Archive for the 'Community Connection' Category



Experiments on Public Space

The word public is defined as an adjective: it is used to attribute a quality to someone or something, usually modifying and describing a noun. But what happens when public becomes a verb–an action, a state, the main part of a sentence? Public suddenly stops being passive and becomes active–an occurrence, a happening, an event…

But what makes a museum public? What are its responsibilities? How do we build democratic space/vision? Is it possible or necessary? And if it’s true that we’re losing publicness, how do we reclaim it back?

These are some of the questions I hope to explore with my new work, Experiments on Public Space (EPS). EPS came about thanks to the opportunity to carry out an independent project as part of my McDermott Internship at the Dallas Museum of Art. My background in both research and artistic practice is focused in an interest to understand, explore and expand the ways audiences interact/participate with contemporary art. This project is an extension of that line of inquiry specifically looking at institutional contexts.

Experiments on Public Space / Dallas Museum of Art, February - May 2015

Experiments on Public Space / Dallas Museum of Art, February – May 2015

I’m fascinated by the language used in museums when referring to issues around publicness, because what do we actually mean when we refer ourselves as a “public museum”? What does it entail? How does a public museum feel or look? What do our visitors understand by “public”? Are they not the public themselves? And why probe publicness? Why now? Why here?

Coming from England, I was very curious about the differences between public cultural institutions here in America and those back in Europe. I think the dialogue is particularly of relevance to the DMA because of its historical founding as a public museum and it’s recently reestablished free general admission, something that is rare in this country. I’m also intrigued by the context of the Museum in a city as diverse as Dallas. Considering the city’s large latino population, I want to explore the standings of the institution in serving a wide range of communities.

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The project itself is built on a series of practice-based evaluation methods that take place in the Museum. The public will provide the data with their participation in performances, interventions, seminars and workshops, aiming to collaboratively measure the publicness of the environment in which the institution acts. With this approach I hope to implement active research into the life of the Museum, collecting both inside and outside voices as a way of opening up dialogue. In this sense, the project uses unconventional evaluation methodologies to promote opportunities for reflection, thought, participation and active discussion. The goal is that through these programs, we might collectively exemplify and animate publicness and what it means in the context of museums in the 21st century.

Alternative Signage

Members of the DMA/Perot Teen Council during a production session for “Alternative Signage”, one of the EPS programs happening during March Late Night.

Confused? Challenged? Excited? – This is a very brief introduction to a project that has almost taken a life of its own. Publicness is a complex issue that touches upon many different fields and it is easy for it to be overlooked or even forgotten. With EPS I hope to bring it back to the fore in an attempt to reclaim its importance. I believe there is a big difference between possessing a quality and being one, and it is crucial that we understand the difference. To claim ‘publicness’ requires more than a certain kind of perception or view; it demands responsibility and action.

Program scheduling will be published on the DMA website, under Center for Creative Connections –  Community Projects. I hope you’ll join me in this experiment!

Eliel Jones
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

We’re Go van Gogh-ing to Whole Foods

And so should you!

We’re excited to announce that the DMA’s Go van Gogh outreach program is going to be the recipient of one of Whole Foods 1% Community Giving Days!  In an effort to reach out and partner with the surrounding community, Whole Foods Market provides Community Giving Days, during which they donate a percentage of sales to a local non-profit organization.

Tomorrow Wednesday, February 18th, 1% of the sales at Whole Foods Market Park Lane will go to the Go van Gogh program!

Go van Gogh is the DMA’s free elementary outreach program.  We bring the excitement of Museum experience into North Texas classrooms, providing an introduction to the DMA for many of the students we visit, as well as opportunities for students to create artworks inspired by our collection.

Our McDermott Intern Liz Bola, Teaching Specialist Danielle Schulz, myself, and our new Volunteer Coordinator Jennie Russell will spend the day from 10:00AM-7:00PM tomorrow at the Park Lane Whole Foods Market store, talking to customers about what we do and why we do it, making art projects, and showing off our van.

So, if tomorrow, you need an excuse to:

  • grab a morning coffee on your way to work;
  • pick up a lunchtime snack;
  • pop by after 5:00 for a quick dinner-to-go;
  • or cross some items off your grocery list;

I hope you’ll come out to Whole Foods Park Lane.  While you’re there, stop by and say hello to the Go van Gogh ladies (pictured above) and wonderful volunteers, so we can thank you for helping our program grow.

