Arts and History

Commemorating JFK’s 50th Death Anniversary through Love and Art in Dallas

Commemorating JFK’s 50th Death Anniversary through Love and Art in Dallas
Bernadine Racoma

Dallas is planning to honor the 50th death anniversary of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy by displaying over 30,000 works of art in the streets. A motorcade is expected to take JFK’s route through downtown Dallas. Once labeled as the city of hate after the assassination of JFK in 1963, Dallas is expressing the change it has undergone over the past half century and initiated the Dallas LOVE Project to commemorate JFK’s 50th Death Anniversary.

Love is all around

It was on November 22, 1963 when JFK landed in Dallas Love Field from Fort Worth, Texas. Tragedy soon followed when he was fatally wounded from a headshot and was pronounced at 1:00 p.m. Since the incident, Dallas picked up the disparaging label, the “City of Hate,” which the nonprofit art organization “29 pieces” is trying its best to erase with the help of their Dallas LOVE Project. The main focus of the project is to let the world know that Dallas is actually a place where love is nurtured, cherished and shared. In line with the anniversary, the organization, together with volunteers will start to display works of art in the streets that vividly express love.

Heading the project as executive director is Karen Blessen, founder of “29 Pieces.” Karen believes that the project gives everyone the opportunity to feel the change that Dallas has gone through in the past 50 years. The nonprofit organization is also responsible for giving out lectures and seminars about Kennedy’s life and legacy when he was still president of the United States.

Art bombardment

Art pieces approximately 18 x 18 inches are going to fill the streets of Dallas very soon. They are being made by numerous artists coming from all walks of life and stature. Organizer 29 Pieces expects that the weeks to come are going to be very busy and exciting.

Almost everyone in Dallas is taking part in the upcoming commemoration of JFK’s assassination. Becky Crawford of Parish Episcopal School and director of experimental education and service learning will lead her students who will participate in the activity. She is also one of the people who are helping to place the wonderful works of art at Parkland Memorial Hospital where JFK was brought 50 years ago.

Changing times

Many things have changed over the past 50 years and Dallas is proving that it is not the city of hate it was once known for. If there were followers of Pres. Kennedy in the 60’s then there were also anti-Kennedys. Reports revealed that there were alarming events that happened weeks before Kennedy was shot, Adlai Stevenson who was JFK’s ambassador to the United Nations was besieged at a downtown auditorium by unknown elements. Days before JFK landed in Dallas, hundreds, if not thousands of handbills with the President’s picture and a note saying “Wanted for Treason” was disseminated and dispersed across the city.

Dallas in the 21st century is very different. People view the JFK incident as a reminder of what the city was like before and what it can become after years of healing and recovery. Today, Dallas sheds its dark past and looks forward to a future full of love.

Photo Credit: JFK

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