Back when Mayor Mike Rawlings was running for the city’s top job, you may remember him mentioning that his daughter was an artist. Specifically, Rawlings brought up his daughter during the mayoral debate on the arts at the Nasher Sculpture Center where Rawlings spoke about the need to attract artists, like his daughter, who studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. That kind of high-end chatter usually ends up focusing on big civic investments, like the Arts District. But we all know that it is usually the little things that actually attract artists to an area.
Our favorite little big man project of late has been Kevin Jacobs’ Oliver Francis Gallery, a tiny alternative space near Fair Park that has been launching ambitious installation-based exhibitions since last year. (For more on Jacobs, go here.) It is oh so appropriate, then, that Oliver Francis — a rough and tumble space on a shoe-string budget which is funded out of pocket by its intrepid brainchild — is the gallery that will bring the mayor’s daughter to Dallas. One January 21st, Oliver Francis will open Empathicalism-A solo exhibition of work by Michelle Rawlings.
I’m sure our mayor will be there, and I hope Oliver Francis will help shape is vision for the kinds of micro-spaces that can really affect the cultural vibrancy of this place.