Making Fair Park Work: Dallas Architecture Forum Panel Addresses Historic Amenity

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dallas architecture forum panel
Photo: lhilyer_libr via Creative Commons

One of the architectural gems in Dallas is Fair Park, a 277-acre recreational and educational complex southeast of downtown Dallas. It is home to many George Dahl-designed Art Deco buildings constructed for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936, and is registered as a Dallas Landmark and National Historic Landmark.

Mark Lamster
Mark Lamster

But this park, home to the Texas State Fair each fall, is underperforming the rest of the year.

The next Dallas Architecture Forum event will address “Making Fair Park Work,” a panel discussion moderated by Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster, who is also a professor in the College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The main question will be, “how can Dallas transform Fair Park into a year-round destination and economic engine for its South Dallas area?” The city is now faced with several options for its redevelopment, and must choose the best path forward.

“The Dallas Architecture Forum is pleased to present this next panel in its 2015-16 series of thought-provoking panel discussions on topics impacting the citizens of Dallas both locally and globally,” said forum executive director Nate Eudaly. “Moderator Mark Lamster will be joined by a panel of well-respected community leaders to discuss this extremely important topic. The result will be engaging and thought-provoking discussions for our attendees.”


dallas architecture forum panel
Photo: Steve Rainwater via Creative Commons

The panel is presented in partnership with the Dallas Festival of Ideas and UTA CAPPA. Panelists will include:

  • Walter J. Humann, Sr., recognized for creating the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system; helping desegregate Dallas schools; and working to improve education, transportation, race relations, government organization, urban planning, and infrastructure in North Texas.
  • Virginia McAlester, founding member of Preservation Dallas, architectural historian, political activist, author of  A Field Guide to American Houses, and adviser emeritii for The National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Vicki Meek, manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center, a full-service African-centered facility that is a division of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and a nationally-recognized artist
  • Don Williams, chairman emeritus of Trammell Crow Co.; philanthropist; recipient of the prestigious Linz Award, the highest honor for community and humanitarian service in the Dallas area; and founder and chairmen of the Foundation for Community Empowerment and Frazier Revitalization, which seek to revitalize low-income neighborhoods and provide opportunities for low-income citizens in Dallas

Making Fair Park Work will be Jan. 26 at the Hall of State at Fair Park, 3939 Grand Ave., starting at 6:30 p.m. (because of Fair Park regulations, there will not be a wine and beer reception before this panel). Advance reservations are requested to attend the panel: click here to make them. Free parking will be available directly in front of the Hall of State and in the parking lot adjacent to it.

The Dallas Architecture Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing public education about architecture, design and the urban environment. Panels are offered at no charge to both Forum members and to the general public as a public outreach.

For more information on the Dallas Architecture Forum, or the Panel Discussion Series, visit or call 214-764-2406.





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Leah Shafer

Leah Shafer is a content and social media specialist, as well as a Dallas native, who lives in Richardson with her family. In her sixth-grade yearbook, Leah listed "interior designer" as her future profession. Now she writes about them, as well as all things real estate, for

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  1. Clay Bonner says

    I can’t remember if it was D Mag or Texas Monthly that investigated this very issue, and it came down to the State Fair’s 4-month 100% leasehold on Fair Park, and inbreeding between the State Fair Board and the Dallas City Council.

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