Archive for April, 2010

The Sounds of Music

“Move your neck according to the music.”    – Ethiopian Proverb

Music is a universal language that helps us communicate our ideas, beliefs, and feelings.   When music is used independently or in tandem with other disciplines in the classroom, teachers are making it possible for students to hear and see the connections to the world around them. 


During the 2009-2010 school year, Museum staff downloaded music from the Smithsonian Folkways website for use in the galleries with the students in the Dallas ISD/ DMA Talented and Gifted (TAG) Museum Program.  With a focus on common ideas about being human, TAG students listened to and identified song types (i.e. lullabies, wedding, funeral, and work songs) universal to all peoples.  Song selections included the following:

Using an active ear, the students discussed the similarities and differences of the music selections from each culture.  Smithsonian Folkways is a non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institution that documents folk and world music.  The Folkways website includes lesson plans and additional resources created by their network of teachers. 

If you are interested in a more in-depth conversation about works of art, performances, or lectures, go to the Smithsonian Institution’s Podcast website.  There is a wide array of disciplines and topics represented in the podcasts.  If you have a moment or two, I encourage you to think about ways you can use these types of digital resources in your classroom related to the curriculum you teach. 

Until next time….

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Learning Partnerships with Schools

Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea

Berthe Morisot, The Port of Nice, 1881-82, 1985.R.40

This past Sunday, Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea opened at the Museum.  I came to see the opening with only an hour to spare, but will definitely be spending more time in the galleries; it’s an incredible exhibition.  Actually, Coastlines is an incredible experience

The show is curated by Heather MacDonald, The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art, and is comprised of some fifty works from the DMA and local collections.  The artworks are as diverse as the coastlines that inspired them. There are vibrant Impressionist paintings; spare, modern photographs; energetic gestural drawings; and more.

What is more exciting than the impact of any one artwork is the experience of being in the exhibition itself.  Artwork labels have sea-inspired passages from literature.  There are also sound installations throughout the galleries created through a partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas Arts and Technology program (ATEC).  Graduate students and faculty in the ATEC program composed these soundscapes, some in response to specific artworks, some in response to the exhibition’s themes.  Hyper-directional speakers hang above the twelve selected artworks, directing the sound right to you.  Standing under the speakers is like putting a seashell to your ear and hearing the ocean. 

Bottom line:  Come see it!  You’ll be very glad you did.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Photos from the NAEA Conference

I was one of the educators from the DMA who attended the recent National Art Education Association conference in Baltimore.  While there, I got to do one of my most favorite things – visit art museums!  Here are a few photos of three amazing museums in Charm City:  The Walters Art Museum, American Visionary Art Museum, and Baltimore Museum of Art

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

Charm City Conference Memoirs

So there I was nearly one week ago ending a week in Baltimore, Maryland by trekking through the galleries at the Walters Art Museum soaking up all the visual and mental goodness that the works of art would allow me.  Beautiful Barbizons.  This respite of art viewing was the perfect transition between the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Conference the week prior and another busy work week ahead of me.

Fortunately, several of my colleagues and I were able to attend the NAEA conference in Baltimore this year to share our work with others and learn from fellow educators in museums, schools, and universities.  It’s a great opportunity to reflect and recharge so that we can get back to doing that important work that we all do.

This year’s conference theme was Art Education and Social Justice.  Museum educators kicked off their exploration of this theme during a pre-conference session held on April 13.  Artist Joyce J. Scott, a native of Baltimore and a bit of spunky lady, entertained us with a keynote presentation of images and stories from her life and challenged us with the ideas in her art, which often confront head-on tough social issues.  She is an active member of her community and a teaching artist.  Joyce says she ‘teaches kids to be just with each other’, and she encourages us as museum educators to think about how museums are the perfect context for this kind of teaching and learning.  Think about all of the great issues that museums could address. In break-out sessions that followed the keynote, we heard from colleagues across the country who are actively working for change within their communities.  Art on Purpose and The Baltimore Museum of Art integrated exhibition artworks and ideas into experiential programs for children, homeless people, addicts, and immigrants.  In another session, educators from the Worcester Museum of Art questioned where social change fits into our day-to-day work and led a conversation about “Is Art Enough?”  How does social change fit into your world?  Can arts education impact social change?  What is the role of a museum?

