Postcard: Juxtaposition of Art and Religion

Art installation by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir @PennySadler 2013 Arts District Dallas Texas

Arts District, Dallas, Tx

Picture this: A foggy morning in downtown Dallas – and figures, sculpted from cast iron and aluminum, by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. I was completely unaware that this art space even existed, and happened upon it one magical morning when the fog beckoned me outside with my camera.

I like the way the fog adds a mystical element. The standing figures seem to be looking toward the heavens (symbolized by the church), while the seated figures (arms folded, eyes closed) appear to be disconnected from everything around them.

The church in the background is Cathedrale Sanctuario de Guadalupe (Cathedral Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe), the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas. The first cornerstone was laid in 1898. The bell tower was not completed until 2005, when the entire church received a makeover as part of the Dallas Arts District project.

The art installation called Borders and the church are both located in the Dallas Arts District.


Dallas Architecture Walk – Main Street

Pegasus, Dallas, travel

Pegasus in Dallas

The Pegasus is a landmark in Dallas. This one, across from the Kirby Building, is a replica of the original, which can now be seen at the Dallas Farmer’s Market. When I was growing up here, you could clearly see Pegasus from almost anywhere in the city but now it’s blocked by all the other buildings that have gone up. I took this shot from a bridge just east of downtown.

The Adolphus Hotel is just around the corner. It’s an elegant historic hotel, built by the beer magnate Adolphus Busch, who also built the Kirby Building. The oxidized green turret is just a detail, seen from the rooftop of the Kirby Building.

One of the great things about blogging is the people you meet. As a result of my post
Architecture Walk – Dallas, I met up with a fellow blogger and expat, Ana O’Reilly, and took her on a mini tour of Main St. I have always wanted to see the inside of the Kirby Building, and as you can see, we did! The beauty of the architectural details and materials used makes me want to tour more of these old buildings.

Adolphus Hotel, Dallas, Main St. ©

Adolphus Hotel

pegasus, kirby, downtown dallas, ©

Rooftop view

Kirby, Dallas, ©

interior Kirby Building

kirby, adolphus, dallas, ©

interior Kirby Building

Kirby, adolphus, dallas, ©

Exterior Kirby Building

I took this photograph one night when a big storm was moving into the area. This was really the color of the sky.
The only editing I did, is a bit of sharpening to give the clouds more definition. There were lots of wind, lightning, and thunder, but I wasn’t able to capture it.

clouds, dallas, ©

Dallas storm clouds

All materials ©pennysadler 2012 – 2013. All rights reserved.

Free Things to Do in Dallas — National Geographic

This post is reblogged from National Geographic. It covers a very diverse range of activities and ideas for things to do in Dallas, for adults and children alike.

There’s more information on the museum district in my post October Events in Dallas. If art and sculpture are your thing you might want to refer back to that.

If you’re traveling to Dallas feel free to email me for tips on where to eat, drink, play or anything at all. Or, if you’d like a local to show you around, send me a message.


Free Things to Do in Dallas — National Geographic.

Dallas landscape ©pennysadler 2012

Postcard from Kilgore, Texas

Kilgore, Texas ©pennysadler 2012

Kilgore was once one of the richest and wildest communities in east Texas. Its claim to fame? Oil. Almost overnight, over 1000 oil derricks went up in one city block. Kilgore became a true “wild west” town, with fortune hunters and not so savory characters, flocking in to stake their claim. Apparently things became so disorderly in the summer of 1931, the Texas Rangers were sent in to restore order.

In Texas, Kilgore is known as The City of Stars for the stars that decorate the remaining oil derricks. I didn’t know this until I went to Kilgore myself, which I had no plans to do but I ended up with a day of work on a reality show, Kitchen Impossible.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the downtown area, basically one city block, has been restored and has a number of small restaurants, a few cute shops, and the old Crim movie theater. And most important, distinguishing Kilgore from any other town anywhere in the world are the oil derricks. I think they add an architectural element that makes it more interesting. Otherwise it would be just like any other small, rural, town, that had once been a boom town. The derricks are strictly for historical interest now and not in use.

The Crim, Kilgore Texas©pennysadler 2012

According to the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce website, the lights on top of the oil derricks are turned on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. There are over eighty oil derricks remaining. Hence the name, City of Stars. If I head that way again I’ll probably stop and photograph them. Since I was going to work I took only my old Nikon Coolpix, which I used to take these photographs.

Kilgore is just a few miles off Interstate 20 east. Follow the signs for downtown. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the rows of oil derricks. If you’d like to read more about the restoration of the oil derricks check out the Kilgore Historical Preservation Foundation website.

Read more about Kilgore:

Find out more about the largest oil field in the U.S., and the history of the oil industry:

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2012.

Where Are You? November 2012

This church was built in 1930, in the Gothic Revival style, a favorite of mine. The architect, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, also designed several buildings in the immediate vicinity, in the art deco style.
He was quite prolific, and all of his buildings have been well preserved or restored.
Can you guess where this is? I’ll give you a hint, it’s somewhere in Texas.

I took this photograph on an early morning photo walk, with a Nikon 12 – 24 mm lens I was testing. I like the extreme angle and perspective it gives to the facade of this beautiful church.

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2012

October Events in Dallas

October is probably my favorite month of the year. It seems strange to me that autumn solstice is in September, because to me, fall doesn’t officially arrive until October 1st. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived most of my life in Texas, where it’s blazing hot in September. There is not the slightest hint of fall in the air. But come October, things begin to change. The temperatures drop, and fall color starts to bloom. October is also the month for Halloween, and that means pumpkins. If I had to pick one thing that represents fall for me, I’d pick the color orange. Like a pumpkin, it’s fat and happy.

