With Dave White’s piece Carter purchased from the artist’s live painting session during MTV Redefine in 2012
It’s 2 p.m. on a Friday afternoon in March and Clayton Carter has texted that I should look for a black hoodie and jeans.
“I’m kicking it casual,” he typed. I’m meeting the 27-year-old Arlington native at the Pearl Cup just south of the Arts District.
We sit outside in full view of the Dallas Museum of Art, where just a few nights before Carter dined with Cindy Sherman.
“What a lady,” he says, casually noting the photographer/model/artist’s short height and big smile. As Carter grows more
involved in the Dallas arts scene, encounters like this become more commonplace. “Hosting exhibits like hers are the best way
museums can really put Dallas on the map.”
Carter’s investment in the success of the Dallas arts scene developed from an investment in the city itself. Despite ma-
triculating at Pepperdine University as a vocal performance student, he graduated with a degree in business and moved home
to take a job at Freestone Resources Inc., where he quickly eased into the role of president and CEO. As Carter grows into
his position at the company, he is beginning to see a larger role for himself in the city, particularly the arts community. He is a
member of the DMA and the Nasher Sculpture Center and is very involved with the Goss-Michael Foundation.
“I am most interested in finding marriages between arts and charitable organizations,” Carter says, mentioning his involvement in Water-Thirst, a project dedicated to providing worldwide access to clean water. Carter believes he needs to hold himself to higher standards, particularly because he works in an industry that often fumbles social responsibility. “I’m focused on
projects with renewable energy and recycling fracked water,” Carter says. “I believe in running a successful business, but we
also need to value future generations.” These ideals are seen in his approach to the Dallas art world as well. He acknowledges
the importance that art played in his childhood and wants to draw out the inner art lover in all children. Though his parents
took him to museums and plays and encouraged him to join the choir, he realizes not everyone is that fortunate.
“I can’t paint; I can hardly draw a stick figure,” he says with a laugh. “I have so much respect for artists and I believe that
has changed my perspective on the world. In order for this city to grow, we’ve got to focus on the next generation.”