Archive for the 'Access Programs' Category



Art Beyond Sight at the DMA

October is nearly over and at the DMA we have had another fun month of Art Beyond Sight programing. This is our eighth year of presenting programs related to Art Beyond Sight and many of our programs focused on exploring works of art using senses other than vision. Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month, sponsored by Art Education for the Blind, is celebrated by over 250 cultural institutions all over the world and focuses on the idea that everyone must have access to the world’s visual arts in order to fully participate in his or her community. At the DMA, we hope to not only make our programs welcoming to visitors of all abilities, but to specifically raise awareness of making art accessible to people with vision impairment.

John Bramblitt talking about his artistic process with visitors in the studio.

John Bramblitt talking about his artistic process with visitors in the studio.

This year several of our programs for families, from First Tuesday to Arturo’s Art and Me related to Art Beyond Sight themes. Children had the chance to experience tables full of various textures and smells on First Tuesday and explore the galleries on a family tour focused on the senses. Toddlers explored texture in the African Art gallery and learned about Braille and raised line drawings. Even Arturo’s Nest, our space for children aged four and under, was stocked with toys and interactives that highlight the senses.

For several of our programs, we welcomed artist John Bramblitt, who has collaborated with us on ABS programming for the past 5 years. We love having John as an integral part to our programs; he is a favorite summer art camp special guest and often a featured artist at past large Museum-wide events. This year, John gave a gallery talk with an overview of his process as a painter who is blind. John focused on the way that he integrates music, texture, and even taste into his artwork. John brought several paintings and invited visitors to look closely–even to touch, something that is rare in an art museum!

John also helped to lead Meaningful Moments, our program for visitors with Alzheimer’s disease. This is John’s fourth year to be a part of the program and he is definitely a crowd favorite! This year, we focused on immersing participants in a sensory experienced focused on two paintings in the American galleries. John shared how he integrates a sense of place into his landscapes and then participants described the paintings in detail to John, as he sketched their descriptions onto a Styrofoam sheet. Over the years, I have noticed that visitors give some of the best and most detailed descriptions of artwork when asked to share their thoughts with John–and his drawing of the described painting certainly amazes! To help immerse visitors into each artwork, we played related sounds, shared scents that connect to the paintings, and passed around tactile objects inspired by the works. In the studio, participants used numerous materials with a range of textures to create their own textural landscape.

For both Late Night Studio Creations and our homeschool program, John helped us to explore artwork with music. In the studio, participants listened to different elements of the same song (vocals, piano, or the percussion instruments) and imagined a color for the song before creating a shape or design with oil pastel using their chosen color. After gluing their shapes to a larger piece of paper, John played the song in its entirety and invited visitors to imagine a color for the song. Visitors used watercolor paint to paint over their shapes to create their own musical-inspired artworks. The process of cutting shapes and piecing them together was inspired by one of John’s recent studio experiments of cutting up and reassembling dried paint. For the homeschool program, we linked the musical studio activity to the galleries through a discussion with John about a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe that was inspired by music and movement.

We have had so much fun with John this October for an enjoyable month of sensory exploration. For more information about the Art Beyond Sight programs at the DMA, please click here.

Amanda Blake
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences

My Meaningful Moments at the DMA

Our educators create amazing programs for all audiences here at the Museum. Learn more about Meaningful Moments, our program for individuals with early stage dementia, on our blog Uncrated.

Touch Tour for Students with Vision Impairment

Many people may not think that of an art museum as the ideal field trip location for a group of children with visual impairment, but when the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) contacted the DMA earlier this summer with such a tour request, we were eager to provide the best experience possible. When discussing the visit with vision teachers at DISD, they felt it was important to expose their students to art and wanted an experience that would illustrate to the students that they too have the ability to create and appreciate art just as well as any other student.

DISD students with vision impairments visiting the DMA.

DISD students with vision impairments visiting the DMA.

The Planning Process
The Dallas Museum of Art has never before offered guided touch tours to visitors with visual impairment, but after speaking with our Director of Exhibition Design, we learned that she fully supports inclusive gallery teaching, and thus was open to supporting the Museum’s first ever touch tour. We talked with our colleagues in the exhibitions and conservation departments and found that they too were fully supportive of trying out a touch tour with the DISD students. The DMA Sculpture Garden was identified as the best place for our inaugural touch tour, since the objects in the garden are designed for an outdoor space and are thus subject to (and able to withstand) a variety of natural elements. We also felt that it was essential for the students to have the galleries to themselves during the tour, so as not to confuse other visitors about the acceptability of touching works of art, as well as for the overall comfort of the students with vision impairment. We therefore decided to schedule the touch tour for a Monday, when the Museum is closed to the public.

