Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), founded in 1903, is among the 10 largest art museums in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions, groundbreaking educational programs, and global collection. In 1984 the DMA moved to its current location, the 370,000-square-foot Edward Larrabee Barnes–designed building, as the first arts organization in the Dallas Arts District. The Museum’s global collection contains over 24,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. The growing collection includes one of the most important museum holdings of modern and contemporary art in the U.S., as well as strong holdings of the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, and South Asia, and in European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts.
The DMA acts as a catalyst for community activity and a showcase for the performing arts, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programs. This includes a monthly Late Night, when the Museum is open until midnight, Second Thursday with a Twist, which highlights the Museum’s collection through activities and performances with a pop culture theme; Arts & Letters Live, a literary and performing arts series for all ages that features award-winning authors and performers of regional, national, and international acclaim; access programs for visitors with special needs; and a range of lectures, concerts, literary readings, and dramatic and dance presentations.
General admission to the Museum is free and includes viewing the Museum’s collection galleries and most exhibitions; selected special exhibitions and programs require an admission ticket.
The pivotal component of the Dallas Arts District is Edward Larrabee Barnes’ sprawling Dallas Museum of Art. The building’s trademark barrel vault aligns with Flora Street at this location. The 1993 completion of the Hamon Building on the Museum’s north end provided a new entrance and vehicular court facing Woodall Rodgers Freeway, as well as expanded public spaces, temporary exhibition galleries, and underground parking. The north side was further renovated in 2016 with the completion of Eagle Family Plaza, designed by landscape architectural firms Studio Outside and Hocker Design Group and local architectural firm Morrison Dilworth + Walls. Among other features, this renovation includes new access to the main entrance to accommodate increased pedestrian traffic, an outdoor lawn and dining experience, and interior updates to the Atrium.
One of the most soothing exterior spaces in downtown is Ed Barnes’ walled sculpture garden at the DMA. Four parallel water walls subtly divide the expansive space into a series of smaller-scaled “rooms,” which are further enriched by landscape architect Dan Kiley’s sensitive landscaping and the placement of modern sculpture. The pervasive presence of falling water provides a refreshing respite to Dallas’ arid climate, and also masks the sounds of city life beyond the garden walls.