What we do

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Healing Pieces

Healing Pieces is a collaborative multi-year arts and engagement initiative led by SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ Ignite/Arts Dallas. This initiative is specifically interested in how architecture, green space, urban planning and community development can lead to transformation of the city. It seeks to illustrate how Dallas and its communities can enter conversations that encourage understanding and stimulate meaningful change across race, culture, geography, criminal and environmental justice reform and urbanism.

Community Innovation Lab

In late 2016, Dallas, TX convened a diverse cross-section of stakeholders, including city agencies, community organizers, business leaders, artists, cultural organizations, and nonprofit service providers, to embark on round two of EmcArts’ Community Innovation Lab. The Labs are designed to enable community stakeholders to create long-lasting, robust, and cross-sector networks that empower communities to leverage artistic practices to bring about social change and advance progress on important civic issues.

Playwrights In The Newsroom

Playwrights in the Newsroom is a devised play by two local playwrights and SMU graduates, Janielle Kastner and Brigham Mosely. Selected as an official 2020 AT&T Center Elevator Project, the play was developed in collaboration with the Dallas Morning News and addresses the challenges of journalism in today’s socio-political climate. Playwrights in the Newsroom is also supported by PEN America.

Atras de Camera

In 2018, I/AD produced a film workshop with members of the Community Action Network at Bachman Lake Together, and the resulting film, Detrás de la Realidad, became an official selection of KERA’s 2019 Frame of Mind series. I/AD celebrated the accomplishment with a public screening of the film in September 2019 and a second workshop took place during the 2019 fall semester.


CultureBank, a San Francisco-based initiative co-founded by Penelope Douglas and Deborah Cullinan, was awarded the Meadows Prize in 2018. Over the course of their residency, CultureBank and Ignite/Arts Dallas identified an inaugural cohort of six local artists and met with foundations, venture capitalists and philanthropists to establish a new investment model for artists and arts practitioners.

Freedom Maps

“Freedom Maps: Activating Legacies of Culture, Art and Organizing in the U.S. South,” by Southern artists/cultural strategists Ron Ragin and Maria Cherry Rangel, caps three years of research (2017-2020) and interviews with grant makers, artists, cultural activists, and community organizers, many of whom work with Black, LGBTQ, Indigenous and other often-marginalized groups. The report examines the current state of artistic practice in the South, the ways in which artists and culture workers are helping to build progressive infrastructure through social justice efforts, and practitioners’ visions for the future. The study was supported by Atlanta-based Alternate ROOTS and by the Ignite/Arts Dallas.

Constellations Convening

In the spring of 2020, Ignite/Arts Dallas served as local hosts for a national convening on narrative change, an effort substantially supported by Surdna Foundation’s Thriving Cultures Program. The two-day event was produced by the Center for Cultural Power and co-designed by national organizations, including, Detroit Narrative Agency, Intelligent Mischief, Race Forward, BRIC, First People’s Fund, Firelight Media and Ignite/Arts Dallas. The goal was to create common ground, strategies and new relationships across these intersections around the power of words and storytelling to influence policy at local, state and national levels. The convening resulted in the publication of recommendations on funding narrative change at the intersection of art and social justice: Celestial Navitation: How to Fund Culture Change in the U.S.

Public Works Dallas

Public Works Dallas, a partnership between Dallas Theater Center, Ignite/Arts Dallas and AT&T PAC, is a participatory theater experience benefiting members of five community partners: Jubilee Park and Community Center, Vickery Meadow Learning Center, Bachman Lake Together, Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT), and Dallas Parks and Recreation. What results from this partnership between selected SMU students, known as Public Works Fellows, professional actors, and community members, is a fun and captivating performance of a Shakespeare play enjoyed – and collectively understood – by the masses.