Archive for the 'Community Connection' Category

Break Bread, Break Borders: A Recipe and Reflection

We reached out to Break Bread, Break Borders, one of our community partners for the My|gration exhibition, and invited them to share a favorite recipe from their kitchen, as well as provide some background on their organization. Follow these steps to learn how to make a Syrian-style chicken kabsa dish, and find out more about this local nonprofit that “caters with a cause” in their message below.

Chicken Kabsa: Syrian Style (feeds 4 people)

Syrian Style Chicken Kabsa

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups basmati rice
  2. 1 whole chicken cut into pieces or 4 thighs
  3. 1 medium size onion
  4. 5 pieces of minced garlic
  5. 1 green pepper
  6. 2 green chili peppers
  7. 1 cup grated carrots
  8. 1 cup tomato sauce
  9. Handful of raisins (can skip)
  10. Nuts (almonds) for decoration (can skip)

Spices and herbs:

  1. Salt
  2. Black pepper
  3. Juice of 1 lime
  4. 2 cinnamon sticks
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 3 cloves
  7. 5 cardamom pods
  8. 1 teaspoon of “7 Spices” mix
  9. 1 teaspoon kabsa spice mix
  10. 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
  11. Parsley for garnish (optional)
BBBB Community Cooks Khuloud Sultan (image left), and Rania Alahmad (image right)

Preparation:

  1. Chop onions and pepper finely
  2. Add oil in pot
  3. Add onions first; when it turns a bit brown, add garlic
  4. Add the rest of the veggies and mix
  5. Add tomato sauce
  6. Add salt and all spices
  7. Lower heat and let it cook for about 5 minutes
  8. Add washed chicken pieces to the mix
  9. Mix for a little bit and then add water until chicken is covered
  10. Let it cook and boil until chicken is fully cooked
  11. Wash rice very well
  12. Put rice in a pot; add the chicken stock to the rice (for every cup of rice, add a cup and a half of the chicken stock)
  13. Let it boil and then lower heat under it
  14. Add some raisins to the rice 7-10 min before it’s fully cooked
  15. Don’t mix the raisins, only cover the rice and let it cook
  16. Bake chicken in the oven at 275 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
  17. Roast nuts in pan until golden brown
  18. Before serving the rice, mix it lightly with a bit of ghee
  19. Serve rice in serving tray and add the chicken, nuts and minced parsley on top
  20. Enjoy!

BBBB Community Cook Rania Alahmad, serving her father’s recipe of Chicken Kabsa

June was first declared World Refugee Awareness Month in 2001. Since then, June has been a time to acknowledge the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees who live around the globe. By definition, a refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion,” according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters. These are the heroic journeys that inspired the show My|gration at the DMA, and our organization, Break Bread, Break Borders, is honored to be a participant in this community project.

Based in Dallas, Texas, Break Bread, Break Borders (BBBB) is a “catering with a cause” social enterprise, economically empowering women from war-torn countries by teaching them how to earn a living by honing their cooking and entrepreneurial skills. Professional chefs, restaurants, caterers, and culinary consultants mentor refugee women apprentices, who earn food service industry licenses and certifications. BBBB’s women also learn to share their powerful stories with diners, creating a unique cultural exchange.

Jin-Ya Huang founded Break Bread, Break Borders in 2017 to honor the legacy of her late mother—chef, restaurateur, and community leader Margaret Huang. Through food, culture, and powerful storytelling, we break bread with the community, breaking down borders at the same time.

BBBB has served more than 10,000 people, catering events for clients including the City of Dallas, Texas Women’s Foundation, George W. Bush Institute, Texas Lyceum, Toyota of North America, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Social Venture Partners-Dallas, and many more. We have been named among Dallas’s Top 50 Most Innovative Social Enterprises by Dallas Innovates. BBBB is part of a cohort of social enterprises at The Hunt Institute at Southern Methodist University. Airbnb International has featured BBBB as a social impact experience partner. Our founder Jin-Ya Huang was selected as a 2019 Food Leader of the Year by Slow Food USA. In 2020 Huang was selected for the prestigious Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, allowing her the chance to work with former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton on community projects to create lasting social change.

