Archive for May, 2015

Friday Photos: Fun in the Sun!

Dallas had a *very* short break from stormy weather this week, just in time for our Homeschool Class for Families. After exploring landscape paintings by Frederic Church and Thomas Cole in the galleries, the class went outside to create their own scenic drawings en plein air (in the open air), using the Dallas Arts District as their backdrop!

What type of landscape masterpiece can you create using your own backyard as inspiration?

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

The Creative Spiral

The creative process is often described as cyclical, and sometimes, when I’m in it, I feel like I am going around in circles, ending up where I started. I always hope that when I come back around in that circular process, my ideas have evolved so that even though I may be in a familiar place, I am truly somewhere new. Perhaps the creative process is more like a spiral, repetitious yet constantly moving forward. This concept not only illustrates an important artistic process that we want to share with visitors to the Center for Creative Connections (C3) but also describes the methods we employ as our space evolves. The creative process is an inspirational component of C3, and it is exemplified through the Art Spot, a hands-on art-making area.

A Brief History

 

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In 2008, the hands-on art-making area within the C3 exhibition Materials and Meanings was called the Materials Bar, which provided a hands-on experience of the creative process, engaging visitors with an inspiration wheel, videos that modeled techniques, materials that encouraged play, and a reflective label writing component. In 2010, C3 presented its second exhibition, Encountering Space, which involved a complete redesign of the entire C3 and transformed the Materials Bar into the Space Bar, which included prompts for the hands-on art-making experience. In 2012, the hands-on area was renamed the Art Spot: Anytime art-making for everyone, and it focuses on rotating works in the C3 galleries or the idea of creativity.

Commonalities and Spiraling Forward
For me, the creative process can be simplified to four steps: inspiration, exploration, creation, and reflection. With each iteration of the making area in C3, we come full circle. We start with an idea—a theme like materials, space, creativity, or a work of art; next we explore the possibilities of that idea and play with what it might look like; then we construct it for visitors to experience; and finally we reflect on the actual visitor experience. Over the years, the various iterations are in many ways similar, but with each new endeavor we learn and revise.

Martin Delabano's Family Portrait behind sea of visitors

Martin Delabano’s Family Portrait behind a sea of visitors

In the past, we strived to inspire participants with the art on view in C3, though we found this can be difficult when the works of art are not directly adjacent to the making area. In the upcoming redesign, we are installing more works of art in the Art Spot and are strategically placing them near the tables where participants will be creating. The cases housing these works will have prompts directly on the glass to provoke thought and discussion about the materials, design, and process. These kinds of prompts can help visitors get into the making mindset, a way of critically looking at and exploring materials.

Also, our approach to choosing works of art has shifted. In the past, we chose works of art that exemplified a concept and might inspire visitors to create. This time we are taking our inspiration from our visitors. Over the past few years, we have documented the kinds of creations made at the Art Spot. We know that regardless of the theme or materials, there are common items that are made: rings, animals, flowers, hats, and woven objects. So we started with those observations and chose works of art, such as those featured below, that visitors might more easily relate to and that had some evidence of both the materials and the method of making.

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Finally, we will continue to encourage the creation of three-dimensional objects, but rather than having one set of materials, we will offer different materials at different stations that relate to the nearby works of art. This will offer some variety and give visitors more options.

Looking Ahead
When the Art Spot reopens next week, we will continue to ask for visitor input, because being an experimental space means that we are constantly evolving through the creative process. We will document the creations visitors make, read the reflective statements they write, talk with them about the works of art, the materials, their creations, and their overall experience to get a sense of what aspects of the new design are working and what we might revise. Stop by the Center for Creative Connections this summer to see the redesigned Art Spot, be inspired by the newly installed works of art, make a creation, and give us your feedback!

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Manager at the DMA.

Community at LARGE

If you’ve visited the Center for Creative Connections (C3) within the last week, you may have noticed that the popular Art Spot is currently under construction. In addition to this redesign, we’re also installing a new work of art and related activity. Often when we plan these types of activities, we begin with the work of art as inspiration. This time, however, we started with the activity and found a work of art that fit.

Last summer during our July Late Night we hosted a drop-in program in the C3 Studio where visitors participated in a communal grid enlargement project. As visitors entered the studio they received a small image square and a larger blank card. Their task was to paint the image from their square onto their blank card and then display their painted card on a large grid in the back of the room. Over the course of the evening, the identity of the two paintings were revealed as visitors completed their cards and added them to the wall. The activity was such a success that we decided to recreate it in the C3 gallery this summer.

