Photography by Jessica Turner.
Except for those skipping to the courthouse with a marriage license, the new Dallas County Government Building in Oak Cliff can be an unpleasant place to go. It’s where evictions are filed and truants are punished, for example.
But a little comfort is provided visually. The building is filled with natural light and comprises a gallery of Latino art, inside and out, curated by Jorje Baldor, the Dallas Housing Authority board chairman who owns Mercado369.
“Right now, things are just so hard for everybody,” artist Viola Delgado says. “If we can have art like this that reminds people of a happier time, why not?”
Delgado has three mural-size paintings on canvas in the building, featuring vibrantly colored landscapes and women wearing shawls. The paintings were supposed to be a tryptic, titled Purple Mountain Majesties, although they’re not all placed together.
“The women are the ancestors that support us and go before us and come after us,” Delgado says. “Those women just want to go everywhere,” because they keep popping up in her work, through inspiration or by request from commissions.
Delgado, who has lived in Vickery Meadow since 1998, has kept busy over the past 15 years or so creating public art for DFW International Airport and DART.
Her piece at DFW’s Terminal D, gates 8-10, is a tile mosaic inlaid to the floor depicting eight blue hands and eight infinity symbols.
“There’s something very mystical about that,” she says. “They didn’t put it at gate 8 intentionally. It was supposed to be gates 1-3 originally.”
The piece honors her father, who died before it was completed.
“He and my mom planned to travel when he retired, and then my mother got Parkinson’s, so I did all that in his honor so that he’ll always be at the airport going somewhere,” she says.
That commission also jetted her into public art. Her mosaics at DART stations include six deeply colorful mosaics at Lake June Station, installed about 10 years ago. All of those have to do with agriculture. The builder independently commissioned her to tile the station’s columns as well.
Baldor asked Delgado to create a tile mosaic depicting the Trinity River at the Oak Cliff government building.
Oak Cliff-based artist and West Dallas native Angela Faz suggested putting the river’s Caddo name, Arkikosa, in the piece.