Friday, July 10, 2015

Tennant and the 1936 Dallas Aquarium

The 1936 Dallas Aquarium where Allie Tennant did the mural over the entrance way
and also the seahorse sculptures along the exterior walls
Planning for the Centennial Exposition at Fair Park included the construction of an indoor aquarium for the City of Dallas. This new facility would replace a smaller public aquarium previously located in the Dallas Gas Building which was operated by the Dallas Aquarium Society. Planned in late 1935, several architects worked on this building, including Thomas Broad who was a friend of Allie Tennant. They had worked together at the Dallas Art Institute. Broad awarded Tennant a commission to execute a maritime-theme mural inside the entrance portico, seen in the above image from 1936. Tennant also sculpted the seahorse bas reliefs seen above in the upper part of the inserts along the exterior walls. Thirty years later, when a new wing was added to the building, craftsmen carefully made new seahorses to match those crafted by Tennant. This building is still a public aquarium. It underwent an 8 million dollar renovation in 2010.

A portion of the Aquarium mural as it appears today