Our next step in the planning process was to walk through the space as a group, making note of areas that may be problematic for someone with vision impairment to navigate. The team was comprised of education, conservation, and exhibitions staff, and everyone on the team raised thoughtful questions and contributed wonderful ideas! We discussed which works of art may be the best for a tactile experience, and our conservators suggested that the kids have the chance to touch the works of art without gloves (which is usually unheard of in other touch tours!). Our exhibitions team offered to wash and hand-clean the works we selected so that they would be nice and clean for the experience. And one conservator suggested we select works of art that were large enough to be touched by more than one student at a time, so that the students could talk to one another about what they felt as they each touched the artwork.

After squaring things away with the exhibitions and conservation teams, the education team began planning the educational experiences of the tour. We prepared for twenty-five students, ranging in age from six to thirteen years, all with a range of visual impairment. The majority of students in the group had some residual vision, while two students were very photophobic, and two were blind from birth. Due to the range of abilities of our tour group, our education team knew it was important to include a variety of artworks in the tour (in addition to those on the touch tour), integrate many descriptive explanations of works of art and hands-on activities, and to have numerous tactile objects available.

In the Galleries
When designing the overall tour, we selected a variety of objects that spanned time periods, artistic techniques, and geographic locations. We visited two contemporary art sculptures in the Sculpture Garden for the touch portion, two Abstract Expressionist works in the contemporary gallery, and a mask in the African gallery. Our aim was to engage all of the senses throughout our tour, as we believe that presenting multiple representations of content would effectively cater to the different learning styles of the group. We created a multi-modal experience by collecting auditory clips for sound stimulation, tactile materials and replica objects for touch, Jelly Belly jelly beans for taste sensations, and essential oils and scented colored pencils for olfactory information.

Each stop on the tour had a visual description of the gallery space and of the works of art we focused on, because it was important for us to situate ourselves, the children, and the art in space, as the sense of bodily awareness in space is something that many people without vision impairment may take for granted. Much of our time in the galleries was spent guiding students in tactile looking activities connected to specific works of art and facilitating conversations about texture and form. For instance, we created a reproduction of Jasper John’s Device so that the students could not only touch canvas and feel layers of paint, but they could also replicate moving the wooden stretchers back and forth across the canvas, while imagining the technique in which Johns spread the paint back and forth.

In the African galleries, we focused on a helmet mask made by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and passed around raffia, cowrie shells, feathers and other materials found in the mask. Additionally, we played sound clips of the various animals that related to the mask.

Helmet mask (Mukenga), Kuba peoples, mid-20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift in honor of Peter Hanszen Lynch and Cristina Martha Frances Lynch

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kuba peoples, Helmet mask (mukenga),  mid-20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift in honor of Peter Hanszen Lynch and Cristina Martha Frances Lynch

Relating to Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park No. 29, we discussed how an artist could depict a place using sounds, smells, and taste. The students each ate a jelly bean and imagined the color they believed the flavor might represent. Next, they used a scented colored pencil to illustrate a place based on that smell. We also played sound clips of ocean waves and boat horns to recreate the Santa Monica locale that inspired Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park 29, 1970

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park 29, 1970, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Our tour concluded with a sensory drawing activity that took place at the large fountain outside the Museum’s Flora Street entrance. The students listened to the sounds created by the water in the fountain, and considered how the water (and space around it) might appear, what color the water would be, even how the smell would be rendered. We gave each student a piece of thin Styrofoam and a pencil to create their drawing of the fountain; the students were able to feel the indented lines they drew onto the Styrofoam and took turns sharing their creations with one another.

Until Next Time
This was an exceptional experience for DISD students, teachers, and DMA staff alike. One teacher who helped to organize this visit said that this experience “might be the only time this whole summer [the students] get this opportunity to learn tactually, through their auditory channels and their residual vision, which sighted people take so much for granted.” It was a transformative experience as well for our Museum. We are honored to have been a part of this experience, and cannot celebrate enough the fantastic support and collaboration exhibited by DMA staff from many different departments. A huge thank you to DISD for bringing their students, and a thousand thank you’s to the DMA’s conservation, exhibitions, visitor services, and security teams. This was a team effort and we appreciate the unified support and assistance—let’s hope this is the first of many touch tours to come!

