lauren woods' Creative Capital project, "A Dallas Drinking Fountain Project: A public artwork in three parts," launches in the Dallas County Records Building, Dallas, TX

Nov 15 2013


Dallas County Records Building
509 Main Street
Dallas, TX




Visual Arts

For decades, a seemingly innocuous metal plate attached to a marble wall hung above a public drinking fountain in the Dallas County Records Building. One day in 2003, it fell off. A public outcry ensued as people learned what that metal plate was meant to cover up: traces of a Jim Crow “White Only” sign that was removed during desegregation. The metal plate inadvertently preserved a memory that it was meant to help erase.

A Dallas Drinking Fountain Project, created by conceptual artist lauren woods, is a novel public artwork in three parts launching in Dallas County. A transformed, yet still functional, public drinking fountain at the Records Building triggers a projection of digitally-altered newsreel footage of 1960s civil rights protests under the remains of the rediscovered Jim Crow sign. Visitors to the building unknowingly initiate this meditation on history, heroism, civic duty and social change as they attempt to sip water from the seemingly normal drinking fountain. Upon activation, the water flow is suspended for the duration of a 15-second video, resuming after it ends. The sculpture is accessible to the public during normal operating hours of the building.

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