The question was, which work of art to choose? We had a few ideas that guided our decision. First, since this is an enlargement activity, we were looking for a relatively small work of art. Also, since the activity takes place in the gallery, visitors will be limited to using colored pencils, so we wanted a work of art that demonstrated that kind of mark-making. Originally we considered a drawing, but after consulting with our registrars, we found that lithographs or engravings might also be a good option. Finally, subject matter was of great importance; we wanted something bright and lively. All of these specifications led us directly to Progress Suite by Luis Alfonso Jimenez, Jr.

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Progress Suite exemplifies all of these qualities: it’s a colorful dynamic lithograph created by a Texas-born artist, measuring 23.5 inches x 35 inches. It will be enlarged by visitors to 300% of its original size. This mock-up illustrates just how large the activity will be.

c3 Protoyping Wall Elevation

Throughout the summer, as more visitors participate, the drawing will grow and evolve. Stop by the Center for Creative Connections to contribute to our scaled-up reproduction of Progress Suite and watch how this “living” drawing, made by our community, changes over time.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

On the Road Again

Memorial Day is the holiday that kicks off the travel season.

So whether you are traveling by plane,

Alexander Calder, Model for Flying Colors, 1973, fiberglass and acrylic paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Braniff International in memory of Eugene McDermott © Estate of Alexander Calder / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Alexander Calder, Model for Flying Colors, 1973, fiberglass and acrylic paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Braniff International in memory of Eugene McDermott, © Estate of Alexander Calder/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

train,

James Welling, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1990, Negative November 2,1990, gelatin silver print on Oriental Seagull photographic paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Director's Enhancement Fund © James Welling

James Welling, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1990, negative November 2, 1990, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Director’s Enhancement Fund, © James Welling

or automobile

Lee Friedlander, Untitled, 1961, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant

Lee Friedlander, Untitled, 1961, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant

to places far

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated © L & M Services B. V., Amsterdam

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, © L & M Services B. V., Amsterdam

Florence E. McClung, Torii–Japan, 1959, silkscreen, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

Florence E. McClung, Torii–Japan, 1959, silkscreen, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

or near

Berenice Abbott, Flatiron Building, 1938, print 1983, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Morton and Marlene Meyerson

Berenice Abbott, Flatiron Building, 1938, print 1983, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Morton and Marlene Meyerson

George Grosz, A Dallas Night, 1952, watercolor on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, anonymous gift of A. Harris and Company in memory of Leon A. Harris, Sr. © Estate of George Grosz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

George Grosz, A Dallas Night, 1952, watercolor on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, anonymous gift of A. Harris and Company in memory of Leon A. Harris, Sr., © Estate of George Grosz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

we hope you have a fun and safe summer.

Lynn Lennon, Beach Party, Dallas City Hall, 1984, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Homer B. Jester Fund © 1984 Lynn Lennon

Lynn Lennon, Beach Party, Dallas City Hall, 1984, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Homer B. Jester Fund, © 1984 Lynn Lennon

Don’t forget to stop by the DMA to cool off all summer long and explore the collection for free!

Kimberly Daniell is the Manager of Communications and Public Affairs at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Adieu to our Interns!

Somehow it’s already time for Memorial Day–where has this year gone?! And sadly, that means today we say farewell to this year’s wonderful bunch of McDermott Interns. They’ve contributed to countless Museum projects during their time with us, while managing to fit in lots of fun along the way.

The Interns on their first day at the DMA

The Interns on their first day at the DMA

In front of the Piano Building at the Kimbell in Fort Worth

In front of the Piano Building at the Kimbell in Fort Worth

Visiting the Meadows Museum at SMU

Visiting the Meadows Museum at SMU

Visiting the Crow Collection

Visiting the Crow Collection

Visiting the Nasher Sculpture Center Garden

Visiting the Nasher Sculpture Center Garden

Visiting the Dallas Contemporary

Visiting the Dallas Contemporary

In front of Nate Lowman's work at the Contemporary

In front of Nate Lowman’s work at the Contemporary

We thank them so much for their contributions and wish them well as they move on to greater horizons!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

FAST Times at the DMA

With each new exhibition at the Museum comes a jolt of excitement for our FAST (Family, Access, School, and Teaching programs at the DMA) team. Education programs at the DMA involve both the permanent collection and any special exhibitions, and a new exhibition means opportunities for exciting new lessons. Though our programming won’t focus on the newly opened exhibition Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes until the fall, we can’t help but brainstorm some experiences we might create around the fantastic content inside. Here’s a look at some of the ideas we’ve got flying between our ears:

Family Programs
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For our littlest learners, from babies to our homeschool kids, we often begin our gallery portion of the program with story time connected to the lesson’s theme. To get thinking about camelids and their importance in Inca life, we’re eyeing one of Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama books and will then explore objects like the llama-form vessel or llama-head whistle. The focus of the lesson could also be one of the exhibition’s remarkable tunics. We would follow the journey of camelid fibers, which we have on hand for tactile exploration, from their origins on a llama to their ultimate use, being woven into a wonderful piece of clothing. Our youngest visitors will then try their hand at a weaving project in the Museum’s Art Studio.

