Archive for July, 2014

Jazz and Jewelry: Celebrating Art Smith in August

In June, the DMA opened the beautiful exhibition From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith, featuring 26 dynamic pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by artist Art Smith. 

 

 

To celebrate this show, we are making August the month of all things Art Smith. You can explore the show with a metalsmith during a  Gallery Talk; stop by the Center for Creative Connections to look at Smith’s tools; listen to the jazz that inspired Smith, every Thursday evening during Jazz in the Atrium; or, if you’re a teen, sign up for the Urban Armor Maker Club to create a programmable piece of jewelry. Be sure to check out the full schedule of events for more information.

 

Jazz in the Atrium

 

In addition to being one of the leading modernist jewelers of the mid-20th century, Smith was an avid jazz enthusiast and a supporter of early black modern dance groups. This inspired us to commission a new dance from our Arts District Neighbors, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, accompanied by a new jazz suite composed by jazz drummer Stockton Helbing.

 

 

First, we met with Nycole Ray, Artistic Director for Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, and Stockton to discuss the format of the piece—how long would the entire piece be, how many dances would comprise the whole performance, does there need to be transition music between the dances, what tempo would be best for each dance, what style of jazz would fit the feel of the piece, and more. We also agreed that a jazz trio would be best so the band and the dancers could all fit on stage together during the live performance.

 

Once those questions were answered, Stockton began composing an original piece of music he titled On 4th Street, after the location of Art Smith’s studio in New York. Stockton created MIDI demos of his music for Nycole to review before he went into the studio to make the final recording with other musicians.

 

We now have the final masters of the music, and Nycole has begun choreographing the dances and working with the dancers on the piece she titled Art on 4th Street.

 

Dallas Black Dance Theatre II

This dance will have its world premiere during the Friday, August 15 Late Night. In addition to Art on 4th Street, this evening will feature live jazz, jewelry making, a film screening of Paris Blues, tours, and more—all inspired by Art Smith!

 

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.

 

 

Late Night Technology Test Run

 

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The chance to intern at the Dallas Museum of Art this summer has been incredible, and the work done in the Center for Creative Connections creates the perfect opportunity to apply my specific research interests. I’ve been studying what’s typically called “cultural capital” for several years now, and it refers to individuals’ accumulation of literacies, skills, and privileges that result from economic status, education levels, or race. This concept is thought to permeate all aspects of society, particularly in institutions as established as the museum, and holds implications for the equitable treatment of visitors and the validation of their experiences. A guiding question for my own work is: How can all visitors overcome the expectations created by cultural capital and bring their own experiences to the interpretation of works at the museum?

In recent years, many websites and software applications (apps) have been created to allow for unhindered cultural production by users from all walks of life. Often these programs also allow for social media interactions, creating unique communities bound by technology. If this user-friendly type of creativity could be adapted to gallery activities, it may spark the interest of underserved visitors. As part of my summer project, we held a trial run of these activities as part of a “Pop-Up Tech Spot” for 2 hours during July’s recent Late Night Art Bytes program.

 

Snapchat

To capitalize on smartphone technologies and trends in social media, we created a Snapchat activity that allows visitors to recontextualize the works on display at their own pace.

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Visitors were invited to take photos with their smartphones using the app, and then to draw or type atop the images to make it their own. By setting up an account for the museum (add DallasMuseumArt as your friend), we were able to receive and save visitors’ submissions. The evening yielded 28 different photos created by 10 visitors, many of which were entertaining interpretations of the permanent collections.

 

DoodleBuddy

For those who were uninterested in maintaining a Snapchat account, there was an alternate option for editing photos of works on display. The DoodleBuddy app in place on the iPads was available for visitors to borrow from the activity cart, and had similar creative capabilities. Users could snap a picture and then add their own touches to a work.
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This activity was the most popular that evening, as some 22 visitors worked individually or in pairs to create and save 14 new images. When finished, masterpieces could be saved to the museum’s iPad (to be later uploaded to Flickr) or emailed to the visitor for their own use.

 

Map the Collection

The least popular activity for the night was a mapping activity that utilized other capabilities of the DoodleBuddy app on the iPads. Visitors could borrow the iPads with the program, this time drawing and/or typing atop a preloaded map, to chart the works within a particular gallery. Because of its proximity to the cart’s location near the entrance to the American gallery, the trial program utilized the works from a gallery of Colonial Art of the Americas, allowing visitors to find the origins of works from Central and South America. One enthusiastic visitor was able to use the map to teach a friend about her home in Paraguay, and pointed out political and economic tensions that continue to this day.

