DALLAS (SMU) — The Meadows Foundation has pledged a total of $33 million to the Algur H. Meadows School of the Arts and its Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University. This historic gift is the largest single grant ever made by the Foundation to any organization and the largest single financial gift ever received by SMU. This makes The Meadows Foundation the largest donor in SMU history. The gift is scheduled for announcement at a campus celebration at 11 a.m. March 1.
The $33 million gift includes $25 million to support goals and programs of the Meadows Museum, housing one of the finest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. These funds will be used for acquisitions, exhibitions, an educational curator position, an expanded educational program, and special initiatives of the museum director. Included in the $25 million is a $5 million challenge grant to match dollar-for-dollar new gifts for acquisition of additional works of art for the collection.
The $33 million gift also designates $8 million for the Meadows School of the Arts, specifically to support faculty and student recruitment and enrichment, as well as to maintain the school’s facilities.
“It was the intent of Algur H. Meadows, who established the Foundation, that the school and museum bearing his name would be of great distinction,” said Linda P. Evans, president and CEO of The Meadows Foundation. “In keeping with his wishes, the directors of the Foundation make this grant to further the reputation of both institutions. This gift is of historic importance to us, and it clearly reflects the confidence we have in SMU’s vision for the Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum. The grant is specifically designed to provide the margin of excellence to enable the school and the museum to be the very best and to broaden their outreach to the community.”
The Meadows School of the Arts was named in 1969 in honor of the late Algur H. Meadows of Dallas, its major benefactor. The school offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees through 10 divisions, including art, art history, the performing arts, and several communications fields.
The Meadows Museum was established by Algur Meadows in the mid-1960s and has been supported by The Meadows Foundation through the years. The Foundation gave SMU $20 million in 1998, its largest gift at that time, for construction of a new museum building on campus to provide an appropriate home for the internationally acclaimed Spanish art collection. The collection includes masterpieces by some of the world’s greatest painters, such as El Greco, Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Miró, and Picasso.
“This remarkable gift reflects the historic partnership between SMU and The Meadows Foundation that has resulted in a museum and arts school of international distinction. Together they have inspired countless students and enriched the broader community for four decades,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This unprecedented new gift from The Meadows Foundation will enable the arts school and museum to play an even greater role in the educational mission of SMU.”
Dean Carole Brandt of Meadows School of the Arts said, “We are thrilled by this incredibly generous gift. It is a tremendous vote of confidence for the entire school, and will enable us to strengthen existing programs and undertake new ones that will benefit the students of the University as well as the entire community.”
The Meadows Foundation is a private philanthropic institution established in 1948 by Algur H. Meadows and his wife, Virginia Meadows, to benefit the people of Texas. Since its inception, the Foundation has disbursed more than $580 million in grants and direct charitable expenditures to more than 2,000 Texas institutions and agencies. Meadows Foundation grants support work in the fields of arts and culture, civic and public affairs, education, health, human services, and the environment. With this new gift, total giving to SMU by the Meadows family and Foundation exceeds $97 million in original gift value (the value of the transactions at the time they were made). Current estimates of the value of the artwork alone well exceed $100 million.
“Algur Meadows envisioned a community of artists as an integral part of SMU, with students and faculty who contribute to society through the arts,” said Robert Blocker, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “True to his vision and the values of The Meadows Foundation, SMU remains committed to providing the finest education in the arts and to preparing cultural leaders for our global society.”
The Meadows School of the Arts
The Meadows School of the Arts offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees through 10 divisions: Art, Art History, Dance, Music, Theatre, Arts Administration, the Temerlin Advertising Institute, Cinema-Television, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, and Journalism. Students are trained as artists and professionals through their chosen majors and developed as individuals through the liberal arts foundation required of all SMU students.
Meadows alumni have won the Pulitzer Prize, as well as Tony, Emmy, and Academy Awards. Alumni artists and art historians contribute to national museums and collections, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art. Communications alumni hold leadership positions with national media and agencies.
Major performance facilities of the Meadows School include the Bob Hope Theatre, Greer Garson Theatre, Margo Jones Theatre, and Caruth Auditorium. The Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library is home to the G. William Jones Film/Video Collection and Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, focusing on art of the Southwest. The Meadows School of the Arts enriches the larger community through more than 400 performances and other events annually. More than 7,000 adults and children participate in its community education classes each year.
The Meadows Museum
The new, freestanding Meadows Museum, made possible by a $20 million gift from The Meadows Foundation, opened in 2001, replacing a much smaller museum facility within the SMU arts center built in the mid 1960s. The new museum doubled the exhibition space for the permanent collection, which is the most comprehensive and one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, with works dating from the 10th to the 20th century. The new building also significantly expanded facilities for special exhibitions, research, and educational programming.
The Meadows Museum and its distinguished collection evolved from the dream and dedication of the late Algur H. Meadows, Dallas oil financier and philanthropist. While he was engaged in oil exploration in Spain in the 1950s, Meadows spent many hours admiring masterpieces in the Prado Museum in Madrid. Consequently, he developed a strong interest in Spanish art and began his own collection.
In 1962, through The Meadows Foundation, Algur Meadows gave SMU funds for the construction and endowment of a museum to house works of art from Spain, which opened in 1965. Through an aggressive but highly selective acquisitions program launched in the mid 1960s, the Meadows Museum developed a permanent collection that far exceeds the original goals and expectations. In addition to its Spanish art collection, the Meadows Museum houses a collection of works by leading 20th-century sculptors, also given by Algur Meadows.
The Meadows Museum has become a major community resource. Visitors include more than 10,000 schoolchildren annually, who participate in museum tours, conducted in English and Spanish, and other educational programs. The museum presents special exhibitions throughout the year. The latest was a major international loan exhibition, “Prelude to Spanish Modernism: Fortuny to Picasso.” The museum also hosts lectures, films, concerts, and other programs.
“The Meadows Museum is a major cultural connection between the University and the region,” said Mark Roglán, recently named museum director. “It is a place that serves scholars conducting research as well as members of the community who are enriched by exposure to masterpieces of human expression. Continued investment by The Meadows Foundation will strengthen the museum’s collection and programs and support its educational mission.”