Dragon street in the Dallas design district is the epicenter of the art gallery scene in the city, and Craighead Green Gallery is the hottest place to find contemporary art from both nationally established and emerging Texas artists.
As the temperature soars outside, Craighead Green heats up the gallery walls with an introduction of the latest and greatest artistic talent in the local area. As the gallery celebrates the 30-year anniversary of the New Texas Talent (NTT) exhibition it launched many years ago, it plans to once again enliven the summer art scene by introducing up to 40 young, emerging Texas artists to designers, art lovers, collectors and other galleries through its annual competition.
This year’s juror, in fact, was the original idea man for NTT when he worked as gallery director for Craighead Green Gallery in the 1990s. “I had no idea we were launching something that would make such a long-term impact,” says abstract painter and 2023 NTT juror Scott Simons. Back in the day, he simply thought the competition, which allows any Texas artist 18 years or older with no gallery representation to compete for exhibit space on Craighead Green’s walls July 15 to August 19, was a way to drive more people through the gallery during the traditionally slower summer months. Finalists in the art competition often receive media attention and representation by Craighead Green or other galleries. “I expect to see a lot of interesting, surprising and engaging art in this year’s show,” Simons says. “While the concept looks to have really resonated with the Texas arts community over the years, the most important thing is the sheer number of emerging artists that the show has promoted and given a voice.”
Simons credits gallery owners Kenneth Craighead and Steve Green for their longstanding commitment to the show and to encouraging emerging artists. “The gallery also supports new artists through the Edith Baker Scholarship Fund, awarding an annual scholarship to a senior graduating from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts,” says current Craighead Green Gallery assistant director William Bardin.
Craighead and Green discovered some of the current artists they represent as a result of NTT, such as ceramics sculptor Marla Ziegler, who was chosen as an NTT exhibitor at the inaugural exhibition and soon afterward earned representation by Craighead Green Gallery.
In addition to its support of up-and-coming artists, the gallery represents 62 mid- to late-career contemporary painters, sculptors and fine art photographers who have national and international accolades. “With such a large representation of artists, we have something for every art lover,” Bardin says. He ensures that each one of the artists gets time to talk with gallery staff and plenty of visible wall space to showcase their artwork. “We also provide any support our artists need, including tasks like shipping, framing and installation assistance, to make the process smooth for designers and homeowners purchasing through our gallery.”
Craighead Green Gallery has been a mainstay in the contemporary art world since it opened its doors in 1992. Originally located on Cedar Springs Road, the gallery moved into an upgraded space in the Design District 15 years ago. When the prestigious Edith Baker Gallery closed in the early 2000s, Craighead Green Gallery made a home for those displaced artists, inviting them to be represented by Craighead Green.
The summer sizzle continues with a group show running through July 8 in which a collection of Craighead Green’s artists will display their latest artwork. “This show is a good overview of our artists’ stylistic range and is a chance for collectors to personally meet many of the artists who will be on-site at the gallery,” says Bardin. “Our artists use this show to bring in new pieces of artwork.”
In late summer, beginning August 26, the focus is on bright color as a trio of artists exhibit their latest artwork in the gallery until September 30. Seasoned photographer Carolyn Brown will show her pop-art style flower bud series reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s creations. She has traveled extensively over her lifetime and photographed a wide range of subjects and participated in many book projects. Oil painter Jay Maggio will bring intense color and intriguing textures to the studio walls in his pointillist-style paintings of trees, a favorite subject since his childhood. “His work is especially exciting because of the sparkle created by just the right mixture of pigment and linseed oil in his three-dimensional textured paintings,” Bardin says. The third artist, Simon Waranch, is a Dallas-based glassblower who has perfected the ancient Venetian reticello technique begun during the Renaissance that creates patterns in glass art. Even at such a young age, Waranch already receives national attention for his work. “He is truly a master of his craft,” says Bardin.
While you often will find interior designers and homeowners shopping the walls of Craighead Green Gallery, which is surrounded by home stores selling furniture, antiquities and furnishings, you’ll also find that corporations enjoy working with the gallery to adorn their offices and add to their corporate collections. Bardin says the gallery’s goal is to always be approachable and inviting for anyone shopping for art while ensuring there is enough variety to fit a range of design styles. Bardin works one-on-one with private collectors, offering guidance as they choose new artwork that suits their individual aesthetic. “It takes at least 40 to 50 artists to have variety,” Bardin says. “Our roster of 62 artists represents a range of styles and mediums, from bronze sculpture to realistic paintings, abstract paintings and landscapes, so there is truly something for everyone.”
Dana W. Todd is a professional writer specializing in interior design, real estate, luxury homebuilding, landscape design, architecture and art.