Reflecting their passion for connecting the arts to the community through public spaces, Gene and Jerry Jones have committed $5 million to transform the east entrance to SMU’s Owen Arts Center along Bishop Boulevard, providing a new gateway and venue for student performances and community gatherings.
The Joneses’ commitment will be matched by a $5 million grant from The Meadows Foundation, Inc., generating a total of $10 million to create the Gene and Jerry Jones Grand Atrium and Plaza. The gift launches a $30 million, first-phase initiative to modernize all four floors on the north side of the largest academic structure on campus, which houses Meadows School of the Arts.
The Meadows Foundation provided a $10 million matching grant for the Owen Arts Center renovation project as part of its historic 2015 commitment of $45 million to SMU, creating an incentive to attract donors for the project.
“We are proud to invest in nurturing young artists and connecting them with the broader community, both of which the Meadows School successfully achieves,” Gene Jones said.
Gene Jones is a civic and philanthropic leader, a supporter of the arts and the driving force behind the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Art Collection at AT&T Stadium and The Star. She serves on the Meadows School executive board and the John Goodwin Tower Center board of directors, and is a former member of the SMU Board of Trustees. Jerry Jones is owner, president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys.
“Anyone who has experienced the wonderful artworks that fill AT&T Stadium and The Star has seen that the Joneses have a personal commitment to sharing the arts,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “They are extending their generous support to the Meadows School of the Arts to provide a beautiful gathering space for those attending community events and performances of our outstanding students.”
The Gene and Jerry Jones Plaza will feature beautiful landscaping and walkways, and will be ideal for outdoor performances, classes and events.
The enclosure and integration of the east-side outdoor courtyard and expansion of the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby will create the 4,300-square-foot Gene and Jerry Jones Grand Atrium with lofty ceilings and expansive glass. Other features of the renovation project will create and improve academic spaces for the visual arts, art history and creative computation programs.
“Renovation of the Owen Arts Center will transform the environment in which our students and faculty study and create visual art,” said Meadows Dean Samuel S. Holland. “Our aim is to create spaces that will inspire and foster creativity, attract current and future generations of artists, and solidify the Meadows School’s place among the city’s top five arts and cultural institutions.”