The Meadows School of the Arts
at Southern Methodist University
has selected two recipients for the second annual 2010 Meadows Prize arts residency: playwright and performer Will Power and choreographer Shen Wei.
Inaugurated in October 2009, the Meadows Prize is presented each fall to up to two pioneering artists. It includes support for a four-to-eight-week residency in Dallas, 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.
A veteran of theatre, film and television, Will Power has won multiple awards for his work, which bridges the gap between the spoken word of hip-hop and traditional theatre. Powers work in Dallas will be a partnership between the Meadows School of the Arts and the Dallas Theater Center. He will be in Dallas for two periods of residency three weeks each in 2011. During his residency he will lead workshops for Meadows theatre students, for DTCs resident acting company and for local high school students. He will also write/develop a new theatre piece intended for production at the DTC, possibly in their 2012-13 season.
Shen Wei is an acclaimed choreographer, director, dancer, painter and designer whose many honors include the MacArthur Genius Award. As the artistic director of New York-based Shen Wei Dance Arts, he is widely recognized for his defining vision of an intercultural, interdisciplinary and original mode of movement-based performance. Shen Weis works use visual and storytelling elements from the theater, Chinese opera, and traditional and contemporary art to create what one reviewer called a fascinating fantasy in movement. For each work created with his company, Shen Wei also develops the sets, costumes and make-up designs. Shen Weis residency in Dallas will take place over winter-spring 2012. It will include a new work choreographed for SMU dance students, to be presented at their 2012 Spring Dance Concert. In addition, the Meadows School has partnered with TITAS, which plans to present Shen Wei Dance Arts in concert at the Winspear Opera House in early 2012.
Weve taken risks with the Meadows Prize, says José Antonio Bowen, dean of the Meadows School. Rather than give it to someone who already has a Pulitzer Prize, we are trying to commission a work that will debut in Dallas, and then win the Pulitzer, or a Tony or an Oscar. These are artists who will challenge Dallas, but they are also artists who are challenging the art world; that is where the action is. We are very excited to not only help bring two new works to Dallas, but also two new models of how artists work. Will Power will work with SMU students and with our community partners to generate new material, perhaps for his new commission, but also to show our students how they can turn their own stories into powerful human drama. This aligns perfectly with the schools mission to increase our community outreach and help artists develop relevance.
Shen Wei is a beautiful mix of old and new, East and West. His creative process is holistic, and provides a role model for our students we have been trying to help them learn how dancers, musicians and artists can work together to create new aesthetic experiences. Movement, sight and sound are all a part of how we engage audiences. This new commission will allow students not only to be part of something brand new, but also to be a part of the creative process that we hope they will emulate.
The first two winners of the Meadows Prize, announced in October 2009, were Grammy-winning contemporary music ensemble eighth blackbird and New York-based public arts organization Creative Time. Eighth blackbirds residency has taken place Oct. 17-23 and Nov. 15-19, 2010, and will continue February 24-27 and March 27-30, 2011. Their residency has focused on developing new curriculum that will help musicians become more entrepreneurial and engaged in their own career plans. It is part of a new Meadows School initiative that includes the launch of the nations first minor in arts entrepreneurship.
Creative Times residency has taken the form of three visits to Dallas to meet with a wide range of members of the art community, including artists, collectors, gallery and museum executives, critics, government officials, educators and others. It will culminate in spring 2011 with a public conference at which Creative Time will present their recommendations for growing and nurturing the arts in Dallas.