Artfully Green


Reduce, reuse, and recycle. As Earth Day rolls around, we’re reminded of our impact on the environment. But what are we doing at the Dallas Museum of Art to be green? Uncrated went on a search to find out.

Each year, over half a million visitors step through the Museum’s doors, and our large building is 500,000 square feet, taking up two city blocks in downtown Dallas. Our global collections span over 24,000 works of art, and we produce an average of eighteen exhibitions each year. We have an underground parking garage, a cafe, a store, and over two hundred employees.

With this large footprint, we were excited to find out about some long-standing practices and a few new ones that the DMA is using to reduce its impact on the environment:

  • Three years ago, The City of Dallas and the DMA retrofitted the building’s entire energy management systems in order enhance energy efficiency. Efforts included replacing our boiler and chillers, adding eco-friendly light bulbs, low flow toilets and water fixtures throughout the museum. As a result, utility consumption has been reduced over 50%.
  •  The Museum has a water management system throughout the building. It is a smart system with rain sensors for our hardscape and landscaping.
  •  We added healthier, more drought-tolerant trees along the Museum bordering St. Paul Street.
  •  All chemicals and cleaning agents used at the DMA are eco-friendly.
  •  DMA employees are offered a discount to ride the DART system to work. There is a bicycle rack located on Ross Avenue Plaza.
  •  When layouts of our galleries are changed for new exhibitions, we reuse studs and building materials. All crates and art packing materials are reused and/or recycled.
  •  The DMA participates in a recycling program with the City of Dallas. The profits the City makes are sent into the general fund for City programs such as Park and Recreation projects and Fire Department equipment.
  •  All copy paper used at the Museum has a minimum of 30% post-consumer waste content.
  •  All of the printed materials produced by our Creative Services team are printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper, using an FSC-certified paper distributor, and 95% of the commercial printing (100% local) that the Museum does uses an FSC-certified printer.
  •  The admission tags that visitors receive when they visit the DMA are collected and reused. Look for boxes at the Visitor Services Desk to recycle your tag when leaving.
  •  The Museum Store features products from many local artists and craftsman and also has a wide variety of eco-friendly products.
  • Our cafe uses compostable or biodegradable disposable containers and recycles all plastic, glass bottles, paper, cardboard, wine corks, and cooking oils. This summer, we will begin working with a food composting company.
  •  The cafe menu consists of locally purchased organic produce, sourcing through local vendors within a two hundred-mile radius. Soon, the cafe will implement new infused water stations and glass-bottled waters, phasing out plastic-bottled water.

The DMA is working with the U.S. Green Building Council to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for these efforts. We hope to have our designation by August 2011.

For a selection of works on view at the Museum that incorporate recycled materials, visit our sister blog, We Art Family, for their Earth Day post. And for eco-friendly activities, emerging green technology, and thought-provoking ways to think, work, and live green in Dallas, join us today and tomorrow in the downtown Dallas Arts District for the free Earth Day Dallas Festival (the DMA will have FREE admission on Saturday, April 23, 2011!). To reduce your carbon footprint, ride DART to Pearl Station and walk to the Arts District.

Happy EARTH Day!

Mandy Engleman is the Director of Creative Services at the Dallas Museum of Art


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