Museum of Street Culture Opening

Encore Park’s Museum of Street Culture opens October 1, 2017, but this will be unlike any museum opening you have attended or any museum you have visited.  The museum opens literally on the street with programming about the street.  The inaugural exhibit is a photographic documentary of works by internationally known photographer Mary Ellen Mark. 

What’s more, students in The Stewpot’s Saturday Kids’ Club and Junior and Venturing Crews will be will be participating in special programming about homelessness that provides opportunities for additional understanding and enrichment through art and photography.  Adults in the Stewpot Art Program will use the exhibit as a focal point for contemplation and artistic expression.  Artwork created in these programs will be displayed at several venues during the coming year including the annual Soup’s On luncheon.  

The Mary Ellen Mark exhibit also provides a chance to develop a unique, paid workforce of Stewpot clients.  Wherever possible, individuals who have an interest will be trained to be paid docents, tour guides or serve in other supportive roles.

From a broader community perspective, the exhibit will provide a thought-provoking look at homelessness.  As a highly respected, internationally known photographer, Mark’s work stands to draw numerous “newcomers” to the corner of Park and Young to learn more about homelessness in our community and the decades-long commitment of FPC Dallas and The Stewpot.

Opening day on Sunday, October 1 will get fully underway after the 10:50 a.m. church service.  The afternoon includes FPC’s annual Blessing of the Animals service, lunch for all served in The Stewpot, and a street fair including circus performers and buskers.  Local, blues, conjunto, and western swing musicians inspired by the recordings made in the 508 Park building in the 1930s will be performing in the 508 Amphitheater.  The Dallas Street Choir will also do a short performance.   The first installment of the museum’s year-long exhibition Looking for Home: A Yearlong Focus on Mary Ellen Mark, will be open for viewing inside and outside of the Community Ministries building. 


The exhibition will present Mark’s work in an unprecedented way – over the coming year, additional installations will be both outside on the street as well as inside some of the spaces the museum calls home -- The Stewpot and Encore Park’s 508 Park, 508 Amphitheater, and Community Garden. It is the first time the Mary Ellen Mark Foundation has granted permission for an exhibition of this magnitude.

The exhibit features a more than 30-year photo documentary capturing the harsh realities of street life, from 1983 to 2014, of Erin Blackwell Charles, a.k.a. Tiny, in Seattle, WA.  Tiny’s life as conveyed by Mark parallels and offers a poignant counterpoint to the ongoing efforts of FPC Dallas, The Stewpot, FPC/Stewpot partners and Encore Park to offer homeless and at-risk individuals resources and opportunities to start new lives.  Read more about Mary Ellen Mark and her involvement with Tiny.  

Over the next year and in conjunction with Looking for Home: A Yearlong Focus on Mary Ellen Mark, The Museum of Street Culture is planning a broad range of programming that provides enrichment and involvement for various groups. In addition to including Stewpot clients and participants in its children and youth programs, plans include screenings of Mark’s and husband/director Martin Bell’s documentary films Streetwise and Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell; a public dialogue series; free public learning resources developed to raise awareness of and sensitivity to circumstances surrounding homelessness; and three art exhibitions of works by youth participating in The Stewpot’s Saturday Kids’ Club, Junior Crew and Venturing Crew, and adults participating in The Stewpot’s Art Program. Watch for additional information on these programs to come soon. 

The photographic exhibition of Mark’s work will be updated quarterly, with each quarter depicting four distinct periods of Tiny’s life:

1.      October 1, 2017 – Streetwise: Tiny and Runaway Children in Seattle (1983)

2.      January 27, 2018 – Tiny and Her Children (1985-1999)

3.      April 14, 2018 – Tiny’s Family Life (2003-2005)

4.      June 16, 2018 – Tiny Revisited (2014)

 Looking for Home is curated by Alan Govenar (founding director of Museum of Street Culture at Encore Park) and Martin Bell, Meredith Lue, and Julia Bezgin (Mary Ellen Mark Foundation.)
xhibition design is by Studio Adrien Gardère. Architectural services are by Oglesby Greene Architects. 

Financial support for Looking for Home has been provided in part by Encore Park Dallas, Documentary Arts, The Florence Gould Foundation, The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation, Moody Foundation, and the Restoration Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas.   In-kind support is being provided by The Stewpot, First Presbyterian Church of Dallas and the Stewpot Alliance.


Encore Park Volunteer Opportunities for Church Members

If you are already a trained docent for the “Walk the Wall” program, and would like to participate in the opening day activities, contact Pat Bywaters.  If you would like to be trained to become a docent for either the Encore Park Sculpture Wall or Looking for Home, or have an interest in other ways you can serve, contact Pat Bywaters or (214) 906-0865. 


Opening Day Activities

The Museum of Street Culture’s grand opening is 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and is open to all church members, friends and the general public.  Activities include:

  • Street entertainers, including Lone Star Circus performers and local buskers
  • Concert paying tribute to Blues, Conjunto Tejano, and Western swing music recorded in 508 Park in the mid-1930s
  • Interfaith Blessing of the Animals Service, hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Dallas
  • Docent-led Mary Ellen Mark exhibition and Encore Park Sculpture Wall tours
  • Free lunch for all served in The Stewpot
  • Special guests, including filmmaker and Mark’s husband, Martin Bell