Archive for March, 2010

Pablo Picasso said…

Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Best in Show - Looking Glass Self by Katy Wood

The halls and galleries of the DMA fill up this spring with two installations of creative work by young artists in the community.  Earlier this month, the Young Masters exhibition opened in the Dallas Museum of Art’s Concourse.  The exhibition features a selection of artworks created by Advanced Placement Art students from Dallas area high schools who participate in the O’Donnell Foundation AP Studio Arts Incentive Program.  The Incentive Program focuses on making Texas the strongest state in AP arts education and preparing students for life in the 21st century as critical thinkers with global perspectives.    A total 280 works were submitted for the juried exhibition, which included two rounds of judging.  The DMA’s own Jeffrey Grove, Senior Hoffman Family Curator of Contemporary Art, selected the final winners.  Katy Wood from Booker T. Washington High School took away top honors with her self-portrait Looking Glass Self, a color digital photograph. In her statement Katy says. “Psychology greatly influences my artwork.  In this piece, I explored a psychological theory called ‘looking-glass self’, in which one’s self can be reflected by the society and environment’s perceptions.”  Images by additional award winners are featured on the AP Arts Web site.

In April, the work of young artists from fourteen elementary, middle, and high schools in the Dallas area will be on display in conjunction with the exhibition Coastlines. These artists are part of the Young Artist’s Program, an education-based initiative presented with the Museum’s annual fundraising event the Art Ball.  Each year the Art Ball provides essential funding for the DMA’s exhibitions programs and gives students throughout Dallas an opportunity to make art in response to a unique theme derived from a DMA exhibition.  Inspired by images of coastal landscapes and the sea, many of the schools participating in the Young Artist’s Program this year are creating large-scale collaborative works that will fill gallery spaces on the first floor.  Works in all media will be on view to the public from April 15 to April 24, 2010, and the exhibition will be accompanied by a video documentation of students working.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Students at the Dallas International School apply encaustic to their mixed media artwork about the Moroccan coast.

Eduardo Mata Elementary artists create mixed media nautical collages.

Found It!

Back in November, I shared some photos from a project inspired by Dorothea Tanning’s Pincushion to Serve as Fetish.  This project is part of a new afterschool program we are developing in partnership with Thriving Minds at Dallas ISD schools.  At the time, I was testing the program with 4th-5th graders at Conner Elementary School.  I am currently working with Shawna Bateman at Twain Elementary School and Daniel Hall at Long Middle School, who are leading the program with their students.  In the process, I have learned a great deal from their experiences, insights, and feedback regarding the program.
Below are images of projects inspired by Mark Handforth’s Dallas Snake.  Through these projects, students learn about artists who use found objects as materials for their art.  Found objects are natural or man-made objects found (or sometimes bought) by an artist that are treated as a work of art just the way they are, used for inspiration, and/or used as materials for works of art.
First, the students chose several items from the collection of found objects provided by the instructor.

An array of found objects to choose from

Next, students selected materials that helped them connect their objects.

Materials for connecting found objects

One student created a time machine with cardboard, plastic beads, an old tv antenna, and other assorted items.

Time Machine

 Another student created a sculpture park with a lint roller handle, cell phone, bubble wrap, and paper towel roll.

The Sculpture Park

Saline solution bottles, foam tubing, a belt, and a pipe cleaner were combined to make binoculars.


 Students will see Mark Handforth’s Dallas Snake firsthand when they visit the DMA at the end of their program.

Dallas Snake by Mark Handforth

Schedule Soon for the Spring

It’s hard to believe that there are only a few months of school left.  The spring is always a very busy time for us, and this year is no exception.  This is a good opportunity to let you know what types of programs for students and teachers are still available for the 2009-2010 school year.

Go van Gogh
All Go van Gogh programs have been booked for the spring. 

Museum Visits
There are a limited number of times still available for docent-guided Museum visits.  Many of these slots are during the month of April, so this is the best time to bring your students to visit The Lens of Impressionism.  We have a very limited number of docent-guided openings in the month of May, and most of them are during the 1:00 p.m. time slot. 

If you are unable to schedule a docent-guided visit to the Museum, schedule a self-guided visit.  We have a self-guided tour resource available online that you can use to guide your students through the DMA.

