Archive for August, 2014

Friday Photo: Arturo’s Preschool

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Imagine a school where you could explore a pond during science class, visit the symphony for music class, and look closely at a painting by Monet in art class! Real-world lessons are powerful at any age, but are especially important for the preschool crowd. We don’t have a pond or a symphony here at the DMA, but we can connect preschoolers with art masterpieces from all over the world.

The Arturo’s Preschool program is a free class for preschool, homeschool, and day care groups serving children ages three to five. In the class, we look closely at paintings, sculpture and other objects; read a picture book; and try out games and movement activities in the galleries. Then with our imaginations ready to create, we go to the art studio where children engage in process-oriented, open-ended art projects. Each month’s gallery discussion and art projects focus on a new theme, covering everything from the dance-inspired paintings of Edgar Degas to intricately sewn textiles from Africa.

Reservations for the 2014-2015 school year are now being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For information on how to book your preschool class, please click here.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

 

Measuring the Immeasurable

In January 2014, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) launched a series of activities which take place at a large table in our gallery space.  Each activity is related to a work of art in the C3 Gallery and offers resources to assist in visitors’ creative process.

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  •  The Portrait Drawing activity, which focuses on two portrait paintings by William Henry Huddle (Old Slave and Self Portrait), includes mirrors for self-portraiture and facial proportion handouts.
  • The Hybrid Drawing with Light Boxes activity, which focuses on The Minotaur by Marcel Dzama, includes four large light boxes and printouts of works of art from the Museum’s collection so that visitors can combine human and animal figures to draw a hybrid creature.
  • The Patterns with Felt Triangles activity, which focuses on Starry Crown by John Biggers, includes 9×12 inch black felt backgrounds and a colorful assortment of small felt triangles that visitors can use to create patterns similar to those represented in the painting.

After each of the three activities had a one month trial period, we felt certain that they were successful, but wanted to learn more about why and how these activities were successful.  As art educators, we know intrinsically that experiences with art make a difference in people’s lives.  Yet, when we are asked to prove this it can seem an unattainable task.  Proving the importance of art education is perhaps made even more daunting in an informal learning environment where visitors come for various reasons, but generally not to be quizzed about their experiences with art.  So, we sought advice from our evaluator to determine goals, indicators, and potential interview questions for each activity and immediately set to the task of measuring the immeasurable.  Since April, we have observed and interviewed participants at the gallery table each Saturday from 1:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.  During that two and a half hour block of time we have found the following averages:

  • Portrait Drawing– on average 23, adults and 18 children participated; visitors spent about 13.8 minutes drawing with times ranging from 1 – 30 minutes.
  • Hybrid Drawing – on average 27 adults and 36 children participated; visitors spent about 10 minutes drawing with a time range of 1 – 50 minutes.
  • Patterns– on average 11 adults and 9 children participated; visitors spent about 7 minutes creating patterns with a range of 1 – 33 minutes.

Though these averages tell us a lot about how much time people spend and how many people engage in our activities, the most interesting aspect of this evaluation has been hearing our visitors’ feedback and seeing the images they post of their work on social media.

Visitor Feedback:

“Well, it’s like… it’s fun.  Like drawing before was so serious and it had to be perfect, cause you were doing it for a grade.  But this is just for enjoyment.”

“I’m guessing this was made for children? It’s fun and different and I didn’t expect to see this here. Yeah, it’s like that spark of creativity, kind of… childlike.  I didn’t think I’d spend as much time or get into it like I did.”

“People think patterns have to be rigid, like red, yellow, blue and then repeat, but by playing with this you can be more creative.”

“This is more interactive than other galleries. [In] the other galleries you’re just looking, but here you get to do something.”

“I like to do the activity because it gets the kids interested in art, and if I do it, they’ll probably want to try it too.”

“It’s nice to make everyone focus.  I would have never gotten him [points to husband] to do this at home.”

Through this evaluation we have come to better understand our visitors’ habits and motivations. For example, we found that most visitors do not read instructions.  If the instructions are read it is only the main text at the top of the document that catches a visitor’s eye.  This could be because these activities tend to attract visitors who prefer some amount of active doing or making rather than passive looking.  Furthermore, visitors will spend more time participating in activities that provide seating and social interaction.  Regarding motivations, we found that visitors who participate in these activities are likely to have some underlying interest in the media or subject matter presented.

