FOREST FORWARD INVESTS IN THE SOUTH DALLAS COMMUNITY
AND CONTRIBUTES TO THE FORWARD PROGRESS OF THE CITY OF DALLAS.
According to the Robert Wood Howard Foundation, your zip code predicts your life expectancy more than your genetic code. 75215 life expectancy is 67 years.
THE HISTORY of the Forest Theater
If these walls could talk…
Uniting Dallas-ites across generations and geographies, the historic Forest Theater has a rich diverse history. Located in the heart of sunny South Dallas, The Forest Theater was built in 1949 by Karl Hoblitzelle, the successful developer of the Majestic, Lakewood and Inwood Theaters. The Forest Theater shared the state of the art features as a one screen movie house seating nearly 1400 guests.
In the early 1950s, construction of the S. M. Wright (State Highway -175) began, causing the demolition of more than 1300 homes, bifurcating neighborhoods, and sparking white flight. The previously predominantly Jewish community was reshaped by redlining and segregated housing policies into a predominantly African American community. This drastic shift in population demographics caused the focus of the Forest Theater to change its offerings to black audiences to survive.
The Forest Theater became a mecca for art, music, and community gatherings. Legendary artists such as Tina Turner, Prince, Gladys Knight, and B.B. King performed for packed crowds at the Forest Theater. Local organizations utilized the space as a community hub for gatherings such as Girl Scout meetings, choir rehearsals, and voting rights campaigns.
Over the course of time, the Theater has gone through a number of closures and uses. It has served as a night club, a place of worship, an event venue, and more. Repeated unsuccessful efforts were made to rejuvenate the Forest Theater into an operating and sustaining venue.
In 2017, the Forest Theater was acquired and gifted by a philanthropic couple committed to equity in the arts and education. A local nonprofit, Forest Forward obtained ownership and has undertaken the responsibility for the historic restoration and expansive renovation.
THE FUTURE IS HERE
The Forest is a strategic initiative designed to bring healthy neighborhood revitalization to sunny South Dallas. Building on the vision of community stakeholders, and the transformation of the historic Forest Theater, The Forest works towards a just, healthy, and thriving South Dallas.
The Forest Theater harnesses the power of art and culture to align strategic partnerships to create equitable opportunities, generate revenue, promote entrepreneurship, and establish sustainable best practices.
Forest Forward takes a holistic approach, anchored in the restoration and expansion of the Forest Theater offerings, to sustain the interest, growth, and success of the neighborhood revitalization.