Archive for October, 2015

Creativity Matters


Because the Dallas Museum of Art is closed to the public on Mondays, those days are often strangely quiet without the buzz of school children and families in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). However, on Monday, October 5, C3 was brimming with energy from some of the creative educators, artists, and community organizers that make Dallas great. Earlier this year we were approached by the Sam Francis Foundation to be one of three organizations across the country to host a roundtable event focused on the Future of Creativity.

In 2014, the Sam Francis Foundation set out to start a national conversation about the importance of creativity in learning, and they called this initiative Creativity Matters: The Campaign for Creativity in Learning. The first year they partnered with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and brought together leaders throughout the field in conversations across the United States (at LACMA, The Met, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and The Exploratorium). These first conversations were centered around two questions:

What does creativity look like?

Where and how does creativity thrive?

Following their 2014 roundtables, the Sam Francis Foundation compiled their findings in this report.

This fall, the Sam Francis Foundation continued the conversation with a set of roundtables at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and the Dallas Museum of Art.  These Future of Creativity discussions sought to understand the role creativity will play in the future and the changes needed to prepare students for what that world might look like. Considering the future of creativity in our homes, workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods, our conversations were sparked by these questions:

In twenty years how will creativity shape the world we live in?

How will creativity inform our decision-making?

What new conditions will be needed to unleash creativity?

If we were building a “creativity tool-kit” for future generations – what tactics, methods, and advice would we include?

It was truly remarkable to have so many Dallas leaders, artists, and educators (many of whom we have worked with closely in the past) together in the Center for Creative Connections. The conversations were dynamic, engaging, and inspirational.

Yet, these roundtables are just part of the beginning stage for a grander plan involving community building, the creation of programs, and a public awareness campaign in support of the future of creativity.


In the end, I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the day.  Some are specific to creativity, and others are general gems to keep in mind.

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Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager


V.I.B. Visit to the DMA

Two week’s ago we had a special visitor at the DMA, the great godson of Gerald Murphy! The Museum’s education blog, DMA Canvas, shared his visit and snapped a few photos of 11-month-old Vance in front of his great godfather’s work Watch.

Gerald Murphy was described as “the progenitor of Pop Art” in a New York Times review of the exhibition Making it New, which the DMA presented in in 2008. His two works in the colelction serve as a precursuer to those works on view in International Pop, now open and on view through Janaury 17, 2016.

Staff Spotlight: Tom Jungerberg

We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and colleague, Tom. Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends at the Nasher and with Tom’s family during this time. We wanted to share this post in his remembrance.

Dallas Goes Pop

It’s been a busy, colorful week in the Museum’s Barrel Vault gallery. We have been putting the final touches on the nationally touring exhibition International Pop, which opens this Sunday, October 11, including the installation of León Ferrari’s The Western Christian Civilization (La civilización occidentaly cristiana) from 1965. This morning DFW press were given a sneak peek of the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed exhibition.  Here’s your behind-the-scenes look, and mark your calendars for Sunday.

Green Tara at the DMA

As the new Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs, my first few weeks at the DMA have flown by in a busy, joyous blur. Everyday seems filled to the brim as I acclimate to my new role and learn as much as I can from my new colleagues and our fabulous docent team. In the midst of this whirlwind of activity, I find myself coming back to the Asian Art collections again and again to visit a familiar face— Green Tara, a beloved female Bodhisattva central to Tibetan Buddhism.

Green Tara, Tibet, 18th century, Gilt copper alloy and turquoise, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

Green Tara, Tibet, 18th century, Gilt copper alloy and turquoise, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

In the summer of 2008, I had the opportunity to study Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan history and culture at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies in Himachal Pradesh, India through Miami University’s Anthropology Department. Each morning before breakfast, my fellow students and I would wipe the sleep from our eyes and make our way to temple to practice meditation with our teacher, Geshe Kalsang Damdul la, a monk and scholar with an advanced degree in Tibetan Buddhism. Geshe la taught us the value of cultivating resilience and mindfulness through meditation. I can still picture him chuckling and asking us, “What good is being a genius if you don’t know how to live a quality life? I appeal to you, practice!”

As we embarked on our practice, Geshe la instructed us that one possibility was to direct our meditation towards a deity. He suggested Green Tara, a much-loved female Bodhisattva distinguished by her emerald green skin, maternal compassion, and constant readiness to protect her devotees from physical and mental misfortune.

