CentralTrak Enters New Season With New Director

Centraltrak, a Deep Ellum artist residency and gallery that is part of the UT Dallas School of Arts and Humanities, has appointed Heyd Fontenot as its new director.

Fontenot studied radio-television-film production at UT Austin. He has more than 25 years’ experience in film production, including his most recent role as field producer for the History Channel’s Swamp People.

Heyd Fontenot

Heyd Fontenot is the new director of CentralTrak.

“CentralTrak’s environment and community of practicing artists creates quite an effect on what an artist makes and how they make it,” Fontenot said. “When you’re away from your ‘daily life’ and able to focus solely on your studio practice, an artist has a real chance to dig in.” 

Fontenot, who came to CentralTrak as an artist in residence, recently co-curated The Gun and Knife Show at the gallery. Now, he looks to lead the program.

“I think CentralTrak can really contribute to Dallas’ cultural legacy. Dallas has a very strong and tight-knit art community,” Fontenot added.

A few artists will be completing their tenure at CentralTrak this month, inviting new residents in. Gabriel Dawe, is moving out after completing his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Arts and Technology at UT Dallas. Dawe was recently chosen for First Look III, an exhibition at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in New York.  Curators browsed more than 2,000 studios at more than 30 colleges and universities to select 12 artists for the show, which showcases the top MFA student work.

Cassandra Emswiler is also moving out of CentralTrak this month after finishing her MFA. “My stay at CentralTrak was positive for many reasons,” Emswiler said.  “When I arrived in 2009, I was focused on painting and drawing, and looking back, my move into Centraltrak gave me permission to rethink everything. I’m now concentrating on photography and installations of domestic and architectural materials.”

Emswiler is producing a site-specific sculpture for an exhibition at Eugene Binder Gallery in Marfa, Texas, which will open in October.

CentralTrak Fall Schedule

  • Liquid Analog – El Franco Lee II
    Sept. 10 – Oct. 8
  • The Pedalto Institution for Incorporated Art – Curated by Tom Russotti; Brooklyn, NY
    Oct. 15 – Nov.12
  • One Song, Three Composers – Shannon Novak; Auckland, NewZealand
    Nov. 19 – Dec. 17
  • Aesthetics Performance – Tom Russotti
    December, date has yet to be determined

Beginning in September, a new exhibit will open at CentralTrak every month during this fall semester. Receptions are held 6-8 p.m. on the opening date of each exhibition. All exhibitions and receptions are free to attend.

The season begins with a show from CentralTrak’s newest resident, El Franco Lee II. Liquid Analog is a display of Lee’s “Urban Mannerist Pop Art.” His socially reflective paintings confront controversial and unsettling subject matter—including the tragedies of post-Katrina New Orleans. In addition to acting as a 21st-century historical painter, Lee creates fantasy images that are visual mash-ups of popular entertainers, super heroes and contemporary sports figures.

The CentralTrak gallery and residency are both located at 800 Exposition Ave. in the historic neighborhood of Deep Ellum, near downtown Dallas. For more information, check the CentralTrak website or call (214) 824-9302.

Graduates from the Gallery

Artist in residence GaBriel Dawe is leaving CentralTrak after completing his Master in Fine Arts degree at UT Dallas.  Above:  Dawe's work Torres de Satélite was made out of thread, painted wood and hooks. (Photo by Kevin Todora)


Cassandra Emswiler is moving out of CentralTrak, also after completing her MFA. Above: Her work The Master Bath  was made with spray paint on pine, brass hinges and wallpaper remnants.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].