FORT WORTH: THE CULTURAL CAPITAL OF THE SOUTHWEST
Related Document: Fort-Worth-The-Cultural-Capital-of-the-Southwest-Final.doc
Fort Worth's live theater scene is rich and varied. Casa Mañana, located in the Cultural District is Tarrant County's largest performing arts organization, staging everything from the hottest musicals straight from Broadway to local children's productions. Since the 1950s, Casa Mañana's iconic domed building has been home to Fort Worth's grandest and best-loved theater productions. Another Fort Worth mainstay is Stage West Theatre. In its more than 30-year history, this professional company has grown from modest storefront beginnings to an important player in American regional theater, presenting an interesting mix of both classic works and original premieres by up-and-coming playwrights. In downtown's Sundance Square is Jubilee Theatre, one of the most prestigious African-American theaters in the Southwest. Staging a diverse roster of performances that seek to teach about the African-American experience through theater, Jubilee is best known for its original musicals. Also downtown is Circle Theatre, an intimate venue, where year-round performances, many of them premieres of original works, are staged. Quirky, unique and engaging, Amphibian Stage Productions is the brainchild of three Texas Christian University theater alumni whose goal was to expand the range of plays performed in North Texas. The group performs at several venues, including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Kids Who Care is a nonprofit theater company designed to bring creativity into the lives of children through musical theater education and performances. When not traveling around the world, the company makes its home in Fort Worth's Cultural District at the 500-seat W.E. Scott Theatre built in 1966. For 35 years, Hip Pocket Theatre has been one of Fort Worth's most innovative and interesting theater companies. Original productions, some featuring mime, puppetry, dance and original scores, are staged each summer at an outdoor theater. Every Friday and Saturday night, Four Day Weekend Improvisational Comedy Troupe brings big laughs to Sundance Square through its clever and interactive shows. Also located in Sundance Square is the $67-million Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, which opened in May 1998. Called the "last great performance hall built in the 20th century," it is the permanent home for the city's professional symphony, opera and ballet companies, as well as the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and productions of Casa Mañana Theatre. It is noted as one of the world's top 10 opera houses by Travel + Leisure magazine, one of only three named in the United States.
Fort Worth has several arts groups devoted to film, and filmgoers have their choice of unique options. People of all ages love the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History's Omni Theater, which features an eight-story-tall domed IMAX screen that shows thrilling educational films about everything from outer space to the deep sea. The historic Rose Marine Theater on Fort Worth's Northside is home to Artes de la Rosa, which in addition to live theater performances, festivals and gallery shows centered around the Hispanic culture, shows Spanish-language films throughout the year. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth serves as a venue for several film events, including "Magnolia at the Modern," an ongoing film series featuring critically acclaimed works; "Harlan Jacobson's Talk Cinema," which offers sneak previews of buzzed-about foreign films before they are released to theaters; the "Texas Independent Film Series," a collaboration between the Lone Star Film Society and Texas Independent Film Network celebrating Texas filmmakers; and "Movies That Matter," a partnership between the Fort Worth Library, the Modern, Multicultural Alliance, the Fort Worth Independent School District and the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Fort Worth Central Library downtown is home to the First Sunday Film Club, which shows a variety of films, from blockbuster hits to thought-provoking documentaries, on the first Sunday of each month.
Fort Worth is known for its outstanding museums, including three powerhouses in the Cultural District: the Amon Carter Museum, which houses an impressive collection of 19th- and 20th-century American art; the Louis I. Khan-designed Kimbell Art Museum, which has in its collection everything from Egyptian and Roman antiquities and Mesoamerican and African art to works by Cézanne and Matisse and is home to Michelangelo's first painting; and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas' oldest museum (founded in 1892), is housed in building designed by Japanese architect, Tadao Ando and celebrates masters such as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko. Nearby is the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, where visitors will find a dinosaur exhibit, an interactive children's play-and-learn area, the Innovations Studio/Gallery, Noble Planetarium and Cattle Raisers Museum. The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is dedicated to rodeo queens, writers, business leaders and other special women who helped shape the West, while the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in the Fort Worth National Historic Stockyards District is home to such artifacts as chuck wagons and saddles and honors men and women who promote the cowboy way. The Sid Richardson Museum in Sundance Square houses a large collection of works by Western artists Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell.
