Archive for the 'Center for Creative Connections' Category

Getting Interactive: A C3 Internship Recap

My name is Brisa Marie Smith Flores. I was born and raised in Texas, and after spending six years in Pennsylvania for my undergraduate and graduate study, I was beyond excited to move back to Texas and work at the Dallas Museum of Art!
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Working in the Center for Creative Connections (C3) at the DMA has truly been a valuable experience. What makes the C3 Summer Internship unique is the dynamic structure of the program that caters to its interns, as well as my supervisor’s dedication to my education and growth during the summer. As an applicant, I was passionate about applying my personal research on accessibility and inclusion to my summer project. My supervisor was supportive and encouraged me to explore what interests me. With her guidance, I was able to design my own evaluation metrics, install it in C3’s Testing Zone space, interact with visitors, and compile all the data into a report to present at a department-wide meeting at the end of my term.

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My project consisted of three major components. The first was an interactive graph that encouraged visitors to place colorful sticky dots on a grid to denote their age, favorite C3 location, and the amount of times they had visited. The second part was a series of feedback cards that presented two or three questions specific to the things we as a department care about, as well as one open-ended question to allow visitors to share anything they wanted with us. The third component focused on visitor interaction. The process consisted of me spending time in each of our C3 spaces, watching and recording how much time our visitors spent in each specific area, what activities they gravitated toward, and which age groups enjoyed the space most.

My responsibilities were not limited to just facilitating my own project; in fact, during my time working in the Center for Creative Connections, I was able to assist with gallery rotation planning, develop new activities, and train and manage volunteers, as well as prepare and lead group workshops. These were all exciting and useful new experiences that helped enhance my skill set, confidence, and résumé.

Now that my internship is over, I’m packing up and getting ready to move to sunny California! There I will be starting my first year as a PhD student at UCLA. My passions have always been people, culture, and inclusion, and because of that, I’m focusing my future research on ways museums can be more accessible and better support their communities. Having the opportunity to work at the DMA has been invaluable to my understanding of how museums function, adapt, and think about the communities they serve. I am so thankful for this experience and all the amazing friendships I have made!

Brisa Marie Smith Flores is a C3 Summer Intern at the DMA.

 

Breaking Down Barriers

It may or may not surprise you to hear that one in five adults in the United States self-identifies as having a disability. At the DMA, we believe that limitations reside not in individuals, but in systematic barriers to participation, and that accessibility is a shared responsibility across the Museum. Collaboration between departments helps the DMA remove barriers to participation and continually broaden our definition of access.

One of the ways we approach accessibility is through individualized experiences for specific needs. But we also learned from visitors that they’d like the means to explore the Museum and its collection through unstructured, anytime activities and resources.

This month we are pleased to unveil the result of the most recent collaboration between our Education and Design departments: large-print booklets in the Center for Creative Connections Gallery.

When designing for the low-vision community, the proper treatment and application of design elements can significantly enhance readability. Simply enlarging standard-print documents does not result in effective large-print material. The font selection, size, and line spacing are just a few components that must be carefully selected and treated.

Sans serif geometric fonts such as Helvetica, Futura, and Gotham Rounded are ideal for large-print documents. Limiting the number of characters per line, creating a high visual color contrast between the background and text, and aligning to the left are further design decisions that help the low-vision community easily consume printed information.

While visitors with vision impairment were at the forefront of our mind during the design process, these design elements can help remove barriers for visitors with dyslexia and those who are English language learners as well.

We are excited to add these large-print booklets to our repertoire of accessible materials for visitors. Some of our previous projects include visual descriptions and sensory activities at the Pop-Up Art Spot. Creating opportunities and programs for visitors with vision impairments has long been an important facet of the DMA’s program offerings with Art Beyond Sight Awareness month in October and our summer touch tour for DISD students with visual impairments.

While many exciting accessibility projects are underway at the Museum, there is still much work to be done. As we evaluate and test the new large-print label format, we will seek to expand the booklets to other exhibition galleries in the future. We hope the introduction of the large-print label booklets will be a next step in exploring what we can do to better serve our audiences and expand accessibility throughout the Museum.

Emily Wiskera is the Manager of Access Programs and Jaclyn Le is the Exhibitions Graphic Designer at the DMA.

Identity in Clothing and Objects: New Additions to C3

Just in time for summer, the Center for Creative Connections welcomed new works into the gallery. Communication will be the continued theme of the space, but recent additions from the DMA’s collection will bring focus to how clothing, objects, and accessories can communicate a significant narrative about ways subjects can be portrayed.

