The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is a major art museum located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, along Woodall Rodgers Freeway between St. Paul and Harwood. In 1984, the museum moved from its previous location in Fair Park to the Arts District. The new building was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, the 2007 winner of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.
The museum's history began with the establishment in 1903 of the Dallas Art Association, which initially exhibited paintings in the Dallas Public Library. Frank Reaugh, a Texas artist, saw in the new library the opportunity to display works of art. This idea was championed by May Dickson Exall, who was the first president of the Dallas Public Library. Her intention was the following: “to offer art interest and education through exhibitions and lectures, to form a permanent collection, to sponsor the work of local artists, to solicit support of the arts from individuals and businesses, and to honor citizens who support the arts.”
The museum’s collections started growing from this moment on. It soon became necessary to find a new permanent home. The museum, renamed the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1932, relocated to a new art deco facility within Fair Park in 1936, on the occasion of the Texas Centennial Exposition. This new facility was designed by a consortium of Dallas architects in consultation with Paul Cret of Philadelphia. It is still possible to visit this building.
The museum's collections include more than 24,000 works of art from around the World ranging from ancient to modern times. They are conceived as a celebration of the human power of creation.
The Dallas Museum of Art collection of ancient Mediterranean art includes Cycladic, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Apulian objects. Highlights of Egyptian art is a painted limestone Relief of a Procession of Offering Bearers from the Tomb of Ny-Ank-Nesut from 2575-2134 BC. The more extensive Greek collection includes a marble Figure of a man from a funerary relief from 300 BC, bronze sculptures, decorative objects, and gold jewelry. The art of ancient Rome is represented by a Figure of a woman from the 2nd century AD and a marble sarcophagus carved in high relief with a battle scene, c. 190 AD.
The museum’s collections of South Asian art range from Gandharan Buddhist art of the 2nd to 4th centuries AD to the arts of the Mughal Empire in India from the 15th to the 19th century. Highlights include a 12th-century bronze Shiva Nataraja and a 10th-century sandstone representation of the god Vishnu as the boar-headed Varaha. The arts of Tibet, Nepal, and Thailand are also represented.
In 2008, the museum premiered the Center for Creative Connections (also known as C3), a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 Sq mi) facility for interactive learning experiences. The center presents exhibitions featuring the museum’s collections and artists’ and community partners’ responses to them. Spaces include the Art Studio, Tech Lab, Theater, and Arturo’s Nest.