Through a historic $45 million gift and decades of support, The Meadows Foundation has helped transform Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum into cultural arts leaders for the 21st century.
In March, The Meadows Foundation announced a gift of $45 million to Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum – the largest single donation to SMU in the University’s history. The momentous gift, along with other generous support provided by The Meadows Foundation throughout the past 20 years, makes the Foundation the only entity in SMU’s history to provide more than $100 million in financial resources to a singular area of focus: the education and promotion of the arts. Since 1995, The Meadows Foundation has provided more than $145 million to the University.
Founded in 1948 to “assist people and institutions of Texas,” The Meadows Foundation traces its historic partnership with SMU back to the early 1960s, when Dallas oilman and art collector Algur H. Meadows donated his world-class collection of Spanish art to SMU, along with a $1 million gift to create a museum to house it within the Owen Arts Center. Eugene McElvaney, the chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees in 1962, called the donation “a measure of Mr. Meadows’ deep and devoted interest in the development of a cultural environment in Dallas and the Southwest.” The Meadows Museum opened in the Owen Arts Center in 1965.
A few years later, Algur Meadows donated his collection of sculptures by contemporary Italian artists to SMU to establish the Elizabeth Meadows Sculpture Garden, named in honor of his second wife. He also gave a $10 million gift to the SMU School of the Arts, and in gratitude, the SMU Board of Trustees renamed the school Meadows School of the Arts in 1969.
The Meadows Foundation marked its 50th anniversary in 1998 by providing a second major gift to SMU totaling $20 million, its largest gift at that time. The purpose: to help create a new, freestanding museum building that would provide an appropriate home for the internationally acclaimed and growing Spanish art collection. The new Meadows Museum, a 66,000-square-foot facility six times larger than the original museum, opened in 2001 just south of the Owen Arts Center on Bishop Boulevard; the opening celebration drew international attention and a visit from the king and queen of Spain.
In 2006, The Meadows Foundation gave SMU another historic gift: a $33 million “Edge for Excellence” grant to the Meadows Museum and Meadows School. At the time, it was the largest single grant ever made by the Foundation to any organization and the largest single financial gift ever received by SMU. The gift included $25 million to support goals and programs of the museum, including acquisitions, exhibitions, an educational curator position, an expanded educational program and more. Included in the $25 million was a $5 million challenge grant to match dollar-for-dollar new gifts for acquisition of additional artworks. The Meadows Foundation gift also designated $8 million to support faculty and student recruitment and enrichment at Meadows School of the Arts and to maintain the school’s facilities.
In making the gift announcement in 2006, Meadows Foundation President Linda Evans said, “It was the intent of Algur H. Meadows that the school and museum bearing his name would be of great distinction. This gift is of historic importance to us, and it clearly reflects the confidence we have in SMU’s vision for Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum. The grant is specifically designed to provide the margin of excellence to enable the school and museum to be the very best and to broaden their outreach to the community.”
“This gift is of historic importance to us, and it clearly reflects the confidence we have in SMU’s vision for Meadows School of the Arts and the Meadows Museum.”
The 1998 and 2006 gifts, totaling more than $50 million, made history for SMU and resulted in unprecedented growth of the school and museum, and also inspired increased awareness and financial support from SMU alumni, philanthropic organizations and the broader community.
A National Model For Arts Education
Thanks to the Edge for Excellence gift, Meadows has successfully recruited and retained world-class faculty and students, strengthened existing academic programs, and established new programs and pioneering curriculum that are helping make Meadows a national model for arts education. The school has also expanded its outreach, resulting in increased engagement and support from alumni, parents, donors and friends.
Over The Past Eight Years, Meadows Has:
“We are honored to reflect Algur Meadows’ legacy with a school that continues to create and maintain important programs and initiatives in the arts.”
The Edge for Excellence grant has also enabled SMU Meadows to increase its permanent endowment by $20 million through generous support from alumni and friends over the past eight years.
From A University Art Collection To An Internationally Recognized Museum
The Meadows Museum has also changed dramatically since its new building opened in 2001. Meadows Foundation support has made possible enhanced exhibitions, acquisition activity, innovative educational programs and a historic partnership with the Prado Museum in Spain, helping the museum grow from a regional university art collection into an internationally recognized museum of Spanish art, with world-class exhibitions, research, publications, outreach and a growing profile on the world’s art market.
Highlights Of The Museum's Achievements Over The Past Decade:
Meadows Foundation support has made possible enhanced exhibitions, acquisition activity, innovative educational programs and a historic partnership with the Prado.
The Next 10 Years
The remarkable growth and transformation of the Meadows School and Meadows Museum made possible by The Meadows Foundation is now poised to continue into the next decade, thanks to the extraordinary $45 million gift announced in March. It is the largest grant in The Meadows Foundation’s history.
“SMU’s long and productive partnership with The Meadows Foundation has enhanced the lives of thousands of students, faculty and members of the local, regional and international communities,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As we celebrate this year both the 50th anniversary of the Meadows Museum and the centennial of SMU’s opening, we are honored to accept a gift that will continue this extraordinary collaboration.”
The new gift includes $25 million to support goals and programs at the Meadows Museum. It designates $13 million for exhibitions, education programs and initiatives, $6 million for acquisitions and $6 million for an acquisition challenge grant. In addition, the gift will help the museum expand relationships with international cultural institutions and increase the number of visitors.
The Meadows Foundation gift also designates $20 million to the Meadows School to support its goal to lead the nation in arts and education. The funding will be used to continue to attract and retain top faculty and students, create and maintain innovative programs of national importance and provide enhanced studio, gallery and state-of-the-art classroom spaces. The gift designates $12 million for facility enhancements, including a $10 million challenge grant, targeted to renovating the visual arts wing and other areas of the Owen Arts Center. It also includes $8 million for student and faculty recruitment and retention as well as new strategic initiatives, providing support in such areas as faculty research and travel, student Exploration Awards, new programs such as NCAR and innovative curricula such as the arts entrepreneurship program.
“This generous gift will help Meadows School of the Arts maintain and continue its historic journey as a national model for arts education,” said Sam Holland, Algur H. Meadows Dean and professor of music. “We are honored to reflect Algur Meadows’ legacy with a school that continues to create and maintain important programs and initiatives in the arts.”
“This gift ... also serves as a strategic investment in the dynamic future of both institutions, servicing diverse audiences around the globe.”
“Algur H. Meadows’ vision of an innovative school of the arts and a museum of international distinction has been realized in the Meadows School and Museum, and this historic gift recognizes their remarkable transformation over the past two decades,” said Linda Evans. “It also serves as a strategic investment in the dynamic future of both institutions, servicing diverse audiences around the globe.”
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