SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts has announced the recipients of its 6th annual Meadows Prize arts residency: the Detroit-based artist collective Complex Movements and Lear deBessonet, director of The Public Theater’s Public Works program in New York City.
The Meadows Prize is awarded to pioneering artists and creative professionals who are active in one or more disciplines represented by the academic units within the Meadows School.
Complex Movements is a Detroit-based artist collective developing interactive performance work that draws connections between complex science and social justice movements to support the transformation of communities. The group is comprised of graphic designer/fine artist Wesley Taylor; music producer/filmmaker Waajeed; lyricist/organizer Invincible; and multimedia artist/performance systems architect Carlos Garcia. Their work draws on multiple disciplines, including community organizing, design, music, architecture, storytelling, multimedia art and theater.
For their Meadows Prize project, Complex Movements will collaborate with the Dallas community and the Meadows School on a week-long residency in February, and return in October for a four-week engagement of Beware of the Dandelions in Dallas’s Fair Park.
Beware of the Dandelions is a performance-based installation that also functions as a workshop space and a visual arts exhibition. Participant activity occurs inside a 400-square-foot polyhedron pod structure designed in collaboration with Detroit-based architect Aaron Jones to create an immersive visual and sound experience. Through community collaboration and the interdisciplinary nature of the installation, Complex Movements seeks to raise the visibility of local issues and social justice-based art and activism.
Lear deBessonet is director of Public Works – a major initiative of The Public Theater that engages the people of New York as theater creators as well as spectators. Working with community partner organizations in all areas of the city, Public Works invites members of diverse communities to participate in theater workshops, attend classes and productions, and become involved in the daily life of The Public.
Under deBessonet’s leadership, Public Works deliberately blurs the line between professional artists and community members, creating theater that is by and of the people. For her Meadows Prize project, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native will spearhead a new co-production between the Meadows School and the Dallas Theater Center of The Tempest, to be developed for spring 2017.
Lear’s first visit to Dallas will be in spring 2015. This co-production marks a new form and scale for a Meadows Prize project and will engage hundreds of volunteers, community partners from across Dallas, and the institutional collaboration and alignment between SMU, The Public Theater and the Dallas Theater Center.
“We’re very excited to welcome Complex Movements and Lear deBessonet to the Meadows School as our sixth-year recipients of the Meadows Prize,” said Meadows Dean Sam Holland. “Both help us advance important elements of the vision for the Meadows School – to allow our students to interact with artists at the top of their fields and to integrate the Meadows School more deeply into our community.”
Inaugurated in October 2009, the Meadows Prize is presented annually to up to two pioneering artists. It includes support for a residency in Dallas, in addition to a $25,000 stipend. In return, recipients are expected to interact in a substantive way with Meadows students and collaborating arts organizations, and to leave a lasting legacy in Dallas, such as a work of art that remains in the community, a composition or piece of dramatic writing that would be performed locally, or a new way of teaching in a particular discipline.