October 20, 2018 marks the opening of Sweet Pass Sculpture Park, a new outdoor sculpture venue and exhibition space in Dallas, Texas. Run by the artist couple Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns, and focusing on emerging and mid-career artists, Sweet Pass is a space that aims to demystify public and outdoor works. Often, public art feels quite removed from the art-making process — it isn’t frequently taught in schools, and creating outdoor pieces is a different way of making and thinking about sculpture. Through their programming, Johnson and Burns hope to help expand notions around what public and outdoor works are, while presenting them in an organized and inclusive space.
Johnson, a Texas native, got a taste for public art when she created a piece for the Socrates Sculpture Park in New York. She says that this is when everything in her practice — an affinity for performance and for objects — clicked. Together, Johnson and Burns decided that they were ready to leave New York and wanted to come to Texas to start a sculpture park. Rather than heading for the Texas hill country (the couple’s initial idea), they landed in Dallas when Johnson was hired as a Visiting Lecturer in Sculpture at SMU.
When looking for live/work spaces, Johnson and Burns came across a plot of land at 402 Fabrication St. in Dallas, and after deciding this could be their sculpture park’s new home, they signed a two-year lease on the plot. They say the venue’s name, Sweet Pass, “serves as a symbol of safe passage through a challenging terrain – a site of rest for the traveler.”
Of their project, Johnson told Glasstire:
“Trey and I are thrilled to be opening this space so soon after moving to Dallas – Sweet Pass Sculpture Park is an idea we have been thinking and dreaming about for the last year, so to have our first show opening this Saturday feels surreal! We are a bit soggy, but couldn’t be more excited to share this project with Dallas.”
Sweet Pass’ inaugural exhibition, Getgo, will be on view from October 20 to December 12. It features pieces by Denton artist Alicia Eggert, San Antonio artist Buster Graybill, New York artist Saki Sato, and a collective work by SMU’s Intro to Sculpture class. Its second show will open sometime after the new year. The sculpture park will be open October 20 from 11AM to 5PM. For future open hours, or to set up an appointment to view the show, visit the park’s website. See Glasstire’s Top Five video shot on site at Sweet Pass below.