A Sense of Place

Last week, fifteen middle school and high school teachers from around the area participated in the 2010 Museum Forum for Teachers: Modern and Contemporary Art.  During the full day sessions, teachers deepened their understanding of contemporary art and architecture through gallery experiences and discussions with Museum staff, as well as with each other.   Each day was spent at one of five Dallas–Fort Worth institutions: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, and The Rachofsky House.

There were five themes and ideas that were discussed throughout the week and each institution addressed one or more these through writing, sketching, discussion, or creative responses.

  • A Sense of Place
  • Absence and Presence
  • Memory and Fragmentation
  • Collecting and the Creative Process
  • History as Subject

For me, the thematic connection to “place” was the most thought-provoking and inspiring.   Although a museum is a place that protects works of art and objects, the building itself can be a treasure.  Many of the museum buildings visited during the Forum, like the Kimbell, The Modern, and the Nasher Sculpture Center,  were designed to have a direct relationship with natural light and the outside world.

No space, architecturally, is a space unless it has natural light.    –  Louis Kahn

Place is also communicated through the artwork of Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, and Robert Smithson as they relay their experiences with the natural world through words and materials like sand and stones.  All of these experiences with place, whether I was responding to a work of art or feeling the texture of a wall or column, allowed time for me to look closely and thoughtfully consider my surroundings.

Here are a few images from the 2010 Museum Forum:

Until next time…
Jenny Marvel
Manager of Programs and Resources for Teachers


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