URTA on the Map – Southern Methodist University


URTA on the Map – Southern Methodist University

Who: Claudia Stephens, Associate Professor, Costume Design
School: Southern Methodist University
City: Dallas, Texas

What advice would you give to new students about how they can build relationships and form communities in a new environment?

In our student’s first year at SMU, we encourage and actively support attendance at local professional theatre venues such as the Dallas Theater Center, Kitchen Dog Theater, Dallas Opera, Theater Three, Margo Jones Theater (Fair Park), Undermain Theatre and many more. We discuss the productions in class and encourage students to contact those theatre artists to begin a dialogue that will open them up to work opportunities at that theatre. In addition, we bring local theatre artists into the classroom, as guests and as teachers, in order to build relationships and form artistic communities.

Where on campus do you like to work?

Our graduate students have a dedicated Design Studio space; I often meet and work with students there. We also have a dedicated classroom, so when we need more space to spread out, we go there. Our library has lovely, quiet spaces to work on the computer; I often go there. The most enjoyable, community-based space is the Taubman Atrium. It is an open space with a coffee shop attached, where you can meet other students or faculty, have a quick design conference, and often see brown bag lunch performances.

What are your favorite things to do off-campus in your free time?

I go to the theater, opera, dance and other live performances in Dallas or Ft. Worth—there are many. The Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas, just off the Arts District, has outdoor venues for Yoga, concerts, food trucks, etc. Great to visit just before a show or museum and it is all walking distance. In the first semester, I take students on monthly field trips via DART rail—free to SMU students—downtown, State Fair of Texas, Neiman Marcus Christmas Windows, Dallas Museum of Art and other venues.

How do you commute to the university? Do you feel like students need a car or is there sufficient public transportation/is it a walking city?

It’s Texas, we all drive. I have had students survive the first year without a car, and there are apartments close by and/or on the free DART rail (free SMU bus from Mockingbird Station to SMU, about 10 minutes). But they usually buy a car for the second or third year.

Other things Dallas has to boast:
-Fastest growing light rail system, DART
-“largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation
-Craft beer scene

Posted by Olivia Vessel  Posted on 10 Oct 
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