Dallas into a cultural Mecca.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the previous facilities, pre-Arts District, had been overflowing with grass roots culture? If there had been a cry for the new buildings before they were built because current venues were at capacity? Then we would have been in a true market driven situation where demand meets supply.
I keep thinking of the highways to nowhere you hear about in China.