Archive for May, 2011

Reflections on the 2010-2011 School Year

It’s hard to believe that the 2010-2011 school year is over.  This has been a year of transition and change for our department, but we are proud to say that the quality of our programs has remained high.  We thought we would take a moment to share with you the highlights of the past year.  And remember: we’ll begin taking reservations for the 2011-2012 school year August 1.  Have a great summer!

Museum Visits

Docent Tom Brown discusses Tlaloc with a group of 5th graders

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Go van Gogh Outreach

First grade artists at Rosemont Primary

  • With the help of our dedicated volunteers, Go van Gogh visited 380 1st-6th grade classrooms in Dallas this year, seeing over 8,000 students.  We presented a total of 233 programs to over 5,300 students in schools outside of Dallas.
  •  One of my biggest highlights of the school year was visiting campuses and classrooms multiple times.  Many of the students who received Go van Gogh programs in Dallas experienced several of our programs this year.  Thank you, teachers, for bringing us into your classrooms and inviting us back! 
  •  I am most looking forward to spending this summer working with Melissa to recruit new Go van Gogh volunteers for next school year. 

Amy Copeland 
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Bookends

We’ll host our 1st Annual BooksmART festival on Saturday June 11th from 11am to 5pm. General admission to the Museum will be FREE with a fun-packed day of events and activities celebrating literacy and the arts for the young and young-at-heart. Our  stellar lineup of authors, illustrators and performers include Rick Riordan, Laurie Halse Anderson, Norton Juster, Jerry Pinkney, David Wiesner and many more!

One of the authors that I am especially excited to hear  is Cynthia Leitich Smith, a New York Times bestselling and award-winning author whose fictionfor young readers  is noted for its diversity, humor, lyricism, imaginativeness, compelling action, and mid-to-southwestern settings. And I got the chance recently to ask her a few questions.

Q: Why did you decide on a career writing for children and young adults?

As a child and teen, I was an avid reader and writer. I read all of the Newbery winners and everything by Judy Blume. I transitioned to spooky stories during adolescence. Along the way, I also read graphic-format books (which we used to call “comics”).  In sixth grade, I had a column, “Dear Gabby” in Mr. Rideout’s classroom newsletter, offering advice to the troubled and lovelorn.

I went on to become editor of my junior high and high school newspapers. From there, I earned a journalism degree and law degree, working summers for small-town and major metro newspapers (including the Dallas Morning News) and in law offices.

As a first-generation college graduate, I was mindful of pursuing writing jobs with relative security to them. But in my late 20s, after the Oklahoma City Bombing, I was reminded that life can be short, unpredictable, and precious–that we should follow our dreams and do our best to uplift others. I could imagine no pursuit closer to my heart than books for young readers, and from that point on, I’ve dedicated myself to that end.

Q:  You are a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.  How has your Native American heritage and identity influenced your writing?

The quintessential advice we give to new voices is: write what you know. For me, that meant realistic stories of lower middle class, mixed blood Native American families from the mid-to-southwest. It meant stories of daily life and intergenerational relationships and military service and loss and healing.

My first book, Jingle Dancer  is about a young girl who assembles her jingle dance regalia with the aid of women of every generation of her intertribal community and then dances to honor them at a powwow. My debut novel for tweens, Rain is Not My Indian Name, is about a girl who, after the unexpected death of her best friend, slowly reconnects to the important people in her life through the lens of a camera. Indian Shoes is a collection of humorous, touching short stories for middle grade readers. They’re about young Ray and his Grandpa Halfmoon.

I’ve continued writing about Native characters and themes in my short stories. In 2012, I look forward to the publication of a companion short story to one by noted Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac, which will appear in Girl Meets Boy. Our tales are a fun pairing, about two Native teens–one who’s a tall, formidable basketball-star girl and one who’s a short, scrawny boy into martial arts. It’s a love story–naturally.

 

Q: You shifted your emphasis to fantasy for your book TANTALIZE, the first in a series.  What made you want to tackle the fantasy/gothic fiction genre?

I occasionally joke that I’m in the thrall of the master, by which I mean Abraham Stoker. I was fascinated by Dracula, especially with regard to the timelessness of its themes for teen (and grown-up) readers today. The classic touches on gender and power, orientation, the “dark other” (which back in the day meant Eastern European), plague, invasion, and more. All of those topics are still very much with us today, and looking at the vampire mythology itself….

Q: What has been one of your most meaningful interactions with one of your readers?
A handful of teenage girls have written to tell me that they have left their abusive boyfriends because of Quincie, the hero of the Tantalize series. A girl has written to say that she felt differently–better about herself–after having been assaulted by someone she’d trusted.

Other kids have written to say that Rain is Not My Indian Name helped them to cope with the loss of a loved one, and an aunt told me that her niece wouldn’t speak of a friend’s death until she could do so by using the novel as a reference point.

Most recently, I’m reminded of a boy–about age 14–who came up to me on my recent book tour. I was in New York City, and he approached me with a well-loved and quite tattered copy of Tantalize. He said it was the first book he’d ever finished. “The first book?” I asked, and he nodded solemnly. “The first book ever,” he emphasized. “All the way through.”

Q: What are you most excited about for the BooksmART festival?  Can an art museum add something to the traditional book festival?