Amanda Blake
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Friday Photos: Light It Up Blue at the DMA

The DMA has offered programs for children with autism and their families for the past four years, but this April marks the first time that we’ve participated in Autism Awareness Month by turning our lights blue. The global initiative, led by Autism Speaks, is called Light It Up Blue and has the goal to raise awareness about autism by inviting thousands of buildings to shine blue lights throughout the month of April. Light It Up Blue kicked off on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day. Be sure to check out our lights through the end of the month!

photo 2

Amanda Blake
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences

Accessible Teamwork

We love collaboration here at the DMA, and when it comes to teamwork, Texas Women’s University occupational therapy students are fantastic additions to our team! Since 2009, the DMA has held quarterly-occurring Autism Awareness Family Celebrations for children with autism and their families to enjoy activities in the Museum before it opens to the public. For the past two years, we have been lucky to partner with TWU’s occupational therapy students led by Dr. Tina Fletcher, OTR, EdD, MFA. The students host the TWU Sensory Room during every Autism Awareness Family Celebration and they transform our Tech Lab into a quiet space filled with weighted vests, therapy balls, tunnels, and resources for families.

Dr. Fletcher is an invaluable partner to the Museum’s Access Programs as she attends the Meaningful Moments program as well as every Autism Awareness Family Celebration and advises us on best practices. Dr. Fletcher is unique in that in addition to being a professor of occupational therapy, she is also an Autism Specialist as well as an artist – she brings many perspectives to our Access Programming! This year three of Dr. Fletcher’s students are working with us on research and evaluation related to our Autism Awareness Family Celebrations – their projects involve creating and testing social stories, creating and testing gallery guides written specifically for children with sensory issues, and researching the way that parents think about the Museum.

TWU Occupational Therapy student Ana Antonetti volunteering at our recent Autism Awareness Family Celebration

TWU Occupational Therapy student Ana Antonetti volunteering at our recent Autism Awareness Family Celebration

One of Dr. Fletcher’s students, Ana Antonetti, is conducting research about parents’ perceptions of the DMA. Ana has been a part of recent Autism Awareness Family Celebrations and we are excited to learn about her research results. We would love to have your assistance in helping us to improve on our programming for children with autism! Please see details below from Ana about how you can help:

The Dallas Museum of Art is collaborating with Texas Woman’s University to conduct a study comparing the perceptions of parents of children with and without autism spectrum disorders about participation in museum activities.

The information gathered will be used to help the DMA with program development and accessibility.

To be able to participate in this study you must be a parent of a child that has participated in activities at the DMA in the past OR a parent who is interested in having their child participate in Museum activities. Your child must be age 18 or younger.

Please follow this link to complete the questionnaire: https://www.psychdata.com/s.asp?SID=156983

Thank you!

Amanda Blake
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences

What is Accessibility?

The DMA, as well as other museums and cultural institutions across the country, have been tackling this question in the hopes of creating environments that are safe, open, and comfortable for a wide variety of people. Primarily, accessibility is thought of as a physical construct: a museum is deemed accessible if it holds no physical barriers to entry. Ramps, elevators and similar architectural structures are essential components for accessibility, providing individuals with and without mobility issues easy entry into any type of building. Removing physical boundaries is a key first step towards addressing the accessibility question.

A family participating in an Autism Awareness Family Celebration at the DMA

A family participating in an Autism Awareness Family Celebration at the DMA

But then what? How does accessibility extend inside museum walls? Museums strive to ensure that their collections, programs, and services are accessible to all audiences, often by providing diverse educational programs that cater to visitors of varying abilities. When we think about teaching at the DMA, we think about inclusive experiences that are open to everyone, regardless of a person’s ability. While making learning experiences at the DMA open and accessible to all is important, we also believe that designing individualized experiences for a range of needs is important too. And we hope these special programs raise the awareness that art is for everyone, though some visitors may need to work in different ways to see and enjoy it.