Spread the word to your Whole Food-ie friends, and we hope to see you tomorrow!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Translating Culture II Collaboration

In mid-October, Center for Creative Connections staff embarked on an exciting collaboration with Janeil Engelstad from Make Art with Purpose and a group of students from the Skyline High School Architecture cluster led by teacher Peter Goldstein.

Skyline students have been visiting the DMA on a weekly basis to become acquainted with our collection. During the visits, the students explore the ways in which art can have cultural and personal significance by responding both critically and creatively through activities, dialogue, and reflection.

Starting on Level 4 with American Art and moving all the way to Level 1 with our Contemporary collection, the students have been talking, writing, and drawing works of art that they want to include on their own tour, which will be used to create a new smARTphone tour of the Museum. We also make weekly visits to their high school to further explore the collection and discuss the types of responses that will become content for stops on their tour.

The project is part of Translating Culture, an initiative that launched last year that aims to create links with the community by inviting groups to collaborate with staff through a series of workshops to inspire dialogue for mutual understanding and varied perspectives on the collection. While intending to inspire the use of art as a means of further understanding oneself and the world we live in, Translating Culture II also hopes to give the students a sense of ownership of the Museum and a platform from which to speak out their thoughts and concerns in order to engage their peers and the wider community.

We will continue to meet with the students until the end of November, at which point all the student work will be collected and prototyped into their bilingual smARTphone tour in early 2015. Stay posted for more detailed information on the project and a behind-the-scenes peek at students’ work, such as those below which include a sketch by student Miguel Martinez based on The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church, a drawing by Edith Cruz inspired by Renoir’s Lise Sewing and a set of sketches by Guadalupe Murillo during her visit to The Silk Road exhibit on Level 3.

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Eliel Jones
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

Friday Photos: FAST Fashion

On Wednesday, members of the Family, Access, Schools and Teachers (FAST) team were lucky enough to take an educational field trip to Denton to visit the Texas Fashion Collection (TFC), housed on the University of North Texas campus in the College of Visual Arts & Design. Curator and Director, Myra Walker, gave us a behind the scenes tour of the collection, which preserves and documents more than 15,000 items of historically significant fashion. The collection was first assembled in 1938 by Stanley and Edward Marcus, of Neiman Marcus fame, and exists today as an educational resource for students, researchers, and the general public who have a passion for great design and a love of fashion history.

During our visit, we walked through rack after rack of historical and designer clothing, dating from the 1840s up to contemporary times from designers like Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, and Betsy Johnson. Our visit concluded with a viewing of American Brides: Inspiration and Ingenuity, TFC’s current exhibition on view at the Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Arts. The exhibition included forty wedding gowns, dresses, and ensembles dating from 1840 to the present, which emphasized the various significant bridal traditions that were handed down through time and culture.

Our field trip was a wonderful experience and we were grateful to be able to play the role of student while visiting the amazing Texas Fashion Collection!

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Into the Wild with the DMA

With school out, Go van Gogh volunteers are spending their days in the community, visiting recreation centers, Boys & Girls Clubs, and libraries with art-making programs.  Summer programs are casual, always fun, and sometimes a little wild…in the best possible way!

We’re embracing summertime wildness in all its glory this year, with a new Go van Gogh outreach program called Into the Wild with the DMA.  The program was inspired by the children’s book Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, in which a very proper Mr. Tiger, bored with being so proper all the time, decides that he needs to have a little fun; so, he goes wild.  Really wild!  ROAAAR!!!  It’s a story that all of us—kids, especially—can relate to when the summer heat hits.

Into the Wild, which will be offered at Dallas Public libraries through the remainder of June and July, begins with story time and an animal game.  We then put on our safari hats and venture into the wild depths of the DMA’s collection, exploring big cats and fierce mythical animals in artworks from the African savanna to the Indonesian jungle.

Our art safari ends with time to reflect and create an artwork inspired by one of our discoveries, the DMA’s Japanese Tiger.

If you’d like to join us on an art safari this summer, upcoming program dates and locations are listed below.  Into the Wild is designed for children ages five to nine, but art and animal-lovers of all ages are welcome!   Be sure to call the library ahead of time to confirm space availability, as programs are limited to thirty participants.