Culturally, and socially, there are so many great things going on in Dallas this month, you can’t help but find something you’ll enjoy. I’ve put together a short list of the main attractions. I sincerely hope some visitors to the area can make it out for some of these events. Come see the real Dallas, not the television version. Dallas has grown up – it’s no longer the land of big hair, cowboy boots, and oil wells.

courtesy of State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas. The saying is, “everything is bigger in Texas.” Big Tex, a cultural icon and mascot for the state fair, certainly captures that spirit. There’s a vintage car show, pig races, pumpkin painting, celebrity chefs, and of course, fried food competitions and more, all at the Great State Fair of Texas.

One of the new and exclusive exhibits at the fair this year, is the Chinese Lantern Festival. This is the first time for this cultural exhibit in the American Southwest. I can not wait to see this exhibit. These are not tiny hanging lanterns, but huge works of art, lit from within. For more information see

William Neal photography

More big news in Dallas, The Klyde Warren Park will officially open on October 27, 2012. This is probably one of the biggest happenings in Dallas, this year. Klyde Warren Park, is an urban green space built on top of a freeway. Only in Dallas. If you know of a park elsewhere, built on top of a freeway, let me know. Here’s more information about the park from the website.

Klyde Warren Park will serve as a central gathering space for Dallas and its visitors to enjoy in the heart of the city. The 5.2-acre deck park, designed by the Office of James Burnett, will create an urban green space over the existing Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul Streets in Downtown Dallas. The highly programmed park will include a performance pavilion, restaurant, shaded walking paths, a dog park, a children’s park, great lawn, water features, and an area for games and much more. To volunteer or make a donation, please visit or call 214-716-4500

Chihuly Glass at the Dallas Arboretum. You have a few more weeks to enjoy this exhibition. I like to go in the evening when the beautiful lighting makes the glass even more magical. In October, Chihuly nights are Monday through Thursday.

courtesy Norbert Gerl

courtesy Norbert Gerl

Also at the Dallas Arboretum in October, the Pumpkin Village and Storybook Houses for the kids. Outdoor concerts continue on Thursday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. October is a happening month, at the Arboretum.

Dallas Museum of Art late nights, The Crow Museum of Asian Art, and Late Nights at the Nasher continue on October 19th. Stay late, and walk from one museum to the next. Admission to the DMA is ten dollars or free for members. And don’t miss the food trucks.

Join us as we continue our celebration of Art in October with our Late Night Block Party. Explore the new exhibition Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries and be transported to Paris during the late 1800s with music, performances, talks, tours, and family activities. The Crow Collection of Asian Art and Nasher Sculpture Center will also be open until midnight.

Crow Collection After Dark: Art in October
Friday, October 19 | 6PM – Midnight | Free

Presented in Partnership with the Dallas Arts District
Stay up late in the Dallas Arts District to celebrate Art in October and the Dallas Arts District. Enjoy Asian performances, tours of the exhibition On the Silk Road and the High Seas: Chinese Ceramics, Culture and Commerce, sweet treats and delicious desserts from area food trucks, complimentary Asian beer and an evening completed with karaoke.

©pennysadler 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Postcard from Dallas, Texas

Old Red Museum

The Old Red Museum was once the home of the Dallas County Courthouse. Built in 1892, of granite and red sandstone, the style is Romanesque Revival. The gargoyle-like figures and turrets, give it a very heavy, gothic feel. It should definitely included in a tour of downtown Dallas architecture and history.

There are over 250 courthouses in Texas, and approximately eighty of them were built before the turn of the century. They offer historical, architectural and civic value, and interest. The Old Red is one of the most beautiful, and one of the oldest. If you love architecture, don’t miss it. Here are some of the highlights of the building from the museum’s website.

The Old Red Museum offers new historical discoveries in abundance – not only in our galleries, but also within the building itself. Original construction of the Old Red Courthouse took place in 1892, undergoing many transformations throughout the years, which ultimately led to the beautiful restoration of today. Authentic features and architectural elements have been uncovered to display a truly magnificent piece of Dallas County history.

Four decorative creatures perch atop the Old Red Museum. These terra cotta figures are acroteria in the shape of wyverns (from the Latin word for “serpent”). These wyverns have two legs, wings and a spiny back. Two of the figures were removed in 1967 and reconstructed as part of the restoration process of the 2000s. The remaining two are original.

Clock Tower
The newly restored clock tower stands at 90 feet tall, which is almost half of the entire height of the Old Red Museum. The original clock tower was removed in 1919, and its restoration was completed in 2007. All four clock faces are lit from the inside, making Old Red one of the truly unique sights of the downtown Dallas nighttime skyline.

The Old Red Dallas County Courthouse originally contained six courtrooms. Today, the Hatton W. Sumners Restored Courtroom on the fourth floor of Old Red stands as a testament to the craftsmanship and detail of the 1892 courthouse. Fully restored, it contains an elaborate judge’s bench, jury box and gallery seating.

Grand Staircase
The Grand Staircase has been completely restored to its original 1892 appearance. Dallas County expanded rapidly throughout the early 19th century, and in 1920 the original staircase was removed in order to make room for additional offices. Today, genuine remnants of the staircase are restored with reconstructed sections to create Old Red’s most impressive physical feature.

More than one hundred vivid stained glass windows, or lunettes (French for “little moon”), originally hung in the upper windows of Old Red. From 1892 through 1967, these lunettes were the highlight of the Dallas County Courthouse. In 1967, during a major renovation of the building, the lunettes were removed. Two original lunettes were recovered during Old Red’s restoration, and lunettes in the Hatton W. Sumners Restored Courtroom have been replaced.

The Texas Historical Commission offers some great information on the history and significance of the courthouses.

The Old Red Museum
100 S. Houston St.
Dallas, Texas

All materials ©pennysadler2012. All rights reserved.