Downtown Dallas and its surrounding area are a true cultural mecca, housing exquisite galleries, museums and theaters. Oak Cliff is home to the famed Texas Theatre. Opened in April 1931, the theatre served as a lavish gathering spot in the southwest Dallas community. The Texas Theatre earned historic recognition on November 22, 1963, after police discovered Lee Harvey Oswald, President John F. Kennedy’s accused assassin, within the theatre. Following years of disrepair, the 12,000-square-foot theatre was purchased by the Oak Cliff Foundation in 2001 and was placed on a path of renovation in order to reestablish it as a prime place for local performing artists.
Operated by the city of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs, the Ice House Cultural Center is an outstanding facility offering an assortment of cultural programming. The center partners with several talented instructors to offer free or low-cost courses in dance, visual arts, guitar and theatre. The Ice House Cultural Center, located in an historic old icehouse in North Oak Cliff, also houses gallery space, which plays host to a variety of visual arts exhibitions.
Nestled in the far southwest portion of Oak Cliff is the International Museum of Cultures (IMC), a unique cultural anthropology museum. Located on the campus of the International Linguistics Center, IMC features the lifestyles of contemporary peoples from across the globe through a range of interesting exhibits. Interactive displays from Africa, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, China and Mexico and of Native Americans line the walls of the IMC.
A mainstay in the Dallas community for nearly 70 years, the award-winning Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) entertains audiences of all ages through a variety of exciting performances. The 2009 season included shows such as Bob the Builder Live!, Frost/Nixon and The Rat Pack at the Majestic Theatre and Mary Poppins, Mama Mia! and Topol’s Fiddler on the Roof at the Music Hall at Fair Park.
Prominent Hispanic holidays such as Cinco de Mayo and Dies y Seis de Septiembre are widely celebrated in Oak Cliff with parades along Jefferson Boulevard and fiestas that welcome all residents and visitors of the area to participate. African-American Kwanzaa festivities, presented the seven days after the Christmas holiday, are also part of the annual events calendar of Oak Cliff. The Oak Cliff Artisans, a cooperative group of Dallas area artists, hosts two exhibitions/sales each year—a studio tour of members’ studios in the spring and a fall show in November at the Kidd Springs Recreation Center in Oak Cliff.
If that weren’t enough, Oak Cliff is minutes from the lively cultural arts and entertainment venues of Dallas, including the Arts District and Victory Park. Notable sights include the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Texas Art Gallery, the Dallas Theatre Centre/Arts District Theatre, the historic Majestic Theatre, the Smirnoff Music Center and the Music Hall at Fair Park—home to the great Dallas Opera.