Students Capture the History and Heritage of West Dallas

SMU students in the "Artspaces: Mapping Sites of Social Change" class conduct an interview and walking tour of West Dallas with artist Celia Alvarez Munoz (left) and DMAHL member Pauline Laws. (Photo by Janis Bergman-Carton).

Students from SMU Meadows School of the Arts and members of the Dallas Mexican American Historical League have been on a semester-long mission to capture the history and heritage of the West Dallas barrios before impending urban renewal changes the area forever.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Owen Arts Center on the SMU campus, the public can see the results of the semester’s efforts. “Artspaces 2011: Las huellas: footsteps in West Dallas” is an art installation/dance performance that will showcase the current and past heritage of the Mexican-American community in West Dallas.

It will include photographs of residents and their surroundings; videos of oral histories; a student-performed “mapping” dance interpretation inspired by the foot traffic patterns of today’s West Dallas residents; silhouette art inspired by signage present in the barrios; and a presentation by Dallas author Sol Villasana on changes in the Mexican-American community over the decades.

“Las huellas…” begins at 6:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall (Room 2130) with the Villasana lecture, then moves to the Doolin Gallery (Room 1601) at 7:30 p.m., where refreshments will be served amid the art, videos, photos and dance presentation until 9 p.m. In addition, Villasana will sign copies of his book, Dallas’s Little Mexico. The event is free to the public. Read more from SMU News.

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