Standing on the side of freedom, Break Bread, Break Borders proudly educates on the ideas of equity, anti-racism, and eradication of xenophobia. One bite at a time, we will continue to share the taste of hope, compassion, and transformation to the world. Enclosed here is a recipe from one of our BBBB Community Cooks, Rania Alahmad. Please enjoy her Chicken Kabsa Syrian Style with your families, neighbors, and loved ones. Happy cooking, y’all!

Jin-Ya Huang is the founder of Break Bread, Break Borders, a social enterprise developing a culinary training program to help refugee women from war-torn countries find food service job opportunities by sharing their storytelling through food and culture. She is a member of Orchid Giving Circle and a fellow of the 2020/21 Presidential Leadership Scholars Program.

Pride of Place: Dallas Artists Respond

It’s always fascinating to see which objects in the DMA’s collection artists are drawn to because it can be a window into what is on their mind and how they think about their own work. For the last three years, the DMA has partnered with the local arts nonprofit Arttitude to celebrate the work of LGBTQ+ visual and performing artists in Dallas through programs like State of the Arts and our annual Pride Block Party. Since we are unable to tour the galleries with local artists for Pride Month this year, we reached out to two artists who exhibited in Arttitude’s recent MariconX show and invited them to find and respond to an object in the DMA’s collection that resonates with their own work. Here is what they had to say: 

Armando Sebastián is a Dallas-based painter whose work draws on Mexican folk art and his own life experiences to explore themes of gender and identity. Sebastián describes his style as akin to magical realism, and he is particularly interested in referencing the traditional Mexican folk art genre of ex voto paintings depicting divine interventions into human misfortunes.

Here are a few recent paintings from Armando Sebastián. You can see more of his work on his website and on Instagram

Images: Armando Sebastián, Los Amados / Live in Harmony, 2020; I know who I am, 2020; The Dreamers, 2019

Sebastián chose the 18th-century painting Christ as Savior of the World (Salvator Mundi), reflecting:

Unknown artist, Christ as Savior of the World (Salvator Mundi), late 18th century, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Cleofas and Celia de la Garza Collection, gift of Mary de la Garza-Hanna and Virginia de la Garza and an anonymous donor, 1994.37.1

“The angels above are conspiring to the master plan on earth. The trinity holds flaming hearts, perhaps the interpretation of humankind. On the ground you see the depiction of evil, a beast eating a fruit. The ladder to the heavens is full of obstacles that makes it impossible for anyone to climb. I personally appreciate narrative in art, the possibility to convey complex ideas and hidden meanings through your work.” 

Olivia Peregrino is a Dallas-based photographer working in portraiture and documentary photography. She began her career as a photojournalist, and her work has expanded to include uplifting portraits of women and Latinx LGBTQ+ communities, event photography, and documentary filmmaking.

Here are a few recent photographs by Olivia Peregrino. To see more of her work, follow her on Instagram or visit her website.

This slideshow contains nudity.

Images: Olivia Peregrino, Omar, El Salvador, LGBT Immigrant, ongoing project, 2020; Rafael, Colombia, LGBT Immigrant, ongoing project, 2020; Wandel, Dominican Republic, LGBT Immigrant, ongoing project, 2020; Melissa, Natural Bodies, 2018

Olivia chose Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1981 photograph Ajitto, saying the following:

Robert Mapplethorpe, Ajitto, 1981, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, © The Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe. Used with permission, 1981.99

“Robert Mapplethorpe is one of my favorite artists for the beauty of his portraits and his mastery of light and composition. Ajitto’s portrait perfectly reflects Mapplethorpe’s recurring obsessions in his photographs. The representation of the human body through the female and male nude is a theme that I, as an artist, also seek to show in my portraits, but from a feminine and contemporary perspective.”

Home Poem

As Manager of Off-Site School Programs at the DMA, my job is to develop programming that brings the Museum into the classroom. This includes our long-standing Go van Gogh programs and our Middle School Outreach Pilot, a multi-session partnership program with L.V. Stockard Middle School and W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy.

