Presented By

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  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Architect of an Art Scene Thursday, July 3, at 10:45am in his studio in Oak Cliff

Stephen Lapthisophon

Soon after Stephen Lapthisophon moved from Chicago to Dallas in 2007, he noticed two things. First, there was a society photographer at a museum event. “I thought, ‘This would never happen in Chicago,’ ” Lapthisophon says. Then he went to an artist lecture on a Wednesday night, and it was packed. “And I thought, ‘This would also never happen in Chicago.’ ”

Lapthisophon saw that divide in the city as well. On the one hand, there was the multimillion-dollar Arts District, but just a few miles away, there were vacant lots and odd warehouses. “Dallas has this weird landscape,” he says. “It has this image of all of the flash and glitter, and that is definitely there. But there is also an odd mystery to it. I liked the opportunity that some of those spaces offered. It is good for artists.”

Over the past decade, Lapthisophon, a professor at UTA, has been one of a number of artists and art professors in Dallas who have helped a younger generation of artists exploit that gap. He encourages his students to look to artists in places like Berlin and São Paulo and to use Dallas’ available space to their advantage. Outside the glow of New York, Chicago has always fostered a DIY art culture of pop-up spaces and apartment galleries. Lapthisophon thinks a similar attitude and energy can exist here. 

“There’s always going to be a kind of old guard who defines the scene,” he says. “But the other way is to hustle and scrape and do something of substance. You sink or swim based on whether it is good enough.”

In the past few years, Dallas’ underground artist culture has flourished precisely by following this dictate, with some of the best exhibitions staged by artists who take over vacant storefronts and warehouses. It has transformed how this city’s art scene functions. Lapthisophon believes that change is irreversible. 

“There are ways in which Dallas is the same scene that happens everywhere,” he says. “But I think that certain channels, once they get opened, they don’t close up. It is not that some things are sustainable. When you change the language of the discussion, it makes thinking different.”