As we move forward and continue to develop activities for the gallery table we will take these lessons into consideration.   We will make our instructions more concise, we will offer activities that involve a social component, and we’ll branch out to include a variety of media so as to appeal to visitors who are interested in diverse artistic processes.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

 

 

Hot Dogs at the DMA

Hot dog – tomorrow is National Dog Day! What better way to celebrate man’s best friend than to have an entire day devoted to our canine companions? We love dogs here at the DMA and have a paws-itively delightful variety of works of art depicting them. Grab your furry friend and have a tail-waggin’ good time as you celebrate National Dog Day with the top dogs of our collection.

Nicolas Mignard, The Shepherd Faustulus Bringing Romulus and Remus to His Wife, 1654, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Nicolas Mignard, The Shepherd Faustulus Bringing Romulus and Remus to His Wife, 1654, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Home is where your dog is, and this home is about to welcome two new babies to the family. This painting tells the story of a shepherd who found two babies—Romulus and Remus—in the woods. They were abandoned by their family and had been living with a she-wolf who took care of them. Luckily the babies have a four-legged family member to help watch over them!

Mythical aso (one of a pair), Borneo, Greater Sunda Islands, Kayan people, 19th century, wood (kayu tapang or Koompassia: Excelsa), Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund and the Museum League Purchase Fund

Pair of Mythical aso, Borneo, Greater Sunda Islands, Kayan people, 19th century, wood (kayu tapang or Koompassia: Excelsa), Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund and the Museum League Purchase Fund

Beware of dog! Their bark may be louder than their bite, but these two creatures certainly look strong and fierce. This is a pair of asos, a mythical animal that is a mix of a dog and a dragon. Dogs and dragons both guard and protect and for the Kayan people of Borneo, asos protected the most important people in their society.

Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Water Spaniel Confronting a Heron, 1722, oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Water Spaniel Confronting a Heron, 1722, oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

Friend or fowl? Jean-Baptiste Oudry was known for painting hunting scenes, but there is a question about who is hunting whom in this picture. It looks like this bird is barking up the wrong tree. My money is on the mutt!

Nicolas de Largillière, Portrait of the Comtesse de Montsoreau and Sister as Diana and an Attendant, 1714, oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

Nicolas de Largillière, Portrait of the Comtesse de Montsoreau and Sister as Diana and an Attendant, 1714, oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

These girls are dressed up to have their portrait painted with their two pampered pooches – who wouldn’t want a painted portrait with their dog? The girls are dressed as the Goddess Diana and an attendant; Diana is the Goddess of the Hunt and her symbol is a crescent moon.

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-1902, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-1902, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan

This pup looks dog-tired! Dogs can say a lot without ever barking—just look at their ears and tail! This dog, Shamrock, may be taking a cue from his owner as they sit and stay to have their portrait painted. The woman in this portrait is Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt, cousin to President Theodore Roosevelt. As a teenager, Dorothy visited the White House often for parties and events. One might say that Shamrock is one fashionable dog, check out his elegant gold collar!

The next time you feel like drooling over paintings depicting pups, take a two-legged visit to the DMA to search out the hounds.

Amanda Blake is the Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences at the DMA

Friday Photos: Superheroes!

Firefighters, doctors, policemen – heroes are all around us…even in art! In the August Arturo’s Art & Me class, visitors met some of the heroes of the DMA, including Vishnu, a Hindu god, and Takenouchi, a Japanese warrior. Then, the little heroes-in-training made heroic outfits to match their super personalities.

Check out the fun below!

 

Emily Wiskera
Graduate Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Brains, Brains, Braaaaains! Teen Zombie Camp

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The zombie apocalypse hits the DMA.

Six months ago, I asked a few of our Teen Advisory Council members to suggest ideas for classes at the DMA that they would want to attend (be careful what you ask for!). The result was our first-ever zombie camp: a week-long series of workshops where the participants were asked to create an original zombie design inspired by a work of art. Secretly, it gave me the opportunity to make a fun, STEAM-based class with 21st century skill development sprinkled in. The primary goals for the camp were to incorporate art and science, and to connect students with local experts.