Drawing inspiration from the DMA’s exhibition For a Dreamer of Houses, earlier this year students in our Middle School Outreach Pilot were asked to explore the concept of home through poetry, which they would later interpret through sculpture. While recent circumstances prevented students from completing their sculptures, their writing—which describes the spaces, people, feelings, sounds, tastes, and dreams that constitute home—gives us a collection of stories that tell us all we need to know.

Below, I’ve compiled lines written by students into one collaborative poem that tells a complex, expansive, conflicting, beautiful, honest, and hopeful account of what home means to youth in Dallas. I’ve paired their writing with images of works of art completed by students who participated in our Go van Gogh program A City of My Own, which is rooted in similar themes. Here, students were prompted to create cityscapes representative of their definition of Dallas—the landmarks, buildings, and places that make it their own.

During this time, when home can feel like a place we have to be, these students’ writing and works of art remind me of the beauty in all that something like home is and can be.

A student participates in Go van Gogh’s program “A City of My Own”

Home is when I’m with the people I love
Home is a place I feel loved
Home is where I feel safe
Home is when I’m with my family
Home is somewhere filled with laughter
Home is where I can be accepted and be myself 
Home is the memory of friends, family, and vecinas jugando loteria los domingos 
Home is the feeling you get when you eat raspas on a hot summer day 
Home is the sound of the Spanish language everywhere 
Home is hearing the radio play norteñas 
Home is the color of happiness, calm like gray 

Home wouldn’t be the same without Saturday cleaning and loud music 
Home wouldn’t be the same without hearing dogs barking in the middle of the night 
Home wouldn’t feel the same without my grandma and my grandpa 
Home wouldn’t be the same without my mom 

Home feels like el canto de los pájaros 
Home feels like warmth 
Home feels like love 

Home sounds like thirty kids talking all at once 
Home sounds like my mom singing everyday 
Home sounds like a bunch of laughter when my tios, tias, and cousins come over 
Home sounds like musica mexicana every morning 
Home sounds like people always being up at two in the morning looking for something to eat
 
Home tastes like comida recien hecha 
Home tastes like frijoles, caldo, and maruchan, and sometimes my mom attempting to be a baker 
Home tastes like eggs and bacon and pan dulce 
Home tastes like sopes, flautas, tacos, macheteadas 
Home tastes like carne asada every saturday 
Home tastes like tamales, barbacoa, birria, menudo, and donuts on sundays 
Home tastes like enchiladas todos los sabados, y un restaurante los domingos 

On the outside, home is a house made out of peach bricks and two strong trees 
On the outside, home is amigas y vecinas jugando and chismeando 
On the outside, people say that it is just a building 
But on the inside, it feels very special to you 
On the inside of home, I feel protected from anything 

I dream of a home with my parents and sibling always by my side 
I dream of a home that is big and can fit my whole family 
I dream of a two-story home, brand new, and never broken 
I dream of a home that is loud, warm, and funny 
I dream of a home that is my own 
I dream of a home that will never change

Bernardo Velez Rico is the Manager of Off-Site School Programs at the DMA.

Art Runs in the Family

Creativity is all around us in Dallas, and we love highlighting and honoring our local creative community at the Museum. This year, we have the special opportunity to celebrate the work of two relatives: Willard “The Texas Kid” Watson, whose drawings are in For a Dreamer of Houses, and his nephew Stephen McGee, whose painting is featured in We Are ARTISTS: The Stewpot Art Program.   

Willard Watson, affectionately known as “The Texas Kid,” was raised in Dallas and wore many hats—literally and figuratively—over his lifetime. He served as a solider in the South Pacific  in World War II, and was also a tailor, a cook, a carpenter, an upholsterer, a shade-tree mechanic, a handyman, and an actor. Around town, he was best known for his creative homemade outfits, customized cars, and front yard sculpture garden.