Access Programs
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For visitors with special needs, our class might focus on jobs in Inca society. Through an object like the tunic with checkerboard pattern and stepped yoke, we can connect the idea of the Inca soldiers who wore the tunic and the weaving specialists who made it to what we know of modern occupations or memories of jobs our participants had in the past. Different art projects would be appropriate for the two groups: with our visitors with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we might choose our Inca dream job and make wearable tunics for it using materials in the Museum’s Art Studio, and for participants with Alzheimer’s, we might take our time with a weaving project. We like to have a hands-on experience all participants can enjoy.

Go van Gogh
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Our Go van Gogh community outreach program involves a staff member and volunteers leading programs in classrooms throughout DISD. For an Inca-based program, we would pick 3–4 works to explore around a theme such as “what we wear,” which could include items like the sleeved tunic, poncho with central medallion and double-headed-birds, or four-cornered hat. For a related art project, the students may design their own tunics using some of the geometric patterns or animal imagery we discussed. We always have amazing works of creativity come out of our Go van Gogh groups!

School Tours
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Most teachers who sign up for school tours want their students to see as much as possible, so our wonderful docents choose highlights from all over the DMA’s expansive collection. Inca might only be one stop on a tour of five or six destinations in the Museum. Docents typically let the interests of the students lead the discussion: are they drawn to textiles or ceramics, ideas of Inca soldiers or animal imagery? Whichever it is, docents would be sure to show contextual images such as a map of the Tahuantinsuyu empire or an illustration of a ruler wearing a tunic. Though the stop is brief, the goal is to teach the students a little bit about another culture, while whetting their appetite so they return for more!

Make sure you take the opportunity to explore Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes before it closes in November. In the meantime, the FAST team will be counting the days until we can explore the exhibition with our many audiences!

Liz Bola is the McDermott Graduate Education Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching and Jennifer Sheppard is the McDermott Education Intern for Family and Access Teaching at the DMA.

Learning to Help the Learners: My Year as a Leadership ISD Fellow

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Let’s consider the proverbial elephant in the room: many school districts, including Dallas ISD, are in need of community help, be it as informed advocates or active participants. Often, those of us outside the intricacies of the district itself feel helpless to initiate assistance, or to even know where to start. It was this realization, along with a desire as both a museum educator working with teachers and a parent of a DISD student, that led me to apply to be a fellow in this year’s Leadership ISD program. To be accepted into the program and participate this year has been an immensely rewarding, heartening, and humbling experience.

Helmed by Patricia Arvanitis and an amazing group of staff and volunteers, Leadership ISD is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering knowledgeable citizen advocates for the Dallas Independent School District, ultimately serving as a growing group who can help all students achieve and thrive.

From September through May, we forty-two LISD Fellows attended a series of monthly seminars each focusing on a different issue DISD schools and students face, including the opportunity gap, early childhood education, and buildings and facilities. Those may sound like dry topics, but the activities and conceptualizing that went into each proved to be fascinating. For the training on buildings and facilities, we began the day in groups charged with this question: what would an ideal school look like? As each group brainstormed and later shared their ideas, it became clear that our approaches focused on different ways of tackling the idea: one group considered what might be done with the empty school buildings already owned by DISD, while another group considered a perfect school developed around different educational models.

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One of the benefits of being part of the Leadership ISD is hearing from an array of knowledgeable voices. As part of our monthly meetings we had opportunities to discuss issues with parents, teachers, experts from organizations like Uplift Education, Momentus Institute, and Teach For America, and key figures like school board members, Superintendent Mike Miles, and Mayor Mike Rawlings. At such times we were encouraged to ask probing questions and critically evaluate whatever data was presented.

Beyond these monthly seminars, though, was the real meat of being a LISD Fellow. As part of our participation we were required to attend school visits, DISD board meetings, and participate in a Practicum project assigned to a specific school. These “on the ground” activities not only engaged us in a more individual way with the issues schools, teachers, and students are facing, but empowered us to create active and ongoing results for all involved.

IMG_20150508_141712As our year has wrapped up, two different things have been dominating my mind. First, after almost every seminar, meeting, and practicum discussion I was involved with, I always walked away with the sense that the issues schools, teachers, and districts are facing are immensely complicated. There are no easy solutions. The more I learned, the more complicated each topic appeared. Yet, this feeling was always tempered by an extreme sense of hope, of participation as a step amid these complicated issues, to chart a path through them. This second feeling — hope — is one that any of us can have by getting involved and informed.  If you are so inclined — and I hope you are — consider applying to be one of Leadership ISD’s Fellows next year, won’t you? The deadline to apply is June 1st!

Josh Rose
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs


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