 

Spotify

The use of music in the galleries is nothing new, but allowing visitors to create playlists that is accessible both within and outside of the galleries was a novel opportunity for most. Familiarity with the app was likely a hindrance for many who stopped by the activity cart, but 5 visitors decided to opt for the musical program on their smartphones or the provided iPads. When creating the playlist, users simply included “DMA Late Night” in the title to allow other Spotify members the chance to search, play, or follow playlists created in the museum. Gallery experiences translated through song can be accessed from anywhere, or even played back in the galleries to create a community of listening visitors.

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Overall, the evening was a bustling hit. The activities piqued the interest of several disengaged visitors, and allowed them their own space to create something new. Passersby received handouts about the Snapchat submissions to allow their continued access to the activity, and the iPads were put to excellent use by up to 5 visitors at once. Difficulties encountered included the length of explanation required for several of the apps (many visitors were unfamiliar with Spotify), and some troubles using the DoodleBuddy camera feature. Better instructions or fewer choices should help minimize these issues.

Testing these activities also allows us to consider how–or if–these programs could be utilized in conjunction with the Pop-up Art Spots already in place in the galleries. For example, the mapping activity could easily be translated into an activity for the Indonesian galleries, while the Spotify app may be put to better use in the contemporary collection. Snapchat and DoodleBuddy image editing activities may also benefit from utilizing more focused prompts, inviting visitors to submit photos for a single object or particular theme.

 

July LN 1

I’ve had a blast adapting apps for gallery activities. Hopefully this is just the beginning of “share-able” cultural production used in the galleries, and I’d like to extend a huge wave of gratitude to all those who helped me get things in motion!

Brittany Garison
C3 Graduate Intern

Installing Slavs and Tatars

Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars opened two weeks ago at the DMA. Part of the DMA’s ongoing Concentrations series, which began more than 30 years ago, the exhibition features new work from the art collective Slavs and Tatars, including the first-ever full presentation of their Love Letters carpet series. See how the installation came together below, and then visit the free exhibition in person through December 14.
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Goodbye for Now

It has been my great pleasure to work in the education department at the Dallas Museum of Art for the past three years. My position as the Program Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections (C3) has been such a huge opportunity to expand my K-12 art education and museum studies masters degree. I have had the great challenge to expand my knowledge in the classroom by leading the hands-on adult workshops in C3, working with local artists on the development of programs, leading programming for hundreds of people,  mentoring young artists, and working with amazing people who have helped me grow as an educator. And now, I am thankful for a new opportunity to teach K-6 art for Richardson Independent School District and will forever be grateful to the DMA for my experience.

C3 Adults

C3 Adults

To close, I would like to say goodbye by remembering some of my favorite times at the museum. There are far more experiences to remember, but thought I would count just thirty-six–one experience per month of working at the DMA.

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My top thirty-six (my three years x twelve months) memories from the DMA:

  1. Meeting many artists and working with them to create dynamic workshops in C3.
  2. Co-teaching a creativity program for adults.
  3. Becoming friends with Meaningful Moments attendees John and Sue, and receiving my very own squirrel foot necklace!
  4. Coming up with crazy Creativity Challenges for Late Night.
  5. Working with studio art students from the University of North Texas to train them how to expand their practice by teaching workshops for adults.
  6. Being the loudest one in the Center for Creative Connections office.
  7. I loved being part of the Urban Armor graffiti camp with our teen specialist JC Bigornia and guest artist IZK Davies.
  8. Teaching Terrific Textiles summer camp with 6-8 year olds
  9. Developing educational components for DMA’s Available Space project
  10. Meeting one of my favorite pop-up artists Robert Sabuda, during a Late Night Creativity Challenge.
  11. Teaching a Think Creatively class and instructing  participants to draw a work of art they hated.
  12. Reading my favorite Fancy Nancy book during summer story time.
  13. Leading a Creativity Challenge for our Meaningful Moments program.
  14. Sitting in front of Orange, Red, Red  by Mark Rothko when I need to think about something important.
  15. Seeing people drop things into a work of art by Nobuo Sekine.
  16. Going bowling for our education retreat.
  17. Having a Task Party with the C3 Adults.
  18. Doing yoga after hours in the Cindy Sherman exhibition with Melissa Gonzales!
  19. Meeting so many talented adult visitors who have helped mold me into a better educator.
  20. $1 coffee
  21. Leading Creativity Challenges for J.P. Morgan; making them create a love story between two works of art and crafting what the baby would look like!
  22. My incredible work-pal who brightened my day by leaving notes, gifts, and encouraging words on my desk weekly.
  23. Giving impromptu tours to visitors of works of art in our collection.
  24. Hosting Wayang Kulit artists in C3.
  25. Holding Life Drawing classes in the DMA galleries.
  26. Meeting Taye Diggs and helping Shane Evans lead a drawing workshop in C3 during the BooksmART festival to promote their children’s book Chocolate Me!
  27. Hosting a poetry showcase with The Spiderweb Salon of Denton, Texas. I was able to hear many musicians and writers (many of whom were C3 visitors) respond through words and songs to an exhibition at the DMA.
  28. Taking creativity breaks in the Crossroads Gallery.
  29. Working with C3 Volunteer Robert Opel to create the vision for the C3 Adult Programs promotional flyer.
  30. Receiving a phone call that Think Creatively changed one of my visitor’s lives and he will never be the same.
  31. Having an incredible boss who took many chances by letting me run with my ideas!
  32. Making new friends and being challenged by my colleagues.
  33. Having access to see the Jean Paul Gultier exhibition anytime I wanted to.
  34. Meeting many new people every day.
  35. Working with Maria Teresa and experiencing how important art is to the community.
  36. Working with Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio on The Motherload installation (opening September 2014) and the launch of parent and child summer camp called Side by Side.

Thank you DMA for all the amazing memories.

Signing off for the last time as:

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

 

 

Summer Art Camp Interns: Their Perspective

Each summer, the DMA is lucky enough to have a group of wonderful interns to help coordinate the Museum’s numerous Summer Art Camps. This summer is no different; we have a fantastic group of ladies that have worked extremely hard the past thirteen weeks! The summer can be a bit crazy at times, but our wonderful interns always seem to keep their heads on straight. I invited them to be guest bloggers this week, and to share their summer camp experiences so far as well as some other interesting tidbits. Enjoy!

Wilhelmina Watts

Wilhelmina in the Terrific Textiles camp.

Wilhelmina in the Terrific Textiles camp.

Interning at the DMA art camps this summer has been one of the best experiences I could have asked for. As an aspiring art historian, working in the same building where so many masterpieces are housed is already a dream come true; but even better than looking at the artwork is helping the kids interact with it. I believe that a passion for anything starts from a place of having fun, so my number one goal is always to make learning about art and creating works of art as fun as possible. Working with one of the classes in the contemporary gallery pushed me to find fun and interesting things about artworks that I had never had an interest in before. I know it may sound cliché, but the kids are the ones teaching me, and getting to know each new group of campers is always the best part of camp.

Denise

Denise in the Saturated: Dye-decorated cloths from North and West Africa exhibit.

Denise Sandoval

These past weeks at the DMA have been fantastic. I have enjoyed assisting the children and teachers during each camp. I find that helping one another is great and brings happiness to all, and that is what makes each week of camp a success. At times the work may be tiring, but it is so much fun to create works of art. I love that each week of camp is a different topic, because it gives me and the campers a chance to create difference types of art, which is really exciting. Personally, it’s a pleasure to not only see the children grow, but also the adults. The teachers and interns are experiencing success for their future by being involved in these summer camps.

Laila Jiwani

Laila working with a camper.

Laila working with a camper.

It is amazing to see these campers unleashing their artistic potential and showcasing their personalities. As part of the New World Kids 2 summer camp, we had guest speakers come into the studio and talk about their jobs. By the end of the week, one kid decided she wanted to become a director when she grows up, another created his own stop-motion film, and another made a two-story model dollhouse inspired by a visit from our exhibit designer. One of the the greatest perks of this internship is that, in a way, we get to attend the camps with the kids. We are learning about instructional strategies while we experience them ourselves as we help with daily activities. I am also learning so much more about art and its history than I had expected! It seems like an adventure every time we explore the galleries with the kids for inspiration, especially in the early mornings when we have the museum all to ourselves.

