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Past SPE Annual Conferences

Free Webinar: Texan Polly Smith: Fair Park, Photography and the Texas Centennial

Join the Dallas Historical Society, Dallas Center for Photography and the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, for a fascinating live online event with wide appeal; from enthusiasts of Texas history, photographic history and processes, women photographers, Depression-era works, and Dallas' National Historic Landmark, Fair Park. The webinar takes place on Thursday, October 15 at 6:30 pm CT. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.

In 1935, a young Texas photographer named Polly Smith was commissioned by officials of the 1936 Texas Centennial to travel around the state and make a series of photographs capturing the people and places that made Texas unique. The images were to coincide with the 100-year celebration of Texas' independence, and was the first time photography would be used as a promotional medium for the State of Texas. A select group of those photos were printed using the unique orotone process and have been hanging in the Hall of State at Fair Park in Dallas ever since. This year, the Hall of State is undergoing an extensive $14 million interior and exterior renovation. The Polly Smith prints have suffered degradation over the years and, to prevent further deterioration, should be preserved. Not part of the overall Hall of State remodel, efforts are being made to acquire grant money to preserve all 18 of these beautiful and historic prints.

The history of Polly's early Texas Centennial photos is tightly woven into the history of photography, women as commercial artists and the history of Texas and the City of Dallas. Join us for a fascinating webinar that will take us back to 1936, the work of an intrepid photographer, and the huge Texas Centennial celebration that gave us Fair Park. Learn about the renovation of the Hall of State and the orotone process used to make the unique prints.

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