The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Meadows Museum of Art under viewed by students

The Meadows Museum is a handsome work of architecture with its vast archways, surrounded by a plaza with sculptures, fountains and greenery.  Museum officials tout its permanent collection as the largest and most comprehensive collection of Spanish art outside of Spain. 

Yet many students do not go.

“I’ve never heard of it,” said senior Naz Ismail.  “Where is it?”

In an informal poll of 40 students, 23 said they had never been to the art museum. 

Students said they do not go because they do not have time, interest or basic information about the museum.

Meadows has a lot to offer students: a quality restaurant, an affordable gift shop and revamped programming. 

In addition to the Meadow’s permanent art collection, the museum also has several international exhibitions on loan each year.

“We really need to improve the awareness of this rich, wonderful resource that is at the fingertips of everybody who goes to school here,” said Tara Steinmark, the museum’s education coordinator.

Meadows is now displaying “From Cranach to Monet: Highlights of the Pérez Simón Collection.”  The collection will be on exhibit until Dec. 31, and it is the only U.S. venue. 

Art News did a study of private collections all over the world, and it ranked the Pérez Simón collection as one of the top 100 private collections, said Steinmark. 

Trend of student use and future programming

“Most people come in when they have projects to do, they don’t really come in just to see the museum,” said Monica Sifuentes, a student-worker. 

Like many of the students who have been, Samantha Thomen went for class.  Lynn Jacobs, Thomen’s Wellness I professor, took her class on a tour of the museum.

“It was amazing!” said Thomen.  “You should go to Meadows.  I learned so much.”

Steinmark says she is currently working to engage the 18 to 22-year-old crowd with new programming.

“I would like to see a fall kickoff party, where we have maybe live music out on the plaza – either local bands or a DJ, something that’s not a string quartet,” she said.

Steinmark is researching other ideas to improve student involvement such as instating a student art guild and exhibiting student artwork to sell for charity. 

José Bowen, dean of Meadows School of the Arts, said he has spoken with Mark Roglan, the museum director, about future changes including moving the 4 p.m. jam session at the Meadows School of the Arts building to later in the evening on the plaza of the museum.   Bowen has also suggested a fashion film festival in conjunction with the Balenciaga couture exhibit coming this spring.

The museum restaurant and gift shop

Not only is the programming undergoing a makeover, so is the plaza.  It will be more garden-like, in contrast to the current, predominately concrete, plaza.  The Gates Restaurant may have an outdoor dining area in the future, said Steinmark.

The museum restaurant re-opened this semester and Executive Chef Tim Schaub’s menu includes entrees from “Tapas Barcelona,” the most expensive dish, at $14.95 to “The Classic Cheeseburger,” one of the cheapest meals, at $9.95. 

“They have Spanish dishes as well as American, but there is that Spanish flavor because they want to keep within the atmosphere of the museum,” said Leigh Freeman, gift shop clerk and evening school graduate student.  “I had one man come in here once who said that it was the best hamburger he’d had in his life.”

According to museum staff, diners get a lot for their money because of the ambience and large portion sizes.  The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and reservations are required.

Steinmark also recommended the gift shop as a great place to find a last minute gift. 
“It’s dangerous,” she said.  “I spend too much money in there.”

Compared to other gift shops in the museum world, it has a lot of affordable things, said Freeman.  For instance, there are several pieces of jewelry starting at $12.

Pérez Simón collection

Josefina and Juan Antonio Pérez Simón have loaned the Meadows Museum 57 paintings from their collection of over 1,000 works of art.  The exhibition includes numerous works with great name-recognition.  Some of which are Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Gauguin, Goya, Cézanne and many others. 
“These really are masterpieces, and it’s amazing that all of these works of art are in the hands of a couple in Mexico City,” said Steinmark.  “You’ve got this rare opportunity to see all of these works that normally are hanging in someone’s dining room and kitchen and living room.”

“The Roses of Heliogabalus” by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema is in every Victorian art book, and people get really excited because nobody knows where it is because it’s in private hands, said Steinmark.

It is an intricately detailed, seemingly three-dimensional painting that depicts a group of people being covered in a cloud of rose petals, and onlookers are watching at a nearby table.  The people are actually being smothered by the rose petals, which are covered in poison.

Just by looking at it “I never would have expected that the subject matter was so morbid and terrifying because it’s such a beautiful painting,” said Steinmark.  “This is the kind of work of art that people would probably just give a blank check to Mr. Pérez Simón, and say, ‘Name your price.'”

This painting is both Steinmark’s and Thomen’s favorite painting from the Pérez Simón collection. 

“If you want to really impress a girl, bring her to the museum,” said Freeman.  “This and a good dinner, whoa!”
Admission is free for SMU students, faculty, staff and children under 12 years old.  It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with additional hours on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  It is also open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.  It is located at 5900 Bishop Blvd.  For additional information and a list of upcoming events, visit the Meadows Museum Web site at

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