BY ALEX EDWARDS, DALLAS INNOVATES, MAY 19, 2021
The Foundry District in Fort Worth is living up to its reputation as one of Forbes’ 15 best places to experience art in the United States: M2G Ventures, a real estate investment and development company, has unveiled a major lineup of immersive experiences and placemaking initiatives debuting all summer.
As M2G Ventures’ hallmark development project, The Foundry District is in the midst of a revitalization centered around providing DFW residents and out-of-town tourists with “extraordinary experiences that elevate the unexpected.” The intent is to show Cowtown—and the rest of the country—that the Foundry is a place where the city’s reputation can be shaped.
Nestled inside the area, which sits inside Fort Worth’s Cultural District, is a collection of 98,782 square feet of redeveloped mid-century warehouses. There’s also everything from dining and nightlife to creative offices and retail.
Anchoring it all is Inspiration Alley, more than 4,600 square feet of vibrant, ever-changing outdoor murals that make for Texas’ largest outdoor art gallery. Known as a destination for art lovers, the more than 60 pieces lining the walls of The Foundry were each hand-selected and commissioned with a purpose.
That is set to be the canvas for various short-term integrations that aim to show visitors a first-of-its-kind metro experience.
As part of M2G’s plans to enhance the visitor experience in the district, Inspiration Alley itself is getting an expansion. The area will now house a walkthrough from Carroll Street to Vacek Street and more murals from local artists.
And, inside Inspiration Alley will be the first of M2G’s selection of curated touchpoints, set to roll out through 2021: The Sweet Tooth Motel.
The Sweet Tooth Hotel is an Instagrammable hot spot that permanently sits in Dallas’ Victory Park. The 5,000-square-foot experiential art venue and bar, founded by husband and wife duo Cole and Jencey Keeton, plays host to some of North Texas’ most innovative creators with its rotating thematic exhibits.
Currently on display is Intangible, the fourth immersive installation, which features an all-female curation of some of the top fiber artists in the country. It includes more than two million feet of yarn.
The Sweet Tooth Motel will be a taste of that.
On June 5, The Foundry is welcoming a portable, miniature pop-up concept inspired by Jencey Keeton’s success. Keeton, who is also the creative director for the hotel, collaborated with M2G, led by Fort Worth sisters and twins Susan Gruppi and Jessica Miller Essl, for The Foundry Sweet Tooth experience.
“The Foundry has been a place where tastemaking brands are laying down roots while immersed in culture so our choice to double down on the success and bring new art and events to The Foundry was a simple one to make. Our team understands that inspiration, beauty, and connection are possible through art, innovative ideas, and curious conversation and that is something that will carry us into the next phase of our city’s expansion.”Jessica Miller Essl, M2G Ventures Co-President
According to the M2G sisters, art is a primary pillar of The Foundry’s foundation. Taking this step—by prioritizing the community’s experience and the unique offerings rather than just the buildings’ development—represents a “continued bold vision” for culture, placemaking, and the district’s expansion.
“The moment for growth and reestablishing connections is upon us,” Miller Essl said. “From the early stages of The Foundry, we realized that the district became a sort of beacon for innovative businesses and patrons seeking something new.”
Also new to The Foundry is a partnership with Fort Worth Bike Sharing. The collaboration means the area will now be home to a new cycle station, the company’s fleet of specialty bikes, and new ‘unicorn’ cycles, which integrate designs by M2G Ventures Chief Creative Officer Katie Murray.
Fort Worth Bike Sharing additionally plans to host curated events that start and end in The Foundry.
“Our hope is that this new expansion will excite and spark new energy among our neighbors and community while continuing to put Fort Worth on the map for innovation,” Miller Essl said. “This launch is just the beginning of what we have planned for 2021. We decided to set our plans into motion with a focus on art, but this phase is the first of many exciting placemaking initiatives that will include landmark signage, district-wide wayfinding, Fort Worth bike share partnership, anchor tenant expansions, with more details coming over the next few months.”