Best In Dallas: DMA Mastermind Shares Favorite Thrift, Theater, And Artist In Dallas

 Best in Dallas with DMA Creative Connections Manager Jessica Fuentes
The list continues with another addition to Best in Dallas! Today, the  the Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), Jessica Fuentes, shares her must-try spots in the DFW Metroplex. Read on for delicious food, beautiful art and all the hidden gems in-between.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Dallas with a B.A. in Art and Performance, Jessica taught middle school art for four years. She eventually left the classroom to pursue an M.A. in Art Education at the University of North Texas and began working at the DMA while completing her thesis. Jessica's work in the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA is focused on helping visitors make connections with works of art, with local artists, and with each other.
"I'm a creative with a strong focus on community. Both of these traits show up most often in my career as an art educator and in my artistic endeavors," Jessica said.
Today the DMA launched a new program called Art with a Voice and just as the DMA does with all of its programs, it connects the community of visitors, artists, and art lovers. Art with a Voice, Truth: 24 frames per second launched last night Jan. 18, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. where Janeil Engelstad, founder of Make Art with Purpose (MAP), leads participants in deep conversations on contemporary themes sparked by the exhibition. You can reserve a spot here.
"Through this program, we are inviting local artists to hold community conversations about important issues that relate to works of art currently on view and topics that are related to current issues," Jessica said. "For example, this first program is inspired by the Truth: 24 frames per second exhibition and will feature Janeil Engelstad, Lauren Cross, Dean Terry, and Rafael Tamayo starting a conversation with participants about how we ignore, rewrite, or idealize historical events."
Foodie Favorite: Spiral Diner
Spiral Diner is Jessica's favorite restaurant even as someone who isn't vegan. Her favorites include the Ate Layer Burrito, All Raw Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette, or the Breakfast Quesadilla. "I also like to follow-up my meal there with the Martha The Librarian," Jessica said.
Cocktail Culture: Whitehall Exchange
Whitehall Exchange is Jessica's favorite place to grab a drink. She loves a classic cocktail and the Old Fashioned is her favorite. "Whitehall Exchange is simple and quaint with a warm atmosphere and great drinks," Jessica said.
Artistic Addiction: Janeil Engelstal
Working with so many DFW artists, picking a favorite was difficult for Jessica but one of her favorite local artists is  Janeil Engelstal. Janeil is the founder of Make Art with Purpose, an organization that partners with artists, designers, architects, and organizations working for positive environmental and social change.
Decor Destination: Lula B's Antique Mall
Lula B’s Antique Mall is the place to find hidden gems for the home. "This spot can sometimes be a bit overwhelming with so much going on, but there are always treasures to be found from light fixtures to area rugs and everything in between," Jessica said.
Jessica's favorite place to thrift an/or donate gently used clothes and decor is Genesis Benefit Thrift Store. 100% of all proceeds go directly to benefit the Genesis Women’s Shelter.
As an avid camper and hiker, Jessica's favorite outdoor spot is the Trinity River Audubon Center. "Not only is the center a LEED-certified building with various green features, it has five miles of nature trails which you can explore solo or on a guided hike and they offer guided kayaking trips," Jessica said.
Latino Cultural Center
The Latino Cultural Center is Jessica's favorite spot to get educated and have fun at the same time. "The Latino Cultural Center is a vibrant venue to experience all aspects of Hispanic and Latino culture including art, dance, films, and theater," Jessica said.
I Heart Dallas: The Texas Theatre
The spot that Jessica believes captures the spirit of our city best is the Texas Theatre. Since opening in 1931, the theatre has had a long history and is often remembered as the place where Lee Harvey Oswald went following his assassination of President John F. Kennedy. "What I love about the Texas Theatre though is their always impeccable line-up of films and their connection to local film festivals like the Oak Cliff Film Fest and the Dallas Video Fest," Jessica said.
Photos courtesy of Spiral Diner, The Dallas Observer, The DMA, Culture Map, The Dallas Observer, The Audubon Center, The CDC and Seed and Spark.

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