To request a docent-guided or self-guided visit for your students, you will need to submit an Online Visit Request Form as soon as possible.  Remaining spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Programs for Teachers
We will have two additional Thursday evening programs for teachers.  Visit our Web site to learn more.

We also have one more Teacher Workshop scheduled for this year.  Exploring Photography: The Lens of Impressionism is a two-part workshop offered on April 24th and May 1st.  Teachers will spend time in The Lens of Impressionism with Dr. Terry Barrett.  Photographer and educator Frank Lopez will also demonstrate the ambrotype process.  Reserve your spot now before remaining spaces fill.

We hope to see you and your students at the DMA this spring!

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator

The Tip of the Iceberg

One of the most popular works of art in the Dallas Museum of Art’s collection is Frederic Edwin Church’s The IcebergsAlthough there are many reasons to treasure this painting, I love the connections with science and history. 

Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826 - 1900), The Icebergs, 1861, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt, 1979.28

With an interest in the 1845 Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage, Frederic Church and his friend Reverend Louis Noble set sail during the summer of 1859 on a month-long journey to Newfoundland and Labrador.  Church’s romantic notion of exploring new frontiers and recording the untamed natural world resulted in multiple sketches of icebergs.   Reverend Noble documented their experiences and published the book After Icebergs with a Painter: A Summer Voyage to Labrador and Around Newfoundland in 1861.

 Two things are evident to the observer: an iceberg is as solid as ivory or marble, and cold apparently as any substance on the earth.  This compact and perfectly frozen body, in the warm seas of summer, finds its entire outside exposed to the July sun.  The expanding power of heat becomes at length an explosive force, and throws off, with all the violence and suddenness of gunpowder, portions of the surface.  If you hear thunders, come to the iceberg then.        – Reverend Louis Noble, 1861

I can understand and appreciate their fascination with icebergs.   Here are  a few facts about these fresh water formations in the North Atlantic:

  • Approximately 40,000 medium-to-large sized icebergs annually calve, or break, off glaciers in Greenland; 400-800 icebergs make it as far south as Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
  • The age of the ice may be more than 10,000 years old. 
  • The average size is between three and 250 feet above sea level with an approximate weight of 100,000 to 200,000 tons (the weight of 20,000 school buses). 
  • About 7/8 of the iceberg’s mass is below the water.
  • The bluish streaks in the ice are from the refreezing of melted water without air bubbles.
  • Icebergs often tip over and roll as the ice unevenly melts.
  • Depending on the size, icebergs can “ground” or contact the seabed and get stuck.   

When you come to the Museum, I encourage you to wander up to the 4th floor to see this work of art.  Consider the awe and wonder of these natural formations that were observed on the North Atlantic waters.   You might want to bring a jacket or sweater in case you need to keep warm on your adventure!

Until next time….

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Learning Partnerships with Schools

For more information about The Icebergs and its history, read The Voyage of the Icebergs:  Frederic Church’s Arctic Masterpiece written by past DMA curator, Eleanor Jones Harvey.

Spring is Almost Here

It’s almost spring, and the flora is just about to bloom here at the Museum.  I’ve captured some of the blossoming trees along with some perpetual blossoms on vases in our Japanese Meiji period gallery.  Enjoy!

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

Community Connection: Using Art to Get at Life

As museum professionals, we attend conferences regularly to share the exciting work we are doing at the DMA and to learn from our national and international colleages.  I attended the annual National Art Education Assocation Convention for the first time in 2004, and I had the pleasure of participating in a session led by Dr. Terry Barrett.  Since then, I scan each year’s schedule to make sure I don’t miss an opportunity to learn from Dr. Barrett.  Last year, I was delighted to hear that he had joined the Art Education faculty at the University of North Texas.  I recently had a chance to talk with Dr. Barrett before UNT adjourned for Spring Break. 

Dr. Terry Barrett

What sparked your interest in art education?

I’ve been in the field a long time and I got into it by default.  When I graduated from college, I was eligible for the Vietnam War draft.  I was opposed to the war, and one way to avoid the draft was to teach.  I began teaching in an inner-city, all-black high school in St. Louis; I was there the year Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot.  I fell in love with the kids and decided I liked teaching.  I’ve been teaching ever since.

How would you describe your theory to a person with no experience in art education?

My mission is to help people appreciate art and to appreciate life through art, because I think art gives us different ways of thinking about the world.

