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Nasher Sculpture Center Creates ‘Nasher Public’ to Support Local Artists

Featured, Lifestyle

Image from Dallas Arts District

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Located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the Nasher Sculpture Center features a collection of modern and contemporary sculptures, including pieces by Matisse, Basquiat, Picasso, and many others. According to the museum’s website, Nasher Sculpture Center aims to be “an international focal point and catalyst for the study, installation, observation, and appreciation of modern and contemporary sculpture.”

The Nasher, open since 2003, began with Raymond and Patsy Nasher, two art enthusiasts who dreamt of one day owning a museum.

The building was designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano and landscape architect Peter Walker. Their ingenuity is evident in the spectacular 55,000 square foot building and surrounding gardens.

The artworks on display indoors and outdoors are equally impressive, consisting of rotating exhibitions of works from the Nasher family’s collection, as well as special exhibitions from other museums and artists.

The Dallas Express spoke with Lucia Simek, Manager of Communications and International Programs at Nasher Sculpture Center, to discuss the endurance of art during the pandemic, and some of the opportunities that the Nasher offers local artists. When asked about the importance of art at this uncertain time in history, Simek said, “Art can often remind us that the difficulties of the human experience are shared throughout the ages, among people of all walks of life.”

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have struggled with isolation and fear during the last two years. Simek suggests that art can act as a source of solidarity for anyone facing difficulties in life. “Many of the sculptures we have at the Nasher, especially those in the garden, depict people in positions of hardship or loss,” Simek said. “It can be a balm and relief to recognize your own feelings in the work of someone else.”

The Nasher Sculpture Center does not just offer solace in hard times; the museum also offers grants for artists in North Texas in need of support. According to their website, the Nasher aims to bolster the “great artistic talent residing in North Texas.”

The Nasher Artist Grants are small-sum awards offered to artists of all types to advance their art practice, personally and professionally. The grants can be used for art materials, studio rentals, and even travel for research purposes.

Simek also noted that the Nasher has recently put in place a program called Nasher Public, which gives local artists the opportunity to be featured at the museum and around the city of Dallas in partnership with businesses in the area.

“The pandemic made us realize that we could be serving our community here in Dallas better,” Simek said. “[Nasher Public] allows us to help support the practices of artists right here in the area, fostering a greater bond with the people making this area a vibrant place to live.”

The Nasher also offers the Nasher Prize, an award dedicated exclusively to the best artists working in contemporary sculpture. Each year, the winner of the Nasher Prize is selected by an international jury composed of museum directors, curators, scholars, and artists. The Nasher Prize Laureate of 2022 is Nairy Bagramian. See her work and learn more about it here.

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