Deep Ellum 150th Anniversary Celebrations in 2023

Deep Ellum 150th Anniversary
Deep Ellum Open Studios photo courtesy Deep Ellum Foundation

Deep Ellum, the storied cultural district of Dallas, will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2023. The Deep Ellum Foundation and other local organizations, businesses and residents have planned a year-long celebration with special events and openings.

On Jan. 19, the Deep Ellum 150th will kick off with a black-tie reception at the historic Pittman Hotel. Local organizations will host events celebrating the district’s history, arts, music, and entrepreneurial legacy in the following months. Highlights will include a parade honoring the district’s history as a Freedmen’s town in June, a music festival in October, and a storytelling summit with Deep Vellum, the local publishing house and bookseller, to wrap up the year in December.

150th Honorary Chair Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban has agreed to serve as honorary chair of the yearlong celebration for Deep Ellum 150th. Beginning in the 1980s, Cuban contributed to the revitalization of Deep Ellum by co-hosting the legendary “Warehouse Parties.” In 1995, Cuban co-founded (then Audionet) in Deep Ellum. Today, the Deep Ellum Cultural District is home to more than 400 businesses: more than 47% of which are independently owned and operated, and many have grown to serve the entire region and beyond. The latest venture supported by Cuban in Deep Ellum, Cost Plus Drugs, reaffirms Deep Ellum’s place as a key incubator of creative and entrepreneurial pursuits that change entire industries.

In true Deep Ellum fashion, the 150th will be a collaboration between such local groups as the Deep Ellum Foundation, Deep Ellum Community Association, Deep Ellum 100, Foundation 45, Deep Ellum Radio, The Dallas Mavericks, Preservation Dallas and Deep Vellum. Organizers also include both national brands and local business owners, residents, and property owners. Deep Ellum 100 has just recorded “The Sounds of Deep Ellum,” bringing together top talent in the district from over 100 applicants to honor the auspicious occasion. The record will be released on vinyl in 2023.

Deep Ellum 150th
photo courtesy Deep Ellum Foundation

“This incomparable district has given so much to the City of Dallas and all who’ve walked its storied streets and sidewalks over the last 150 years. It is incredible to see the entire community coming together to celebrate Deep Ellum’s unmatched history for this special anniversary year while working together to shape the neighborhood’s future as a continued mecca for creatives, entrepreneurs, and all comers,” said Stephanie Keller Hudiburg, Executive Director of the Deep Ellum Foundation.

Community Cultural Center

To mark the 150th anniversary, the Deep Ellum Foundation and Deep Ellum Community Association are partnering to open the Deep Ellum Community Cultural Center. The Texas Commission on the Arts is supporting the effort with a grant award of $137,500 – the second largest grant awarded in Dallas this year next to the Dallas Museum of Art’s. The Community Cultural Center will feature a history exhibit curated by the preeminent scholar on Deep Ellum and author of Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas, Dr. Alan Govenar.

Visitors will be able to listen to the music that made Deep Ellum in dedicated listening rooms and learn about the neighborhood’s evolution in the Center. The Center will also house local nonprofits, artists and Deep Ellum Radio.

Deep Ellum Named State Cultural District

Deep Ellum, officially named a state Cultural District in 2020, is also poised to win designation as a nationally recognized historic district featured on the National Register of Historic Places in 2023. As the birthplace of blues in Texas, Deep Ellum established itself as a place for creative visionaries. The arts have enlivened the neighborhood through the years as street murals, galleries and music venues have become staples of Deep Ellum. Beyond galleries and music venues, creative spaces have grown neighborhood-wide. Creative professionals seek out Deep Ellum as a place to establish and inspire their businesses as designers, producers, makers, photographers, and more.

Deep Ellum Open Studios
Deep Ellum Open Studios photo courtesy Deep Ellum Foundation

The Deep Ellum Cultural District is also home to more than 100 bars and restaurants and 150 murals. Deep Ellum is experiencing tremendous growth in residential and office development, doubling the units available to live in the neighborhood by 2023 while exponentially expanding opportunities to work in the district and enjoy all it has to offer.

The Deep Ellum Foundation operates as a nonprofit corporation, managing public and private funds within the community to advance the interests of the neighborhood as a whole and achieve a sustainable growth trajectory for the district.

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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.