Perot Museum ads ruffle feathers south of I-30

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 11:07 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 17 at 2:35 AM

DALLAS — For several miles to the north of Dallas's newest crown jewel, banners trumpet its arrival. The signs note the grand opening of the Perot Museum, and remind potential patrons that memberships are available.

There are 100 of the banners hanging from light poles as far north as Preston Road and Royal Lane; as far east as Garland Road.

The ads appear in Preston Hollow, the Park Cities, Northeast Dallas, and Uptown.

But there's not a single banner hanging south of Interstate 30.

"Zero on MLK; zero on Camp Wisdom; zero on Lancaster; zero on Buckner in Pleasant Grove?" asked Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway. "Give me a break."

Longtime Oak Cliff businessman Ralph Isenberg noticed the absence of the marketing banners right away. His office is at Zang Boulevard and 12th Street in Oak Cliff.

"This is a busy Dallas intersection. Thousands of cars. And we're not deserving of a banner?" he asked. "There's something wrong."

"I've been in Oak Cliff 25 years and this feels like a slight," Isenberg added.

"There are so many places we'd love to have pole banners," said Perot Museum CEO Nicole Small. "We'd love to have them all over the city. We'd love to add them as many places as we can. But they are a small portion of our outreach effort."

Museum marketers purchased the locations based on visitor traffic to the museum's prior location in Fair Park. The banners are hanging in neighborhoods where most customers came from, marketers explained.

And there are now plans to add at least 12 banners to the southern sector of the city.

"I've already called them and expressed my interest in helping them identify wonderful streets throughout South Dallas for the banners," said Council member Scott Griggs. "The museum has the best of intentions. They told me this was about demographics. I live in Oak Cliff, and I know the people there. We all love museums."

"We've made a tremendous effort to make the museum as accessible to everybody who wants to come," Small said. "That's something we're really proud of. One of the things few people know is that we've given away a million dollars in scholarships to at-risk kids over the last three years."

The museum also offers field trips to inner city schools and free admission to teachers.

She said the banners are only a small part of the museum's initial marketing campaign. She promises more will follow.

"Things are constantly changing," Small said. "That's one thing we can guarantee."

Caraway hopes change comes soon.

"It's not about about North Dallas art versus South Dallas art, and that's what this appears to be," he said. "And we won't tolerate it. At all. Period."

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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