Archive for August, 2015



Summing Up

Today’s post is coming to you from the beyond…

… beyond the internship, that is, as my last day as the McDermott Education Intern for Family and Access Teaching was this past Friday. While cleaning out my desk, wrapping up remaining projects, and getting those last few classes in, I had the opportunity to take stock of everything that went into the 49.5 weeks I spent at the Museum. Of course, what began as idle curiosity (I wonder how many Arturo Letters I’ve actually answered…) became a challenge to see if I could do the math on the past year. Here’s what I have:

  • 200+ Arturo Letters received without an address to respond to
  • 150+ classes co-taught
  • 50+ art projects tested
  • 31 parent handouts designed
  • 20 gallery activity sheets created
  • 12 books checked out from (and returned to) the Mayer Library
  • 10 school tours given
  • 10 blog posts written (including this one and one on the DMA Uncrated blog)
  • 7 fellow McDermott Interns befriended
  • 1 fantastic replacement intern hired (watch out for Emily come September!) and
  • 1 FAST (Family, Access, Schools and Teachers) team that made all the difference

Though each statistic helped me grow (yes, even the 9,145 Family Guides), this list doesn’t come close to conveying the impact these 346 days spent as a McDermott Intern have had on me. At every turn, someone in the Museum was there with a smile or encouraging word. I got to know the museum of my childhood in an entirely new light. I learned as much from the audiences I worked with as they (hopefully) learned from me. I made true friends and recognized a career I have a real passion for. I also got very good at unjamming printers (yes, because of the 9,145 Family Guides).

To sum up my sentiments at the end of this blog post–and the end of my internship–I figure it’s only appropriate to add one final figure to my list:

  • 1,000,000 thank you’s, best wishes, and see you soon’s –

Jennifer Sheppard
2014-2015 McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Pint-Size Sous Chefs

During this month’s Art Babies, our mini museum-goers joined a hungry caterpillar at an imaginary dinner party to explore the sense of taste. Armed with their very own—Museum staff approved!—silver spoons, they goo-ed and gah-ed over the shiny silver serveware on Level 4. Their appetites primed with art, we then headed to the Art Studio, which was transformed into a smorgasbord of color, texture, and even flavor! Our petite Picassos used vibrant food puree “paint” to create their own masterpieces, taste-testing encouraged. Class ended with a colorful, baby-approved snack of blueberry carrot oat mini muffins, which you can try out at home:

Blueberry Carrot Oat Mini Muffins
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1 cup rolled oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup sugar
6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt, room temperature
½ cup carrot puree
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Line mini muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, stir together oats, both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until pale and frothy. Add yogurt, carrot puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla, whisking until fully combined and smooth. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture and stir with rubber spatula until flour is mostly incorporated. Gently fold blueberries into batter with a few revolutions, just enough to incorporate remaining flour and distribute berries evenly throughout.

Divide batter into muffin cups, using a tablespoon scoop to fill them almost to the top. Bake about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Note: A regular muffin pan can be used instead, increasing the baking time to 20 minutes.

Tickets for our fall classes go on sale September 3—we hope to see you then!

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator at the DMA.

Our Portal Into Publishing

View from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group located in the famous Flatiron Bldg

View from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group located in the famous Flatiron Building

The annual DMA Arts & Letters Live planning trip to New York provides the foundation for each season of the DMA’s literary and performing arts series. During more than 30 meetings in five days at the end of July, Carolyn Bess and I learned which authors are generating a lot of buzz for their new books, and who will be on tour during our 25th anniversary season. These meetings provide a portal into the publishing world not yet revealed to the media or to the public. Here begins the dialogue regarding the authors and books publishers want to catapult into public conversation. We share statistics and successes from our recent events as we attempt to woo such “wish list” writers as Donna Tartt, Bill Bryson, and Nick Hornby. Authors often tour to a predetermined number of cities and only for a short time following their book release date, so there can be significant competition when it comes to securing them for Arts & Letters Live. We seek to balance the type of books, speakers, and performances we feature in each season to construct a mix of literary and historical fiction, poetry, memoir, nonfiction, pop culture, and emerging authors.

Though our meeting schedule certainly kept us busy, we managed to squeeze a few excellent cultural outings into our visit. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed illustrated memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was excellent and would fit nicely into our Artful Musings category (if only Alison weren’t in such high demand these days!). We enjoyed seeing Gerald Murphy’s Cocktail on view in the glorious new Renzo Piano building of the Whitney Museum of American Art as we look forward to hosting Liza Klaussmann tomorrow night at the DMA for her new fictional account of Sara and Gerald Murphy in Villa America. On a Friday evening visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we joined the Museum Hack tour for what their brochure terms “a highly interactive, subversive, fun, non-traditional museum tour.” Their strategy did not disappoint. During our three-hour tour, we learned obscure and whimsical tidbits about a select number of pieces in the Met’s collection and wandered the galleries after hours, inciting childhood fantasies of spending the night in the Met like Claudia in E. L. Konigsburg’s iconic novel, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

One of the things that impressed me most during these meetings was the number of times publishers commented on the excellent reputation of the Dallas Museum of Art and Arts & Letters Live. After working on events with publicists all year via phone and e-mail, it is gratifying to meet with them in person and to hear how much they appreciate the quality of events that we host at the DMA. The professional relationships built and fostered during this New York trip are a key component to Arts & Letters Live’s success.