Fort Worth also is home to many art galleries and strongly supports both local and national artists. Each fall and spring, the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association hosts Gallery Night. Art lovers stroll through the galleries, meet featured artists and enjoy food and beverages. Also twice a year, Fort Worth South Inc. hosts ArtsGoggle, a gallery crawl on the Near Southside. Some of the more well-known and established galleries, most of which are clustered in the Cultural District or located downtown, include William Campbell Contemporary Art, Artspace 111, Atrium Gallery at UNT Health Science Center, Carol Henderson Gallery, Edmund Craig Gallery, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Galerie Kornye West, The Art Galleries at TCU, Gallery 414, Rebecca Low Sculptural Metal Gallery and Studio, Art on the Boulevard, Brand 10 Art Space, Gallery 76102 and SiNaCa Studios School of Glass and Gallery.
The Fort Worth Public Art program purchases, commissions and maintains public art works throughout the city. Some of the most notable include bronze sculptures such as Riding Into the Sunset, which depicts a cowboy and his horse; large murals, such as the 1974 untitled zipper painting by Stuart and Suzanne Gentling, which can easily be spotted by motorists passing downtown on Interstate Highway 20; and high-tech masterpieces such as Avenue of Light, a 36-feet-high, six-piece stainless steel sculpture incorporating colorful LED lights.
Based in Fort Worth, Texas Ballet Theater is Texas' second-largest ballet company and brings world-class performances and education to the city. Whether it's a cutting-edge production such as Ben Stevenson's Dracula or a family favorite like The Nutcracker, a few hours spent at the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall with Texas Ballet Theater leaves theater-goers entertained and inspired. With a focus on education for all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, the nonprofit Ballet Concerto stages several productions each year at its home in the Cultural District. Ballet Folklorico Azteca de Fort Worth was established in 1975 to promote the Mexican heritage and multicultural understanding through dance and music. The group's productions are always colorful and exciting. Contemporary Dance Fort Worth brings excitement of a different sort as the group's avant-garde modern dance performances are staged at locations as diverse as the lawn of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth to the Poultry Barn at Will Rogers Memorial Center.
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, led by charismatic musical director Miguel Harth-Bedoya offers high-caliber performances year-round, both in Fort Worth and around the world. The FWSO's popular Concerts in the Garden take place each summer in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Symphonic and pops performances as well as special collaborative concerts with popular singers are held at the beautiful and acoustically outstanding Bass Performance Hall. The award-winning Youth Orchestra of Greater Fort Worth was founded in 1965 and has since educated and mentored thousands of young musicians in an intensive, unparalleled environment. The group's philharmonic, strings and chamber orchestras, made up of more than 250 students each year, perform regularly at locations across the city. The Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth performs everything from Baroque to contemporary music at the Modern Art Museum in ensembles of two to five talented members. First conducted in 1962, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is the joyous discovery of the world's finest young pianists. The competition honors Fort Worth resident Van Cliburn, winner of the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War, and takes place every four years (the year following U.S. presidential elections). The next competition is set for 2013, when famed American conductor Leonard Slatkin leads the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the renowned Brentano String Quartet. Tipping its cowboy hat to Fort Worth's Western heritage is Cowtown Opry, which offers free concerts in the Stockyards National Historic District. From Western swing to old-time cowboy ballads, this group celebrates the cowboy's love of music. Since 1946, the Fort Worth Opera has entertained audiences with performances ranging from classics known the world over to inspiring original works. Three to four major productions are staged each spring during the annual opera festival.
For more information about all that Fort Worth has to offer its residents and visitors visit www.FortWorth.com.
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