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This Dallas Space Takes Yard Art To A New Level With Paper Altars 15

Terrain Dallas is a public exhibition space in Elmwood – a historic neighborhood in Oak Cliff currently displaying Paper Altars by Andrea Tosten

Terrain Dallas was started in 2014 by artist and educator, Iris Bechtol. The concept comes from Terrain Exhibitions in Chicago. The twist: the yard of a suburban home is the “gallery” showing site-specific, temporary installations by both established and emerging artists.

Photo: Terrain Dallas.

“It’s really accessible,” said Iris Bechtol, artist and founder of Terrain Dallas. “You don’t need a ticket, you don’t need an appointment to come. It’s really great for people to access it during COVID.”

Photo: Terrain Dallas.

Andrea Tosten is a local artist, bookbinder, and calligrapher. She uses origami skills and calligraphy to construct symbolic altars made of paper that lay flat on the grass and have different meanings and subjects.

“The individual altars, which reference her creole heritage and her identity as a Black/African-American woman, are informed by spiritual practices in Catholicism and Louisiana Voodoo,” according to the Terrain Dallas website.

Photo: Terrain Dallas.

Tosten”makes works on paper and installations that work to explore social constructs and binary thinking,” Bechtol said.

“It’s an outdoor space and these pieces are made out of paper,” Bechtol said. “One of the things I always talk to artists about is how viewers are going to engage with the artwork. And also to think about the weather and how it’s gonna change over time.”

Got a tip? Email Jessica Cross at You can follow her on Instagram @jessica.cross.

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