JULY

Tuesday, July 1, 10:30 a.m.
Hampton-Illinois, 2951 South Hampton Road, 75224
214-670-7646

Tuesday, July 8, 2:00 p.m.
Dallas West, 2332 Singleton Boulevard, 75212
214-670-6445

Tuesday, July 15, 2:00 p.m.
Audelia, 10045 Audelia Road, 75238
214-670-1350

Thursday, July 17, 2:30 p.m.
Skillman Southwestern, 5707 Skillman Street, 75206
214-670-6078

Tuesday, July 22, 2:00 p.m.
Polk-Wisdom, 7151 Library Lane, 75218
214-670-1947

Friday, July 25, 2:00 p.m.
Lochwood, 11221 Lochwood Boulevard, 75218
214-670-8403

Tuesday, July 29, 2:00 p.m.
Skyline, 6006 Everglade Road, 75227
214-670-0938

Thursday, July 31, 2:00 p.m.
White Rock Hills, 9150 Ferguson Road, 75228
214-670-8843

And if you can’t join us at a library, stop by the Museum and use our In the Swim Family Gallery Guide to chart your own summertime animal adventure!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Hitting the Highlight Reel: 2013-2014 School Year in Review

As our tours wind down and we make our final school trip in the Go van Gogh van, it’s time to look back at all we’ve done this school year (and be pretty proud of ourselves). If we could have looked into the future last September, we would have seen a year of change waiting for us. 2013-2014 has been action-packed, full of happy surprises and new initiatives and programs. Instead of looking at this school year by the numbers, we’re going to hit the highlight reel and showcase just a few of many great moments.

2013-14 New Docent Class

From left to right: Felix Landau, Flo Lockett-Miles, Debi Waltz, Annette Culwell, Charlie Kuzmic, Stephanie Avery, Sandi Edgar, Art Weinberg, Evan Simmons, and David Caldwell.

New Docent Class of 2013-2014

We are excited to introduce our New Docent Class of 2013-2014! In order to “graduate” from the program, our new docents attend over thirty weeks of training, give ten (or more) tours, and read almost all of Marilyn Stokstad’s Art History. These new docents have put in countless hours prepping for tours and learning different touring strategies and activity ideas. We are excited to welcome such an enthusiastic, creative, and dedicated group to our DMA Docent Program. Look for them on your DMA tours this fall!

Booker T. Washington Learning Lab Partnership

This was another fantastic year for the Learning Lab partnership with the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Students met artists Jim Hodges and Stephen Lapthisophon, learning first-hand about their respective special exhibitions and their process as artists. Students then put their own creative talent on display, re-imagining a DMA artwork using Instagram as their artistic medium. They went on behind-the-scenes tours of the Museum’s art storage areas and object conservation space, and got some career advice from a variety of Museum staff during a DMA career panel.  Most exciting of all, we will soon see the first class from the Learning Lab partnership graduate—congratulations class of 2014!

Go van Gogh Color My World Program for Special Education Classrooms

We were excited to unveil a new Go van Gogh experience this year. Designed to fill a growing need for Special Education outreach, the Color My World program incorporates multi-sensory activities in a color-filled classroom adventure inspired by paintings in the Museum’s collection. With the support of our enthusiastic Go van Gogh volunteers, we’ve been able to lead many Color My World programs this spring. And with the help of two very smart colleagues (thank you, Danielle and Hayley!), we’ve spent those sessions learning how the program works best, experimenting and modifying our way to what is now an inclusive experience for children with a range of abilities.

South Dallas Cultural Center Second Sundays

Sometimes the best learning experiences happen when the school day ends and we’re with our friends and family.  This year also brought the beginning of what we hope is a long-term partnership with families from the South Dallas Cultural Center. One Sunday a month, we have South Dallas “Second Sundays,” where a group of families spends two hours together at the Museum exploring and making art. Families have sketched and painted like Edward Hopper, designed chairs like Frank Gehry, and have spent many a Sunday using the Museum as both a resource and a source of artistic inspiration. While we haven’t wrapped up this program just yet (families, if you’re reading this, our June Sunday is not-to-miss!), this out-of-school, school year partnership is one that has defined 2013-14 for me, in a wonderful way.

To all the docents, Go van Gogh volunteers, hard-working Education colleagues (past and present), and our amazing McDermott Intern who have all helped make this school year so successful and fun-filled–thank you!  We hope you have a great summer, and we can’t wait to see you right back here in the fall!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Getting Schooled at the DMA

Over the next couple of months, as you’re wandering down the concourse of the DMA, you may notice an eclectic mixture of vibrantly colorful paintings, intricate sculptures, detailed music compositions, and even essays on display just outside the Center for Creative Connections. That’s because our 16th annual Young Masters exhibition is underway!

