A pair of stone lions guard the entrance to the Crow building on Flora Street in Dallas. These sculptures, which originate from China, date back to the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. They are among the highlights of the Crow Museum of Asian Art next door to the Crow building.
The Crow Museum, located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District (2010 Flora Street) has evolved over the years from the private collection of Trammell and Margaret Crow. The Crows wanted to share their passion for Asian art and culture with Dallas citizens and visitors. The couple started collecting pieces in the mid-1960s’ during their travels to China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and India. The timeless pieces were displayed in the Crows’ homes and businesses. Eventually, the family hired the services of an art expert, who helped them select the best pieces for the museum.
Trammell Crow (1914-2009) was the founder of a highly successful real estate company that bears his name. He also built the Anatole Dallas Hotel and founded the Wyndham Hotel chain. Trammel Crow also took part in charitable and civic organizations, as well as serving on corporate and education boards. Margaret Dogget Crow obtained a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Texas at Austin and participated enthusiastically in civic, arts and education boards and activities.
In 2018, the Crow Museum marked its 20th anniversary with a multi-million-dollar expansion. A new wood-and-glass staircase connects the lower and upper galleries. The elevator is also new, as is the Pearl Art Studio, a creative space for workshops, classes and the like. The floor-to-ceiling windows on the second floor let in lots of natural light. As a result, the street movement and colors that come in through the windows overlooking Flora Street seem to be integrated into the galleries.
The museum’s mission is to “inspire and promote learning and dialogue about the arts and cultures of Asia through exhibitions, research and preservation of the collection,” according to the museum’s website. This is achieved by putting on special exhibitions, agreements with other museums, events, seminars, workshops and cultural classes.
The permanent collection encompasses historic and contemporary works of arts. Some of the highlights, both in the galleries and the sculpture garden, include a bell from the Edo period (Japan, 1615-1868), the Sweepers by Chinese artist Wang Shugang (2012), a pedestal bowl from Korea’s Three Kingdoms period (5th century), lacquerware objects, delicate Qing dynasty jade pieces and a Japanese rock crystal sphere.
The first floor includes the reception, the Avatars and Incarnations exhibition of Buddhist and Hindu art to the left of reception and the Samurai exhibition to the right. The second floor encompasses the art of lacquer and jade objects exhibitions, as well as an open and airy mezzanine with more displays, and a spacious room for temporary exhibitions.
Admission to the museum is free, although a suggested donation of $7 can be made in cash or by credit card. Opening hours are: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, and Thursdays from 10 am to 9 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays. ■