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NorthPark Center opened in Dallas in 1965, and over a half-century later it continues to be ranked as one of the top shopping destinations in the country. Nancy Nasher and her husband, David Haemisegger, own and oversee NorthPark, and exhibit art within the retail space, offering more than 26 million visitors a year a chance to interact with some 250 artworks. Nasher shared with Whitewaller what she learned about collecting from her mother, Patsy Nasher, details about hosting MTV RE:DEFINE at NorthPark this April, and more.
WHITEWALLER: What was it like growing up with parents who were major collectors? What understanding of art and artists did it instill in you?
NANCY NASHER: Art has been a part of my life as far back as my memory extends. The love of art was passed down to me from my mother, Patsy, who was the driving force behind my parents’ collection. All of my life I was in the fortunate situation to not only observe her decision-making process, one that came from a passion for research and study, but also to live with each of the masterpieces she acquired in our home and our outdoor gardens. My mother’s taste and acumen for collecting art was truly groundbreaking for her time, and, frankly, for any time. She only purchased pieces that moved her and “gave her butterflies.”
WW: When did you begin to collect personally? Do you have a vision for your collection?
NN: Over the past 40 years, my husband, David Haemisegger, and I have been collecting paintings, sculptures, and prints that move us personally. Our collection has grown organically, and we enjoy living and working surrounded by important artworks. For many of our acquisitions, we often consider how they would work at NorthPark, where we showcase works from our private collection on rotation.
WW: What is the relationship with art and commerce at NorthPark?
NN: NorthPark is not a typical shopping mall filled with commercial kiosks and visual clutter. Rather, it is a dynamic cultural town center and the only “shopping museum” in the industry. Like art museums, successful businesses strive to create meaningful experiences for their audiences. We do this by combining 230 of the nest retailers with the display of museum-quality art by more than 50 internationally acclaimed artists. NorthPark is a place where art, architecture, landscaping, culture, community, and commerce intersect to create powerful moments of discovery for our visitors.
WW: How have you elevated the art experience at NorthPark in recent years?
NN: A major focus of our arts programming at NorthPark is children’s education. In 2015 we created a partnership with Uplift Education, the largest charter school network in North Texas. This year, we will transport and host more than 6,000 students to NorthPark for art-focused field trips and learning opportunities as part of their required curriculum.
NorthPark is also pleased to continue its collaboration with the Dallas Art Fair to host six art tours of the NorthPark Art Collection. These tours and discussions are guided by notable members of the North Texas arts community and are free and open to the public.
WW: What are you looking forward to this April going on in the Dallas art community?
NN: NorthPark will host the 20th anniversary of MTV RE:DEFINE in CenterPark Garden on April 13, benefiting the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Dallas Contemporary and honoring the work of Tracey Emin. NorthPark will also present our third annual free Concert Under the Stars, showcasing the artistic excellence of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, led by the world-renowned music director and maestro Jaap van Zweden, in CenterPark Garden on April 21.