December 23, 2011

SMU has always played a leading role in Dallas’ vibrant arts milieu, beginning with the Arden Club, the longtime student drama organization, and expanding in scope and scale as the University and the city matured.

Among the trove of SMU’s rich cultural resources is the Meadows School of the Arts. In 2010, the school welcomed an estimated 9,500 audience members to 104 ticketed events that included dance, theatre, opera, symphony, wind symphony and faculty performances.

The Meadows Museum is one of the city’s cultural landmarks, attracting about 60,000 visitors each year. Entrepreneur Algur H. Meadows, whose prized assemblage of Spanish art serves as the museum’s core collection, envisioned a “Prado on the Prairie.” That vision became further realized with the announcement of a three-year partnership between the museum and the Prado Museum in Madrid last year. The first of three major paintings to be loaned from the Prado was the focus of “The Prado at the Meadows: El Greco’s Pentecost in a New Context,” drawing 20,446 visitors.

In addition, the University’s nine libraries house the largest private collection of research materials in the Southwest, valued by scholars from across the globe. The holdings include more than 3 million print volumes, as well as over 9,000 digitized items from the University’s special collections.

Counted among SMU’s one-of-a-kind collections is the archive of Academy Award-winning playwright Horton Foote. When North Texas arts organizations honored Foote with a two-month festival in the spring, Dallas theatre companies found their muse atDeGoyler Library.

“Hallie [Foote, the writer’s actress daughter and frequent artistic collaborator] recalled that a recording of music used in the third act of the production directed by Horton Foote was in the archive. It was located, and we were able to use the original music. That was an amazing resource that we didn’t even know existed,” says Kimberly Richard, director of publications and communications for Theatre Three, which staged Foote’s “The Roads to Home.”

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