Behind the Corporate Door at Carrington Coleman: an Art Tour

 In Blog

Art is an attitude toward life. If you aim your work and your life high, keep your scene harmonious, then you’re an artist and your life is art. Gage Taylor

Mary Vernon and Stephanie Chambers discuss Nic Nicosia’s famous photograph, “Real Pictures #11”

On August 23, 2012, Mary Vernon, Professor of Art and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, Southern Methodist University, and Stephanie Chambers, Director of Marketing for Stephen B.Chambers Architects (former Director of Community Relations and Curator of the Carrington Coleman Art Collection) led Business Council for the Arts (BCA) members on an exclusive tour of the Carrington Coleman modern art collection. Guests gained a sneak peek of the high points of the private art collection of one of Dallas’ leading legal firms. “Behind the Corporate Door” allows employees of BCA member companies a unique opportunity to join curators, executives and educators to go beyond the reception area and see art collections that influence, inspire and educate.

Carrington Coleman is a nationally recognized Dallas law firm with national, regional and local clients. In the legal arena there’s an art to envisioning solutions where others see problems. This is the spirit in which Carrington Coleman approaches their profession. It is also the method the firm used to re-configure and style their three-story office space in the Bank of America Tower. There is a somewhat monochromatic museum-like palette in the offices which allows the art to take center stage. It was overheard by many visitors on this evening that, “this art and space to display it might be envied by many museums.”

A clock made in prison of matchsticks by mentally challenged outsider artist, Alberto Valdez, as a gift to Carrington Coleman for pro bono efforts on his behalf.

The 3-dimensional lithograph, “Charlie Chaplin” by Red Grooms

From the beginning, the Carrington Coleman founding partners wanted a different kind of law firm. So, when it came to obtaining art, selections were made not for mere decoration, but rather works of aesthetic quality that invite thoughtful reflection, and in some cases, humor. The firm chose work that appealed to them. It was not a collection generated by the taste or interests of a professional art buyer. A conscious effort was made by the partners to create a distinctive space in which to work. Aware that from time to time law offices move, the partners selected art that would retain its integrity in various settings. They chose late 20th century works of both cutting-edge and up-and-coming artists. Contemporary images from the 1970s to the present day graciously line hallways, offices, and conference rooms of the firm.

In the words of Bob Blumenthal, one of the two original members of the informal art committee, “We wanted a departure from the art that was stuffy and dark, like the etchings and lithos of mallard ducks and thoroughbred horses that adorned the offices of places where we first practiced law.”

The partners involved in the ‘art committee’ have changed over the years, but the idea of a cheerful, modern, and creative environment in which to work and counsel clients, has remained. The firm believes that seeing Red Grooms’ Charlie Chaplin in the office space sets them apart from most of the other law offices and reflects the spirit and nature of the firm and the way that law is practiced: artfully.

In gallery, below, are photos from the art tour at Carrington Coleman, in their offices in the Bank of America Tower at 901 Main Street in Dallas.

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