You know, when it comes to any discussion of the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, one of the first questions we get after “Where can I find my seat?” is the inevitable expression of concern about parking. We’re going to undergo a period of adjustment--no doubt about it--when patrons accustomed to parking for performances free of charge have to decide where and how much to spend…or, conversely, whether and how much they’re willing to walk.
Well, I’m relieved to report that this isn’t merely a local phenomenum. The Windy City’s parking prices and problems have had a chilling affect on the arts. I particularly enjoyed the Chicago Tribune’s musings about whether arts patrons are willing to walk several blocks at 10:30 at night--in a town where virtually everyone relies (to a greater or lesser extent) on mass transit! Sound familiar?
Nevertheless, there’s an important point to be made: As a city, we can’t afford to make it difficult, irritating, wearing or exceedingly expensive for patrons to get to and from an event or performance without risking both present--and future--audiences. That’s the sort of thing that could have a chilling affect on the local economy even in summer’s triple-digit temperatures. I keep thinking that Norman Foster, who contributed the winning design for London’s new signature double-decker busses, should construct a few extras to move patrons throughout the Dallas Arts District, day or night.
In Winspear Red, of course.
(Photo courtesy of oddpicz.com)
Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera