Newly opened Sweet Pass Sculpture Park offers art to all

The idea for Sweet Pass Sculpture Park was created by artist couple Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns about a year and a half ago while they were still living in New York. Once they relocated to Dallas and Johnson accepted her current position as visiting lecturer in sculpture at Meadows, the couple decided to open the show in Dallas. Sweet Pass’ inaugural exhibition “Getgo” is located in the Trinity Groves neighborhood at 402 Fabrication St. in Dallas. The exhibit will run through Dec 12.

Johnson, a Waco native and UT Austin alum, seems happy to return to her southern roots.

“It’s been great to have [the installation] come to fruition here in Dallas,” Johnson said.

The name, as co-creator Trey Burns described, is a playful take on the idiom “from the get-go.” It is fitting, as this is the couple’s first foray into a project of this kind.

The park focuses on showing objects and sculpture in an outdoor setting. The making of the park happened quickly. They acquired the lease for the land in early September to have it ready for the 2018 Art Walk West that took place Oct 20.

“I think it came together so quick because we had so much of it planned out. We had a proposal we were able to show the land owner and our ideas pretty well fleshed out, so we were prepared once the opportunity came about to get the lot,” Johnson said.

The exhibit features local Dallas artists, Texan artists, and even SMU students. Johnson’s sculpture class, most of whom are underclassmen non-art majors, collaborated on a piece.

“Trey had the really good idea to say why don’t we do a collaborative project with your intro to sculpture class,” Johnson said. “Everybody in that class is a freshman. There’s a couple older kids, but mostly freshman non-art majors [and] their first time working with a lot of the materials we’re working with in class. So it kind of fell into that idea of “Getgo,” to kind of be a monument to beginnings and first starts.”

Courtesy of Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns Photo credit: Tamara Johnson

The beauty of this installation is that it was not made solely for those well-versed in the art landscape. As Burns put it, you don’t have to know art to be interested. This makes the sculpture park much less intimidating to the public and regular folk.

“It isn’t technically public art because it’s not following those rules. It’s art for the public. We pride ourselves on being available to talk to people. When we had this art walk we had lots of people from the local community and people who were just out and about, you know maybe aren’t the typical art consuming crowd. That’s something that we want to cultivate too,” Burns said.

“It’s important to us to be able to set ourselves up to maybe work with people and community members that aren’t necessarily part of the ‘art world,’” Burns said.

Courtesy of Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns Photo credit: Tamara Johnson

This is just the beginning for the Sweet Pass Sculpture Park. Johnson and Burns hope to showcase even more work in the future. They have a lease on the land for the next two years.

“We had a lot of artists that were interested but didn’t have enough time to work with us this time, so we’ll hope to show them next year,” Johnson said.