Launching from the classroom to the Big Apple, Meadows alumna Kelly Zitka knows that perseverance and a little spontaneity can help to find footing in the world of performance art.
The dance and business major now calls New York home, and is learning more about the world of dance theater through rigorous training and auditioning. Staying in New York for good, however, was never part of her original plan. But with growing insight into her art, Zitka is betting that risking uncertainty can pay off.
For some busy students, finding time for meaningful community engagement is hard.
But for others, it’s second nature – par for the course in getting the best education possible before venturing into the professional world. And it’s just the beginning for Angie Reisch, who knows the importance of community involvement – it’s obvious in her work outside of the classroom. The studio art major and Dallas native graduates this spring, but not before turning her attention to some of the most important and timely cultural events taking place in the city.
For the past two years, Ignite/Arts Dallas director Clyde Valentín has provided Meadows students of all disciplines with important experiences through collaborations with local and visiting artists and arts organizations in North Texas. His focus has been to serve the underrepresented and under-resourced and help students find full-time jobs after graduation. Now inching closer to its third anniversary, his initiative is slated to foster new relationships and build on existing ones, transition into year-round programs and host the bilingual rock and Tejano opera Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance at the Texas Theatre in Dallas in the spring.
With Ignite/Arts Dallas, the word “non-traditional” comes up a lot. Launched in 2015, this innovative program at SMU Meadows covers a wide amount of territory.
by Lauren Smart
The official mission of Ignite/Arts Dallas: A Center for People, Purpose + Place is to challenge the imagination of students and citizens to foster more just and vibrant communities through art and cultural experiences. If it sounds open-ended, that’s intentional.
“We’re an interdisciplinary initiative,” says Clyde Valentín, the program’s director. “We work with students and faculty in all the various units of Meadows – visual arts, performing arts and communication arts – emphasizing collaborations and focusing on community engagement. Every one of our projects involves partnerships with outside groups, some local, some national. We want to develop meaningful cultural programs that benefit Dallas and connect to other creative communities.”
Dallas Theater Center and SMU Meadows / Ignite Arts Dallas, in association with the AT&T Performing Arts Center, presented a musical theatre production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a community participation project conceived by Lear deBessonet and directed by Kevin Moriarty, with book, music and lyrics by Todd Almond.
Photographer Kim Leeson was on set to capture the moving moments. These are our favorite shots.