Watch the Installation of the New Exhibit from SMU Art’s Mary Vernon

SMU Meadows Professor Mary Vernon with Former First Lady Laura Bush.
SMU Meadows Professor Mary Vernon with Former First Lady Laura Bush.

Mary Vernon’s newest exhibit opened at the Grace Museum in Abilene earlier this month and will be available for viewing until early January.

In May, Mary Vernon concludes her long career at SMU. She is retiring as an art professor, a master of painting, drawing and color theory education at Meadows School of the Arts. She’s been teaching here for 50 years.

On September 15, her new exhibit titled “Painting is Drawing” opened at the Grace Museum in Abilene, where it will be on view until January 6. The exhibit features her interpretations of landscapes and still lifes, often marked by soft lines and blended colors in media including oil and graphite. The museum will host a reception with the artist on October 7.

The museum also captured Vernon’s installation on video to mark the exhibit’s opening.  Read more

SMU Dance Ranks High on the List of Best BFA in Dance Performance Programs

Photo by Paul Phillips
Photo by Paul Phillips

The blog OnStage ranked SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ division of dance number three in the list of the top 10 B.F.A. dance programs in the United States. Last year, our dance bachelor of fine arts program reached number seven on the same list.

From OnStage’s list:

In addition to campus facilities, students also have opportunities to dance in professional Dallas arts district venues such as the fabulous Winspear Opera House, Annette Strauss Square, Montgomery Arts Theatre at Booker T. Washington HSPVA and the new City Performance Hall. Features a partnership with Texas Ballet Theater, the largest, critically acclaimed, fully professional resident classical ballet company of North Texas, serving more than 100,000 individuals from diverse communities across North Texas.

The Division of Dance offers professional dance training within the context of a comprehensive liberal arts education. The goal is to develop the disciplined, versatile dance artist through a balanced study of ballet, modern dance and jazz dance techniques, complemented and reinforced by a broad range of theoretical studies and performance opportunities. The program provides an atmosphere in which students are nurtured and stimulated in their quest for artistic achievement, technical mastery and scholarly excellence.

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A Trip to Uganda Inspired Brittany Merrill Underwood to Change Hundreds of Women’s Lives–And Her Own

At her flagship Akola store near SMU, Brittany Merrill Underwood ’06 showcases jewelry created by women in Uganda through the Akola Project. The sustainable impact program has empowered the lives of hundreds of women.
At her flagship Akola store near SMU, Brittany Merrill Underwood ’06 showcases jewelry created by women in Uganda through the Akola Project. The sustainable impact program has empowered the lives of hundreds of women.

Story by Leslie Barker

Brittany Merrill Underwood’s life changed – completely, thoroughly, astonishingly the summer she was 19, an age that now seems head-shakingly young. “I was the most selfish, spoiled SMU sorority girl,” she says on a recent March afternoon, sitting outside Akola, the store in Snider Plaza that fulfills a dream she didn’t know she had. “I was going to parties and trying to show up in class. My heart was empty; now it’s full.”

A dozen years later, she’s long ago lost count of the times she’s crisscrossed the globe. And how could she possibly number the lives of women she’s touched and changed for the better? Yahoo named her “Person of the Year” in 2014; during those same 12 months, she was asked to join the elite mentoring class for the Laura Bush Women’s Initiative. Clothing manufacturer Levi Strauss  honored her as one of 50 women internationally who have changed the political, cultural and spiritual shape of the future. She’s made appearances on Katie Couric’s show as well as on CNN’s Young People Who Rock. She received SMU’s Emerging Leader Award, the Dallas Women’s Foundation Young Leader Award and was a finalist for the 2016 Global Business & Interfaith Peace Award from the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. Most recently, she received a $75,000 United Way award in Dallas.  Read more