The Young Masters exhibition is the product of a collaboration between the Dallas Museum of Art, AP Arts Strategies and the O’Donnell Foundation, in which Dallas area high school students who are completing AP Art History, Music Theory or Studio Art courses are invited to submit work to be chosen for display. A whopping 732 works were submitted for this year’s exhibition and from those, 60 final works of art were chosen.

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Tuesday night marked the DMA’s annual Young Masters Reception and Award Ceremony in which members of the Dallas community came together to recognize and celebrate the talent of this year’s selected students. The night began with family, friends, students, and teachers crowding into the concourse to take photographs with the selected works of art.

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The celebratory photographs and mingling were followed by everyone making their way into Horchow Auditorium to recognize each individual student and reveal a selected nineteen students who received top honors in the exhibition. Ceremony attendees heard a reading of the top selected essay, listened to a beautiful performance of the top selected music composition, and learned more about the artistic process and inspiration behind the top selected works of studio art.

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Though most awards have been announced, there are still ways that you can get involved with the exhibition. During March and April Late Nights, be on the look out for staff or volunteers who will be handing out People’s Choice Award fliers for you to cast your vote in any of the three exhibition categories. You can also learn more about selected works from the exhibition at the March and April Late Nights when students are interviewed here at the DMA.

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Amy Elms
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

Arturo’s Magical Mail

As a child, I loved receiving letters. Each time I heard the mailman walk up my front steps, I would anxiously wait for my parents to empty the mailbox. As they rifled through bills, I prayed that there would be something with my name on it, whether it be a postcard, magazine, or even a piece of junk mail. Mail was magical to me, and I enjoyed thinking about it traveling from a foreign place to my doorstop with my name on it.

Later in life, I revisited mail as an early childhood educator. Through several mail based projects in my toddler classroom, I found that mail was indeed ‘magical’ for children in the way that it connects home, school, and other landmarks in a child’s world, promotes self expression, and creates links to people and places in other parts of the world.

It isn’t surprising that one of the highlights of my internship at the DMA has been responding to letters children write to Arturo, the DMA’s loveable toucan mascot. When children visit Arturo’s Nest, our hands-on early learning space located in C3, they are invited to write a letter and leave it in Arturo’s mailbox. Over the past six months, I have thoroughly enjoyed receiving these letters, which feature drawings and share excitement about art and experiences at the DMA. Many children are also very curious about Arturo and his nest and ask questions that require me to come up with some creative responses. I’ve included a few of my favorite questions to Arturo below.

Dear Arturo,

Who made this place? Wut are you doing this week?

Dear Arturo,

I love art Where is your bathroom and how do you go?

Dear Arturo,

I play in your nest a lot and your babies don’t come out of your eggs. Are the babies coming?

As I responded to these letters, I loved imagining the excitement as children discovered a response from Arturo in their mailbox. I decided to share this excitement with children back at home and created a mail exchange between Arturo and the children’s center where I used to work in Massachusetts. As an introduction, I sent my past students (now big preschoolers!) a letter introducing my new friend Arturo. I also included pictures from my trip to Texas, the DMA, and some silly shots of Arturo and I playing in the nest.

I was delighted to hear back from the children’s center last week and enjoyed reading the children’s questions. I look forward to continuing the mail exchange with my past students and also visiting with them during my trip home this spring.

Stay tuned for more updates about Arturo’s magical mail!

Amelia Wood
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Friday Photos: Festival Fun

Every time you visit the DMA, you’ll discover exciting ways to become involved with the Museum’s collection, whether taking part in a Twitter Treasure Hunt on Late Nights, going on an interactive tour during First Tuesdays, or creating your own work of art in Studio Creations. But did you know you can also find ways to get connected with the DMA outside of the Museum’s walls?

Last weekend, the DMA participated in the Crow Collection’s annual Chinese New Year Festival, an event filled with Asian-inspired music, dancing, and of course, art. Not only did the DMA contribute a booth to the lively festival, but we also collaborated with members of El Centro College’s Visual Arts Club to create an engaging experience for visitors. The art club students came up with two wonderful art-making activities–miniature scrolls and a community painting–and drew in more than 600 participants!

Check out photos from the event and keep an eye out for us as we participate in the Art + Science Festival on Saturday, April 12!

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Amy Elms
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

DART Student Art

The DMA is excited to partner again this year with DART on their 2014 Student Art Contest. Students in Kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to create an 11×17 poster illustrating the theme “Off We Go!” Visit DART’s  website for complete rules and info.

2014ArtContestBanner

The contest deadline is February 18, so encourage those creative hands to get to work–We can’t wait to see the colorful and imaginative drawings they’ll make!

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives


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