Sweet Pass Sculpture Park is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization providing space and support for experimental and large-scale outdoor works by diverse contemporary voices. Founded in 2018 by Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns as an extension of their art practices, they envision this project as a permanent space for temporary projects. Geographically located in a one-acre lot in west Dallas, Sweet Pass exists in the gaps between ideas of gardens, green spaces, and public spaces while supporting contemporary art dedicated to site, experimentation, and community engagement.
Sweet Pass began on an empty lot in west Dallas to create opportunities for artists to show contemporary and experimental outdoor sculpture. Since opening our gates, we’ve produced over two dozen exhibitions and events, worked with over 100 international and local artists, and provided a pop-up space for students from local universities, schools, and youth organizations. We pride ourselves on providing logistical support like fabrication, transportation, installation, and documentation–and financial support in the form of stipends and production budgets. We have received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, TACA, Nasher Sculpture Center, and City of Dallas Office of Arts & Culture and partnered with numerous organizations, including Ignite/Arts Dallas, Cedars Union, SMU Pollock Gallery, Corsicana Artist & Writer Residency, Oaxaca Interest, and the Dallas Museum of Art.
In the winter of 2020, Sweet Pass conducted an open call for artists to participate in an experimental program centered on responding more deeply to place. After receiving more than 50 applications, we selected a group of five artists to visit Dallas and participate in a year-long program we called Sweet Pass Sculpture School (SPSS). The inaugural program centered on the Texas Blackland Prairie, the most endangered large ecosystem in North America (currently less than 1% remaining). Over two weeks in June of 2021, artists were guided on a broad survey of this lost prairie, exploring the embedded histories, hidden natures, and infrastructures in the region. Participants engaged in site visits, lectures, screenings, readings, and dinners - meeting with local cultural producers, thinkers, and experts to collectively explore the city of Dallas and the surrounding region. Over the subsequent year we collectively developed a culminating exhibition which was debuted at Sweet Pass in May of 2022.
About Tamara & Trey:
Tamara Johnson is a sculptor and educator currently living in Dallas, TX. Johnson graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007 and the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012 with an MFA in Sculpture. Johnson has exhibited her work at the Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX) The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City, UT), The Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX), ex ovo gallery (Dallas, TX), Grand Union Gallery (Birmingham, UK) and various spaces in NY such as Socrates Sculpture Park, The CUE Art Foundation, Wave Hill, Maria Hernandez Park, the SPRING BREAK Art Show, Air Mattress Gallery, Microscope Gallery, NURTUREart, Black Ball Projects, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Wassaic Projects and CR10 Arts. While living in New York (2012-2018) Johnson worked as a project manager for the Robert Gober Studio and public artist Janet Zweig. Johnson received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in conjunction with Wassaic Projects, the Meadows School of Arts at Southern Methodist University, the Santo Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, and the Brooklyn Arts Council.
Trey Burns is a lens based artist, educator, and writer. His work has recently been published in the Nasher Magazine, Southwest Contemporary, Holt/Smithson Foundation, and Burnaway. After receiving his MFA from the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2008, Burns has shown his work at the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture Paris, Malaquais Gallery (Paris, France) Pavillion Vendôme (Clichy-la-Garenne, France), Wassaic Projects (Wassaic, NY), Tartleton State University (Ft Worth, TX), ex ovo (Dallas, TX), The May Gallery (New Orleans, LA), The Hand (Queens, NY) and et al Projects (Brooklyn, NY). In 2020 he received an NEA grant with Tamara Johnson in conjunction with Wassaic Projects in New York and grants in 2020 and 2021 from the City of Dallas Office of Arts & Culture for Sweet Pass Sculpture School.