Deep Ellum is notorious for its live music scene, which really picked up in the 1920s with jazz and blues musicians. It served as a hotspot for many bands to launch or catch their big break in the 1980s, and the rich tradition of music is very much alive today with tons of venues and even a few recording studios in the area.
This is also a great place for artists to come forward and showcase their talents. There’s an annual Deep Ellum Arts Festival held on Main Street, with bands and food, that celebrates hundreds of artists who come to display (and sell) their creations every year. And if you can’t make it in time for the festival, the Deep Ellum Art Park is available year round for people to check out the work of local artists in the form of open air murals. And the community’s Bark Park, a dog-friendly haven, has pillars that are soon to be painted/decorated by local community artists too. There is a huge appreciation for creativity here, and the community takes group consciousness a step further by raising mental health awareness for musicians and artists through their annual event, 45 Fest.
Whether or not you’re artistically/musically inclined, everyone belongs; commitment to the community and its members is a deeply-held value around this area. Take, for example, the Deep Ellum Urban Gardens: a place where residents can grow their own produce, come together and build relationships as fellow community members, and appreciate beauty. Land permits have been obtained, blueprints have been created, and soil testing has been done, all by volunteer work—and ongoing stages of the project will continue to be fueled through people’s donated efforts and time. Volunteers are also working to help make this district more sustainable, and there’s a monthly Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, geared toward promoting local (yet diverse) talent, businesses, and products. If you’re a community-oriented person who wants to jump right in to join the group, this is the place to be.
Past concerns about Deep Ellum have included perceptions of a high crime rate, but in recent years there have been new developments going on as part of a larger effort to improve the area. These have included the development of large scale residences and the repaving of streets and sidewalks to improve parking space and walkability. Deep Ellum might not be the shiniest part of Dallas, but it offers a straightforward, real environment that encourages finding (and living) your own bona fide expression.