Wachovia gift gives teens access to the arts

Dallas County students perform at the Meadows SchoolSMU’s Meadows Museum and the Meadows School of the Arts have received funding to create a program that will enable middle-school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in a high-quality, interactive college campus arts experience. A $174,000 gift from the Wachovia Foundation will fund development of the “Imagine U @ SMU” program, along with a curriculum and related activities designed to inspire young people to think creatively and explore educational opportunity through the arts.

Plans for the program involve four middle-school classes each semester – approximately 100 students each – from schools located in disadvantaged neighborhoods. SMU will work with the nonprofit learning partnership Big Thought to identify and engage the students who would most benefit from the program, which will allow group work, individual activities and interaction with Meadows School students and faculty.

“The Wachovia Foundation’s generous gift will create opportunities for learning and enrichment that might not have been possible otherwise,” says Meadows Dean José Bowen. “The entire SMU community is excited about this program and its potential for helping us engage with students from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Read more from SMU News.

(Right, at-risk Dallas County students perform at the Meadows School in August 2007. The performance and an associated art and poetry show were staged by Creative Solutions, a partnership between the Dallas County Juvenile Department and Big Thought.)