On our last day, one of my monk friends pressed a printed Green Tara card into my hand and told me, via a translator, that I should keep her with me always for protection. She has been with me ever since, tucked safely in my wallet.

The DMA’s exquisite 18th century Green Tara sits on her lotus throne with her right leg extended, ever-ready to leap to the aide of the suffering. Her hand gestures, or mudras, symbolize protection and boon granting. Shining gilt copper alloy flecked with cool turquoise stand in for the Bodhisattva’s characteristic emerald skin. What I love most about Green Tara is the delicate suggestion of tension in her lithe figure—she’s at once in a state of perfect calm and ready to spring into action.

Visiting Green Tara brings me back to the stillness of those early mornings spent in meditation, and reminds me of the sense of ease and wellbeing we experienced chanting the Bodhisattvas’s mantra together with Geshe la. Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha.

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Danielle’s Superlatives

Today we are saying goodbye to a dear colleague and friend. Danielle Schulz joined the Education department three years ago and has charmed us all with her wit, dedication to excellent teaching, and bubbly personality. She is moving on to a new position at the Denver Art Museum, so we want to send her off with happy memories of all that she has accomplished here. And since she has spent the majority of her time in one classroom or another, we thought it only fitting to say goodbye with the best kind of school farewell we know–the yearbook Most Likely Awards.

Danielle’s Superlatives

MM Care Facility

Most Likely to Put the Able in Abilities

From using pool noodles with participants in wheelchairs to mimic movements in paintings, to cross-stitching astrological signs with visitors with Alzheimer’s disease, Danielle always went above and beyond to find an extraordinary way to connect to those with special needs. Danielle has a gift for listening and relating to visitors of all abilities and uses her talent to figure out how best to teach about artworks.

D and the van

Most Likely to Outsmart Little Rascals

While teaching an outreach lesson at a local school for the Go van Gogh program, Danielle led a discussion with elementary students about the different materials artists use to create art. With a little boy sense of humor, one student offered up “poop” as a suggestion, to which Danielle deftly replied, “Some artists do use refuse to create art” without missing a beat!

Amazon shopping cart

Most Unusual Amazon Shopping Cart

As the lead staff for coordinating the daily come-and-go for our busy summer art camps, Danielle supervised summer interns, set up studios for teachers, emailed parents, made parking arrangements, and all kinds of less-than-glamorous tasks that make summer camps smooth sailing. And oh the supplies–no matter what crazy material a teacher throws at her, Danielle can find it. Hundreds of plastic bags? Check. Toy motors? No problem. Lamp shades? Done. If you judge her by her Amazon shopping cart, you’ll know that this is one crazy, creative, out-of-the-box-thinking girl.

Art Babies

Most Likely to Go the Extra Mile

Danielle is a phenomenal teacher, whether she’s performing for a group of babies, leading a group of high school students through the galleries, or having a conversation with a senior group from a care facility. She always goes the extra mile, searching for ways to really connect with visitors, considering their needs, and adding in her trademark sense of humor. I’ve seen her perform the role of “Dragon King” for Art Babies class, wear a taco costume for a Late Night superhero tour, and bring in a treasured quilt from home for an access program–all in the name of helping visitors enjoy their experiences with art.

D Acting

Most Likely to Make an Award-Worthy Cameo in a Whimsical Grant Video

Did we mention she acts? Several years ago, Go van Gogh went for a BIG opportunity that required us to make a short video selling our wonderful outreach program. Knowing that we needed to reeeally stand out to compete, we worked the whimsical angle, and Danielle spent an afternoon excitedly jumping out from behind artworks on camera. I don’t know how many times she jumped out from behind Nandi the Bull in our South East Asian galleries, but I do know by the time we were ready to submit our video, we had a fantastic (and definitely whimsical) representation of our program. The video went on to earn us $10,000. Without Danielle’s acting skills, teaching prowess, and overall great ideas and energy, we wouldn’t have had a shot. Someone get this woman an agent!

D and chagall edited

Most Likely to Soar as High as the Stars

Danielle’s passion for teaching with works of art and her love of people will propel her as high as her dreams will fly, and we wish her the best of luck at the Denver Art Museum.

We are going to miss Danielle more than we can say, but are so excited for the new adventure that awaits her in the Colorado mountains.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs


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