Willard “The Texas Kid” Watson’s customized car
Photograph of Willard “The Texas Kid” Watson seated outside of his home and posing in front of the sculptures placed in his yard for his portrait. Creator: Unknown, 1993–01. This photograph is part of the collection entitled The Black Academy of Arts and Letters Records and was provided by UNT Libraries Special Collections.

His artworks often included found objects and everyday materials. Using colored markers, pencil, and paper, Watson created a series of Life Cycle drawings that showed scenes from his home and family life and were narrated with vivid captions. Thinking back on his childhood in Dallas, he wrote:

My middle sister, Mable, had taken sick and I to go down to Elm Street to Otis drug store to pick up some medicine, But first I had to get some money from Daddy, who worked at S&S grocery store. I had to walk a mile down Central tracks and a mile back. And when I got Back my mother was drinking Buttermilk, I will never forget it. Tears were in her eyes, and it made me feel very Bad. She was depressed. She Loved her children so much that when one got sick she’d show it By tears. She say she Be praying But she always had tears. I kind cheered her up. The other Children were out Playing.

Willard Watson, “The Texas Kid,” born 1921 in Caddo Parish, LA; died 1995 in Dallas, TX; Untitled, 1985. Colored marker and pencil. Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Friends of Willard Watson, 1985.181.8

Watson shared his love of art with his nephew Stephen McGee. McGee relished working in acrylic paint, pastels, colored pencils, and charcoal mediums. He particularly enjoyed portraiture, and he completed art projects for the nonprofit organization CitySquare that involved creating drawings of former talk show host Jay Leno, Lyle Lovett, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, and Dallas Cowboy Tyron Smith. McGee had loved art since he was a small child, and next to his love for God, art was his life.

Stephen McGee working on a portrait of Robert Johnson
Retrieved April 10, 2020, from FPCDallas
Fast Cheetah by Stephen McGee

McGee became a member of the Stewpot Art Program community in 2010. The Stewpot offers a safe haven for people experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness in Dallas, and the Art Program provides class time and art supplies for individuals looking to express themselves creatively, grow as artists, and support themselves through the sale of their work. You can learn more about The Stewpot and how to support their work here.

The Art Program helped McGee take his artistic practice to a higher level, form lasting friendships, and make his life more positive. McGee passed away on August 8, 2019, leaving a host of family and friends who love and remember Stephen “The Artist” McGee for his tremendous resilience, kindness, and creativity.

How are you spending time with loved ones right now? How are Willard’s scenes similar or different from your home life? Have you ever shared a special legacy with an important person in your life or passed down something you care about to a younger generation? These artworks make us think of home, family, and the ways that we can support one another during these uncertain times. 

We hope the artwork and life stories of Willard Watson and Stephen McGee inspire you to create, share joy with your loved ones, and continue to explore our city’s rich creative communities in For a Dreamer of Houses and We Are ARTISTS: The Stewpot Art Program.

Stephen McGee with his Stewpot Art Program class on a visit to the DMA. Stephen is third from the right in the white shirt.

Mary Ann Bonet is the Director of Community Engagement and Lindsay O’Connor is the Manager of School Programs at the DMA.

Building Community Through Art

Growing up in a Puerto Rican-Panamanian household in Austin, the arts were one of the primary ways that my sister and I learned about our family’s cultural heritage. Our bedtime stories were folktales, vejigante masks and molas—not unlike the one currently on view in the Center for Creative Connections—hung on the walls, and in the evenings, Papi would teach us merengue while Mami would fry tostones

After my interview at the DMA last summer, I spent time in the Arts of the Americas Galleries, where I stumbled upon a case of golden pendants from Panamá. Despite being miles away from family, it felt like a piece of my mother and the generations that came before her were with me. It felt like a glittering sign that said, I see you, and you belong here

During national Welcoming Week, an annual event where communities “bring together immigrants and those born within their countries in a spirit of unity,” the DMA is proud to reaffirm our commitment to making the Museum a place where everyone feels valued and welcomed. 

