John F. Kennedy: A Community Remembers is an exhibit commemorating the life and passing of our 35th President. The Bank Tower at Oak Cliff in Dallas will host the exhibit, which is free and open to the public. Historical memorabilia, art displays, and interactive exhibits will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas. The Bank Tower at Oak Cliff is located at 400 S. Zang Boulevard in Dallas (75208), a few blocks from the Texas Theatre and a short drive from downtown Dallas.


Bank Tower at Oak Cliff celebrates 50 years

The Bank Tower at Oak Cliff, which hosted the Kennedy exhibit last year, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. To commemorate the event, the Tower is exhibiting several items in the lobby, including a 1964 Chevy Impala (issued the year the Tower was built), a 1957 Cadillac El Dorado coupe, as well as artwork and other pieces celebrating the history of Oak Cliff and the Tower. Be sure to go by and check it out! The Oak Cliff Advocate ran a story on the exhibit, which you can read right here.

Unveiling Felix De Weldon's Kennedy bust 11/22/2013(VIDEO)

John F. Kennedy: A Community Remembers is honored to have the original JFK bust by noted artist Felix De Weldon on display. This is the first time the bust has been exhibited in 50 years, and we have video from this morning's unveiling.

Ralph Isenberg discusses the JFK Exhibit on KERA radio

Ralph Isenberg, who assembled and curates the John F. Kennedy: A Community Remembers Exhibit, was featured on Dallas area radio station KERA recently. Isenberg discussed his motivations for creating the exhibit and his hopes of what it will mean for the city. He also discussed the various highlights of the exhibit and the childhood meeting he had with then-Senator Kennedy.

Click here to visit the KERA website and read the story.

You can listen to the KERA radio interview with the audio player below.

Inside the Exhibit (Video)


Paul West has created a video featuring many of the exhibits on display at John F. Kennedy: A Community Remembers. Take a look.

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Felix De Weldon's original Kennedy bust on display Nov. 22

One of the most famous pieces of art associated with President John F. Kennedy will be on display for the first time in fifty (50) years at the Bank Tower at Oak Cliff. According to Ralph Isenberg, managing partner of the Bank Tower, “the effort to bring the bust of JFK began two weeks ago and only concluded last night. The owner of the bust, is from the upper mid-west and prefers to remain anonymous. The work is priceless but I imagine in an auction it would bring a seven digit price.”

Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy and Dave Powers, special assistant to President Kennedy, were given the task of selecting a sculptor for President Kennedy’s bust for the Kennedy Library after he left office. The pair took no time in selecting American sculptor Felix De Weldon “America’s Michelangelo”. Mr. De Weldon is perhaps best known for the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington DC and is the only sculptor to have at least one piece of art on all seven continents.

Mr. De Weldon accepted the assignment and had completed two sittings with President Kennedy in the White House. The bust that will be on display at the Bank Tower at Oak Cliff is a “national treasure” according to Isenberg who “hopes people unable to take part in the events downtown will join the tenants of the Bank Tower and see a real piece of history that may never be in Dallas again”.

After the assassination, the bust was moved to the private studios of Felix De Weldon. Mrs. Kennedy felt the urge to come to the studio about two weeks after the assassination and as De Weldon describes “in a very sad moment she pressed her gloved hands to the President’s lips trying to make his lips smile and also touched his hair”.

The work will be unveiled at 9:30 am to the music of the Bishop Dunne High School Marching Band that will be performing “Hail to the Chief”. The work of art will be on display until 7:00 pm and will be under the constant watch of armed guards. Unlike so many of the “official” events, the Bank Tower at Oak Cliff is conducting a community event that is inclusive of all walks of life. The bust joins an exhibit that has already been seen by over 10,000 people and will remain up for several more weeks. Isenberg proudly concludes that the final event of the day is an “immigrant pot luck dinner” that he hopes will be attended by several hundred future Americans. Tours of the JFK exhibit and explanations of the bust will be done in Spanish by the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment (ICIE).

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza features the exhibit

We are proud to announce that the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is featuring John F. Kennedy: A Community Remembers on their website listing events for the JFK 50th anniversary.

The Museum has been the focal point of the attention being paid to the anniversary of the assassination, and their website, JFK50thEvents.org, lists a number of local events marking the event. Our exhibit is featured on the site, and we appreciate their support by listing us. You can check out their page about the exhibit by clicking right here.

Mark Your Calendar with the November 22 Event at the Bank Tower!

On November 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, The Bank Tower at Oak Cliff plans to hold an event marking the day. The public is invited to all events, and this is the event schedule thus far:

EVENT SCHEDULE

9:00 a.m.  The Bishop Dunne Band will play outdoors (weather permitting) under the direction of Bill Rhyan.

