Friday, November 2, 2012

Totally Texas -- Serene beauty in suburbia

Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden

6616 Spring Valley Road (between Hillcrest & Preston)

Dallas, TX 75254


My daughter loves art. Her six-year-old sons like the great outdoors. How to keep active kids happy in the midst of fine art? Valley House Gallery in North Dallas, with its four-plus acres of serene gardens surrounding art both indoors and out.

My daughter and I scouted the location recently. We’d heard it was wonderful. And we’d driven past the wooded location on Spring Valley in North Dallas dozens of times, glancing at the modest sign, vowing to stop, someday.

Someday fell during a widely-advertised recent exhibition. She was off work, the boys were in school. We were in North Dallas anyway. Why not go? We wondered why we’d waited so long.

The gallery itself charmed us, filled with the dream-like landscapes of Robert D. Cocke. And my daughter, who’s crazy about mid-century modern architecture, longed to explore the 1950’s home of gallery owners Cheryl and Kevin Vogel. (Although the house, unlike the grounds, is private, some of the interior artworks are on view through the “news & events” link at

But the gardens were the wow factor. Paths of flagstones or crushed granite wind among native trees, around a small lake, and over a footbridge in a setting that feels miles instead of yards from the busy traffic on Spring Valley. It’s serene, green, and timeless, screened from the encroachment of development on each side.

Sculpture adorns the landscape, each enhancing the other. There’s also a list of current sculptures at the gallery’s website. But because the art is for sale, the list can change. A photo of one of my favorites from the recent visit, Deborah Ballard’s 2005 “Not-So-
Perfect World” illustrates this post.

The garden is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Call 972-239-2441 for possible holiday closings.) The exhibit of Cocke’s paintings closes this Saturday, November 3, but the gardens are worth a visit anytime you need a charge of serenity.

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