Archive for June, 2011



How to Throw a Block Party

Have you ever wanted to throw a block party but don’t know how to go about it? One of the interesting things about my job is that I now know a lot about what goes into making a good one.

On June 17 we’ll host our third annual Summer Block Party in the Arts District, and I wanted to share a little of the “backstage” planning. The Summer Block Party has always involved the Arts District museums and Downtown Dallas Inc., and this year we are also working with the Dallas Symphony and the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

The first part of planning any big event is getting all the “players” together to discuss ideas and work out the details. Our first Arts District group meeting was the first week of April, and we have had two group meetings since then. Agenda items for these meetings included planning joint programs, discussing street closure logistics, and crafting a marketing plan.

A street performance during a Summer Block Party

After these meetings, the “point person” from each institution goes back “home” to work out the specifics. Here at the DMA we had meetings with our Security, Operations, Membership, and Marketing teams to go over all the details for the DMA’s Late Night, especially the Summer Concert featuring The Polyphonic Spree. Between that first planning meeting in April and the event on June 17, I will have had fourteen internal meetings with various staff members just about this one event.

A past Late Night Summer Concert on Ross Avenue Plaza

Another aspect of throwing a block party is closing the streets between the museums. We do this so we can have programs outside and for the safety of all our visitors, who will be walking back and forth between the institutions. Closing the streets requires a permit from the City, which must be submitted forty-five days before the event. Once we get the okay from the City, we have to secure police officers, outdoor lighting, port-a-potties, and street barricades.

After our programs are confirmed, we then work with our graphic designers and editor to create a schedule of events, which we give to visitors when they arrive that night. We submit text three weeks in advance to give them time to edit and design the schedule, have staff review the schedule, and make any last minute changes before sending it to the printer. We then update our website with all the current information, and our PR department sends out a press release and begins posting on Facebook and Twitter.

Proof for the Late Night Schedule of Events

Lastly, to continue in the tradition of my previous blog post about Late Nights, I thought I would end this post with a new Late Nights by the Numbers list:

272 – number of emails I have sent and received about the Summer Block Party since April

52 – number of performers and artists featured during the June Late Night

7,000 – number of Late Night event schedules printed for this night

6 – number of food trucks that will serve food during the Summer Block Party

2 – number of clues the DMA will tweet for the Museum Art Challenge on Twitter

12 – number of port-a-potties on-site during the Summer Block Party

4 – number of rotating mirror balls that will be used during The Polyphonic Spree concert

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.

BooksmART Festival in Review

The Museum hosted its first ever BooksmART Festival on June 11.  Thousands of visitors heard presentations and attended workshops led by noted authors and illustrators, including Rick Riordan, Norton Juster, and Jerry Pinkney. Rick Riordan spoke to a full house, where he shared a sneak peek of Chapter Two from the second Lost Heroes book, Son of Neptune.  There was audible excitement in the crowd when Percy Jackson’s name was mentioned in that chapter.  Riordan was obviously the big draw for the day, and his book signing line stretched all the way from Ross Avenue to Flora Street!

Members of our staff were on hand to help during the festival, too.  Nicole set up two mobile Tech Labs, which allowed visitors to connect with works of art through technology.  In the European galleries, visitors plugged words into Wordle to create Word Clouds inspired by works of art.  In the Sculpture Garden, visitors used digital cameras to photograph Dallas Snake.  Over 600 photos were captured in a two-hour time span.

I coordinated all of the tours that were offered during the day.  Our former intern Karen led the “Heroes” tour, which looked at heroes, including Perseus, throughout our collection.  I led visitors on an “Animal Safari” through the galleries to look for animals in works of art.  And, two of our Teen Docents led “A Looking Journey” tours, which focused on stories in works of art.  We’ll offer Animal Safari and A Looking Journey tours throughout the summer.  Email tours@DallasMuseumofArt.org if you want to schedule one of these tours for your student group.

I snapped photos throughout the day and thought you might enjoy this look back at the BooksmART Festival.

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Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Friday Photos: Introducing Loryn Leonard

I am excited to introduce a new contributor to our blog.  Loryn Leonard is the DMA’s brand new Coordinator of Museum Visits, and will be your primary contact for scheduling student visits to the Museum.  We’ll introduce Loryn in more detail next month.  For now, I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into her first week at the DMA!

Loryn (on the right) in her first departmental meeting

Getting settled in her new desk space

Loryn gets acquainted with the Kota reliquary in our African galleries

Loryn and the 2011 Teen Docents

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Seldom Scene’s Seldom Seen

Rarely on view, Henri Matisse’s Ivy in Flower—a full-scale maquette for a stained glass window made late in the artist’s career—will be installed for six months in the Concourse. Here are some photos from the large cutout’s installation.

Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower, 1953, colored paper, watercolor, pencil, and brown paper tape on paper mounted on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

Educator Resources: DMA Program Recordings for Artist Talks and Lectures

Finally, school is out for summer.  Now you can relax and sleep in, work on that special house project, take a trip, or read that book you just didn’t have time for during the school year. For a little intellectual stimulation, we invite you to add another item to your list.  Listen to DMA program recordings, a new resource on our Web site that holds an abundance of audio recordings and transcripts from artist talks, lectures, and special programs.  Topics range from the work of artist Renee Stout to the art of the Silk Road to the connection between Coco Chanel and the DMA’s famous Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.  Speakers featured in these recordings include visiting scholars, artists, and DMA curators.

To access the recordings, visit the DMA Web site and select “Research” on the top menu. Then select “Program Recordings” from the menu on the left side.

We also invite you to spend some quality time with works of art this summer and fulfill your professional development opportunities by attending a Dallas Museum of Art teacher workshop!

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Seldom Scene: Silence and Time

Below are photographs taken during the three-week installation of Silence and Time, which is on view through August 28.

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A New Chapter

After nine years of teaching with and writing about works of art at the Dallas Museum of Art, this is my last blog post as Manager of Programs and Resources for Teachers. I am beginning the next chapter of my life and am moving eastward to continue my career within the museum field.  While at the DMA, I have grown and matured as an individual and as an educator, developing a stronger sense of self and a more refined teaching philosophy. I have been able to follow my true passion of making interdisciplinary and thematic connections between works of art and cultures using the Museum’s encyclopedic collection and through special exhibitions.

As for my friends and colleagues at the Museum, I have been very fortunate to work with individuals who are extraordinarily passionate about teaching with works of art and care deeply about the Museum and its collection.  This is inspiring on many levels and allows for a creative environment to work in.

And finally, a heartfelt “thank you” to all of the educators I have worked with during teacher workshops, in-services, and partnership programs.  I appreciate the work you do as you support the in-depth learning that is possible with works of art from all places and all times.

As a parting thought, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”  I encourage you all to live the life you imagined.

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Until next time….

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Programs and Resources for Teachers

P.S.   I can’t help lovin’ that emaciated cow of mine!

Images:

Frederic Edwin Church, The Icebergs, 1861, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt, 1979.28

Alexandre Hogue, Drouth Stricken Area, 1934, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1945.6

Richard Long, Tennessee Stone Ring, 1984, Stone, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund with a matching grant from The 500, Inc., 1985.120

Insider Tour of Paris

In May, Olivier Meslay, Interim Director of the Museum—and a former chief curator of the Louvre—led a group of eighteen DMA Donor Circle members to Paris for an “insider’s tour” of the city.

As you all may know, it’s hard to have a bad time in Paris, especially in the gorgeous spring. Here are just a few of the highlights.  The trip began with a visit to the Château of Fontainebleau, where the group had a special tour with chief curator Vincent Droguet that included a stop at the stairs where Napoleon gave his farewell address before being exiled to Elba.

We were also able to visit one of Marie Antoinette’s private cabinet rooms, which is not open to the general public. Climbing several narrow, winding sets of stairs, Vincent led us into a small private room where the queen used to retreat from the demands of royal life with just one or two companions.

When we visited Vaux le Vicomte, another château in the countryside, it was lit by candles for a beautiful and dramatic evening, which included fireworks in the garden.

The studio of Rosa Bonheur, which is a private museum still managed by her family, was a special stop. I love her work, and the DMA will soon acquire a Bonheur painting, which made this visit even more special.

Her unfinished final painting hangs on an easel in her studio.

And her stuffed parrot still resides in her bedroom (a little worse for wear).

 

The high point of the trip has to be our visit to the Louvre. We arrived very early in the morning, before it got crowded, and Olivier took us through the Grand Gallery to view some of the masterpieces of 18th- and 19th-century painting.

During his sixteen-year tenure at the Louvre, Olivier held a number of senior positions before coming to the DMA in 2009 in the joint position of Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art. Being with him at his “old stomping grounds” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Another very special visit was to the atelier of Nicolas Marischael, a silversmith working in the center of Paris. Following in the footsteps of three generations of his family, Nicolas creates beautiful works of art, jewelry, and cutlery using old-world techniques and tools. Visiting his tiny atelier was amazing!

One of the last places we visited was the Musée de la chasse et de la nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature), where the director, Claude d’Anthenaise, has creatively displayed works of art that focus on hunting, nature, and animals.

Kim Bryan is the Director of Donor Circle Membership at the Dallas Museum of Art

Summer Bloggin'…

Dear Readers,

You may have noticed we have a fresh new look to kick off the summer. We hope you enjoy our sleek new style and streamlined format.

We are also transitioning to a summer schedule, so look for new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Cheers!

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


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