Meaningful Moments participants in the gallery

Meaningful Moments participants in the gallery

Our Access Programs provide these individualized experiences for visitors with special needs. Interactive gallery experiences and hands-on art making opportunities are available for adults with developmental disabilities as part of our partnership with The Arc of Dallas, as well as for adults with dementia and their care partners during our Meaningful Moments monthly program. For families and visitors with autism spectrum disorders, we organize a specialized summer art camp for children as well as Autism Awareness Family Celebrations throughout the year. These multi-sensory programs and events involve tactile opportunities and art-making activities that enable visitors of varying abilities to discover and appreciate artists and their works of art. During the month of October, we participate in Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month and focus on helping visitors enjoy art using senses beyond eyesight.

John Bramblitt talking about his works of art to summer campers

Artist John Bramblitt talking about his works of art to summer campers

The DMA is an Art Beyond Sight Partner and is proud to have participated in programming for Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month each October since 2007. Composed of leading institutions in 35 states and 25 countries, Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month is an outreach effort dedicated to promoting art education for people with vision impairment and building an inclusive society with improved access for all. This year, we were excited to expand our offerings to include programs for adults.

John leading a homeschool class for ABS month in the DMA's galleries

John leading a homeschool class in the galleries

Artist John Bramblitt joined several ABS programs this month to talk about his process as a blind painter. Our October First Tuesday was focused on the senses and the Museum’s youngest visitors had the chance to immerse themselves in a sensory experience in Arturo’s Nest, our space for children under the age of four. John led Studio Creations in early October to kick-off a month of ABS-themed weekend art-making. He also led this month’s Meaningful Moments for visitors with Alzheimer’s disease and he will close our month of experiences by teaching our homeschool class. In our Arturo’s Art and Me class for children aged 3-5, kids got to paint in the dark to experience sightless painting and our Arc participants had the chance to wear blindfolds to paint with their fingers!

Visitors experience John Bramblitt's Sightless Painting activity

Visitors experience John’s Sightless Painting activity

In addition to these experiences, John led a public gallery talk for adults, during which he shared images of his artwork, talked about his process, and provided insights into his subject matter. And during Late Night last Friday, John teamed up with Stephen Lapthisophon in an artist’s lecture. Both artists have visual impairment, and both approach painting in a completely different way.

John’s process is very detailed and planned out, with various techniques that he employs for raised lines. John uses raised lines to sketch the base of his drawing first – some of the lines are raised for only a short period of time while others remain raised to allow John to feel the contours of his drawing for a longer amount of time. After he drafts his lines, John adds many, many layers of paint. For Stephen on the other hand, art-making is a social art and isn’t highly technical.

Both artists have varied creative inputs as well. Much of John’s artwork is representational and a reflection of an internalization of his sensory world, while Stephen’s artwork is more about the experience of his senses as he is creating (often with food and text) which could be a reflection of society and the associations of his materials. Each artist spoke a bit about his process and then each had the chance to sit down for a conversation together before taking questions from the audience. The artists had the chance to ask questions of one another and it was interesting to hear them contrast their processes and to get their takes on how other senses play a strong role in their own art. This program was an opportunity for visitors with visual impairment to meet and talk with John and Stephen. The lecture ended with a woman who has been blind for five years asking advice from the artists about her own art. Each artist gave her some ideas and encouragement before meeting with her after the lecture to continue the conversation.

Visitors with vision impairment talking with John Bramblitt and Stephen Lapthisophon after their Late Night artist lecture

Visitors with vision impairment talking with John and Stephen after their Late Night artist lecture

The Access Programs offered by the DMA are essential components in creating welcoming, accessible environments, but there is still more to be done. What other types of resources can and should be made available to visitors?  Let us know what you think and be sure to check back in the future as we delve deeper into this matter.

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Amanda Blake
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences

Go van Gogh-ing on a Colorful Classroom Adventure

The newest Go van Gogh program involves two things that are deeply exciting in my book: expanding outreach to a new audience and getting messy with paint!

Color My World is a one-hour outreach experience for elementary students in Special Education classrooms. The program was developed by Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences Amanda Blake, and it takes the best of what we do in Museum Access programs—creating multi-sensory activities for a range of abilities—and brings it out to schools.

Color My World is a colorful adventure in a variety of media. Students listen to a story, watch color-mixing experiments, discuss the color wheel, and paint two artworks using a variety of ordinary (and extraordinary!) painting tools. We explore and take inspiration for our color-mixing and painting techniques from artworks in the Museum’s collection.

Color My World is offered to mixed-age Special Education classes within Dallas city limits. Programs take place on selected Monday afternoons and may begin at or after 1:00 p.m. If you are interested in requesting a program for your Special Education classroom, please email me.

