Dallas College News Update


Danielle Trent's bench graces the State Fair of Texas.

Media Contact: Debra Dennis; DDennis@DallasCollege.edu

For immediate release — Oct. 10, 2023

(DALLAS) — Danielle Trent is used to fighting odds.

When her husband died unexpectedly last year, she knew she had to carry on with her own life, while steering her five children out of their shock. Left with no other choice, she got busy.​

Trent found purpose, support and the tools necessary to create at the welding lab at Dallas College’s Bill J. Priest Institute, where she has launched a career constructing industrial art pieces – including a bench that adorns the sculpture garden at the State Fair of Texas in Fair Park.

“It looks like a tree with motion and leaves,” said Trent. “Art is my therapy. We can heal through art.” This is not a traditional career for someone who longed to be a doctor. A former scientist, she took the medical school entrance test just before the COVID shutdown, and a series of events reordered her priorities.

Trent launched her own construction and remodeling business and is now among 30 female students in United Way Southern Dallas Thrives, which includes a trade program that works to expand the role of women in traditionally male-dominated fields.

Trent was already building fences and decks. She collected discarded furniture from her neighbors and repurposed it.

She added art created by welding to her repertoire.

“I’m coming to art late in life. I never dreamed I’d come to this. It is my therapy,” said Trent.

The city of Richardson commissioned this Danielle Trent sculpture.

Trent started welding by teaching it to herself after watching a trove of instructional videos on the internet. But she needed more.

She then worked alongside the welders at Bill J. Priest, who were eager to provide advice.

“That’s how I started,” she said “I wanted to be a surgeon, and this isn’t much different. This process requires critical thinking, passion and unwavering dedication. With art, I try to keep elegant design at the forefront.”

She found calm and purpose in the repetition and artistry of welding.

“You have to solve problems and think. It has some core competencies,” said Trent.

She spent a year fabricating outdoor furniture for Raising Cane’s restaurants. “If you sit on fabricated furniture at Raising Cane’s, I probably made it,” she said. She was commissioned by her hometown of Richardson to construct a tree in the parking lot of the Network of Community Ministries.

“That tree took four months. BJP has a CNC plasma cutter, so I cut out steel panels and welded them together. The equipment they have at BJP is necessary for creating monumental art.”

She has established a solid reputation by word of mouth and was hired to produce art for a master-planned community in Arlington that includes lakes and lots of natural space.

Danielle Trent stands alongside one of her giant, welded sculptures. She found calm and purpose in the repetition and artistry of welding.​

“The art community in Dallas is solid. We rely on each other,” she said.

Training under the Women in Trades Workforce Initiative, a collaboration of the Dallas College Foundation and United Way Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD), has helped her to produce high-quality work.

The initiative is committed to empowering women by providing top-tier workforce training in traditionally male-dominated fields, said Lori Jaide Watson, deputy director of the Dallas College Foundation. “Our focus is on preparing women for high-growth industries such as HVAC, logistics, masonry and other construction-related trades, which opens doors to promising career opportunities.”

Trent’s remarkable journey, characterized by her dedication and resilience, aligns perfectly with the values of Dallas College.

Danielle’s story sheds light on the transformative power of skilled work, inspiring determination and resilience. Her experience can serve as a guiding beacon for other women contemplating careers in similar trades.

Trent said she is grateful for the opportunities she has been afforded.

“This has been such a blessing,” she said.

For more information, please visit Women's Workforce Training.​​

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About Dallas College

Dallas College, formerly the Dallas County Community College District, was founded in 1965 and consists of seven campuses: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. Dallas College offers online learning and serves more than 125,000 credit and continuing education students annually. Dallas College also offers dual credit for students in partner high schools and early college high schools throughout Dallas County. Students benefit from partnerships with local business leaders, school districts and four-year universities, and Dallas College offers associate degree and career/technical certificate programs in more than 100 areas of study, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education. Based on annual enrollment, it is the largest community college in Texas.

About Dallas College Foundation

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, Dallas College Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 whose mission is to advance economic mobility for students in our community by channeling the power of philanthropy to lift Dallas College to new heights of innovation, equity and excellence. Since its creation in 1973, the foundation has raised more than $103 million in private donations and distributed more than $65 million in scholarships and grants to support thousands of students at Dallas College.