For our last Art Adventure of 2019, we made an afternoon trip to Denton, Texas, roughly 45 minutes away from our house, and full of interesting art, art spaces and local creative flavor!
Texas Woman's University and the University of North Texas weren't in session so their galleries were closed, and we had recently visited the Patterson-Appleton Art Center, so this trip was focused on public art and murals. And there was plenty to see!
The murals we saw were mostly in and around the downtown square, which surrounds the courthouse and is lined with coffee shops, independent stores, restaurants, and my new favorite, Gnome Cones!
Some murals were easy to find, and others were more hidden in alleys or on the side of buildings. The sense of discovery added to the adventure!
I went to school in Denton twenty-something years ago and it is fun to see how it has changed, but I also wish it some of this had existed when I was there, because it was pretty sparse back then and we had to work a little harder to make our own fun. (Maybe it made us stronger, haha! Or stranger!) There is one holdover from my time, a pizza restaurant where people who could be grandparents now, used to swing from the wooden rafters as part of an "experimental rock" band performance. Aah, college.
But Denton has long been, and still is a supportive and exciting place for art and artists, both for art lovers and for artists themselves. The Good/Bad Art Collective did some really interesting work here, and of course its music school, arts community and the creative talent coming out of the colleges has been and is still legendary and quite forward-thinking.
There is a creative streak there that evolves, of course, but doesn't go away. I love the vibrant murals and interesting businesses around the square, and love that places like Scrap Creative Resuse and Denton Camera Exchange exist to offer supplies and specialized equipment at a variety of price points.
Denton feels like its much further away from Dallas than it really is, and its energy makes you feel like you've had a comprehensive "art adventure" with a digestible time and cost investment. If you're visiting from elsewhere, it's an easy car rental's drive from Dallas or Fort Worth, and close to D/FW airport. There's also a train that runs from downtown Denton to suburban destinations and connection points to greater Dallas.