Public art at Twin Falls Park to pay tribute to Dallas artist Arthello Beck Jr.

The last photo taken of Arthello Beck Jr. was taken at Caddo Lake by his friend Carl Sidle. – Photo courtesy of the African American Museum

 

Special to The Dallas Examiner

 

A new sculpture at Twin Falls Park will soon be unveiled, paying tribute to Dallas artist Arthello Beck Jr. The city of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture and Dallas Park and Recreation Department will officially dedicate the public art installation Saturday at 10 a.m. at Twin Falls Park, located at 6300 S. Polk St.

“I conceived of this to commission a public art piece to celebrate the life and work of Arthello Beck who lived and had his studio in District 4. Arthello Beck was overlooked for many years – too many years – and now is the time to shine a light on his brilliance.” Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn King Arnold said.

The art project was originally planned at Glendale Park in City Council District 4; however, the Dallas Park and Recreation Park Board moved to relocate the art to District 3. For this reason, the dedication will be a joint event between the two council districts.

“We are thrilled to welcome this public art sculpture by Dallas artist Jennifer Monet Cowley to Twin Falls Park and proud that it honors the work and legacy of Arthello Beck, Jr.” said District 3 Council Member Casey Thomas.

Installed in September, the artwork titled thehumanization by Dallas artist Jennifer Monet Cowley honors Arthello Beck’s body of work, vast artistic influence, mentorship of other artists and focus on African American life and family.

“The sculpture overall is a look at Arthello’s ‘humanization’ of the Black family and community” artist Jennifer Monet Cowley said.

Arthello Beck was a self-taught artist who used his paintings to examine the human condition, especially that of African Americans in Southern states. He was best known for his depiction of life during the Civil Rights Movement.

“The vision for my sculpture, thehumanization, comes from one of my favorite Arthello Beck quotes. Arthello said, ‘We live in a dehumanized society. To combat this dehumanization, I try to bring out human values in my art.’ My sculpture is a manifestation of the “humanizing” qualities of Arthello’s work. The simple beauty of seeing an African American family engaged with each other in everyday life is the foundation of the piece,” said Cowley.

Cowley will be represented by Daisha Board Gallery.

“Arthello’s art, more than half a century ago embodied the lives, struggles and culture of people of African descent during the tumultuous years of segregation across the nation. His paintings were a symbol of courage and desire to paint his people and humanize them with integrity and respect,” said Mae Beck, widow of the late Arthello Beck Jr. and Manager of the Arthello Art Gallery. “This statue by fellow artist Jennifer Cowley conveys courage, passion, love, comfort, pride, security, happiness and appreciation of Black culture and family. A powerful piece of art in honor of an artist of another generation.”

The powder coated and porcelain enameled aluminum sculpture measures 9 feet in height and sits on a stained concrete pedestal. Cowley felt color and composition has played a very important role in expressing the meaning of a particular piece, emphasizing that craftsmanship is key in the presentation of her artwork. She has worked to ensure that lively color and craftsmanship shows in each of her pieces so that each piece of art has special appeal to viewers.

 

“We are excited to welcome to our park system this exquisite tribute to one of Dallas’ most beloved artists,” said Dallas Park and Recreation Board President Arun Agarwal. “Almost 100 parks showcase public art that adds beauty, tells interesting stories, and creates lively conversations. This is a timeless tribute to Arthello Beck Jr. and an invaluable asset to Twin Falls Park and to the city of Dallas.”

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