At the conference, NAEA set up a studio for the presentation of current strategic planning initiatives for the organization.  Attendees were invited to participate in focus groups and also design-thinking exercises that contributed to a new vision for the association and perhaps, a re-envisioning of our field.  Other exciting announcements included a new study out about the impact of No Child Left Behind on arts education.  This nationwide study was initiated and compiled by F. Robert Sabol, PhD and is a must read!  Likewise, the NAEA Web site has information up about the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Nation’s Arts Report Card.  My advocacy brain was on high alert by the end of the conference, and I came back to Dallas anxious to follow through on a few great ideas I heard at the conference about how to be a stronger advocate for the arts in my community.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art invites high level school district administrators and principals to hold meetings at the PMA.  In exchange for free meeting spaces in a beautiful art museum, PMA educators spend one hour with the group sharing about their work with students and teachers.  At The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, educators are now working with parents to develop more advocates for the arts.

I’ll finish up with a list of selected highlights from the many sessions I attended throughout the week:

  • Artist Luba Lukova – graphic design and social justice
  • Dewey and Freire – a presentation about the influences of philosophical theory on our practice in the 21st century
  • The Whitney Museum of American Art presents: “How Working with Artists Changes What We Do and How We Do It” — on Friday, May 28 the U.S. Marines will do a weapons display in the Whitney Museum, a program suggested by artist Nina Berman to “open up” dialogue around her artwork.
  • Recreating Creativity – a panel presentation from college professors discussing creativity within various contexts: history, psychoanalysis, and philosophy
  • American Visionary Museum Director Rebecca Hoffberger delivering the keynote speech at the Museum Education Division luncheon – “Museums are at their very best when they are broadcasting inclusiveness.”  The number one educational goal of this institution: Expand the definition of a worthwhile life
  • Bumper stickers: Art Makes You Smart.  Stand Up for the Arts!
  • Rika Burnham and Elliott Kai-Kee focus on the museum educators’ struggles for interpretation – How do we use our own interpretations in our work in the galleries?

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships
(NAEA Museum Education Division Western Region Director)

Community Connection: Bringing the Very Best

Dave Herman has partnered with the DMA’s Education divison in a variety of ways.   As President and Creative Director of Preservation LINK, Inc., Dave initiated a partnership with the DMA that resulted in an annual exhibition of photographs by participants in Preservation LINK’s Point of View program.  He was invited to serve on an advisory board for the development of a new type of Go van Gogh outreach program, based on his perspective as a professional photographer and his teaching experiences with students.  Dave also led several workshops as the February Visiting Artist in the Center for Creative Connections as well as a Summer Art Camp during 2009.  In summary, we enjoy partnering with Dave and take every opportunity to work with him. 

Dave Herman coaches a student through an art project.

You describe yourself as a visual sociologist.  Can you tell us what that means to you?

Visual sociology is, in a lot of ways, documentary in nature. It is almost as if you put out a hypothesis or investigative question, and then you document what you find out and share some of those answers visually. It lends itself to a different kind of attention, because you’re trying to put pieces of puzzles together and understand what that all looks like.  Visual sociology is also about how people interact with each other and how they respond to things.

Was there a defining experience or person in your life that led you to where you are today?

I first associate my mom and dad with helping to shape me and my values.  A lot of what I do is based on my background and what I believe in.  My work with students through Preservation LINK comes from a passion to help kids understand themselves, understand their potential, and to be confident that they can reach their goals. One thing that motivates me now, even as an artist, is that I didn’t necessarily have that growing up.  This is something really important – for students to have guidance and the opportunity to grow, to have ownership, and to eventually have a sense of “I’ve got this now”.

Over the six years that I’ve known you, I’ve witnessed exciting growth with Preservation LINK.  Do you have any advice for others who are interested in starting a non-profit organization with the goal of educating youth through literacy, art, and technology?

Budding photographers

I would say the first thing as an initiator, dealing with kids, is to make sure you’re reaching for the sky. Make sure that you’re bringing the very best to young folks. I say that because sometimes when we talk about equipment, for instance, some people say “let’s just get this (lesser value) equipment because they’re kids and they don’t need a big camera”. In reality, that is what they need. For them to grab onto something real at a certain level, you’re able to push your message and your lesson a little bit further.

