News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dallas' Fabrication Yard offers a haven for artists, but could new development change that?

A graffiti artist's hand is shown holding a spray can and drawing graffiti on a wall.
Solomon Wilson
/
KERA
Josh Snodgrass spray paints his signature skull character on one of the many free walls at the Fabrication Yard.

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.

Fab Yard .jpg
Solomon Wilson
/
Solomon Wilson
At the heart of the fabrication yard where buildings are covered in paint inside and out.

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.

Fab Yard -1.jpg
Solomon Wilson
/
KERA
A feature wall at the Fabrication Yard where a mural honoring the Uvalde school shooting victims currently stands.

He says this space helps dispel the stigma around graffiti and those who practice it.

Fab Yard -8.jpg
Solomon Wilson
/
KERA
Mixed levels of graffiti art on a wall within the Fabrication Yard

“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.

Fab Yard -4.jpg
Solomon Wilson
/
KERA
Josh "Odd Grass" Snodgrass standing next to his known graffiti skull character talking about other artists featured on nearby walls and structures.

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."

Fab Yard -9.jpg
Solomon Wilson
/
KERA
One of the main fence lines at the Fabrication Yard where anyone can come and practice spray painting artwork.

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?

Fab Yard -5.jpg
Solomon Wilson
/
KERA
A mural honoring the late Dallas rapper Moe displayed on the side of a metalworks shop across the street from the Fabrication Yard.

"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."

Got a tip? Email Solomon Wilson at swilson@kera.org. You can follow Solomon on Twitter @SolomonSeesIt.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Solomon Wilson is KERA's Marjorie Welch Fitts Louis Fellow. He focuses on covering racial equity, women’s rights, socioeconomic disparities and other evolving issues of social justice in our community.