Dallas’ signature arts festival shines bright
When the Dallas Symphony Orchestra launched SOLUNA in 2015, the Dallas Arts District lacked a signature festival. In spite of its being the country’s largest contiguous arts district, the neighborhood rarely saw collaboration between its institutions. SOLUNA and its organizers hoped to rectify that. Now in its third year, SOLUNA, which runs through June 4, continues to expand beyond Flora Street, bringing international artists into dialogue with the local scene.
Previous iterations of the festival have included names like St. Vincent in collaboration with the DSO and last year’s Rules of the Game, a multimedia performance created by Jonah Bokaer, Daniel Arsham and Pharrell Williams. This year the festival’s theme is “Dreams and Illusions” and the focus is more local with collaborators including Dallas Contemporary, Crow Collection of Asian Art and Agence 5970.
Many of the events are mere expansions of work created by local groups and artists. One of the big events this year “Dallas Dreams Big” takes place at 6 and again at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 at the Latino Cultural Center. It’s a collaboration between Will Richey, who runs DaVerse Lounge, and Jamie Allen of the DSO. The performance brings gether the Young Strings and original spoken word pieces created during workshops at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center and the South Dallas Cultural Center.
Other big events include the multidisciplinary art project, Traveling Lady at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 1, in which Rossy de Palma (star of Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) will take on the role of Nellie Bly. Throughout the entirety of the festival, the Crow Collection hosts a soundscape by film composer Henri Scars Struck created to accompany the Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney exhibition.
Finally, the festival ends with Maestro Jaap Van Zweden conducting Prokofiev’s 5th Symphony, June 2-4. The performance June 3 includes a multimedia first act during which the audience journeys to World War II Soviet Russia.
When Anna Sophia Van Zweden crafted the festival’s inaugural year, she hoped SOLUNA would be the bridge between local artists and a broader global conversation. But she also had another goal that’s evident in this year’s offerings; she wanted the festival to reflect what makes Dallas different from every other city in the world. —Lauren Smart