Also, believe in your vision. Know how or learn how to manage it.

How does research and evaluation factor into your program development and implementation?

In a big way. Evaluation and research impacts and informs how we move forward.  It informs how we deliver programs and how we assess our accomplishments.  We are able to see what the impacts of our programs are on the community, students, parents, and the adults that supports kids’ learning. We wouldn’t be the same organization that we are now if it wasn’t for the evaluation and research that is a part of Preservation LINK.

What do you most hope students who participate in your programs will walk away with from their experiences?

Students learn about the history of photography during a Preservation LINK program.

I want the students to know that people care about who they are, what they learn, and what they want to become.  I hope they’re motivated to take even more ownership in their lives.

See photographs taken by elementary students during Presevation LINK’s Point of View Program at the Dallas Museum of Art.  The exhibition, titled Through the Eyes of Our Children: Something Beautiful, will be on view from May 14-August 29 on the M2 level of the Museum, adjacent to the Mayer Library.  View images from past Preservation LINK programs here.

Skyway, JFK, What Else Do I Have to Say?


Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964

One of my favorite works of art in the DMA’s collection is Robert Rauschenberg’s Skyway.  If you have dined in the Atrium Cafe, you have probably noticed Skyway hanging on the East wall.  It’s a very large work made of oil and silkscreen on canvas.  The canvas is covered with images of 1960s popular culture: astronauts, outer space, a freeway, construction equipment, and even a portrait of John F. Kennedy. 

Part of the reason that I love Skyway is because of Rauschenberg’s inclusion of Kennedy.  Ever since I was nine years old, I have been fascinated by JFK.  Between 4th and 10th grade, I did a report or presentation on JFK or his wife Jackie every year in school.  I don’t know what it is about them that I love–their youth, their glamour, his tragic death?  I think it’s probably a combination of all three.

With the Kennedys at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Washington, D.C.

Skyway is also one of my favorite works of art because it is a visual time capsule of the 1960s.   This canvas was created to hang on the facade of the U.S. pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.  It celebrates contemporary history, modernity, and the achievements of the United States.  We can look at this work of art and know what decade it represents based on the images that have been included. 

It’s also fun to think about what images would be included if a work of art like Skyway were to be created today.   Would we see Barack Obama?  Would we see symbols of new technology like the iPad or a flatscreen TV?  Would we see Miley Cyrus or Robert Pattinson, the icons of pop culture in 2010?  This is always a fun topic to explore with students on tours, and I always love hearing their responses.

To learn more about Skyway, or to explore other contemporary works of art in our collection, check out the Contemporary Art and Design online teaching materials.  You also need to come see Skyway at the Museum–it’s so much better in person!

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator

Interview with Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services

I recently had an opportunity to interview one of my Education staff colleagues. Stacey Lizotte. She answered questions related to her job and shares information about upcoming public programs.

Name and Title: Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services

Years Employed at the Dallas Museum of Art: 5

Describe your job here at the Museum: I oversee and help create the adult programming offered at the Museum including Late Nights, Thursday Night Live, lectures, gallery programs, concerts, and programs for adults offered in partnership with other community organizations. I also work with our Multimedia staff to make sure any programs requiring technical support go off without a hitch.

What is your favorite part of your job? Watching visitors of all ages on Late Nights, when Museums are normally not open, talking with each other, exploring the galleries, watching a performance in front of a work of art, and overall having FUN in a museum. Another part of my job I enjoy is stepping away from my desk, leaving the office areas behind, to stroll through the galleries. You can’t beat taking a break with works of art for company.

What is a challenge you face in your job? Continually making our reoccurring programs fresh and new for our visitors. For instance there are eleven Late Nights a year, and we see a lot of repeat visitors. We want to make sure that each time our visitors are here they have a new and exciting experience.

How did you decide you wanted to work in a Museum? When I was in high school my art teacher, Mrs. Dunn, took us on a field trip to an art museum. As we were talking about a work of art, she started to tap dance and proclaimed that art was so wonderful it made her want to dance. I realized then that museums were magic places. It was not until I was looking into graduate schools and talking with a professor at UNT about their Museum Certificate program within their Art Education program that I realized I could actually have a job at a museum.

