community involvement

SMU NCAR publishes white paper on measuring strength, effectiveness of culturally specific arts organizations

SMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) has released a white paper that examines the distinguishing characteristics of arts organizations that primarily serve Asian American, African American, and Hispanic/Latino communities.

Andrea Louie

Andrea Louie

The study is designed to provide insights, based on measurable data, about the operating contexts and unique challenges that these organizations face. Co-authored with Andrea Louie, executive director of the Asian American Arts Alliance, and Zenetta Drew, executive director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the goal of the white paper is to provide a more nuanced understanding of culturally specific organizations and to help establish a more equitable measure of their performance.

> Read the NCAR white paper: “Does ‘Strong and Effective’ Look Different for Culturally Specific Arts Organizations?”

Zenetta Drew

Zenetta Drew

Inspired by the DeVos Institute’s 2015 publication “Diversity in the Arts: The Past, Present and Future of African American and Latino Museums, Dance Companies, and Theater Companies,” NCAR’s paper responds to two key aspects of the DeVos Institute’s findings: first, that arts organizations of color are in general smaller and “far less secure” than their mainstream counterparts; and second, that funders might see greater results by providing larger grants to a smaller number of “effective” organizations, rather than continuing to fund a larger number of organizations through smaller grants.

Based on its research, NCAR found that culturally specific arts organizations are not disproportionately smaller than their mainstream peers. Taking into account their sector and age, the data shows that they are generally younger and therefore at a different stage in their evolution than mainstream organizations.

NCAR argues that the funding model proposed by DeVos would be detrimental to the cultural ecology, as it could effectively reduce the overall number of smaller organizations and therefore diminish the level of diversity, dynamism, and innovation in the field. NCAR calls for a deeper understanding of culturally specific organizations before significantly altering or abandoning their funding.

NCAR Report“We recognize that culturally specific organizations have particular characteristics that should be understood for what they are, neither good nor bad nor a sign of ineffectiveness but simply a different starting point,” said Zannie Voss, NCAR director. “With this study, we want to reframe how we assess the performance of these organizations by identifying the differences in their operating contexts and by establishing a more precise framework of what expected performance should look like, rooted in evidence-based research.”

— Victoria Winkelman

> Read the full story from SMU News

January 20, 2016|News, Research|

Parade, service projects highlight SMU Dream Week 2016

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at SMU in 1966.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at SMU in 1966.

Fifty years after Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke on the campus of SMU, the visionary civil rights leader’s visit will be celebrated by the University community as part of the Jan. 15-21 Dream Week activities surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“This is an opportunity for us as an SMU community to join the rest of the country in celebrating and commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” says Director of Multicultural Student Affairs Creston Lynch. “Whether it’s participating in the MLK Day of Service, parade, or any of the week’s programs, there are plenty of chances to reflect in different ways on the issues relating to social justice and equity that Dr. King stood for.”

Headlining the list of SMU Dream Week activities is an appearance by Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, who will speak about the origins of the social justice movement at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hughes-Trigg Commons.

DREAM WEEK SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, JAN. 15
SMU presents Dallas Civil Rights Museum with memorabilia from 1966 MLK campus appearance

A contingent of SMU representatives, including Student Body President Carlton Adams, Association of Black Students President D’Marquis Allen and former Student Senate Chair Charles Cox, who introduced King before his speech at SMU, will present a transcript of the speech and a photo from the event to the Dallas Civil Rights Museum at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

More about the presentation

SATURDAY, JAN. 16
SMU Participates in Dallas’ 34th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will participate in the MLK Community Center’s annual fundraiser by telling the story of how King was invited and came to speak at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium on March 17, 1966.

Ticket Information: See “Celebration” at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center Dallas

MONDAY, JAN. 18
SMU Participates in the Dallas Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade

Starting Point: 10 a.m. at the intersection of Holmes St. and Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.
About: SMU administrators, faculty and students will participate in the annual Dallas parade and celebration. Led by the Mustang Band, participants will include former SMU Student Senate Chair Charles Cox, who introduced King when he spoke at the University 50 years ago, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner. Alumni of SMU’s annual spring break Civil Rights Pilgrimage, members of the SMU Student Senate, incoming SMU Vice President for Student Affairs Pamela Anthony, SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves and SMU student athletes and coaches also will join the parade.