Michelle Witcher is the Program Manager, Arts & Letters Live, at the DMA.

Summer Interns: How Time Flies!

I cannot believe that this summer is already coming to a close. It is true that time flies when you are having fun! I have had a great experience interning here with the DMA’s summer art camps and am extremely grateful for the opportunity.

As the summer has progressed I have come to know so many different children, each with a distinct personality and story. Realizing that I have been given the opportunity to be a part of their lives–even if only for a week or so–is such a special privilege. I can only hope that I have helped the children develop their artistic and social skills, and that when they are world famous artists they will remember Miss Anna from summer art camp.

As an artist myself, the campers have taught me a lot about accepting the fact that we are not all Michelangelo or Monet and that, even though our artwork may not be “perfect,” creating something from only our imaginations is awesome. I know that this experience will forever be in my heart, and I really have had an excellent summer working with children.

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Anna Galluzzi
Summer Art Camp Intern

Chasing Waterfalls

This month, the Dallas Museum of Art debuts a new acquisition in the American galleries that highlights the work of Henrietta Shore (1880–1963), an artist who made a significant contribution in the development of American modernism. While she and her work were held in high regard, by the 1940s both had fallen into obscurity. Fortunately, the artist is now undergoing rediscovery, as well as a long-overdue reassessment of her impact on American art of the 20th century.

Henrietta Mary Shore, Waterfall, c. 1922, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Boeckman Mayer Family Fund 2015.24.FA

Henrietta Mary Shore, Waterfall, c. 1922, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Boeckman Mayer Family Fund, 2015.24.FA

Waterfall is a remarkable product from one of the most innovative periods of Shore’s long career, when she visually interpreted the natural world into its most essential and abbreviated forms. These “semi-abstractions,” as she called them, were an attempt to convey in a symbolic way the underlying spiritual forces she sensed in nature rather than a literal transcription of the visual phenomena she observed. In Waterfall, pure line and the juxtaposition of positive and negative shapes laid down with the sheer application of pigment are the means the artist employed to render visible the dynamic power of the eternal. Color is the emotional key she wielded to unlock the visual impact of the whole.

Although she was born in Toronto, the key portion of Shore’s artistic training was acquired in the United States, most significantly under Robert Henri in New York. After several years in California, she returned to New York City in 1920 and, forsaking narrative subject matter and the loaded-brush paint application she had learned from Henri, developed the stripped-down modernist approach demonstrated in Waterfall. The inspiration for this bold composition came, most likely, from her explorations of Maine and Canada during the summer of either 1921 or 1922. When her semi-abstractions debuted in a New York gallery in January of 1923, they were widely discussed by critics, who immediately and positively compared them with works by Georgia O’Keeffe then on view at another gallery across town.

On Wednesday, August 19, learn more about the newest addition to the DMA’s American Art Galleries during our lunchtime gallery talk.

Sue Canterbury is The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the DMA.

Leadership, Laughter, and Legacy

Today is Nicole Stutzman Forbes’ last day at the DMA.  Nicole began her career in 1999 as an education McDermott Intern, and in 2012, became the Chair of Learning Initiatives and Dallas Museum of Art League Director of Education.  This blog post barely begins to illustrate her hard work, passion, and humor (but I’ll give it a shot anyway).

Nicole

Nicole is smart.  During her time at the DMA, Nicole worked closely with the DMA’s collections – conducting docent trainings, leading workshops for teachers, designing educational and experiential resources for exhibitions, and leading tours for visitors of all ages (among other things).  I would argue that she knows the collection better than most people on our staff.  She is also very skilled at anticipating and attending to the little details while understanding the big concept, whether she is writing a grant proposal or developing a new project.

Late Night

Leading a Late Night tour titled Tips and Toes, inspired by nail polish!

Nicole is fun.  She knows when to be serious and when to laugh.  A regular fixture at Late Nights, she could be spied animatedly chatting with visitors or chaperoning a teen dance party in the Sculpture Garden.  She knows that good work does not necessarily mean serious work.  Case in point: one of our annual education retreats was held at Bowlounge, a vintage bowling alley.  What else is there to say?

Bowlounge

Education staff revisited Bowlounge for a farewell celebration

Nicole isn’t afraid to try new things.  She welcomes opportunities to experiment with different ways of teaching with art and working with partners.  Nicole was the first to co-teach the Booker T. Washington Learning Lab at the DMA, during which visual arts students split their learning between their school and the Museum, which essentially becomes a second classroom.  She embraced technology; first through the digitization and then expansion of our resources for teachers, and later through technology-based programs in the Center for Creative Connections Tech Lab.  Rather than shy away from change, experimentation, and the unknown, Nicole eagerly explores new territory and encourages others to do so as well.

