The most effective place for a brand new Black history and cultural center is atop the hill within the Fort Price Cultural District.
However the resolution isn’t going to be that simple.
Transforming the present Community Arts Center, a metropolis artwork museum at 1300 Gendy St., looks as if the sensible selection to assist a brand new museum draw vacationer visitors.
That price ticket: about $10 million.
However there may be additionally a powerful argument to construct the brand new Fort Price African American Museum and Cultural Heart within the Historic Southside, close to a proposed new National Juneteenth Museum on Evans Avenue.
That location would price about $35 million.
The place would extra vacationers go — to the Cultural District, or the Historic Southside?
The place would extra guests study enterprise leaders like banker “Gooseneck Invoice” McDonald or chef Lucille Bishop Smith, or civil rights heroes like Choose Clifford Davis or Opal Lee, or licensed nurse Mary Keyes Gipson, or musicians like jazz’s Ornette Coleman or gospel’s Kirk Franklin, or sports activities stars just like the Fort Price Cats’ Maury Wills or basketball champion Robert Hughes and his genius pupil James Money?
Wherever the largest viewers would go, that’s the place Fort Price’s Black historical past treasures ought to relaxation.
It’s powerful sufficient to construct two museums at once, though the Juneteenth Museum is nationwide in its scope and assist.
Timing alone could ship the Fort Price museum and cultural heart, led by dentist and art collector John Barnett, to the town facility within the Cultural District.
An African American Museum there would nearly be nearer to the unique mission of the Group Arts Heart.
When the humanities heart took over the outdated metropolis artwork museum and Scott Theatre 20 years in the past, the host Arts Council promised to supply a multicultural arts heart and produce range to the Cultural District.
On the time, UT Arlington officers had been additionally speaking over a proposal to switch the artwork museum with a department of the Institute of Texan Cultures, which showcases the state’s racial range.
However the Arts Council snagged it first. The consequence mainly has been a catch-all facility for native gallery exhibits, arts group places of work, theater performances and rental occasions.
Since pay parking and bigger crowds got here to the Cultural District, these small civic occasions have discovered different houses.
The Group Arts Heart is in a 68-year-old constructing initially constructed because the Fort Price Artwork Heart. In 1996, the adjoining Scott Theatre was added.
That museum finally grew to become what’s now the Fashionable Artwork Museum of Fort Price, in its newer dwelling subsequent to the Kimbell Artwork Museum. However the authentic Gendy Avenue property stays a primary location for a vacation spot museum.
When the Group Arts Heart opened in 2002, the Star-Telegram editorialized that it might be a terrific location to inform tales of the “on a regular basis lives and extraordinary private achievements” of Black residents, from the early freedmen to the medical doctors, nurses and judges who constructed knowledgeable group and army heroes reminiscent of the town’s Tuskegee Airmen pilots.
“It’s a tall order to create a top quality Black historical past museum,” we wrote in 2002, “however it might be a terrific group asset.”
That editorial even requested to incorporate Black historical past reveals within the Group Arts Heart.
I might say this museum is 20 years overdue. Nevertheless it’s actually 150 years overdue.