11:30 a.m.  A JFK-related film will be shown in the Tower's Mock Courtroom.

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Exhibit tours will be conducted by curator Ralph Isenberg.

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  Exhibit tours will be conducted by curator Ralph Isenberg.

5:30 p.m.  Potluck Immigrant's Dinner 

For more information on the events and the immigrant's dinner, click here.

Dr. Walter Young visits the JFK Exhibit

Civil rights pioneer Dr. Walter Young recently visited JFK: A Community Remembers at the Bank Tower at Oak Cliff. Dr. Young and his brother, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, have been involved with the civil rights movement in the 1960s and continue to work on a number of civic projects.

Museum curator Ralph Isenberg also held a one hour interview with Ambassador Andrew Young, who expressed interest in having the JFK Exhibit go on display at Clark College in Atlanta in 2014.

Inside the exhibit: A part of Texas Theatre history


These letters, on display in the exhibit's memorabilia section, may appear mundane at first glance, but they are a significant part of the history surrounding November 22, 1963. These letters came from the marquee letters used at the Texas Theatre on November 22, 1963. 

Curator Ralph Isenberg discusses the exhibit

Ralph Isenberg of Isenberg Management Associates owns and manages the Bank Tower at Oak Cliff. He says his motivation to create "John F. Kennedy: A Community Remembers" began when he met Kennedy as a young boy in Saratoga Springs, New York. He admits to being a life-long fan, and the exhibit is an extension of that. "This is a labor of love to present the John F. Kennedy that I loved, and not focus on the conspiracy theories."

He says Dallas is in a position to be a part of the celebration of Kennedy's life, and shouldn't shy away from it. "Only Dallas can properly tell the story of this tragedy. We are in a unique position to be the preservers of history. This has been given to us and we have a chance to present it to the world. No other city is in such a unique position to tell the Kennedy story than Dallas. We are the torchbearer, more so than Washington D.C. or even Boston. We must take it and teach others. It is an awesome responsibility."

The exhibit is meant to present not just Kennedy as President, but Kennedy as a husband and father, and as a cultural transformative figure. "It is an awesome responsibility. This is a celebration of his life. He was perfect for the times. He was a phenomenal man."


Inside the Exhibit: Peaceful Reflection


Everyone is familiar with the Kennedy Memorial in downtown Dallas. Exhibit curator Ralph Isenberg wanted to expand on the concept of the Memorial to reflect on the life of Kennedy and reflect more of the emotional impact his death had on America. "Peaceful Reflection" invokes the look of the Memorial, but adds a personal touch with quotes from President Kennedy.


"Peaceful Reflection" also allows for visitors themselves to interact, by recording their thoughts and recollections of both national and personal tragedies. Visitors are asked to share their thoughts of not only the Kennedy assassination, but the Challenger disaster and the September 11 attacks as well.

Inside the exhibit: Dr. Giesecke's coat

On display in the exhibit is the coat, hat, and gloves worn on November 22, 1963 by Dr. Adolph H. "Buddy" Giesecke Jr., who was a doctor at Parkland Hospital and treated both President Kennedy and Gov. Connally.

The coat was obtained from Giesecke's family, and according to his son, Dr. Giesecke placed an EKG on President Kennedy in the emergency room. He noted the President was unresponsive and knew he would not survive. He then went to another emergency room to treat Gov. Connally.

Over the years, Dr. Giesecke received letters from around the world from both the curious and conspiracy buffs, asking him questions about his memories of that day.

Dallas' JFK Day seeks to make a difference locally

President John F. Kennedy once challenged Americans to ask themselves what they could do for their country. True to that spirit, a coalition of Dallas citizens wants to use the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination to make a difference in our community. On November 23, they are calling for a "Day of Service" at over 50 cites across Dallas county. For more information on the event, visit JFKDay.com, or visit their Facebook page by clicking here. You can follow their Twitter account here. Below is a video promoting the event.

Inside the exhibit: Artist John Stango

John Stango, an American pop artist in the vein of Peter Max and Andy Warhol, is one of the artists featured in our exhibit. A print of his patriotic take on Kennedy is on display in the Bank Tower lobby.

Inside the exhibit: The 1963 Living Room


Among the exhibits, you will find this representation of a 1963-era living room and television set, playing archive news footage of the assassination and the aftermath.

Visit the exhibit, and check out the Bishop Arts District afterward!

Looking to make a day of your trip to the JFK Exhibit at the Bank Tower in Oak Cliff? In addition to many fast food and sit-down restaurants options within walking distance of the Tower, the world-famous Bishop Arts District is a few blocks away! From the Tower, drive north on Zang to Davis, and turn left. You'll be right in the middle of the District! For more information on the Bishop Arts District, visit their website at BishopArtsDistrict.com.