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    Performance as Gesture
         Songs for a City Park
                       Sunday, 5:00 to 7:00pm, October 25th, 2015
                       Japanese Garden, Kidd Springs Park

                       711 W. Canty St., Dallas, TX 75208

                            Spring Lantern, a two-ton granite stone lantern sent by the Japanese
                            Emperor’s government to A Century of Progress, the 1933 World’s
                            Fair in Chicago, is now installed in Kidd Springs Park. 1979 photograph
                            courtesy of Dallas Municipal Archives.

                      Performance as Gesture: Songs for a City Park is a socially-engaged, research-based public artwork
                      by Cynthia Mulcahy that culminates in an evening of musical performances on Sunday, October 25th,
                      set amidst the historic Japanese Garden of Kidd Springs Park, a public city park located in the North
                      Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. Performance as Gesture is intended to recognize the rich cultural and               
                      civic history of the public park’s Japanese Garden, originally established in the late 1960s. The artist-led
                      public art project is funded by a new artist grant from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.

                      Research in public municipal, museum and library archives in Dallas and other cities as well as oral
                      interviews with park visitors conducted by Mulcahy have revealed not only a lively history of citizen use
                      of the public gardens at Kidd Springs Park, but also the surprising provenance of several of the Japanese
                      artifacts now residing there. As it turns out, this public city park has quite an engaging story to tell.

                      A ten-foot tall, two-ton granite stone lantern now residing in Kidd Springs Park was sent by the Emperor
                      of Japan's government for the Japanese pavilion of A Century of Progress, the highly successful World's
                      Fair held in Chicago in 1933. Two stone Buddha statues in Kidd Springs have been identified as 18th
                      century, possibly older, Japanese artifacts that came from the collection of George Turner Marsh, a San
                      Francisco Japanese antiquities expert whose collections established two of the oldest and most important
                      Japanese gardens in the United States: the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco
                      (the oldest public Japanese garden in America) as well as the Japanese Garden at The Huntington Library,
                       one of America's great museums and botanical gardens in San Marino, just outside of Los Angeles.

                      All of these Japanese antiquities and others were collected in the 1920s and 1930s by Ethel Buell, an
                      Oklahoma oil heiress, for her private garden in Muskogee. By a stroke of good fortune, Buell’s collection
                      was offered to the Dallas Park and Recreation Department after Buell’s death in 1964 by her daughter,
                      Betty Buell Bradstreet, who, for admitted sentimental reasons, wanted to see her mother’s Japanese
                      collection stay together. Through a monetary gift from Oak Cliff citizens Dr. & Mrs. Jack Edwards, the
                      Dallas Park and Recreation Department was able to acquire the private collection for a public city park for
                      an unusually low sum in 1966.
                      Since the public dedication in 1971, Kidd Springs Park’s beloved Japanese Garden has been over the
                      decades the site of moon-viewing parties, Japanese tea ceremonies, neighbors' daily strolls, couples
                      courting, even guerrilla weddings and, today, the Japanese gardens remain a vibrant public green space 
                      frequented by many admirers.

Left: Portrait of Oklahoma oil heiress Ethel Buell (c. 1920s), whose collection of Japanese antiquities now resides at Kidd Springs Park because of the efforts of her daughter,
        Betty Buell Bradstreet (young woman in right photograph with her mother c. 1930s). Photographs courtesy of Liz and Rob Mulford. Middle: 18th century Buddha in Kidd Springs
        Park, Dallas (1979). Courtesy of Dallas Municipal Archives.

                     On Sunday, October 25th, an evening of musical performances to celebrate and honor the history of the
                     Japanese Garden at Kidd Springs Park will include songs performed by a Japanese taiko drumming group,
                     Dallas Kiyari Daiko, and, in the Oak Cliff neighborhood’s musical tradition, an award-winning North Texas
                     mariachi group, Mariachi Jalisciense. The performance is also a lament for what has since disappeared from
                     the park (rumored to have been stolen, damaged by fire and deterioration, or perhaps put in storage) including
                     an irreplaceable Japanese Edo Period Buddhist temple bell (1773), an enormous torii gate once installed in the
                     park’s lake and an intricate bridge that spanned the creek. Both the torii and the bridge were built based on
                     the famous originals in Miyajima and Nikko by expert Japanese craftsman and shipped from Japan to Ethel
                     Buell’s Oklahoma garden in 1928.

                     Performance as Gesture: Songs for a City Park will begin at twilight on a Sunday evening, October 25th,
                     in Kidd Springs Park’s Japanese Garden. The entire two-hour event from 5 to 7pm is free to the public.
                     A printed map detailing the history of the Japanese Garden (with a Spanish translation) will be available at
                     Sunday's performance and afterwards inside the park’s recreation building for self-tours.

                     About the Grant

                     The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs inaugurated a new artist grant in 2015 to support Dallas-based
                     artist-led public art projects. Artist Cynthia Mulcahy was recently chosen as one of five artists to receive the
                     inaugural round of OCA Cultural Projects Program Special Support Grants for her socially-engaged public
                     artwork proposal for Kidd Springs Park. Additional monetary support provided by Judy Vetter and David
                     Durham. Translation services provided by Intercultural Translations.