If you weren’t working here at the Dallas Museum of Art, what is something else you would be doing? I would be working with animals. Growing up on the East Coast, there was a time I seriously thought of becoming a marine biologist. I also have a degree in photography, so if I were staying within the art field I would be photographer. Or maybe some combination of the two. Here are two photos I took at the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium:  

What are some highlights for Public Programs this spring? This spring we are offering a lot of interesting programs celebrating our new exhibition The Lens of Impressionism. There are several lectures exploring photography including a lecture with Dr. Terry Barrett on April 24. On selected Thursday evenings you can take a tour of the exhibition and then have drinks in our outdoor courtyard while listening to local musicians perform French music. Visit the web site to see the complete program guide.    

We are also very excited about our April 16 Late Night. We are celebrating our visitors with a true iMuseum experience. It will be a night where you can interact with performers, create your own videos, respond to works of art in video confessionals, go on Twitter treasure hunts, share your own photos of the Museum, and more. Check out our web site for a full schedule of events.  

Amy Wolf
Teaching Programs Coordinator

Go van Gogh at KidsFest 2010

Amy Copeland and I recently took the Go van Gogh van out to Firewheel Town Center for KidsFest 2010.  We set up shop in a booth on the square, setting out watercolors, colored pencils, crayons, and oil pastels.  We had an amazing turnout– over one hundred kids made a work of art! 

Justin Greenlee

McDermott Intern, Teaching Programs and Partnerships

À la plage

James McNeill Whistler, Sea and Rain, 1865, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1955/1.89

One of the things I love most is hearing visitors’ responses to works of art.  And it’s really fun when those responses take a creative shape, and you get to hear an original poem or an elaborate this-is-what-I-think-would-happen story that helps you see the artwork in a new way.

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of giving a tour to a group of students from Bowie High School’s French Club, and they came up with great creative responses to a work in our newly-opened Lens of Impressionism exhibition.  Below are two poems based on James McNeill Whistler’s Sea and Rain.  To make these poems, students wrote descriptive words on small Post-Its (shown below), and arranged them to create phrases.  They also humored me by translating the words into French!

Calmant sérène mer
Il pleut à la plage
Admirant fantastique a la coast

Calming serene sea
Lonely raining beach
Admiring amazing shore

Il fait du vent voir ciel
Calmant pur le plage
Tranquil calme une personne

Windy looking sky
Calming pure beach
Peaceful calm person

Thanks, Bowie students, for a great tour and thoughtful poetic responses.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Exploring Photography and Creativity

Our next teacher workshop is our final workshop of the school year:     

Exploring Photography: The Lens of Impressionism
7 CPE hours; limit 20
$50 full price; $40 DMA members   


Gustave Le Gray, Brig Upon the Water, ca. 1856. Albumen print, Founders Society Purchase, Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation Fund (F78.41) Photo © 2004, Detroit Institute of Arts

This workshop stretches over two meetings; please plan to attend both dates.

Saturday, April 24, 2010; 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 1, 2010; 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.   

Two special guests will join us for this workshop:   

Dr. Terry Barrett, Professor of Art Education at the University of North Texas, will lead a gallery conversation based on photographs in the Lens of Impressionism exhibition on April 24.  Learn more about Dr. Barrett by visiting his Web site or by reading his recent interview on this blog.   

Frank Lopez, photographer and visual art teacher at Greenhill School, will lead a demonstration of ambrotype photography on May 1.  Visit Mr. Lopez’s Web site to learn more about him and his work.   

We’re also taking reservations for our annual summer course offered in conjunction with The University of Texas at Dallas:   

Summer Seminar 2010: The Creative Process   

 June 15-18, 2010; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily   

$100 registration fee   

Join UT Dallas faculty and DMA staff to explore the theory and practice of creativity in this graduate-level seminar.  Discussion sessions and interactive workshop experiences will take place at the Dallas Museum of Art in classrooms, galleries, and the Center for Creative Connections.     

Both programs are open to K-12 teachers of all subjects.  Register now before spaces are gone.   

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs


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