Kristina Kirkenaer-Hart:

Kristina is Operations & Communications Managing Director for the Dallas Arts District.  She is a champion of all things arts-related and has a considerable amount of both professional and artistic experiences. For years, she had a professional dance career in New York. Kristina also owned and ran a professional dance school in Oslo, Norway, co-founded a conservatory for entrepreneurship in the arts, where she served as dean. She has just under 20 years of experience teaching dance and entrepreneurship to artists. Kristina holds a BFA in dance from NYU and her dual-degree MA/MBA from SMU.  She loves to try new things, go for bike rides with her family, is fluent in Norwegian and is currently trying to learn Spanish. She is thrilled to make McElvaney her home and grow her SMU family.

Dottie Hart:

Dorothea, Dottie, as she is fondly known, was born in Oslo, Norway. She’s a competitive gymnast and loves to read, write, draw, and bake. She also enjoys traveling and has been to seven countries, to date, as well as many U.S. states. Recently, she joined her dad on a trip to India.  She’s most excited about going from an only child to having over 200 older siblings. Dottie hopes to one day be an alum. of SMU, like her parents.

Jim Hart:

Jim serves as Director of Arts Entrepreneurship in Meadows. Like his wife Kristina, he’s an alum. of SMU (BFA, Theatre). He also holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama. For many years, Jim has worked professionally as an actor, writer, producer, director, entrepreneur, and professor. His original work with a focus on experiential learning has netted Hart multiple national and university awards and honors for innovation in pedagogy, including the Provost’s Teaching Recognition Award. Jim is the author of the recent book Classroom Exercises for Entrepreneurship. The book contains 65 original experiential exercises to teach with. His exercises have been used by many schools around the world. He is so excited to serve as FiR for McElvaney.

Pets in Residence



Luna, the dog, was also born in Oslo, Norway. She’s a Portuguese Water Dog, a breed that is generally thought to be the oldest domesticated dog breed in the world. Luna is super sweet, loves attention and affection. She’s an older dog (14) but, often behaves like a puppy. Her hair is less like fur and more like human hair. Her breed is thought to be hypoallergenic (as much as a dog can be). Luna is so excited to meet you and be pet.



Cookie, the hamster and latest addition to the Hart family, is a funny, furry, and friendly little pet, that sleeps almost all day, and runs in her wheel, and chews all night long.