Hilton Park Cities Goes ‘Modern Cowboy’

Jon Flaming’s work gives hotel distinct Texas vibe, personality

The Stray, a large painting from Texas artist Jon Flaming’s Modern Cowboy series, welcomes guests to the Hilton Dallas Park Cities.

It’s one of 18-pieces installed in the Preston Center hotel to help guests feel they are in Dallas.

“I think the frequent criticism of most large, branded hotels is that if you’re walking through the lobby or staying in the guest room, you could be anywhere,” said Woodbine managing partner T. Dupree Scovell. “There’s rarely a true sense of identity that gives you a sense of place for where you are.” 

“To have that Texas look and feel and brand but in a way that’s not expected – that’s really the whole goal for me with the series called Modern Cowboy that I created three or four years ago was to reimagine the Western art genre,” Flaming said. “Some of my earlier work was more impressionistic. I think with the Modern Cowboy, it’s going to be more influenced by cubism and primitive and modern and contemporary and folk art.”

Specifically, The Stray is a homage to artist Otis Dozier’s 1976 painting Stubborn Maverick

Woodbine Development’s investment arm Woodbine Legacy Investments acquired the 224-room Hilton Dallas Park Cities in 2017. Dupree’s father, John, co-founded Woodbine Development with Ray L. Hunt in 1973. The Hyatt Regency with the landmark Reunion Tower was one of the company’s early projects. 

The real estate development company now operates 1,500 hotel rooms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“What Woodbine has tried to do is … take after the personality of the city that we are in to try and really create that sense of place,” Scovell said.

He’s long had his eyes on Flaming’s work, first learning of it through his mother, Diane, who’s collected the artist’s work for 15-20 years.

“My mom started collecting his art because he did these kind of iconic images of Big Tex at the State Fair, and our family has been involved with Fair Park for, I would imagine, over 100 years or something because my grandfather and his affiliation with the Cotton Bowl,” Scovell said.

So, when Scovell started thinking about art for the hotel, he immediately thought of Flaming.

“When Woodbine bought this hotel, and I saw kind of how disconnected the art was,” Scovell said, “I called Jon right away and just said, ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea. I don’t know if I can afford to have that many of your works in our lobby, but why don’t you come take a look at it and see if you kind of have the same vision I do?’”

“The goal here was to create a very cohesive look with the art,” Flaming said.

The pair walked the property and came up with an installation of pieces that showcased iconic Texas imagery. They began talking about the project in 2019, and the last piece was installed in the fall of 2021.

Eventually, Scovell hopes to add more of Flaming’s work throughout the property. They’ve also talked about a coffee table book highlighting Flaming’s photography.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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