Did you ever have a great idea that didn’t work?  What did you learn from that experience?

No, I don’t think I ever had a great idea that didn’t work.  Thinking of “great ideas” is intimidating in itself.  Other people come to me with great ideas – I have said yes to many offers throughout my career, and that’s led me to different directions that have been very interesting.

For example, one big change in my career occurred when a former student asked if I would be an art critic in education for the Ohio Arts Council and I said, “Yeah, why not?”  Being an art critic in the schools enlivened me;  my research, my teaching and my community service came together like a circle – a productive circle.

I was a cancer patient about 5 years ago.   I went through chemotherapy and private counseling and during that time I figured out I wasn’t afraid to die, but I was afraid of becoming old and inactive.  My counselor told me I have to get over that fear and suggested I go to an assisted living community and work with the elderly.  I said “Why not?”.  I also started doing contemporary art interpretation with people with cancer, and we started seeing how those images related to our lives. They really enjoyed the process and produced some beautiful writings.  That’s when I started thinking about life issues more than art issues and using art to get at life.

I had enough years at Ohio State to retire, but there was an opening at University of North Texas and I thought “Why not?”.  I wasn’t ready to retire; I wanted to stay active and keep working, writing, and teaching.

I love your artist statement about choices you’ve made related to making art, your creative process, and the materials you choose.  Can you tell me more about how you came to these decisions – was it a learning experience of trial and error, or did you approach artmaking this way from the beginning?

When I was young, I made art instinctively and intuitively. As I got older and was writing more, I didn’t have time to make art and do it well, so I stopped.  I realized I missed it, and that’s when I began painting.  Sandy Skoglund told me I needed something to fit my lifestyle.  As an example, she told me about a friend who frequently traveled on an airplane and made small collages because they didn’t require a lot of space or materials.  The small paintings I make really satisfy me.  They’re fun to make and I don’t exhibit them; I just do them for my own enjoyment.

It seems like much of your life and work has been in the Midwest, specifically Ohio.  What is your impression/experience of living and working in north Texas?

I miss the trees, but I like the sunshine a lot. The people here are friendlier than they are in the Midwest. There’s a degree of politeness that I like; the Midwest has a reputation for being a friendly place, but people here smile and make eye contact and open doors more than I’m used to.  I love wide open skies, and I love living in horse country.  I wish some rich ranch owner would give me a little plot of land to live on a horse farm, where I would build a small green house with a small ecological footprint.

Dr. Barrett will lead part of an upcoming Teacher Workshop titled  Exploring Photography: The Lens of Impressionism, along with photographer and educator Frank LopezVisit the website to learn more and register.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Learning Partnerships with the Community

From Student to Staff

I began my relationship with the Dallas Museum of Art when I was an AP art student at Frisco High School and visited the Museum with my class.  Although I spent at least three hours a day in art classes during my senior year, the Museum felt like it was a world apart from my own, much further than the half hour drive from my school. After graduating from Frisco High, I earned a scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas where I was accepted into Collegium V, the honors program there. In addition to the courses available on campus, each spring UT Dallas and the Dallas Museum of Art collaborate to offer an innovative honors seminar that takes place at the Museum.

Me in 1717 during the honors seminar exploring the senses

I signed up for the partnership class in the spring of my freshman year,  a course devoted to the Maya, and I fell in love with the Museum. I took the class again the following year, studying modernism, then once more the next spring, studying the process of creativity. Although I had graduated with my Bachelor´s degree in Art & Performance by the time my fourth year arrived, I was able to participate as a graduate student auditing the course, this time about the senses in art and literature. As my scholarship program drew to a close, I learned that the Museum offers eight McDermott internships: four in the Curatorial Department and four in Education. I knew I loved art, I knew I loved sharing the things I was passionate about with others, so I applied to work at the Museum doing just that. Not long after, I found myself walking through the Museum’s doors as the McDermott Teaching Programs Intern.

Me leading discussion during a teacher workshop about contemporary art

Not only have I been afforded the great opportunity to participate in teacher workshops and docent training as well as leading tour groups of all ages, but I have found myself on the other side of the table in the spring honors seminar. My experiences as a high school, undergraduate, and graduate student have shaped the way I see the Museum and the educational opportunities it provides, especially the way we interact with visitors. As someone who has witnessed it firsthand, I know that transformative experiences with art in the Museum are possible. My goal as a museum educator is not to impart a specific set of facts to a group of students, but rather to spark each student’s sense of wonder and provide them a starting point for whatever journey their imagination takes.

