Opening Night: The Beauty of South Dallas

On Friday February 11, the community of Dallas came to celebrate the opening of The Beauty of South Dallas, a photographic exhibition by artist Nitashia Johnson.

The project documents the neighborhood of South Dallas and several of its residents, business owners, and community leaders. South Dallas is a community rich with culture and history, but it is quickly changing. The goal of this project was to preserve a period in time that tells us where the neighborhood is before it changes. Over a three-month period, from September to December 2020, Nitashia has endeavored to connect with the people of the community and use her talents as a multimedia artist/designer to capture the landscape.

β€œThe process of capturing the beauty that is an individual’s spirit has always been very intriguing to me. The art of storytelling has always influenced my multimedia artwork, and for that I’m grateful. My eagerness and love for the world and others have pushed me to produce a body of work highlighting environmental spaces, communities, and individual muses. When I started working on the project that I’ve titled The Beauty of South Dallas, Capturing the Now Before the Future, I was excited yet nervous about where to begin. South Dallas is a large area, and I wanted to make sure to capture the essence of the land. I was incredibly thrilled about being given the opportunity to create under the Juanita Craft House Artist Residency, which is supported by the South Dallas Cultural Center. Learning about Juanita Craft’s life and history was truly extraordinary. I was thrilled by her mission to help heal others and her political activism during the Civil Rights Movement. Both the people and the land of South Dallas are beautiful. Many of the older buildings represent the struggles some people have faced growing up here, and, to me, that defines strength. Many areas within South Dallas are being developed, and I fear gentrification. My goal was to capture the current South Dallas before the future arrives because the people and places of today’s South Dallas are quite beautiful and unique indeed.” – Nitahshia Johnshon

Nitashia is also the creator of The Self Publication, a photographic series created to uplift the black community while dismantling harsh stereotypes associated with the culture, and The Smart Project, a creative after-school program for artistic teens.​ To add to her list, Johnson is an independent graphic designer, photographer, and video artist who loves to collaborate with others. Her unwavering passion for design and photography is remarkable.

(Photography by Victor and the South Dallas Cultural Center staff)

The Beauty of South Dallas is on view at the South Dallas Cultural Center, a facility of the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, until March 19, 2022. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Click here to schedule a visit.