Dallas MLK Parade Route

More about SMU at the Dallas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade

MLK Day of Service

About: SMU students, faculty and staff will join others across the country in a national day of service. Opportunities include building fun and educational environments for children at SPARK!, organizing and restocking a Brother Bill’s Helping Hand grocery store that provides free food to more than 300 families per week, building ramps at homes of those with physical disabilities and helping prepare items for the Dallas region’s homeless. Brunch and transportation provided. Co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Community Engagement and Leadership.

Read more about SMU’s MLK Day of Service

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 20
Commemorative Unity Walk on SMU campus 

Starting Point: Noon at Hughes-Trigg Commons, 3140 Dyer St., Dallas, 75205
About: SMU President R. Gerald Turner and student leaders will lead the annual Unity Walk, a demonstration of the University’s support of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work. All members of the SMU community are invited to join the walk, which will begin at Hughes-Trigg Student Center, continue around Bishop Boulevard and return to Hughes-Trigg. The time together is a demonstration of commitment as a university to the work of Dr. King.

An Evening with Alicia Garza

About: Alicia Garza is co-founder of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. At 5:30 p.m. at Hughes-Trigg, she will talk about the process of creating and spreading the hash tag that branded the movement, the controversy behind it, and her personal experiences in the social justice movement.

THURSDAY, JAN. 21
Film Screening: Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

About: “Brother Outsider” examines the life of Bayard Rustin, King’s right-hand man and chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Rustin had a significant influence on the civil rights movement, but rarely served as a public spokesman due to his homosexuality and involvement in an interracial relationship. Sponsored by SMU’s Women and LGBT Center at 1:30 p.m. at Hughes-Trigg.

January 15, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

Take part in SMUSA’s 2015 Holiday Toy Drive and the Toys for Tickets program through Dec. 21

holiday-toys-stock-300The SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) is collecting new, non-violent, unwrapped toys ranging from board games to remote control cars. The gift will help make the holidays brighter for children served by its United Way Partner, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC).  

The 2015 Holiday Toy Drive will continue through Monday, Dec. 21. SMUSA reminds participants that all donations must be child-appropriate.

Toys can be donated at the following collection locations:dcac-logo

  • Blanton Building – 1st floor by the elevator
  • Carr Collins Hall – lobby near Lawyers’ Inn
  • Expressway Tower, East Campus – Parking and ID Card Services, Suite 101
  • Fondren Library Center – 1st floor circulation desk
  • Hughes-Trigg Student Center – 2nd floor, Suite 200
  • Umphrey Lee Center – 3rd floor, Suite 301
  • 6200 N. Central Expressway, East Campus – Development and External Affairs

As an added bonus, the SMU Parking and ID Card Services Office offers campus community members the opportunity to pay off unpaid parking tickets by donating toys of equal or greater value. To participate in the Toys for Tickets exchange, drivers must bring their parking tickets and a receipt for the toys by Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 to the Parking and ID Card Services Office located in Expressway Tower, Suite 101, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

For more information on Toys for Tickets, e-mail SMU Parking and ID Card Services Office or contact them via telephone at 214-768-7275.

If you have questions about the types of donations that are accepted, e-mail Stephanie Howeth, Staff Association vice president of service and activities.

December 9, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Central University Libraries’ 2015 Food for Fines program continues through Wednesday, Dec. 16

Stock photo of canned foodsSMU’s Central University Libraries (CUL) is once again giving students, faculty and staff members an opportunity to help the community – and possibly save some cash as well.

During the 2015 Food for Fines program, CUL will accept food donations for the North Texas Food Bank in return for waiving library fines.

For every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food, SMU faculty, staff members and students will receive a $2 credit toward fines for overdue materials from Fondren Library Center and the Hamon Arts Library.

Learn more about the North Texas Food Bank

To collect your credits, just bring food donations to either of these libraries through Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. All SMU community members are welcome to participate – even those who have no library fines to cancel. Last year, the SMU community donated 374 cans, equaling $748 in waived library fines.