Indeed, a core tenet of the DMA’s mission is placing art and diverse communities at the center from which everything radiates. Yet what does that look like in practice? Here are some of the ways: 

  • By recognizing that while museums are spaces of learning and engagement, they are also rooted in colonial structures and are complicated spaces. The Museum’s cross-departmental committee focusing on linguistic and cultural equity is grappling with this tension in earnest. How do we reckon with our institution’s past? What contributes to a sense of belonging? What kinds of internal and external transformations need to occur? What does that mean for our spaces, staff, programming, and exhibitions?
  • By inviting community members and leaders to help shape the 2020 My/gration C3 exhibition, which highlights the contributions of artists who immigrated to the United States, examines how the movement of people is expressed through art, and illuminates ways cross-cultural connections inform artistic production.
  • By introducing Estampas de la Memoria, a Go van Gogh® program designed by Teaching Specialist Bernardo Velez Rico and former C3 Visiting Artist Karla García to activate Spanish-speaking elementary students’ voices and experiences through collaborative story writing, theater, and art making inspired by retablos. Learn more about the program’s teaching approach, which reflects a desire to uplift and center the knowledge of immigrant communities.
Teaching Specialist Bernardo Velez Rico facilitates a Go van Gogh® program.
Heart House youth engage in an art-making activity during an after-school program.
  • By highlighting the creative bridging of cultures through programs like author Sri Rao’s September 20 Late Night talk about his book Bollywood Kitchen, a reflection on food, film, and his experience as a second generation Indian American.
A Dallas Public Library adult English language learning class explores the galleries.

As a museum of Dallas, we strive to celebrate and reflect the diversity of our city. As of 2017, approximately 611,400 of Dallas’s 2.5 million residents were immigrants. Until 2017 Dallas was a major resettlement location, with close to 2,500 refugees arriving annually. 

With an art collection that spans time and the globe, the Museum provides windows into other worlds and perspectives, which can promote connection, empathy, and cross-cultural understanding. But perhaps art is most powerful when it functions as a mirror, reflecting our own experiences back to us, saying I see you, and you belong here. On behalf of my colleagues, I extend to you all a warm invitation and welcome, and I hope to see you soon.

Mary Ann Bonet is the Director of Community Engagement at the DMA.

Make!

Pancakes, music, Lego towers, clothing, art . . . what do all these things have in common? They are things you can MAKE! Whether you sew, bake, build, invent, tinker, or play, it’s hard to deny the thrill that comes when you can exclaim, “I made that!” Here at the DMA, we whole-heartedly believe in the beauty of creativity, from the visions of the artists whose works fill our galleries to the imagination of the visitors who make the museum come to life. So why not throw a party to make merry over the joy of creativity?

On Sunday, April 7th, we’ll be celebrating the power and delight of making in all its many forms at our FREE Family Festival: MAKE! with an exciting lineup of activities for the entire family. Drop in throughout the day to:

  • Climb inside the Artscream Truck’s mobile art gallery
  • Enjoy a performance by the L.V. Stockard Middle School Mariachi Pantera de Oro
  • Meet award-winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales
  • Giggle and wiggle as ventriloquist Nancy Worcester performs with her furry friends Waco the Weasel and Larry the Crocodile
  • Watch artist Natalia Padilla transform the ABCs into extraordinary animal art
  • Work with your family and friends to create a community art piece
  • And so much more!

Activities are offered in both English and Spanish. Ver el calendario completo en español.

We hope you’ll make it a date and come celebrate with us!

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

The Texas Kid and “True Stories”

One hour into David Byrne’s 1986 movie True Stories, John Goodman’s character, Louis Fyne, parks his car in front of the eccentric house of a voodoo practitioner. A sign reading “Invisible Hospital of Saint John the Baptist” is barely visible in the nighttime. That sign was hiding another sign that read “The Texas Kid.” The actual owner of the house with a fantastically decorated yard was Willard “The Texas Kid” Watson.

