Give Thanks

At this time of year, many people begin to take stock of moments and experiences they are thankful for. The act of sharing this gratitude with others, and reviewing those things that may have been taken for granted, can actually increase an individual’s well-being. According to Cicero, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” In an effort to spread this sense of well-being to our Canvas blog readers, I asked my colleagues in the Education Division to share a work of art from the DMA’s permanent collection or special  exhibitions that they are thankful for—whether it is a work they enjoy visiting in a  moment of free time; or perhaps one they regularly use in a program; or even a work of art they would like to learn more about. Enjoy their responses below and of course, feel free to share your own! 🙂

  • HalberdierAmanda Batson – C3 Program Coordinator. I am thankful for The Halberdier by Ferdinand Hodler, located in our European collection. This massive work of art confronts you as you exit the blue elevators in an inescapable way. At first glance, the soldier seems fierce and almost living up to his reputation as the ultimate protector of Switzerland. I am incredibly thankful for this work of art by Hodler because no matter how fierce or stoic it may seem—it has a bit of whimsy. If you look closely you will notice that the mustache of the Swiss soldier goes up towards his cheek on one side and down towards his chin on the other. I am not sure what the intention of the artist was but I cannot help but laugh about this every time I see it! Some days you just really need a laugh! 
  • Amelia Diary of FlowersAmelia Wood – McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching. When Jim Hodges: Give More Than YouTake opened in October, I immediately felt a connection with the artwork.I was especially struck by Diary of Flowers (When We Met). My interest in diaries was sparked when I saw Day After Day: The Diaristic Impulse at the University Art Museum in Albany, NY, last spring.Artists involved in this show were focused on recording their daily lives, including personal rituals, narratives, and experiences. I’ve never been great at keeping a diary, and I was moved by the way in which the process of keeping a diary forces you to slow down and appreciate day-to-day life. Hodges Diary of Flowers has evoked a similar response in me, and I’ve enjoyed revisiting the artwork when I need a reminder to slow down and, well, smell the flowers.
  • sculpture gardenRhiannon Martin – Volunteer Coordinator. am thankful for the sculpture garden as a whole, because it is a nice place to escape from the busy work day for a bit and enjoy the weather when it’s nice out. The sculptures throughout the lawn are a beautiful backdrop and help to create a wonderful space to sit and relax. 
  • Amy teaching in front of Family Portrait 1963

    Amy Elms – McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement. I’m thankful for Family Portrait 1963 because it helped me to become oriented with the DMA’s weekend Studio Creations when my internship first began. Martin Delabano’s sculpture is filled with so much hidden meaning and is also made from a variety of found objects. While helping with Studio Creations in September, I really enjoyed learning about ways that visitors of all ages can become engaged with a work of art.

  • leahMatisseLeah Hanson – Manager of Early Learning I’m grateful for Henri Matisse’s Ivy in Flower primarily because it just makes me happy. I like the bold, clean shapes, the colors, and the order of it. Matisse was a favorite of mine in the art history classes I took, and I wrote a paper about his cut paper collages in particular. I liked that he found a way to create even at a time when it could have been easy to give up or lose hope. When I finally got to see this in person, I was so amazed at how large it is…you can never tell that in a reproduction or a print. I loved when it was hanging in the Concourse just outside C3 because I saw it every day.
  • JC Bigornia – C3 Program Coordinator. I’m impacted to this day by the 2007 special exhibition Phil Collins: The World Won’t Listen. It’s one of my top five all-time favorite DMA exhibitions, and I can still ???????????????????????????????feel the energy and sheer joy of being in that space. It’s hard to describe the appeal of watching people sing karaoke, and I certainly hadn’t listened to much of The Smiths before that show. I think what resonated for me was the absolute love and passion that each person brought to their performance; you could totally empathize with that person’s sense of happiness, loss, etc. I used to spend part of every day in that exhibition because no matter how down I felt, I always came out of there feeling charged up…there’s really no other word to describe it except infectious. I was always thankful to have that kind of place to escape to and I think the lessons I took away from each of the participant’s performances—bravery, honesty, compassion—will always stay with me.
  • hi-cJessica Fuentes – C3 Gallery Coordinator. I’m thankful for HI-C Avenger by John Hernandez.  I love that this piece is so bright and energetic. It catches the attention of visitors of all ages, and as it is currently installed at the entrance of the Center for Creative Connections, an interactive educational space for all ages, it is a perfect fit! I also love telling visitors that this is a piece by a Texas based artist who used to live in Oak Cliff and graduated from UNT. Having work by local artists can be so inspiring to young artists.
  • hayley2Hayley Prihoda – McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching. Picturing that Day stood out to me on my first tour of the Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take exhibition and, after innumerable visits, has remained one of my favorite works in the show. Having performed in choir in high school, the imagery of the sheet music immediately reminded me of my adolescence. Upon closer examination, I was excited to discover that the piece also features two of my favorite songs – “Landslide” and “Climb Every Mountain”. My mom is a beautiful singer and my sister and I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac and watching the Sound of Music. Now that I am 1000 miles away from my family, I am very grateful to have this connection to home on view at the DMA.
  • Amanda Blake – Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences. I am thankful for Isaac Soyer’s Art Beauty Shoppe in the American galleries. In graduate school I focused on American art from the 1920s and 1930s and wrote my thesis on two artists from the Fourteenth Street School. Every time I see this painting it is like visiting a familiar friend and traveling back in time to 14th street in New York City! I love teaching with this artwork because of its narrative aspects and sensory possibilities. I think this painting is a great one to use to teach about the social and cultural changes taking place in the early twentieth century and I enjoy using it with all ages.

Works of art shown:

  • Ferdinand Hodler, The Halberdier, 1895, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Nona and Richard Barrett
  • Jim Hodges, Diary of Flowers (When We Met), 1994, Barbara and Michael Gamson
  • Ellsworth Kelly, Untitled, 1982-1983, Dallas Museum of Art, commission made possible through funds donated by Michael J. Collins and matching grants from The 500, Inc., and the 1982 Tiffany & Company benefit opening
  • Martin Delabano, Family Portrait 1963, 2001, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Lorine and David H. Gibson, and Sonny Burt and Bob Butler
  • Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower, 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation
  • Phil Collins, dunia tak akan mendengar, 2007
  • John Hernandez, HI-C Avenger, 1992, acrylic on wood, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Artists Fund
  • Jim Hodges, Picturing That Day, 2002, The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project

I’d like to say how thankful I am to all of you who shared some of your favorite works of art!

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist


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