And then grab a smock, ready your palette, and let’s get to painting!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Creative Arts Center + VSA Texas

Creative Arts Center of Dallas

On Friday, July 12, Amanda Blake and I visited the Creative Arts Center of Dallas (CAC), a non-profit organization located on a two-acre campus near White Rock Lake. The CAC’s mission is to provide a “nurturing environment for people to discover, develop and express their artistic visions” through hands-on classes and workshops. The reason for our visit was to attend a training session hosted by VSA Texas, the state organization on arts and disability. VSA Texas is a member of the international network of VSA, a non-profit affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Based in Austin, VSA Texas works to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts.

The focus of the training session was learning how to create accessible artistic environments, be they classes or workshops, for people of all cognitive and developmental abilities. Amanda and I currently lead monthly art experiences for adults with developmental disabilities through our partnership with the ARC of Dallas. Each class includes a gallery discussion, an interactive component, and an art-making activity in the Art Studio. We hoped that this hands-on training with VSA Texas would increase our skill-set and provide us with new ideas that could be introduced into our Access programs. We were joined by artists who currently lead art classes at CAC, but only teach typically developing students. This training was meant to pave the way for CAC’s new ARTability program, which would provide a variety of art making classes to the Dallas disability community.

CAC3

Oftentimes, people with disabilities have had little to no exposure to art; not as a child in school nor in their group or individual homes as adults. Celia Hughes and April Sullivan–VSA Texas Executive Director and Artworks Director respectively–led our training and explained that designing art-making opportunities for people with disabilities does not involve creating completely new lessons, but rather simplifying concepts and adapting artistic processes so that they are more accessible to a wider variety of developmental levels. “Take nothing for granted,” Hughes said, “break everything down into one step at a time.”

For example, the first step of an art lesson could be discussing paintbrushes: how to choose a brush and how to properly clean and take care of it. Though this concept could seem elementary to typically developing students, it is something that students with disabilities may have never encountered.

Hughes and Sullivan also explained that initial projects, for those just beginning to delve into art classes, should be based on perceivable concepts–something the student can physically see–rather than jumping into creating from imagination right away. This level of artistic freedom could be too much to handle for some beginning students, resulting in frustration.

A good inaugural lesson could be a simple collaged still-life: there is something concrete for the students to reference (a bowl of fruit), basic skills explored (tearing and gluing), and fundamental artistic concepts covered (composition). As a group, we completed all the steps involved in this collaged still-life lesson, all the while discussing the potential obstacles and teachable moments that could occur.

This training was an opportunity for community and museum educators to discuss the multitude of ways we can create accessible art making opportunities and engage people with disabilities. I think it also enabled us to reflect upon the importance of arts institutions bridging this artistic gap and providing access to high quality art education experiences to people of all abilities.

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Meaningful Moments with Mozley

The Dallas Museum of Art offers a wide variety of educational programs, classes and workshops for the diverse set of guests who visit the Museum each day, and I feel lucky to be a part of a great number of these. One of my favorite classes to work with has been the Meaningful Moments group, which is a part of the DMA’s Access Programs for visitors with special needs. Meaningful Moments is a monthly program designed specifically for individuals with early stage dementia and their family members or caregivers. Every month, education staff design an interactive class with conversation time in the galleries, as well as a studio component. Each monthly session focuses on a particular creative theme, ranging from special exhibitions, to artworks from a particular artistic genre or geographic location, to visiting artists. April’s theme centered on the Loren Mozley: Structural Integrity exhibition, on view at the DMA until June 30.

Meaningful Moments group in Loren Mozley.

Meaningful Moments group in Loren Mozley: Structural Integrity

Loren Mozley, though an artist in his own right, played a key role in shaping generations of young Texas artists who received instruction from him during his thirty-seven year tenure in the art department at The University of Texas at Austin. This was a wonderful exhibit to share with the Meaningful Moments group because it centers on a Texas-based artist who was heavily influence by nature–themes which are central to the lives of many participants.

As part of the program, we encourage conversation and the mutual sharing of stories, as this type of socialization and exchange can not only build a stronger relationship to the works of art, but also fortify the bond between the individuals with Alzheimer’s and their spouse or caregiver. With more than 500,000 people over the age of 65 nationwide affected by Early Onset Alzheimer’s, and with no known cure, the DMA and other art institutions are offering creative ways of potentially slowing down the progression of the disease in the early stages. It is hoped that facilitated conversations about art, which encourage focused looking, responding and remembering, will offer joyous moments and strengthen cognitive skills.