Filming the “Dinero” music video at The Texas Kid’s house in 1984. Top row, left to right: Charlene Dawkins, Lee Gonzalez, George Reiff, Dick Ross, Willard Watson, Kris Cummings, David Byrne, Joe “King” Carrasco. Seated on bottom row, left to right: Adelle Lutz, Georganne Deen. © Christina Patoski

Willard Watson, a.k.a. The Texas Kid, was a folk artist born in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, and raised in Dallas, Texas. He was a local celebrity, recognized for his customized cars, flashy outfits that he sewed himself, and the sculpture garden outside his home near Love Field Airport. Fourteen of his drawings are in the DMA’s collection. The first drawings were acquired just three months after the movie was filmed.

As Watson recalled in his autobiography, “That year, 1985, David Byrne, who had a famous band called Talking Heads, came by the house and asked if he could film part of his movie TRUE STORIES at my house.”

Christina Patoski, a journalist and photographer from Fort Worth, served as a special consultant for the movie. David Byrne called her in 1984, after a mutual friend recommended Patoski to be a point of contact in Texas, and said he was working on a film. In the summer of 1984, Byrne, Patoski, and some friends drove around for three days scouting locations in Dallas and surrounding counties that Byrne imagined as settings for the fictional town of Virgil, Texas. Patoski took photographs during the initial trip and throughout the filming of the movie.

Patoski suggested that Byrne come back in the fall during the State Fair. He returned in October and brought Jonathan Demme, the director of Stop Making Sense. At that time, Patoski was directing a music video for Joe “King” Carrasco staged in the The Kid’s yard. They visited her there and met Watson and saw his incredible yard and home. Byrne decided to use it as a location in True Stories. Demme purchased some of Watson’s drawings and later cast him in his feature film Something Wild.

Byrne and crew came back in August of 1985 and started filming in early September. Patoski says it was an intense six-week shoot. Watson recalled:

“Elnora and I said yes, but we had to give up the use of our home for almost two weeks. They would work all day and often until two or three in the morning. The crew was all over the place. . . . At night, the cast and crew liked to party at nightclubs, particularly Shannon’s club, Tango. . . . I even went to their wrap party at Sons of Herman[n Hall.]”

Watson in the “voodoo room,” built in the dining room of his house in 1985. © Andy Reisberg

While Watson himself doesn’t appear in the movie, his wife, Elnora, and one of their grandsons had roles as the wife and son of the shaman, played by Pops Staples. Patoski says they built the “voodoo room” for the movie, but the rest of the house, filled inside and out with Watson’s art, hardly had to be changed.

While True Stories was filming, a solo exhibition of Watson’s art was on view at the Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake. It was there that a curator from the DMA saw his Life Cycle drawings, and after showing them to the director of the DMA plans were made to acquire them. “I was really really proud for my work to be acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art,” wrote Watson.

Click images to expand.

Lillian Michel is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the DMA.

LGBTQ+ Equity in the Arts

On November 29 we are partnering with KERA’s Art & Seek for a night of performances and conversation with local arts leaders Erica Fellicella, Olivia Grace Murphy, and Jerome Larez (see their full bios here). The topic: how equitable and inclusive is the Dallas arts landscape for LGBTQ+ communities?

The night will kick off with each panelist sharing a selection of past work and then Art & Seek‘s Senior Arts Reporter-Producer Jerome Weeks will moderate a conversation. After the program, stick around for a meet and greet with the panelists to keep the conversation going.

I reached out to each panelist with a few questions about their lives, work, and what we can expect on November 29. Here’s what they had to say:

Erica Felicella, artist, consultant, organizer 

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home what would it be?

1982_21_o4

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1981, Chromogenic color print, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, 1982.21, © Cindy Sherman, courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York

Any advice for young artists out there?
It may be hard but don’t let that stop you.

What is something you are looking forward to?
The advancement of and changes in the art scene in the Dallas community.

You’ve lived in Dallas for about 20 years—how has the city changed in your perspective?
Growth across the board.

What are some words that you live by?
If you are not scared then you are not doing it right.

What is the last thing you Googled?
Performance art.

Is there a medium that you are interested in trying?
A bigger dive into New Media-based works with stronger technology components.

How do you recommend getting started with advocacy work?
Show up, listen, and go.

What is your hope for the LGBTQ+ communities of Dallas?
More opportunity given to shine and growth as a community.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what you will present at State of the Arts?
Think a community speaking through the voice of one.