I’m excited to connect with folks who have a global love of the arts–visual, literary, and beyond. They’re people of imagination and possibilities–kindred souls and the very kind of heroes that I love to write about.  Austin may be my home now, but Dallas will always be dear to me. See y’all soon.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will be presenting on her young adult fiction, including her latest novel, Blessed, in Horchow Auditorium. 

She will also present on her books for younger readers that explore Native themes and characters in the DMA’s exhibition Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection

Katie Hutton is Interim Head of Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art

Seldom Scene: A visit to the Windy City

Some of the Junior Associate members of the Dallas Museum of Art recently went on a trip to Chicago with Heather MacDonald, The Lillian and James H. Clark Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the DMA. Below are a few snapshots from their trip, including their visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. For more information on the Junior Associate level of membership click here.

Photo Post: Artwork Focus: The Thaw Collection

The current exhibition at the DMA, The Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, showcases over 100 works of art from the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection at the Fenimore Art Museum. The exhibition displays objects from across North America. One object, a Feather Bonnet, stands over seven feet tall! This object was designed by the Cheyenne people, who are from Oklahoma. It was visually impressive when worn by a warrior on horseback; eagle feathers adorn the bonnet and star motifs on cotton cloth are associated with Plains war power. As you look at the images below, imagine what it would be like to encounter a person wearing a bonnet on the battlefield. I hope you can come view the exhibition and the bonnet. It truly is amazing!

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Amy Wolf
Coordinator of Gallery Teaching

How to Install a 27-Foot Sculpture

The installation of James Lee Byars’s Figure of Death was caught on camera last week in preparation for the exhibition, Silence and Time, which opens this Sunday, May 29, in the Barrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries.

James Lee Byars, The Figure of Death, 1986, basalt (ten pieces), Private Collection, Dallas, TX, © James Lee Byars

Video by Ted Forbes, Multimedia Producer at the Dallas Museum of Art

Insights from my Experiences as a McDermott Intern

As the 2010-2011 Teaching Programs McDermott  Intern, I have had an amazing journey and wonderful experiences along the way. As it comes to an end, I want to share insights from my year as an Intern at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Coffin of Horankh, 700 B.C., Egypt or Thebes, wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calcite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

I– I worked in the education department, leading interactive tours to K-12 students and training docents on works of art located in the Museum’s collection. I also worked with the Museum’s community outreach program, Go van Gogh, leading great discussions and art-making projects with elementary students in their classrooms.

Tyrannosaurus, 2002, Robyn O'Neil, graphite on paper, Collection of Nancy and Tim Hanley and fractional gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hanley to the Dallas Museum of Art in honor of Suzanne Weaver

N– New acquisitions to research, new faces to see, and new places to travel to as I explored the galleries. I am really fortunate to have had the opportunity to encounter works of art everyday, meet people, and feel like I’ve traveled to exciting places as I learned about works of art from around the world.

Turban Ornament, 18th century, India, gold, enamel, rubies, and emeralds, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation

T– Thousands of artworks in our collection, hundreds of works in the galleries to view. No wonder the Museum is a fun place to visit and learn about art from the ancient world to present-day.

Untitled, 1988, Carlo Guaita, India ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. I. C. Deal

E– Everyday was an exhilarating experience, from researching and writing materials for docents, writing for the educator blog, to creating interactive tours for students. I can’t think of a better place to have an internship that kept me on my feet and engaged at all times.

Animal Form Tripod, 7th-6th century BC, Proto-Achaemenian, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

R– Small revelations always occurred in the Museum, such as watching students get excited when looking at works of art during docent-led tours, or watching our friendly staff greet visitors at the door and helping visitors navigate through the galleries.

Bull, late 8th century B.C., Greek, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark

N– As I near the end of my internship, it’s hard to say good-bye to the education staff, the docents, the curators, and those I’ve made friends with along the way. They will always have a place in my heart, and I am grateful to have worked with a talented and collaborative staff and learned from every person I came in contact with throughout my internship.

I     N     T     E     R     N

Sincerely,
Karen A. Colbert
Teaching Programs Intern

An Intern Journey

In the beginning, I was a new intern, just like any other….
 

Constantin Brancusi, The Beginning of the World, c. 1920, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark

 

I encountered many hardships during my internship, like dodging masses of people while leading tours in the galleries…

Fernando and Humberto Campana, Banquete chair with pandas, designed 2006, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

 

…and noon-time computer crashes.

Emma-O, Japan, late 16th-early 17th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund in memory of Alfred and Juanita Bromberg and Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

 

However, I soon found my bliss researching teaching materials and leading teacher workshops.

Manjusri, Nepal, 18th century, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Mrs. E.R. Brown

 

Before I knew it, the internship was coming to a close, and I became reflective of my time….

Andrew Wyeth, That Gentleman, 1960, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

 

Now, I am looking forward and excited to be heading off to graduate school to study 18th- and 19th-century French art.

Emile Bernard, Bridge at Pont-Aven, 1891, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Estate of Ina MacNaughton

 

I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at the DMA and am so thankful to have been a McDermott Intern at the Museum this year!  I want to thank you too, our educator partners, who made my job so enjoyable.  Have a lovely summer!

Ashley Bruckbauer
McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs and Resources


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