Ashley Ham

Ashley in The Museum is History exhibit.

Ashley in The Museum is History exhibit.

Living out of a suitcase and couch-hopping around Dallas is an adventure of the best kind. Normally, you will find me in a land of weird people in burnt orange (hook ‘em horns), but for this summer, I find myself learning from the best at the DMA! As an aspiring art educator, assisting with summer camps has been a recent check off my bucket list. Every week a new teacher steps in, bringing interesting projects and showcasing different techniques in classroom management, and I feel like a sponge soaking up as many great teaching tips as I can! While I am a proponent of any and all fine art summer camps, one thing that I have enjoyed immensely (and something that I believe sets these DMA camps apart) is the ability to take campers through the wonderful art galleries right outside our camp studios. The opportunity to stroll down a corridor and show campers the artists that inspire their projects is matchless. The drive up I-35 from Austin to Dallas isn’t always my favorite way to spend 3… or 4… or 5 hours, but for the DMA I’ll make it any time.

 

Miyoko Pettinger

Miyoko in the Never Enough exhibit.

Miyoko in the Never Enough exhibit.

During my time at the DMA, my awareness of art history has increased along with my understanding of children with various interests, backgrounds, and personalities. One of my favorite experiences has been accompanying teachers throughout tours in the galleries, which provided the children with historic context and inspiration from pieces held in the DMA’s collection. In addition to expanding my scope of art history, I also observed the children directly applying the artistic styles and techniques they learned. Whether dancing to music while creating quick-gestured, improvisational Jackson Pollock-style pieces or implementing Paul Signac’s meticulous method of Pointillism, the children brought an impassioned joy, focus, and energy to the studio. Additionally, I have enjoyed building relationships with the children, interns, and teachers, all of whom have been exceedingly kind, encouraging, and hardworking. Each week, the classmates quickly bonded with each other over various projects and group activities. The teachers and interns have shown to be some of the most supportive people with whom I have ever worked.  They possess selfless, uplifting attitudes and created a warm and safe environment. Children were always encouraged and never told they were doing art “the wrong way.” Instead, they were given a success-rendering balance of structure and creative liberty. I have gained an indispensible understanding of art and children along with treasured experiences that will prove invaluable in my future career as an art therapist.

Many thanks to Ashley, Denise, Laila, Miyoko and Wilhelmina for acting as guest bloggers and being a part of the DMA Family Programs team this summer!

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

#DMAVacation

Nic Nicosia, Vacation, 1986, cibachrome photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Meisel Photochrome Corporation © 1986 Nic Nicosia, Dallas, Texas

Nic Nicosia, Vacation, 1986, cibachrome photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Meisel Photochrome Corporation, © 1986 Nic Nicosia, Dallas, Texas

Earlier this month, the large photograph Vacation by Nic Nicosia was installed in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). Vacation is one of seven photographs that comprise Nic Nicosia’s Life As We Know It series. In this series depicting contemporary American life, Nicosia plays with everyday topics such as fashion, youth, and violence. Through his use of fabricated environments and staged scenes, Nicosia blurs the line between illusion and reality. This surreal atmosphere is enhanced by the ironic twists, such as the burning plane in the background, on what would otherwise be ordinary situations.

Inspired by this work of art, the C3 team created a photo station where visitors can pose for their own staged picnic-themed photograph. Some have embraced the surreal nature of Nicosia’s work more than others. Check out our visitors’ photographs and stop by C3 to snap a photo of your DMA vacation.

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 Gallery Coordinator

Friday Photos: Autism Awareness Family Celebration

Happy, sad, angry, or excited – we all have feelings and emotions. During our July Autism Awareness Family Celebration, families explored moods and expression at the DMA before public hours.

Hands-on art making in the Center for Creative Connections

Hands-on art making in the Center for Creative Connections

Relaxing in the sensory room with occupational therapy students from Texas Women's University

Relaxing in the sensory room with occupational therapy students from Texas Women’s University

Play time with hula hoops, streamers, and parachutes in the courtyard

Play time with hula hoops, streamers, and parachutes in the courtyard

Acting out different emotions with an actor from the Dallas Children's Theater

Acting out different emotions with an actor from the Dallas Children’s Theater

Check out our website for information about the next Autism Awareness Family Celebration!

Emily Wiskera
Graduate Intern for Family and Access Teaching


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