Looking Sharp in Those Navy Blazers!

Gallery attendants are some of my favorite people!  They work hard and long, and are always excited to see me and any visitors that I might be bringing through the galleries.  Let’s honor them and the work they do!  I wish I could post pictures of them all.  Here are just a few to get to know.

Clockwise from upper left:  Muli has worked at the DMA for 14 years!  She likes to cook when she has some free time.  Always smiling, Jacque, has graced the galleries for 9+ years and puts together 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles.  Mr. Ronald counts this year as his lucky thirteenth at the DMA and plays a mean Scrabble game.  Eugene has worked at the DMA for 7 months.  He’s a guitar player in a band and paints too!  Ornery Ethel, or “Dean” as everybody calls her, has been a part of the DMA family for 2 years.  She loves church and shopping.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Spring Break at the Museum

We’re gearing up for a week of extraordinary programming at the Museum, so come spend a day (or the whole week!) with us.  Below are just a few of the many great experiences you can have at the Museum next week.

  • Take a new smARTphone tour
    Bring your own web-enabled device (such as an iPhone or Blackberry) to the Museum to access new and interactive content related to The Lens of Impressionism and The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.  If you do not have your own device, a limited number of iPod Touches can be checked out free of charge at the Visitor Services Desks.
  • Spend an evening in Wonderland
    Learn to be a hatter in the Art Studio and watch three film adaptations of Alice in Wonderland at the Museum’s Alice in Wonderland-themed Late Night on March 19th.. 
  • Feed your appetite for knowledge
    Gallery Talks happen every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. They are free 45-minute discussions led by various Museum speakers. Logan Acton, McDermott Education Intern for Teaching Programs, will be leading the discussion next Wednesday, March 17th, entitled Enlightening Connections: Science and Contemporary Art.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
    Explore the Museum’s collections and search for hats using a gallery scavenger hunt.
  • Discover local Young Masters
    View selected artwork created by Advanced Placement Studio Art students participating in the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Arts Incentive Program™.  On view in the Concourse through April 18th.
  • Enjoy a light spring meal
    Head to the Museum’s Atrium Cafe and celebrate spring with tasty seasonal dishes like Quiche and Salad, Chicken Broccoli Crepe Provencal, and Turkey and Brie Crossiant.
  • Help your kids walk into and away with some art
    Use green screen technology to create your own vacation-themed postcards that will be available on the Museum’s Flickr website.  Tuesday, March 16–Friday, March 19th, 1:30-4:00 p.m in the Center for Creative Connections. 
  • Stop and enjoy the flowers
    The springtime wisteria blooms in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden near the Ross Avenue entrance are breathtakingly beautiful. After admiring their splendor, go find Water Lilies by Claude Monet in the European Painting and Sculpture galleries on Level Two.

Have a great break!

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community

BooksmART: John Grandits @ the DMA

John Grandits is a very funny man, and he’s coming to the DMA!  If you’ve found that sonnets, ballads, and Roman epics are too heavy for you, Mr. Grandits is here to make poetry downright concrete.  If that sounds intimidating, it’s not—poetry can be a lot of fun.  Grandits is a concrete poet, and he’s the author of two immensely enjoyable (and highly acclaimed) books for kids: Technically, It’s Not My Fault and Blue Lipstick.  If you’re tired of Times New Roman and typing left to right, this is your kind of poetry.  Grandits’ poems move in squiggly lines, travel up and down, and create pictures on the page.  He uses fonts, shapes, textures, colors, and sometimes even motion. 
If you would like to get a sense of his work, visit his Web site.  It’s full of quirky photos, playful type, and a great poem about a beleaguered snake.  If you’d like to do a little research, check out his books at the Dallas Public Library.  John Grandits will be at the Museum March 18-20, a fantastic opportunity to learn about his work.  Visit the Web site to learn about all the events Arts & Letters Live has planned for John Grandits’ visit to the DMA.
Justin Greenlee
McDermott Intern, Learning Partnerships Department


Flickr Photo Stream