Olivia Grace Murphy, Flexible Grey Theatre Company

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home what would it be?

dorothea-tanning

Dorothea Margaret Tanning, Jeux d’Enfants, 1942, lent by private collection

What is something you have to do before each show?
As an artist, I put a lot of importance on collaboration. I have to talk to and check in with every actor I share the stage with that night, whether it’s one other person or 100 other people.

What is something you are looking forward to?
Artistically, I am looking forward to announcing our next season for Flexible Grey Theatre Company. Personally, I am looking forward to the holidays because I make (in my humble opinion) the absolute greatest pumpkin pie.

Last play you read?
CHURCH by Young Jean Lee

What do you find most challenging or rewarding about theater as an artistic medium?
The most rewarding part is getting together with a group of fellow artists who you adore and trust completely to create something wonderful. I just recently had a profound experience working on STRAIGHT at Uptown Players. The people involved and the environment were so filled with trust and love. It was an unforgettable experience as an artist.

What are some words that you live by?
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” –Oscar Wilde

What is the last thing you Googled?
“Cute snake pictures.”

How do you recommend getting started with advocacy work?
Find something you’re passionate about. Find work that needs to be done that speaks to you. And then don’t lose that spark.

What is your hope for the LGBTQ+ communities of Dallas?
I want to continue to normalize queer culture, queer art, queer people, and make our community part of the fabric of why Dallas is so great. Acceptance and visibility are key, and I feel like we’re making great strides.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what you will present at State of the Arts?
One of my passion projects with Flexible Grey Theatre Company has been the continued work on our original piece, BRIDGES: LGBTQ+ THEN & NOW, in which interviews from the older LGBTQ+ generation are told by queer millennial performers. The audience on November 29 will have a sneak peek of this show performed by some of my favorite actors in DFW.

Jerome Larez, Co-Founder and Board Chair, Arttitude

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home what would it be?

1997_137_o4

Terry Falke, Remnant of the Original Route 66, Arizona, 1995, Fujiflex print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Afterimage Gallery, 1997.137, © Terry Falke

What drives new projects for you?
I hope to bring people together to share a profound experience and instill pride, belonging, interaction, and human connection.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love interacting with the students and watching them develop their art-making process.

What is something you are looking forward to?
I look forward to meeting new artists and listening to their artistic processes. I especially look forward to knowing their personal stories and why they make art.

What are some words that you live by?
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

What is the last thing you Googled?
The Raising of Lazarus by Duccio

How do you recommend getting started with advocacy work?
Find a cause whose mission aligns with your beliefs and join. The biggest hurdle is getting involved.

What is your hope for the LGBTQ+ communities of Dallas?
My hope for the LGBTQIA community of Dallas is to build greater solidarity in our voices. Too many of us are fighting the battle for equality with little support. I want to see organizations and individuals of multiple backgrounds working together.

What, if anything, is missing from the arts in Dallas?
For the most part, diversity, access, and inclusivity are missing. Dallas has many creative people and art should not be an afterthought because it is who we are. Art has an extraordinary power to transform attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions, especially when art is in places that are accessible to everyone.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what you will present at State of the Arts?
We will have a Day of the Dead fashion show with artwork that we presented in past shows from our MariconX program.

Jessie Carillo is Manager of Adult Programs at the DMA.

Get to Know C3 Visiting Artist Lauren Cross

The Center for Creative Connections (C3) is thrilled to host Lauren Cross as our final artist in the 2018 Visiting Artist Project. Through her practice, Cross brings her passion and knowledge for engaging communities across the DFW Metroplex to the DMA. Her project created for C3 is no different: Assembly invites visitors to independently contribute drawings of useful and meaningful objects in their lives on 4 x 4-inch cardboard squares. Every few weeks, a selection of drawings will be installed with the goal of creating a collaborative quilt. Read this interview with the artist to learn more about her project—and stop by C3 to contribute your own drawing for the quilt!

