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West Side Stories: Part One

Art Burst event and “Bridged” art exhibit celebrate opening of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

In honor of the opening festivities surrounding the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, SMU Meadows brings you this five-part Web series exploring our connections with architect Santiago Calatrava, the new bridge and West Dallas. Stay tuned for a new story every day this week, leading up to opening celebrations on the bridge March 2-4. The bridge will open to vehicular traffic in late March or early April 2012.

West Side Stories: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

Excitement about this weekend’s opening festivities for the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is building, and SMU Meadows will be there.

Artist-in-residence Bernardo Diaz (M.F.A. '11) working with students at the La Bataan West Dallas Community Center.
Photo by Kim Ritzenthaler

Recent Meadows M.F.A. and graduate adjunct professor Bernardo Diaz has been teaching Meadows’ new “Art as Social Practice” class in two West Dallas Community Centers for the past two semesters. When he and his colleagues noticed that most of the bridge opening activities centered on adults, they came up with an event that included children and would bring people not just to the bridge but into West Dallas itself.

“The idea for the ‘Art Burst’ youth festival grew out of a necessity to be a part of the bridge celebrations in a way that would resonate with the West Dallas community,” says Diaz. “It’ll be at the Bataan Center, just two blocks away from the bridge. We’ll have live music, bounce houses, free haircuts, samples from Frito-Lay and more.”

SMU art students Oscar Mejia, Savannah Niles and Diana Antohe and music student Ray Henninger, all students from the Art as Social Practice course, helped create the event. Professional magician and SMU student Trigg Watson will perform, in addition to Meadows theatre students Adam Anderson, Ricco Fajardo and others.

“We’re excited to work with the neighborhood and be part of the bridge festivities,” says Leila Grothe, assistant director of community outreach for Meadows and event co-coordinator with Diaz. “Art Burst fits with the Creative Time report's recommendations to present work in unexpected places and to collaborate with neighborhoods throughout Dallas. There is a lot of culture and pride in West Dallas neighborhoods, and this is a time of excitement and celebration for all of Dallas.”

Further down the road you may notice a strange sight off in the distance: The number 500 glowing in vibrant green from the top of a warehouse building just west of the new Bridge. Forty M.F.A. students from SMU, the University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas will be participating in the bridge opening weekend with the “Bridged” exhibit, featuring multiple art installations both inside and outside the old Quality Ironworks building at 500 Singleton Boulevard. SMU students and alumni participating in the show include Diaz, Antohe and Niles, as well as Marian Lefeld, Kendra Briscoe, Anh-Thuy Nguyen and Kristen Cochran.

More information:

  • Art Burst, Saturday March 3, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., La Bataan Center, 3232 Bataan Street, Dallas, TX 75212. FREE
  • Bridged art exhibit, Friday March 2, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday March 3, 12-5 p.m. and Sunday March 4, 12-5 p.m. 500 Singleton Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75212. FREE
  • For more information about bridge celebrations, see (“official” events) and (grassroots, neighborhood, arts happenings and more).
Tuesday: West Side Stories, Part II - First large-scale Calatrava installation in the U.S. is on SMU campus

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