Nicole plays well with others.  Perhaps her greatest legacy is the dozens of partnerships she has initiated and developed with schools, educators, community organizations, artists, museums, and arts and cultural organizations.  Nicole strives to develop true partnerships, in which all stakeholders participate and benefit equally, building meaningful relationships that strengthen over time.  I could write an entire blog post on these partnerships alone; suffice it to say that if you named a school, museum, or community organization in the Dallas area, she has likely worked with them in one way or another.

Skyline Project

At the opening of Sculpting Space: 299 Chairs, a collaborative installation created with Skyline High School and three DISD elementary schools

Nicole is a leader.  For me, she is also a friend and mentor who championed my ideas and pushed me to think bigger. Nicole leads by her words and by her actions.  She leads with integrity.  She leads with energy and enthusiasm.  She is highly respected among her peers, both locally and nationally.

But, don’t just take my word for it.  When asked to share her thoughts about Nicole, Bonnie Pitman, former Eugene McDermott Director at the Dallas Museum of Art, quickly responded:

Nicole has always been a trailblazer, an innovator and a great educator dedicated to communicating art in new ways.  In 2002-03, she led the DMA into a new domain – educational technology.   Created in partnership with the UT Dallas’s Arts and Technology programDIG! The Maya Project was one of the first ever museum interactive video games. There was little that was easy about it— as the process for this type of creative online learning through games had never been done before.

Nicole also actively sought to bring together the works of students and educators and artists in new ways for the public to enjoy and embrace. Poets, dancers, musicians, visual, and other artists have all actively  interpreted the collections and the romps, stomps, and interactive displays have been enjoyed by all.

This past year Nicole and I co-taught a course for medical students at UT Southwestern Medical School that focused on observing, analyzing, and engaging with works of art in order to assist the future doctors with their medical diagnostic skills.  The reviews of the class were amazing in large measure because of Nicole’s passion for teaching.
Nicole and Bonnie

Nicole and Bonnie

Maria Teresa Garcia-Pedroche, Head of Community Engagement, adds:

I had the privilege of collaborating with Nicole on several exhibitions and programs. She organized col-LAB-oration (December 2003 – January 2004), an exhibition that took the form of an “idea lab” where visitors felt as if they have walked into the artist’s thought process.  She invited students from Travis Academy to collaborate with Jesús Moroles on ideas with regards to sculpture. Nicole understands that true partnerships allow for everyone to come to the table and have an equal voice. These collaborative experiences take time to create and one size does not fit all.  It is a privilege to work with a colleague who respects communities at large.

This blog post could be much, much longer.  But I think you’re starting to get the point (or you’ve already gotten it, if you’ve been fortunate enough to work with Nicole): She is awesome.  We’re so excited for her and her new adventure as the first Director of Extracurricular Programs at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth.  But man, are we going to miss her.

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager

30-Minute Dash: Reagan Duplisea

In our second installment of 30-Minute Dash” DMA Registrar Reagan Duplisea shares her solution to the tough task of only 30 minutes in the DMA.

A DMA highlights tour for me would begin by taking the elevator to the second floor galleries and turn left to be met with a wall of compelling and dramatic emotion and color, which begins with the despair of Ramon Casas’ Tired, the treacherous sea-swept cemetery of Adolf Hiremy-Hirschl, and ends on the idyllic pastoral note of Hans Thoma’s Olive Grove at Lake Garda.

Take the small staircase up to the third floor and take a quick turn through the Northern Decorative Arts gallery. Bask in the glow of the Tiffany windows and Front doors from the Robert R. Blacker House and admire the sturdy yet stunning craftsmanship of the Stickley workshop. Then take a few more steps into the light-infused foyer of the Reves period rooms. Don’t miss the Winston Churchill room, especially his oversized brandy glass and self-portrait in the guise of a portly pig.

As you exit the decorative arts galleries, make a right to marvel at the delicate Japanese ceramics, pause for a contemplative moment in the calming ambiance of the gallery of Japanese screens and take a quick wander amidst the sly smiles of the Oceanic figures. Take the stairs to the fourth floor and veer left on a path that will lead you past the harmonious and fine lines of Charles Biederman’s Work no. 3, 1939, the Viktor Schreckengost Jazz Bowl and Charles Sheeler’s Suspended Power.

This reverse route through the American galleries will ensure that you pass by the majestic Gothic bed before you exit and make a quick beeline for the Ancient Arts of the Americas. The first gallery features objects of jade, in amazing shade variations, and the second will dazzle you with an array of gold. As you leave the final gallery, throw a glance over your right shoulder to catch a glimpse of the charming Yup’ik Mask with seal or sea otter spirit. The Mixtec Crouching frogs outside the galleries will stick their tongues at you, playfully suggesting that you didn’t allot nearly enough time for your visit and goad you into planning another, longer visit soon.

Reagan Duplisea is the Associate Registrar, Exhibitions at the DMA


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