Both immersive and engaging, Aurora is a platform for intersecting the local community with national and international artists in a way that is both compelling and personal.
“I’ve been living in Dallas for 9 years and never have I been to a cooler event than Aurora.”
The Dallas Morning News
For one night, every two years, downtown Dallas is transformed into an open air, urban playground of new media art: light, video, sound, performance, and projection on an unprecedented scale. The immersive exhibition showcases work by a confluence of local and international artists, selected by a team of established curators.
“Aurora is the biennial art event that puts all other art events to shame.”
Visitors are offered the unparalleled opportunity to see their familiar urban environment converted into an interactive site for some of the world’s most innovative contemporary art. Aurora’s aim is to liberate art from space and disciplinary confines, involving the general public and the international arts community in an inclusive and larger cultural conversation about artistic experience.
“Aurora completely pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the Dallas Arts District,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “It reshaped for the tens of thousands of people how art can be experienced, and demonstrated that the Dallas Arts District can be the perfect setting for events of this scope and scale.”
Aurora is the brainchild of artist Shane Pennington, spearheaded with co-founder and artist Joshua King, and co-founder Veletta Forsythe Lill. Aurora is presented by → AT&T Performing Arts Center, and supported by Presenting Sponsor Energy provider → Reliant and their returning Founding Media Partner → The Dallas Morning News. Additional significant sponsors and donors are being added and will be announced in the near future.
Aurora Co-Founder, Creative Director
→ Shane Pennington
Aurora Co-Founder, Executive Director
→ Joshua King
Aurora Co-Founder, Founding Executive Director of the Dallas Arts District
→ Veletta Forsythe Lill
Aurora, Director of Programming
→ Monica Salazar
Shane Pennington is a Dallas-based artist and co-founder of Aurora. The brainchild of Pennington, Aurora is the largest outdoor new media art festival in the U.S., which debuted in the Dallas Arts District in Oct 2011. In his art practice, his use of many media and textures, from painting and sculpture to digital video, allows for a diverse artistic language. The resultant works conjure an energy that reflects upon life, death and universal consciousness.
Pennington was a recipient of the ‘New Dallas Nine’ award from D Magazine and has exhibited internationally at the Paddington Contemporary Gallery in Sydney, Australia and at Sur la Montagne, Berlin. He also counts many world-recognized institutions and corporations among his collectors, including Alana in Sydney, The Gaedeke Group, Caldwell Cassady & Curry, TEDxSMU, Autonomy, The Regis Corporation, Dallas City Hall, Dallas City Performance Hall, and JP Morgan Chase, by whom he was commissioned to install his work in the lobby of their flagship tower in Dallas.
Joshua King’s artwork brings new intensity and expression to sought-after objects that are grounded within our relationship to the everyday. His love for life and culture within a community lead him to being one of the three co-founders of Aurora, a free and public contemporary art exhibition centered in the Dallas Arts District.
His personal exhibitions include materials that redefine the space in which they engender, including styrofoam, plaster, paper and hair. With influences from Fred Sandbeck, Sol Lewitt and Tom Friedman, Kings artwork challenges the viewer to pay attention and with the success of The Aurora Project the culture of Dallas is rapidly emerging to international heights. His photography received the grand prize in The Dallas Morning News ‘Show Me Your Dallas’ competition. His 2012 installation ‘Two Hydrogen One Oxygen’ was installed at Dallas City Performance Hall, for TedxSMU. King was raised in Lubbock, Texas; he lives and works in Dallas.
Veletta Forsythe Lill believes she has been fortunate to have had a front row seat to Dallas’ current renaissance. The founding Executive Director of the Dallas Arts District (2008–2012), former member of the Dallas City Council (1997–2005) and long time community advocate has played a role in the development of many of Dallas’ most high profile projects over the past 2 decades.
In 2008, the former chair of the city council’s Arts, Education and Libraries Committee, was tapped by the Mayor and arts organizations to create the Dallas Arts District, the umbrella organization responsible for advancing the collective interests of the nation’s largest urban Arts District. The organization was to be responsible for implementing broad marketing efforts, creating programming and fostering arts centric special events, such as Aurora, in the public realm. In 2010, according to an Americans for the Arts–Art & Economic Prosperity IV study, the arts organizations of the District generated $128 million of annual economic impact. The physical space was also listed in the world’s best selling travel book 1000 Places to See Before You Die (2011).
Over the past 20 years she has served on numerous boards from the Dallas Museum of Art to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her advocacy and leadership on behalf of arts, architecture and culture have been honored by the Dallas Contemporary, TITAS, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, AIA-Dallas, the International Interior Design Association – TX/OK Chapter, Texas Society of Architects, the American Institute of Architects and the American Planning Association.
Monica Salazar is a cultural organizer with over thirteen years of professional experience in corporate and arts-related marketing and event planning. As an avid traveller with an expansive network, her interest in bridging this body of professional experience with her passion for contemporary art led her to create Berlin Art Link, a marketing and events company based in Berlin, along with her business partner Anna Russ. Over the last 5 years, they have bridged the gap between artists and corporate clients to produced culturally dynamic event programming, branding, curated projects and video production for a variety of high profile and independent clients, including Saatchi Gallery, London; Monoqi, Berlin; Gucci, Milan; SodaStream, Tel-Aviv, Vice Media, New York; Independent Curators International, New York; Alserkal Avenue, Dubai and Aurora 2013, Dallas.
In 2010, Monica and Anna also created Berlin Art Link Magazine, which highlights some of the most intriguing and influential creatives and exhibitions around the globe. With correspondents in Berlin, New York, London, Los Angeles, Beirut and Istanbul, the magazine has served as a popular resource for discovering the best of visual art, design, music and film from a contemporary art perspective. Berlin Art Link Magazine was nominated for the German Design Award 2015 and for the LEAD Awards (German National Award) for ‘Best Online Magazine’ in 2013.