The Food for Fines program began in 2000 as a way for students to reduce or eliminate library fines while also giving back to the community. “The initiative encourages students to take a look around their dorm rooms to see if they do have any books that might well be overdue,” said Gillian McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries. “It is easy to forget these deadlines when you are powering away on a research paper during finals.”

Visit SMU’s Central University Libraries online

Waiver credits do not apply to lost book replacement charges or processing fees. Credit only applies to overdue book fines currently assessed; no future credit can be applied. Overdue fines cannot be waived if they have already been sent to the Bursar’s Office for collection.

“Every year we see students show enthusiasm for the program,” said Sam Cavanaugh, front desk receptionist at Fondren Library. “Last year we had several students bring in cans that amounted to more than their library fines. It’s great to see students giving back.”

— Emily Hooper

December 4, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

SMU dance students and Dallas Chamber Symphony perform live to silent classic Metropolis at Dallas VideoFest Oct. 13, 2015

Metropolis banner - SMU Dance, Dallas Chamber Symphony, Dallas Video Fest

Fourteen SMU dancers, all first-year students, will perform with the Dallas Chamber Symphony during a very special presentation of director Fritz Lang’s 1927 dystopian masterpiece, Metropolis.

During a screening of the 82-minute silent film classic, the students will provide an interactive dance performance choreographed by Associate Professor Christopher Dolder, with a new score by Austin-based film composer Brian Satterwhite performed live by the Dallas Chamber Symphony. The event is part of opening-night festivities for the 2015 Dallas VideoFest and begins Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. at Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street, in downtown Dallas.

> Learn more about the Dallas VideoFest at videofest.org

Often named as the first science fiction epic in film history, Metropolis is especially vivid in its portrayal of the disruptive effects of technological innovation and the social and economic stratifications it creates, as well as of civil liberties issues such as free speech, privacy and surveillance.

Metropolis is one of the great achievements of the silent era, a work so audacious in its vision and so angry in its message that it is, if anything, more powerful today than when it was made,” wrote the late Roger Ebert in a 1985 review.

> Learn more about Metropolis at IMDb

“Audiences have always been able to relate to these themes as new advances create new groups of haves and have-nots,” Dolder says. “Even today, 90 years later, they remain fresh and relevant.”

The film’s camera work, design and special effects are still haunting and evocative, and the staging of both crowd scenes and lead actors is “strikingly balletic [in] the repetitive synchronism of the working poor, as well as [its] portrayals of dance and artificial intelligence,” as noted in a Dallas Chamber Symphony release.

These elements and more make Metropolis fertile ground for a multidisciplinary collaboration between high art and high tech, Dolder says. “The trick for us will be to create a cohesive experience, where the new score and the dance element serve and enhance the film without distracting,” he adds.

> Christopher Dolder talks about Metropolis with KERA’s “Art & Seek”

The film’s otherworldly atmosphere is enhanced not only by the music, set and dancers, but also by the strategic projection of video elements from the film, isolated onto the dancers and set, Dolder says. He created and painted the intricate series of risers on which his students will perform – and made a point not to ask for their help, he adds.

“When we started this project, I told them I was going to treat them as professional dancers helping to create a new work,” he says. “In return, I expected them to prepare and conduct themselves in the same way.”

The approach has worked, Dolder says. “These first-year students may be the best class of dancers we’ve had – and we’ve consistently attracted talented, intelligent classes,” he says.

> Metropolis preview by Michael Granberry in The Dallas Morning News

“Each year, we try and accomplish something new, and more daring,” says Richard McKay, the DSC’s artistic director and conductor. “It is our ensemble’s adventurous culture that has motivated [us] to start the season with Metropolis – by far, the most complex and expansive production we have ever created.”

Individual tickets are available for $19-$55 each, $15 for students. VIP tickets can be purchased for $75, which will include a pre-event cocktail reception backstage with the artists, starting at 7 p.m. An after party will be hosted by Proof + Pantry, across the street from the theater, with complimentary appetizers for all patrons who would like to meet the composer and performers. Get tickets and more information online at DCSymphony.org, or call 214-449-1294.

> Find event information and purchase tickets at the Dallas Chamber Symphony website,

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