Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fair Park Deco by Jim Parsons and David Bush

I came in to the Press today and was greeted by this beautiful surprise! Fair Park Deco, finally in print! There’s nothing like seeing the final product of your labor, experiencing that moment of pride and the rush of excitement you feel, coupled with a sense of completion and relief. 

 If there’s one thing I’ve learned at TCU Press (and I’ve learned many things!), it’s that every project has its own set of issues. Fair Park Deco was the first full-color picture book I’d worked on – and let me tell you, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’d never worked on images, knew nothing about high resolution, pixilation, photo call-outs, photo credits, sources, or captions. I truly only felt competent in copyediting the text. Thankfully, Jim Parsons and David Bush had a great handle on all of these things. I was so lucky to work with authors that could teach and guide me along the editorial and production process. 

Tejas Warrior
Now here’s the worst confession of all. Though I was born and raised in Fort Worth, attended TCU, and have lived here all my life, I’ve never been to the State Fair. I’ve only seen Fair Park from I-30 as I drove through Dallas on my way to somewhere else. I felt like the worst Texan of all time as I worked on this manuscript. However, without ever seeing the “Texas Woofus” or any of the Art Deco art and architecture, I can say that this book and the authors’ passion for Texas history and preservation gave me a great respect and understanding for what Fair Park was in 1936 and what it is today: “the embodiment of Texan swagger…a testament to the Texanic task of creating a dazzling spectacle in the darkest days of the Depression.” My absolute favorite sculpture is Tejas Warrior by Allie V. Tennant, located in the Niche of Heroes at the Hall of State. I can’t wait to visit it in person!

This book includes 300 full-color photos taken by the authors as well as historical images. It is organized as a walking tour of the fairgrounds would be, beginning at the entrance and exploring the buildings and artwork. A map of the fairgrounds from 1936 is printed on the end sheets, and provides a sense of setting and relationship of the buildings for those, like me, who have never been there. The authors explain how Dallas became home to the Centennial Exposition, the purposes and designs of every structure, and the overall effect that the Exposition had on Americans, especially Texans, in the midst of the Great Depression. 

Fair Park Deco will be officially launched on November 8, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at the Hall of State, Fair Park. Many reviews have already been written on this extraordinary book, and links to all of them can be found on TCU Press’s Facebook page. Check out the book trailer below, and click here to order your own copy!
 --Rileigh Sanders

Fair Park Deco Book Trailer

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