Dallas' Fabrication Yard offers a haven for artists, but could new development change that?
The Fabrication Yard in west Dallas has offered a space for graffiti artists to showcase their work for more than a decade.
Along Fabrication Street, industrial buildings are adorned in vibrant artwork, which spills out into alleyways and nearby streets.
For more than 10 years, the Fabrication Yard has been open to artists of all levels, providing a free space to practice their craft.
Ed Martinez, known to many as “Eder,” is one of the earliest painters in the space. He’s from New York, but he’s lived in Dallas for nearly two decades.
“We didn't have anything like this when I was younger,” Martinez said. “So in all honesty, I was trying to be somebody that I needed when I was young.”
Graffiti is often done in the shadows and can be a high-risk art form with a lack of legal spaces to practice. Martinez says this space takes those risk factors away.
He says this space helps dispel the stigma around graffiti and those who practice it.
“You can come here and you can practice your craft…," Martinez said. "You've got so many problems going on, and the last thing you need is some charges from some spilled paint.”
Still, new development in the area has Martinez concerned about the future of the Fabrication Yard.
“We've had a lot of gentrification going on in the neighborhood," he said. "So it's time to get back talking to the city again about letting us find another spot... with an area that isn't getting fixed up or something that we can have longer than ten years."
Butch McGregor owns the Fabrication Yard property. He understands the meaning it holds for local artists.
"We're hoping that we can keep it around 10, 15 years," McGregor said. "I think it's awesome that the artists can come out and paint. If something does happen to it, we'll find a new spot and help them find a new spot."
McGregor has spearheaded the development of new studio spaces at the Fabrication Yard to give local artists a place to work.
Artist Josh Snodgrass is one of the newest tenants.
During the pandemic, he used the Fabrication Yard as a socially distant escape.
“ I can come out here... during COVID, not have to talk to anybody, not be close to anybody," Snodgrass said. "And I could do something outside, a little bit public facing."
Snodgrass and Ed Martinez both imagine a thriving future for the Fabrication Yard.
Martinez says graffiti will remain in Dallas, so why not give it a permanent home?
"I just try to help them understand that you're not taking graffiti art anywhere off the planet," Martinez said. "If anything, it's going to get bigger and better if they allow for it."
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