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Works from our contemporary collection exemplify how objects and clothing can be used to conceal a direct identity. Karel Funk’s hyper-realistic Untitled #21 explores a portrait that was based off people he would see during cramped commutes on a New York City subway. Funk would often notice unique social codes that allow passengers to closely scrutinize each other’s appearances. The lack of identity shown here challenges us to consider how this subject’s persona could quickly change with each visitor’s interpretation.

 

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Karel Funk, Untitled #21, 2006, acrylic on panel, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2010.28, © Karel Funk

To the left of Untitled #21 is one of Félix González-Torres’s most prolific works, Untitled (Perfect Lovers). Two clocks are typically not what come to mind when we think of portraiture, but González-Torres was able to poignantly capture the love between he and his partner, Ross Laycock, who struggled with AIDS until his death in 1991. The piece consists of two store-bought clocks, hung side-by-side and synced to begin at the same time. Over time, the clocks naturally fall out of sync, representing the mourning of a loved one who gradually slips away from you.

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Félix González-Torres, Untitled (Perfect Lovers), 1987-90, wall clocks, Dallas Museum of Art, fractional gift of The Rachofsky Collection, 2001.342.a-b, © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York

We made sure to broaden the works to encompass a more global perspective from across the collection. This helps visitors understand that for centuries art and objects from across cultures have been used to convey a ceremonial practice, style of dress, or social status. A double-breasted gown (called a jama) and jewelry made of pearls and precious gems, seen in two small watercolor works on paper from the Mughal dynasty in India in the 17th century, draw attention to the figures’ wealth and social status as nobles in the community.

One of my personal favorite additions to the gallery are cases encompassing two personal objects belonging to DMA staff members. We had an open call to DMA staff to submit a wearable item that expressed something unique about them. Brian MacElhose, Collections Database Analyst, retired his worn-down skate shoes to express his passion for skateboarding. Carrie Schimpff, Executive Assistant to the Director of Development, chose her stunning horse-riding jacket, which was handcrafted and designed by her mother to symbolize the countless hours they spent (from ages 7 to 18) bonding while driving cross country to horse shows. Next to these cases, we are inviting visitors to draw and describe their own personal clothing and accessories that convey something important about them to display among the works.

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Visitors viewing Carrie Schimpff’s horse riding jacket in the C3 gallery

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Visitors can leave their own reflections on how personal objects convey something meaningful about them.

Be sure to venture through the Center for Creative Connections on your next visit to view these works and discover how you can see art in a new way.

Kerry Butcher is the Center for Creative Connections Education Coordinator at the DMA.

Take a Spin on the Color Wheel!

Red, orange, blue, and green, how many colors can you see? It won’t be too hard to find every color of the rainbow in the newly updated Young Learners Gallery! This much-loved spot in the Museum is a favorite with the 5–8 year old crowd, and we’re excited to unveil a fresh, colorful space for our younger visitors.

For the past two years, this interactive space has focused on exploring the concept of LINE. Now we’re all about COLOR. Just like line, color is a building block of the visual arts and one of the first elements of art that young children notice.

 

 

In the revamped gallery, you can explore the ways colors play off one another by creating colorful structures with blocks . . .

Make patterns with our “unplugged” version of a Lite Brite . . .

Design a wacky picture using window clings on the mirror . . .

Read a book or two about color . . .

And learn a little color theory while you play!

We’ve planned for dynamic changes throughout the year, so every few months a new activity will debut in the space. Coming soon—a matching game to test your nose and imagine what smell a color could have, and a light table where you can mix colors the same way artists do.

We hope you’ll drop by for a spin!

Leah Hanson is the Director of Family, Youth, and School Programs at the DMA.

Visions of Home: An Interview with Artist Ellie Ivanova

This summer, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) is thrilled to have C3 Visiting Artist Ellie Ivanova here to design interactive in-gallery activities in which visitors contribute their visions of home. These perspectives then become part of a larger print created independently by the artist at her studio before finally being installed back in C3. Get to know more about Ellie and her project below, and stop by the Center for Creative Connections to contribute your own drawing to the project.

Ellie portrait

Tell us about yourself.
I am an artist who uses photography, but goes beyond the print. I have lived in several countries (Bulgaria, Latin America, the United States, and Italy) and am grateful for all the people I have met in all the places where I have lived who have shaped my experience.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
As a researcher pursuing a PhD in Art Education, my special interest is in public pedagogy, which is everything we learn from each other in informal ways outside of a classroom environment and everything we do when sharing experiences through art. Having changed homes myself many times, and living in between two homes right now, I found an affinity with people who are longing for a lost home or dreaming for one. I wanted to see what would happen when all our different ideas of home come together, and what better place to experiment with this than Dallas Museum of Art!

