Tuesday, March 27, 2012

While I Was Out Of Town Fort Worth Again Became The Envy Of Other, Older, Larger Cities

I've been out of the Dallas/Fort Worth news orbit for less than two weeks. Somehow, during that short absence, Fort Worth's Fort Worth Weekly got infected with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram propaganda virus.

That being verbalizing, in print, the absurdly weird idea that anything in Fort Worth is the envy of other, older, larger cities.

Just the "envy of" verbiage makes me cringe.

Below are the first three paragraphs from this week's Fort Worth Weekly cover article titled Second Annual Visionary Awards....

Here’s a conundrum: How can Fort Worth have such an incredible array of art-related institutions and not be an “art town”? (At least not yet.)

Yes, there are arty aspects of the Fort that are the envy of many other, older, much larger cities. The tri-headed brilliance of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Kimbell Art Museum, and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth make Fort Worth the museum capital of not just Texas (sorry, Dallas; sorry, Houston; sorry, Austin) but arguably the entire Southwest.

So why isn’t Fort Worth considered an art town? Why would an established visual artist tell an up-and-comer seeking career advice to go to Dallas? (Names have been removed to protect the innocent. And the guilty.) Are Fort Worthians simply too enraptured by their Cowtown heritage to care about anything not bovine or floral, forcing progressive artists out of town?

I'm thinking that maybe Fort Worth is not considered an art town, or, really, even considered, by most Americans, to be a town they know anything about, because Fort Worth really is not on the American radar screen.


Flying back to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, from Phoenix. At the terminal, prior to boarding, the announcements are along the line of "Zone 3 Flight 348 to Dallas now boarding."

While taxi-ing, prior to takeoff, the pilot announces that due to a tailwind we are hoping to land in Dallas a few minutes early.

About a half hour before landing the pilot informs the passengers that we are about 200 miles out of Dallas, where the temperature, in Dallas, is 64 degrees. Upon landing we get a welcome to Dallas.

Fort Worth was not mentioned once during the flight.

Same thing happens when one flies to Seattle. You hear no mention of Tacoma, even though the airport is the Seattle Tacoma International Airport. However, the population of Tacoma is barely over 200,000, while Fort Worth's population is approaching 800,000.

Regarding Fort Worth's "art" scene.

Well, I admit I am a very poorly educated, ill read moron, so it really is no mystery why I'd never heard of Fort Worth's museums prior to moving here.

I do recollect, soon upon moving here, being in downtown Fort Worth,  wondering where Sundance Square was, well prior to learning there is no Square in Sundance Square, and being amused by signs pointing to the "Cultural District," wondering why in the world would a town designate an area as its Cultural District?

I think a really good measure of how far below the national radar Fort Worth flies is the fact that there really is no iconic image of Fort Worth that anyone, anywhere, sees and instantly knows it is Fort Worth. The Fort Worth Stockyards sign does not count, because of the dead giveaway of having the town's name in that particular, sort of, iconic image.

The Fort Worth Weekly article asks "why isn't Fort Worth considered an art town?"


Have you looked at the town? Really looked? And compared what you see to what you see in towns that have a more elevated reputation?

I'm guessing a town that might be thought of as an "art town" might pay attention to something as basic as landscaping. Other big towns, with which I'm familiar, pay attention to the aesthetics of how their town looks.

In the Phoenix metro area every freeway exit that I saw is landscaped. Roads are landscaped. The entire area  is landscaped.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, the freeway exits to the town's only well known tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards, are un-landscaped, weedy, littered eyesores.

This type thing, that being littered eyesores, are not the type thing that causes envy in other, older, much larger cities.

Or so it seems to me.


Anonymous said...

Please don't bash the FWW, they are the only real news we have

Anthony said...

Well, sure, Dallas is the older, larger city. I can see why Fort Worth (and Arlington and Denton) are lumped into the Dallas region. But I don't think that invisibility to non-Texans inherently neuters Fort Worth's cultural value. The moral of the story is that there's a gross disconnect between Fort Worth's institutions and its grassroots artistic efforts. I'd like to get people thinking -- and talking -- about why. Just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

The guy that wrote this is probably a landscaper

Anonymous said...

Wonderful insight. You are right in many ways. But also, you have to give FW credit, they are trying very hard to give themselves a facelift. The current attitude is only natural if not sophomoric (society as a whole is a bit too familiar to high school). And while certain parts of the city improve (w. 7th), other aspects (the exits) might fall off for a while. SOMEone has to stand on the soapbox and TELL the others how much BETTER they are in order for them to BELIEVE it and make the CHANGE. It will be interesting to see if FW makes the break, or if the recent boom will turn in on itself.