Mary Willis

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Contemporary Art

First Advisor

Betsy Thomas

Second Advisor

Maria Sancho-Arroyo


Despite its rich cultural landscape, robust economy, and burgeoning contemporary art scene, Dallas, Texas has yet to gain the recognition enjoyed by major art cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States and is home to some of the most distinguished art collections in the country, although it faces a significant gap in its art ecosystem. For instance, the absence of major commercial galleries, auction houses, and a cohesive local artist community has prevented the city from establishing itself as a leading art hub. This paper, therefore, aims to identify the factors that have shaped Dallas' art scene and those that have limited its growth. Additionally, it seeks to understand the impact of recent developments, such as the rise of the Dallas Art Fair and related initiatives, in actively shaping a narrative that could elevate Dallas to a more eminent position in the global art landscape. Furthermore, the paper will shed light on the ongoing transformative forces influencing the city's art market, creating opportunities for increased recognition as a prominent art city on an international scale.