While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many. ~Lady Bird Johnson
Every city has a story and The City Influencer continues on our daily mission of sharing these diverse experiences with you.
Where We Live takes a deeper look into the different places our community calls home. Whether it’s a North Dallas suburb or the bustling streets in Downtown Dallas, TCI invites you on a very special visual journey into the communities we call home.
Initially created as a suburb of Dallas, the Oak Cliff neighborhood was later annexed into the city in the early 1900s. Today, approximately 275,000 residents call Oak Cliff home with 75,000 of those residents residing in the North Oak Cliff area.
Oak Cliff is located in Southwest Dallas, south of the Trinity River and is made up of many smaller neighborhoods, each with a unique story and culture. The Bishop Arts District and Kessler Park (in North Oak Cliff) are two of these micro neighborhoods and first up on this visual journey of city storytelling.
Photography: Elroy Johnson IV
BISHOP ARTS DISTRICT
The Bishop Arts District is a neighborhood rich in history, and was the site of Dallas’ busiest trolly stop in the 1930s.
The district began a decline in the mid-60’s through the beginning of the 80’s. The reasons for the decline included the rise of the shopping mall, the loss of sizable tenants such as Astor theater and Goodier Cosmetics, neighborhood demographic changes and finally the fact that buses began to replace streetcars making trolley stops like Bishop and Seventh useless.
In the fall of 1984, Jim Lake saw a bargain in the now run down storefronts and began buying up property. He said, “Hopefully we’ll make money on this in the future, but in the first three to five years I’m gonna feed it.” Lake said of his decision to buy the property, “I just thought it needed saving.” As a sign of his commitment, Lake provided, rent-free for a year, space for a police storefront. This was an important element in the area’s security and sense of community. Continuing through the 1990s and 2000s, renovations have taken place to transform the two city blocks into a walkable, urban environment, although the surrounding area has yet to undergo revitalization. Murals, brick pavers, and other street elements have polished the rough look of the warehouses and have made the area a popular leisure and dining destination. (via Wikipedia)
Since the area’s revitalization, the Bishop Arts District has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today and The Daily Beast for its small-town feel, hidden-gem appeal, and close-knit community.
Founders, Dr. Ro and Nicole Angelica, are living testimonies to the extraordinary, unique and powerful vehicle of the Arts and education as tools for social change. Kensington Arts & Education is a comprehensive program that teaches one to think creatively and critically through the unifying power of cultural arts, education, and mentoring. Kensington Arts is the only African-America owned non-profit in Bishop Arts.
NEXT UP: KESSLER PARK
WHERE WE LIVE SEPTEMBER FEATURE SPONSOR:
Elroy Johnson “EJ” is a teacher and photojournalist based in Dallas, TX. His name is most known for his viral work surrounding the Pool Party Incident in McKinney, TX during the summer of 2015. Elroy is passionate about telling stories and documenting history in the making. Elroy’s work centers around a lot of social justice, cultural events, and street photography. His ultimate passion is to continue documenting stories of humanity.