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See the ACT - D-ART Timeline showing who did what and when.

The Squeaky Wheel
Making a Noise that Won't Go Away

My Dear Friend,

I've read your report on revisionary histories of D'ART etc in DallasArtRevue pages; and then I read through the PR thingy you sent (from the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art Board announcing the retirement of Center Director Joan Davidow). And it seems — history has been written by the squeaking wheel — the one that continues to make a noise that won't go away.

Finally no one can hear anything except that one squeak! And no one complains, because as long as it's squeaking — we know things are moving! And moving is progress! So — who cares if a squeaking wheel got us where we are. We're there, aren't we?

ani-mouse from Clip Art Gallery

And the squeaking wheel is happy to have helped, and will soon stop squeaking, and stop functioning all together. In time, the squeaking wheel will be forgotten just as all those other wheels who blazed the path before the squeaking wheel ever knew there was a destination.

And the other wheels? Those who came before that squeak appeared? They became tired of silently carrying the load, and so they voted with their feet. They dropped out, shut up, and got on with other things (or, they were fired!).

But as long as I live, I know what got the squeaking wheel where it was going. Squeaking wheels need a smooth path to function. The smooth path provided to the squeaking wheel began before Mary Ward. She was simply the recipient of a well planned road and well laid foundation that began with an Artists Coalition of Texas (ACT) questionnaire in 1977.

The report of that questionnaire appeared in the July 1977 ACT Newsletter. From that report, ACT determined the goals of the organization, and established nine committees to research ways to achieve those goals. One of those goals and the committee to research it was an Art Center Design.

The cover story of the ACT Newsletter in October 1977 was an interview with Richard Huff, City Arts Program Coordinator in Dallas. Mr. Huff was actively helping ACT "navigate the waters" to find a facility appropriate for an Art Center.

ACT Board members made numerous trips to vacant buildings in and around Dallas — including the Bath House! And the DeGoyer Estate. The May 1978 issue of the ACT Newsletter focused on — what? You guessed it — an Art Center.

Torpedoing D-Art

President of ACT, from its beginning until the end of 1978, was Mary Albrecht. She and the members of ACT laid a foundation in the community for an Art Center. They lobbied and visited countless members of City government. They made out-of-town and out-of-State visits to Art Centers to see how they ran and what worked. One was The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. It's still going today.

During that time period, Mary and Mary met at a chance encounter at the Dallas City Library, where MW had organized an exhibition of posters. A conversation began about the need for an Art Center in Dallas. It was at this meeting when the seed was planted, and Mary Ward told Mary Albrecht of her dream and plans for an Art Center.

They met at the ACT office the next week. Mary Ward continued to talk with us for several months after that first meeting. Eventually, she made the proposal to ACT, and she was given the project and told to run with it. She did just that and became the founding organizer of the art center known as D'ART. The squeaking wheel was no where seen or heard during this time.

I think the powers that be want the squeaking wheel to get the credit for reaching the destination. It did a lotta squeaking after all!

However, the real "founder" was a group of artists and individuals and organizations who responded to that questionnaire written by Mary Albrecht and distributed by ACT in the summer of 1977. And that's the truth.

See the ACT - D-ART Timeline showing who did what and when.

Mouse on Wheel Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com
D-ART torpedo adapted from the real thing by J R


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