In the Loren Mozley program, participants shared stories with one another regarding their vacations to central Texas or New Mexico, drawing connections between their perceptions of the landscape and those that Mozley presented in his artwork.  Additionally, they were eager to learn more about and discuss Mozley’s friendship with Georgia O’Keeffe and his admiration for Paul Cezanne.

Our fruitful gallery discussion was followed by an open-ended studio activity that related back to Loren Mozley’s artistic process. We took advantage of the gorgeous April day and walked over the to Klyde Warren Park to engage in some still life and landscape drawing. Armed with sketch pad and charcoal, couples sat throughout the park and created their own works of art, which they shared with one another.

The Meaningful Moments program has garnered attention as the first program of its kind in Dallas, taking shape a little over five years ago. For this reason, there is a wonderful sense of community and friendship among members, many of whom have attended since the program’s inception. This program is so much more than a monthly outing to an art museum for adults with early stage dementia and their care partners. It’s special, for both staff and visitors, because it is an opportunity for a group of friends to share their collective life experiences and love of art with one another.

Two couples in the Meaningful Moments group

Two couples in the Meaningful Moments group

To become involved in the Meaningful Moments program, or to learn more about the DMA’s Access programming in general, please call 214-922-1251 or e-mail us at our Access programs address.

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Art and Access at the DMA

April is Autism Awareness Month and autism-focused events, fundraisers, walks, and lectures abound all over the country. While most people have likely heard of autism, Autism Awareness Month highlights the growing need for awareness and promotes ways to support and accept people on the autism spectrum. Chances are that you know of someone with autism, since an autism spectrum disorder occurs in about 1 in 88 individuals.

Autism is different for everyone. Symptoms may include mild challenges for those who are high functioning, while others may have more severe symptoms affecting their daily life. Because it’s difficult to predict the behavior of children with autism, parents can feel intimidated bringing their child to an art museum and tend to be more comfortable participating in specifically designed activities alongside other similar families.

The DMA’s Autism Awareness Family Celebrations, which take place throughout the year, provide a safe, comfortable way for children with autism and their families to experience the Museum together. In the Center for Creative Connections, families can participate in gallery experiences, enjoy an interactive musical performance, explore hands-on activities in the courtyard, relax in a quiet sensory room run by occupational therapy students from Texas Women’s University, and create works of art in the C3 Studio – all before the Museum opens to the public.

We work closely with an autism specialist and Autism Speaks to plan programming for Autism Awareness Family Celebrations, taking into account the specific needs of the audience and the innovative tools available in C3. This invaluable partnership results in the creation of customized social stories about visiting the DMA, which are sent to parents in advance of each event so they can talk through the visit with their child at home.

Many parents note that after attending an Autism Awareness Family Celebration, they feel more comfortable with their child in a museum setting. One such mother, Jennifer Linde, had trouble finding opportunities for her family to be creative together and interact alongside other families. Her goal as a mom is to teach her son with autism, Alex, how to be as independent as possible. Jennifer never considered taking her two children to a museum because of Alex’s behavioral issues. After discovering the Autism Awareness Family Celebrations at the Dallas Museum of Art, Jennifer  now feels differently. The events give her family a wonderful opportunity to allow her son to develop his social skills and explore new interests while not worrying about the reactions of other people, something she says is often an issue for their family. The Linde family attends most Autism Awareness Family Celebrations and Alex has participated in our summer art camp for kids with autism for the past two years.

Alex loves to draw and usually draws machines and robots–never figures–in black and white. At the Autism Awareness Family Celebration in April 2011, Alex participated in sketching in the galleries and then went to our courtyard to experience music by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where he saw kids using streamers to move to the music. After the performance, Alex returned to sketching and created another drawing. His mother was overjoyed when she saw what he had drawn: figures all over the paper with streamers–in color! It was a magical morning for the Linde family. Check out photos of Alex below – including his colorful streamer drawing!

We are excited be in our fourth year of offering Autism Awareness Family Celebrations and our third year of offering a summer art camp for kids on the spectrum. Our next event happens this Saturday, April 6, and is themed around music and nature with a special performance by a violin duo from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. We look forward to seeing families connecting with one another and with works of art while having fun together at the DMA!

Amanda Blake
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences


Follow Uncrated via Email

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,606 other subscribers

Archives

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream