Archive for November, 2009

Connect: Teachers, Technology, and Art

Our work on a new grant project, Connect: Teachers, Technology, and Art, has officially begun!  Through the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and their Museums for America grant program, the DMA was awarded $150,000 in October 2009 to begin redesigning online teaching materials.  Over the course of the next two years, we will work to create five new dynamic, web-based resource units that present the wealth of our collections in African and South Asian art.  How will we do it?  Thoughtfully, by connecting these three things:

Teachers: Results from a 2007 evaluation with 450 teachers, which focused on how teachers learn and teach with art, will inform the initial selection and organization of artwork images and information.  Staff will also collaborate closely with twenty teachers, who will help design and test the new teaching resources in their classrooms.  How do you currently use the Museum’s online teaching materials?  We welcome your comments!

Technology: Digital images, video, and audio, similar to those on DMAtv, will enliven the resources by providing extended information about works of art and cultures.  Imagine all of this packaged into custom units that are easy for teachers to access, search, and share with students.

Art: Works of art from Africa and South Asia will be the focus for the five new resource units.  The units will reflect recent curatorial scholarship and upcoming catalogue publications for both collections.  They will also highlight artworks recently added to the collection, such as the olumeye from Nigeria and the Buddha Sakyamuni from Thailand.


Kneeling female figure with bowl (olumeye)


Buddha Sakyamuni

Grant work to tackle over the next two months includes taking inventory of great images, information, video, and audio content related to the African and South Asian artworks, as well as selecting ten teachers to begin collaborating with staff.  If you would like to hear more about the grant, please feel free to email us.  Also look for future progress reports on the Connect project here on the blog or delivered via the Educator Newsletter.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Learning Partnerships with Schools

Is it a slug? The letter "j"? A prehistoric sea creature?

Dorothea Tanning’s Pincushion to Serve as Fetish has inspired me to create a soft sculpture project for our afterschool program.  All it took was some cool fabric, a stapler, polyester stuffing, and a hot glue gun.

What does it look like to you?

I tested the project first and made an example before introducing it to the students. What does it look like to you?

The students were really excited about their fabric choices.

The students were really excited about their fabric choices.

Pincushion to Serve as Fetish, Dorothea Tanning, 1979

Inspiration for the project. See Pincushion to Serve as Fetish in the Center for Creative Connections.

Artist Spotlight: Yinka Shonibare MBE

One of the Dallas Museum of Art’s most recent and exciting exhibitions, Performance/Art, centers around contemporary works of art. Along with paintings and installations, the exhibition includes two films, one by Eija-Liisa Ahtila and the other by Yinka Shonibare. Shonibare’s film, Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball), is based on an opera by the same name by Giuseppe Verdi and is a visual spectacle that will attract and intrigue visitors.

Shonibare, Un ballo in maschera

Un ballo in maschera, Yinka Shonibare MBE

While the story underlying Shonibare’s film is interesting (the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden), so too is the real life of the artist. Shonibare was born in London in 1962 but raised in Nigeria. This duality of experience and identity is explored in much of his work, which extends beyond film and includes sculpture, painting, photography, and installation. As apparent in the brilliant costumes in Un ballo in maschera, Shonibare frequently works with dyed fabrics which complicate issues of history, colonialism, and our global economy.

Shonibare’s art delves into complex ideas, often layered with multiple points of view, and he emphasizes the aesthetic experience in the process. Some works, such as Lady on Unicycle and Hopscotch, both large-scale installations, include mannequins dressed in Dutch wax-printed cotton. Others, like Dorian Gray, are two-dimensional and include less flamboyant imagery, in this case neutral-colored prints.

Since being awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2005, Shonibare has taken the honorary title as part of everyday usage of his name. This small action hints at what much of his artwork overtly discusses, specifically the ambiguous and contradictory relationship he has with his nationality and identity. More information about Yinka Shonibare and his artwork can be found online at Art:21.

If you would like to experience Un ballo in maschera as well the other works in Performance/Art and All the World’s a Stage, come to our Teacher Workshop this Saturday, November 7, where we will be going through the exhibitions and talking about performance. To sign up, e-mail or select the Teacher Programs link on our ticketing Web site  to register online.

Logan Acton
McDermott Teaching Programs Intern

November Programs for Teachers

We are gearing up for two exciting programs for teachers this month:

Our first program will be on Saturday, November 7 at 9:00 a.m.  My colleague Logan Acton and I will be leading a teacher workshop on our special exhibitions that take a fresh look at the Museum’s collections through the theme of performance: All the World’s a Stage and Performance/Art.  This workshop starts before the Museum opens to the public, giving teachers the opportunity to explore these exhibitions before other visitors arrive.  Complete details, including registration, can be found on the Web site.

Portrait of Isabelle Lemonnier, Edouard Manet, c. 1879, Dallas Museum of Art

Portrait of Isabelle Lemonnier, Edouard Manet, c. 1879, Dallas Museum of Art

For our Thursday Evening Program for Teachers this month, we will be joining the public lecture Manet, Models, Portraits, and “La Vie Moderne,” given by Dr. Nancy Locke, Associate Professor of Art History, Penn State University, on November 12 at 7:00 p.m.  Admission to this lecture is free for teachers, upon presentation of faculty ID.  Advance registration is not required and seating is limited.  Teachers are welcome to arrive early and join education staff in the “Teachers Lounge” in the Atrium Café.

Information about these and other upcoming programs for teachers can be found at  We hope to welcome you to the Museum soon for one of these programs!

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

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