The camp was divided into three parts: learning, ideation, and creation. To help understand zombie behavior and morphology, Perot Museum of Nature and Science Educator Melinda Ludwig led a (sheep’s) brain dissection experiment focused on the centers of locomotion, smell, and speech; Meadows Museum Educator and medical illustrator Mary Jordan led an anatomical drawing session featuring the musculature and skeletal structure of the skull; and Mara Richards, Manager of Education Programs at the Dallas Theater Center led a movement workshop to think about how zombies inspired by works of art would move.

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Melinda Ludwig, Educator, Perot Museum of Nature and Science

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Mary Jordan, Educator at the Meadows Museum

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Mara Richards, Manager of Education Programs at the Dallas Theater Center

During the ideation phase of the camp, participants sketched from works of art in the galleries that inspired a character of their own design, complete with backstory. Afterwards, they shared their concept designs as a group and offered feedback and suggestions to each other.

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Artists Sarah Popplewell and Kat Burkett lead the group share session and discuss how an artist-to-artist critique works.

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Sketch and notes for a Picasso-themed zombie.

Students then set about transforming themselves into their characters. Sarah Popplewell led them in a costume workshop while Kat Burkett demonstrated how to cast forms with tape in order to create limbs and other body parts. Mitch Rogers, sculptor, special effects artist, and owner of Brick in the Yard Mold Supply gave the teens a glimpse into the world of creating visual effects for film.

Mitch and his crew helped camp participants with their makeup and prostheses on the last day and, as an added treat, he brought along Stuart Bridson, Special Effects Supervisor for Game of Thrones, Emmy-winning series for Outstanding Visual Effects. The results were pretty amazing:

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Mitch sets to work on a gruesome zombie wound.

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And she wore this to dinner that evening!!!!

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Figure of a woman, Roman, 2nd century A.D., Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

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Ashes of Vesuvius-inspired zombie

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Adolf Hiremy-Hirschl, “Seaside Cemetery (Seefriedhof)”, 1897, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J.E.R. Chilton

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Lost-at-sea-themed zombie

On Friday afternoon, the teens put their zombie-ambulatory skills to use by interacting with visitors in the galleries. Photographer Teresa Rafidi took some fantastic portraits of each of the zombies, and a selection of images will be shared on our Flickr page soon. zombie camp 3 zombie camp 14

All in all, it was an amazing experience for everyone involved. In addition to the science and art crossover, students sneakily developed other skills such as creative problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, iterative design, and more. I’m already getting suggestions for next year’s camp–aliens in the Museum, anyone?

Special thanks to Melinda Ludwig, Mary Jordan, Mara Richards, Teresa Rafidi, Mitch Rogers and staff, Kat Burkett, and Sarah Popplewell. Special effects materials provided by Brick in the Yard Mold Supply. No works of art were harmed during this camp (surprisingly).

JC Bigornia
C3 Program Coordinator

Of Jewelry and Jazz

On Friday night we celebrated the exhibition From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith with a night of performances, talks, art making, and more inspired by Art Smith during the busiest August Late Night we’ve ever had, with more than 5,500 visitors! The Dallas Black Dance Theatre, along with the Stockton Helbing Trio, performed a premiere of a new work to a full house in a piece inspired by the jewelry of Art Smith. Visitors lined up throughout the evening to create their own jewelry in the Center for Creative Connections, there were plenty of human pretzels in Yoga for Kids, and the Atrium was alive all night with music from Mahogany the Artist, Rebel Alliance Jazz Ensemble, and The Funky Knuckles.

If you missed Friday night’s fun, you can still celebrate Art Smith throughout August (all for free!); check out the events online, including Thursday’s Jazz in the Atrium with Mahogany the Artist.

Friday Photos: Vacation

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This large photograph by Nic Nicosia, titled Vacation, was installed in the Center for Creative Connections (C3) in early July. At first glance this appears to be a normal, everyday scene of a family picnic, but as you look closer it becomes apparent that there are some unusual aspects to this photograph. Is it a snapshot or is it staged? The children appear very natural, but the mother seems posed.  The ground looks like real dirt and leaves, but the tree and sky are a painted backdrop.  Then, between the branches you can see an airplane on fire and hurling to the ground. This is not your typical vacation.

As the summer comes to a close, the Dallas Museum of Art education staff has taken some time to reflect on our own unusual vacation experiences. We hope you enjoy our snapshots.

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Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

 


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