Archive for December, 2009

TAG, You're It!

One of the DMA’s longest running partnerships is with Dallas ISD’s Talented and Gifted (TAG) program.  For the past 21 years, 4th – 6th grade students explore works of art from all times and places through interactive experiences like dramatic interpretation, debate, writing, and sketching.  Since 2000, each visit focuses on a BIG Idea question like “How is a work of art powerful?,” “How is place important?, ”How is perspective used in works of art?,” and “What do works of art tell us about the past, present, and future?”   These open-ended questions support a variety of answers which may relate to students’ life experiences and prior knowledge.

Students from Botello Elementary create verb sculptures using words (i.e. symmetry) that Richard Serra may have used to create his sculptures. They looked Richard Serra's "Untitled" for inspiration.

This year, like the many years before, has been fantastic!  There are 20 schools participating in this four-visit program with two Museum visits and two classroom visits.  Each of these visits lasts for 2 hours and are led by docents and Museum staff.  The TAG teachers commit to having the same 20-25 students participate in the program and it is exciting to see the student’s growth with each visit as they think critically and share creative answers to these BIG Idea questions.

The fall semester began in the classroom with “What does it mean to be an art investigator?,” which focused on looking closely and investigating visual clues in portraits and landscapes, creating verb-inspired sculptures using modeling material, and making connections between music and Claude-Joseph Vernet’s painting, Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm.

Students from Reinhardt Elementary used their arms and hands to mimic similar gestures expressed in Jackson Pollock's "Portrait and a Dream" and Franz Kline's "Slate Cross."

During Visit 2, students considered the question “How are emotions and gestures expressed in works of art?” as they posed like figures in works of art featured in the All the World’s a Stage exhibition, explored the expressive and emotive qualities of line and color, and created a sequence of events based on contemporary photography by artists, Charlie White and Gregory Crewdson.

The BIG Ideas for the final two visits are “What are ways cultures can influence each other?” and “What are the connections between art, music, dance, and theater?”   Be sure to look for an update about the TAG Museum program when I blog about the visits later in the spring!

Until next time…

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Learning Partnerships with Schools

Coming Soon: The Lens of Impressionism

Last week, while spending Thanksgiving with my family in Michigan, I convinced my sister to drive me to Ann Arbor to visit The University of Michigan Museum of Art. I love the UMMA and always look for any excuse to visit when I am home, but this time I had a special assignment. I was there to do background research as we plan tours, teacher workshops, and online teaching materials for The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850—1874, an exhibition that will open at the DMA on February 21, 2010.

The Lens of Impressionism at The University of Michigan Museum of Art

The Lens of Impressionism is a great exhibition for teaching about artistic process—you can look at images of the same stretch of coastline and compare what painters and photographers are choosing to include in their compositions. To me, the highlight of the exhibition was seeing a handful of original paper negatives, dating to the 1850s. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it would be to preserve a paper negative for 150 years. The negatives were displayed in lightboxes next to contemporary prints made from the negatives. They provide a great tool for teaching about photography and making photographic prints—something students may not know about in our digital age.

One of my favorite paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts is in the exhibition—Edouard Manet’s On the Beach (Sur la plage)—and I can’t wait until it arrives in Dallas and I can visit it whenever I like. However, I think I may have a new favorite painting: Eugène Boudin’s Bathing Time at Deauville, from the National Gallery of Art. Men and women visit the beach dressed in their Sunday best—it’s definitely very different from what we wear to the beach today! I also love the horses and dogs that stand on the shore, and I think this will be a fun painting to explore with students on tours.

We will be offering a variety of programs for students and teachers relating to The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850—1874, including an Evening for Educators on February 23, 2010. Visit our website for additional information on tours and teacher workshops, and be sure to check back in February for a new set of online teaching materials.

Me, outside of the UMMA

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator


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