The Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University has selected two recipients of the inaugural 2009-2010 Meadows Prize, a new international arts residency: the Grammy-winning new music ensemble eighth blackbird and the New York-based artist collective Creative Time. The announcement was made Wednesday evening at the “Act 3, Scene I” gala at the AT&T Center for the Performing Arts by Dr. José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School.
“The opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center is making a huge impact on the world’s perception of Dallas as a great city for the arts,” said Bowen. “To help make Dallas a great cultural capital, we must also become known as a center for the creation of new works, building a community that nurtures its own and tolerates artistic risk the same way we embrace entrepreneurial risk. To further that goal, in partnership with the Dallas arts community, the new Meadows Prize will bring artists with an international reputation to Dallas each year to produce an artistic legacy for the city.”
The prize includes housing for a one-to-three-month residency in Dallas, transportation expenses, studio/office space and project costs, 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.
The Chicago-based, contemporary music sextet eighth blackbird is one of the most musically accomplished and innovative ensembles in the world. They are equally at home playing viola and flute, or kazoos and reverberating gongs, or opening a piano and playing on the strings and frame with toothpicks, credit cards and dish brushes. The group performs from memory and often incorporates theatrical elements into its shows. Eighth blackbird formed in 1996 when its members were students at Oberlin Conservatory of Music; since then, they have appeared in concert halls and festivals worldwide; released four acclaimed CDs, including the Grammy-winning strange imaginary animals in 2008 (Best Chamber Music Performance); received numerous grants and awards; and commissioned and premiered new works by eminent composers, including Steven Reich’s Double Sextet, which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. During their time in Dallas, eighth blackbird will introduce new music and provide workshops for chamber ensembles with the Meadows School and other local schools as well as the wider community. Their legacy for the city will be a curated music series in partnership with the Dallas Arts District. “The goal is not only to nurture Dallas-based new music and make Dallas a center for the musical cutting edge, but to generate new audiences for contemporary classical music in Dallas,” said Bowen.
Founded in New York in 1974, Creative Time has a history of commissioning, producing and presenting adventurous public artworks. During the 1980s and 90s it broadened the definitions of both art and public space, presenting projects on sites from billboards to landmark buildings to deli cups, and encouraging artists to address timely issues such as domestic violence, AIDS and racial inequality. Creative Time also promotes collaboration within the creative community, partnering with such organizations as Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2007 Creative Time expanded to national and international projects, working with artists, sites and partners in cities such as New Orleans, Baltimore, Chicago and London. In 2008 Creative Time was hired by the city of Louisville to develop its first Public Art Master Plan. Through the Meadows Prize, Creative Time’s consultants will make several extended trips to Dallas over a year’s period to develop recommendations for growing and nurturing the Dallas arts community. The group intends to lead discussions, identify stakeholders, and help participants agree on goals and a plan of action. The aim is to bring together artists, collectors, gallery owners, arts organizations, urban planners, schools and city officials to lay the preliminary groundwork for a process that will lead to a master plan for the arts in the city.
The new Meadows Prize replaces the Meadows Award, which was given annually from 1981 to 2003 to honor the accomplishments of an artist at the pinnacle of a distinguished career. The Meadows Prize will be presented each fall to up to four artists. Recipients must be pioneering artists and scholars with an emerging international profile, active in a discipline represented by one of the academic units within the Meadows School: advertising, art, art history, arts administration, cinema-television, corporate communications, dance, journalism, music and theatre.
The 2009-10 winners were chosen by a nominating committee of 12 international arts professionals who originally submitted 38 names for consideration; the committee then held several rounds of voting to determine the prize recipients. The nominating committee included:
- Dore Ashton, award-winning art critic, historian, professor and author/editor of 30 books on art and culture
- Joanne Cassullo, New York-based philanthropist and arts supporter
- James Houghton, the Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division at The Juilliard School and the Artistic Director of Signature Theatre in New York
- artist/architect/filmmaker Alfredo Jaar
- Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning actress Laura Linney
- Marla Price, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth
- Deedie Potter Rose, chair of the Dallas Museum of Art board of directors
- Severino Salvemini, professor of organization and human resources management at the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy
- Paul Taylor, choreographer and founder of the Paul Taylor Dance Company
- Jaap van Zweden, conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
- Stan Wojewodski, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Directing at the Meadows School
- John Zorn, experimental New York composer, performer and producer
The Meadows Prize is sponsored by the Meadows School and The Meadows Foundation, in partnership with the new AT&T Center for the Performing Arts and local Dallas arts organizations.