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

UT Dallas students light up Dallas Arts Month at the Omni Dallas Hotel with "Cosmic" light shows

Night view of the downtown Dallas skyline featuring the Omni Dallas Hotel
Andrew Scott
Andrew Scott
The Omni Dallas Hotel celebrates Dallas Arts Month in April with 16 UT Dallas students' light shows displayed on its 23-story LED facade.

Omni Dallas Hotel brightens April nights with UT Dallas students' video projects

On just about any night, the Omni Dallas Hotel is lit—all 23 stories with its LED neon colors, flashing digital designs and messages to downtown onlookers.

"We call them light shows here at the hotel," said Ruth Andrews, the Omni Dallas Hotel spokesperson.

The light-bright wall this month serves as a digital canvas for original works by students from the University of Texas at Dallas, who took a projection mapping class. The program—"Cosmic Trailblazing: Comet Artistry takes over Dallas Skyline"—runs on the Omni's outer wall April 16-28 and April 30, 8:30-11:30 p.m. to celebrate Dallas Art Month.

“It's sort of an outgrowth of my teaching methodology,” said Andrew Scott, UT Dallas associate professor and projection mapping instructor. “We do a lot of project-based work that gets the things that we're doing in the classroom out into the community...We like to share the creativity of our students with the community.”

The Omni Dallas Hotel first worked with Scott in 2019.

"When Professor Scott reached out to us again earlier this year, we knew that this would be the perfect occasion for us to showcase these young artists’ work on our display to celebrate Dallas Arts Month," Andrews said.

Sixteen UT Dallas students created 60- to 90-second animated videos in Scott's class that the Omni chose to display. The hotel plans to run four sets of four videos a night and repeats each set on a second night.

Close-up of the Omni Dallas Hotel with purple and blue LED stripes
Andrew Scott
Andrew Scott
UTD student Yvonne Yu says she thought about how her animation will look on a large scale, "and especially since it's LEDs instead of just purely projection. So I was able to learn a lot about how shapes and colors play together on a larger scale, especially on a building that's curved and not necessarily flat. "

Students learned about real-world pitfalls when working with the Omni team, said Scott, like the dangers of visual nuisances. Graphics that are too bright or moving too fast can be distracting and hazardous to drivers.

Students tweaked their projects several times before their public debut, he said, as the Omni team told the students what would and wouldn't work on the LED wall.

Yvonne Yu, a sophomore from Houston, is an arts, humanities and technology major at UT Dallas. She said she learned a lot in creating her project—about colors, shapes, using LEDs versus projection on a large-scale display, especially on a curved surface like the Omni.

She said she didn't know much about projection mapping before taking the class. Professor Scott advised her of the design capabilities and hands-on opportunities in the course.

"I enjoy creating designs,” Yu said, “like graphic design, product design. I really love hands-on projects.” She said she's interested in more design-based studies.

Downtown Dallas lighted skyline at night with a patchwork of neon-colored LED stripes on the Omni Dallas Hotel.
Andrew Scott
Andrew Scott
Engaging the community "is one of the things that we try to teach our students to do using technologies," said UT Dallas Professor Andrew Scott. "There are very few scale opportunities like this in the city of Dallas...This project is just mind-blowing."

Andrews said, "Back when we first opened in 2011, we put out a call to local artists, asking them to display their art in our hotel. Over 145 artists were chosen, and now their art is displayed in our lobby, guest rooms, and various areas throughout the hotel. The shows with UTD give the hotel the opportunity to bring local artists’ work to the outside of the hotel as well."

Omni Dallas Hotel LED display wall —"Cosmic Trailblazing: Comet Artistry takes over Dallas Skyline"
April 16-28 and April 30
8:30-11:30 p.m.

Senior in journalism at TCU, intern with KERA's Art&Seek