Tell us about the installation you’ve created in the Center for Creative Connections.
It is a participatory print, in which many different small drawings of homes—lost, dreamt, and found—are contributed by visitors on squares of transparency. Using these as photographic negatives, I put together these drawings to print a “neighborhood” of the collected homes on photo-sensitized fabric. I’m using the cyanotype process, an old photo process that has been used through the decades for scientific and architectural imaging along with creative art making. Even though a home is something personal, a place that separates us from the rest of the world, with this project we see how different or similar our ideas of home look like when they are brought together.

 

 

Ellie c3 project

C3 Visiting Artist Project Space

Do you have any favorite visitor contributions you’d like to share?
The simplest drawings have been most delightful! Of course, I enjoy the elaborate, detailed homes done by other artists or others who are invested in the process. But when we have to draw simply, the bare bones of thought show through. I enjoy seeing how our basic image of what a home is can translate into being something so creative.

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Kerry Butcher is the Center for Creative Connections Education Coordinator at the DMA.

The Power of Pop-Up Art Spot

Since the debut of the Pop-Up Art Spot in 2013, this roaming activity cart has become a favorite stop for visitors of all ages. In a continued effort to make immersive activities that are inspired by nearby works of art, the Center for Creative Connections team has introduced a brand new Pop-Up Art Spot cart designed around special exhibitions. Our first focus is The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, which features over 250 objects revealing the splendor of Asante regalia from the 19th to 21st centuries.

The Power of Gold Pop-Up Art Spot will rotate monthly between two carts of activities until the exhibition closes on August 12, 2018. At the April Late Night, visitors learned about proverbs connected to selected goldweights in the exhibition by playing a match game and making drawings.

In May the cart will focus on textiles. Visitors will observe the detailed patterns in kente cloth and use silk thread to create their own weaving. They can also explore the symbols in adinkra cloth and create a rubbing using various adinkra stamps.

Come try these activities, and more,  in the Power of Gold exhibition on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and on selected Late Nights from 8:00 to 10:30 p.m. A special exhibition ticket is required.

Kerry Butcher is the Education Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

Artist Interview: Timothy Harding

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Last month, our first C3 Visiting Artist of 2018, Timothy Harding, began his participatory installation in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). We’ve enjoyed watching the project grow as Harding adds new contributions to the installation biweekly. Learn more about the artist, his process, and his experiences at the DMA.

Tell us about yourself. (In 50 words or less)
I’m an artist based in Fort Worth, a die-hard Dallas Stars fan, and proud owner of a cat named Clyde. When not cheering on my team, I work in my studio and teach at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
Recently my practice has been confined to the studio with no outside collaboration. I was interested in coming up with a project that would allow me to collaborate with others and open the opportunity to explore methods that I have not previously used. This is the first project I’ve done that is almost entirely digital in execution and produced with people who I never directly interact with. I’m excited to see how this might impact my practice moving forward.

 

Tell us about the installation you’ve created in the Center for Creative Connections.
The installation is a site-specific line drawing made up of hundreds of individual marks. This ongoing work is produced from scribbles and gestures left by Museum visitors on an iPad. Visitors leave their mark in a program and send it to me over the creative cloud. From there I make a couple of slight alterations to the file and cut them out via laser cutter in varieties of gray, black, and white paper. After cutting, I visit the Museum and add to the installation. The marks are layered in a manner that allows each to be noticeable while working together to produce an intricate whole.

 

Do you have any favorite visitor contributions you’d like to share?
I can’t say I have any specific favorite marks that have been sent yet. What I have found most interesting about this project is the number of unique marks I receive on a daily basis. Earlier projects have used my own scribbles, which are very familiar to me. It’s refreshing to find new marks and think about the decision making of that viewer without knowing who they are or anything about them.

What have you enjoyed most about this experience so far?
I’ve enjoyed interacting with Museum-goers. I had the opportunity to give a presentation to an engaged group of people about my work and this project. That was a very rewarding experience. Other interactions have been more casual and occur during installation. People of various ages, from children to adults, seem curious about the project and what is happening. It has been fun to have casual conversations with them and solicit their contributions.

C3 Visiting Artist Timothy Harding will lead a Teen Tour and a Teen Homeschool Workshop in April. Learn more about upcoming Teen Programs here.

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


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