Lauren Portrait

Tell us about yourself.
I am an artist, curator, and scholar; I am a wife, and also a mother to a beautiful, vibrant 15 month old. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and also spent a lot of time in both North Texas and East Texas as a child, visiting my uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. Like many artists, I find that my work is both visually and contextually autobiographical.

Growing up within African American families with a strong impulse for oral history and cultural tradition had an important impact on my thinking as an artist. As a result, my pull within art history and cultural discourses has often looked intently at narratives that vividly describe my personal history and influences. I am the descendant of African American quilters, carpenters, builders, creatives, and culture bearers whose legacies are often reclaimed in my work.

Tell us a little about past projects that led you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project.
I have always been a teaching artist who has engaged community within my work. One of my first projects after graduating was to design an arts curriculum for a local church in Dallas. Most recently, I helped develop community art projects for my nonprofit organization, WoCA Projects. This involved a partnership with ACT United, which created a photography education and exhibition project called My Fort Worth and a commission from the City of Fort Worth that collected over 2,000 visitor responses across the city about public art.

In applying for the C3 Visiting Artist Project, I saw an opportunity to connect my interest in community with my interdisciplinary studio practice using brown paper bags, digital imaging, and installation. With that, I thought of my Everyday Use installation projects, which I felt connected well with the DMA’s permanent collection. I felt that those works in particular gave me an aesthetic and material language that would allow me to create a project that could speak to DMA visitors.

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Tell us about the installation you’ve created in the Center for Creative Connections.
The installation I created, called Assembly, is a project that allows me to speak to my practice, which has often referenced the cultural narratives surrounding both brown paper bags and quilts and their relationship to African American culture. I thought a lot about C3’s emphasis on objects as they relate to identity as inspiration. It seemed like a great opportunity for me to address the objects that I use and reference in my work and the narratives about identity that are connected to them: skin color, hierarchy, cultural heritage, and history. I was happy to have the opportunity to probe visitors to think about everyday objects that mean something to them in hopes that there could be wider conversations about the things that have meaning in our lives.

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Do you have any favorite visitor contributions you’d like to share?

visitor contributions

What have you enjoyed most about this experience so far?

I have enjoyed seeing the sheer volume of thoughtful responses from visitors to the project. It has been empowering to pose a question and to get such great feedback. As an educator, it’s like teaching a subject that your students get excited about. I have also enjoyed having the opportunity to work with various museum educators throughout the project to find ways to connect visitors to the wider themes we are dealing with.

What upcoming projects are you working on or excited about?

I have an exciting exhibition coming up at the Cliff Gallery at Mountain View College (DCCD) from November 19 to December 14. This includes a Kitchen Table Talk with African American women artists and creatives in North Texas on Thursday, November 29, from noon to 2:00 p.m. and an artist reception on Friday, December 7, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. I will also have an exhibition at the Carillon Gallery at Tarrant County College South Campus in March 2019 as a result of my artist residency there this fall.

Join C3 Visiting Artist Lauren Cross for a Gallery Talk on Wednesday, December 19, from 12:15 to 1:00 p.m. Gallery talks are included in free admission.

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

Friday Photos: Sending a Message

For the past several years, the DMA has collaborated with the South Dallas Cultural Center during Summer at the Center, a multi-week summer camp where students learn about African history through the arts. The teens at the center visited the DMA twice this summer. Together, we traced the Middle Passage and the Atlantic Slave Trade through art in Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art, unpacking responses to this period of cruelty and injustice with artists like Kara Walker, Charles White, and Elizabeth Catlett. We also explored our Arts of Africa collection, where we investigated cultures that had a visible impact on American culture.

Because artists, and print-makers especially, use their work to spread ideas and messages through their art, we made prints about things that are important to us that we would like to share with the world. Here are a few highlights from the prints we made today, representing everything from music to community!

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Our summer partnership with the South Dallas Cultural Center is one of the highlights of our year. As an educator, it’s amazing to work with a group of students that are so knowledgeable about history – especially parts of the world that I’m still learning new things about. I think they end up teaching me a lot more than I teach them!

See all of you next summer!

Jessica Thompson
Manager of Teen Programs


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