Archive for the 'Teens' Category

Teen Ambassadors’ Summer in Review

From Pop-Up Art Spots to interactive story times, it’s been a great summer for family fun at the DMA! If you visited the Museum this summer to enjoy some of these activities, you’ve likely met one of our friendly and knowledgeable Teen Ambassadors. We checked in with three Teen Ambassadors—Martina D’Orso, Grace Ling, and Aditi Krishnan—to get a recap on how their summer at the DMA went. Grace and Aditi will be sophomores at the School for the Talented and Gifted at Townview Magnet Center this fall, and Martina will be a junior at Booker T. Washington High School.

Why were you interested in volunteering at the DMA?

Grace: My mom first took me to the DMA when I was a toddler to attend an art workshop. As I grew up I continued to attend the art programs the Museum offers for different ages and visit the traveling exhibits as well as the permanent ones. I thought that volunteering at a place I often went to as a kid would be a good way to give back and experience the Museum from a different perspective.

Martina: Since I am in the visual arts conservatory at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, I am interested in the arts. I wanted to see what it was like to work in a museum leading tours and helping out during events.

Aditi: I actually became interested in volunteering at the DMA because of a previous Teen Ambassador. Five or six years ago, I came to the DMA with my mom and our first stop was the Center for Creative Connections (C3). The activity we were doing had something to do with recycled materials, and a Teen Ambassador helped me pick my materials and complete my project. She explained the volunteer program to me and encouraged me to join when I was old enough. Since I was pretty young, I forgot that conversation for a while, but when my friend Grace mentioned her position as a Teen Ambassador to me, I remembered my excitement from that day and decided to apply.

What does a day in the life of a Teen Ambassador look like?

Aditi: Because each day will have different shifts and schedules, each day in the life of a Teen Ambassador is a little different. I tend to sign up for multiple shifts in the same day, so my day starts in C3. Before the Museum opens, I mostly prepare art materials for the visitors. Once the Museum opens, I typically help children with the activities and straighten out any messy stations. I usually get lunch in Klyde Warren Park with my friend and come back to do a Family Tour or Pop-Up Art Spot. My favorite shift is the tour because I get to talk directly to kids and teach them about a work of art in a fun and interesting way!

Grace: My favorite shift is Family Story Time. I love seeing the kids’ reactions to the story, which can range from humor to bewilderment. We conclude each story time with an art discussion and drawing activity where they make their own art inspired by what they learned. It’s cool how reading a children’s book can help make that connection and take art appreciation to the next level, where they use their creative imaginations and think deeper.

Do you have any stories or stand-out moments that have happened to you while volunteering?

Grace: When I was volunteering for the Late Night Pop-Up Art Spot, a lady came to try out a coloring activity and we started talking. She talked about how she used to sew wedding dresses and loved making art. It is interesting to listen to other people tell their stories and share experiences.

Martina: A stand-out moment that happened to me was on a Family Tour. The kids on the tour were so excited and they decided they were going to become friends after about 15 minutes of knowing each other. It was just so sweet how the kids are so nice and friendly to each other no matter what.

Aditi: When my friend and I were hosting a Pop-Up Art Spot in the Jonas Wood exhibition, a group of around 15 kids and a few chaperones came in looking pretty upset. The chaperones told us that they were supposed to attend a Family Tour, but they had gotten the dates wrong, so they had been waiting near C3 with nothing to do. We gave each child a coloring sheet and some colored pencils from the Pop-Up Art Spot and after they finished coloring, we let them take some coloring sheets home. The kids were overjoyed! I especially enjoyed this moment since coloring was all it took to make the kids happy.

Why should someone be a Teen Ambassador?

Grace: It is a great opportunity to practice communication skills, meet new people, learn about art, have fun, and contribute to the museum visitor experience.

Martina: It is an enriching experience that helps you understand how life in a museum works. You learn facts about artworks that you wouldn’t have known just by walking around the Museum alone. Additionally, you are able to learn how to talk and interact with people, which is a great skill to learn if you are a bit more introverted.

Aditi: I think one should be a Teen Ambassador because of the fun you have. You get to enjoy and appreciate the art around the DMA and help other children do so too! Teen Ambassadors also get to teach little kids about art in an exciting and entertaining manner, as opposed to just spitting out facts. You also get to meet new people and make friends with others who are interested in art as well. Lastly, the communication and collaboration skills you develop as a Teen Ambassador are essential for almost every career.

Applications for the DMA’s summer Teen Ambassador program will open in March 2020. If you’re interested in staying involved with the Museum during the next school year, consider joining the Teen Advisory Council—applications are due by August 19!

Got questions about the volunteer opportunities for teens at the DMA? Email teens@DMA.org and we’ll get right back to you!

Jessica Thompson-Castillo is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

Make it a Cool Summer

I think we can all agree—Texas summers are one of a kind. Growing up, my family frequently piled into a car and braved the murky water of Galveston beach to escape from the heat. Little did I know, someday I would spend my summers in a temperature-controlled paradise called the Dallas Museum of Art. If you are looking for a way to make it a cool summer break, head to the DMA for some free family fun!

Whether you are in the mood for a group activity or craving some quiet time, we have a program for you! Starting on June 11 and running through August 9, our Summer Family Fun programs give you the chance to enjoy a new experience every day. Participate in story time, interactive tours, or visit the Pop-Up Art Spot to engage with the Museum’s collection through fun activities.

Leading the way for the majority of our summer family programs is a group of art-loving teenagers called the DMA Teen Ambassadors. The Teen Ambassadors dedicate part of their summer to learning AND leading at the Museum. These enthusiastic teens learn the ins and outs of museum teaching and then spend the rest of the summer putting their skills to work through engaging story times, interactive tours and more. Keep an eye out for this enthusiastic and talented group of teens!

I know crowds aren’t for everyone—if you’re looking for some quiet time and want help exploring the galleries at your own pace, Family Gallery Guides are available anytime the Museum is open. These paper guides are designed to send you on your own adventure through the galleries! If you’re looking for another way to explore on your own, make your way to the Center for Creative Connections (C3), a space designed for visitors of all ages to wander and interact with art in new and innovative ways.

Denise Gonzalez is the Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs at the DMA.

The Art of Teen Leadership

If you’ve ever attended one of our free summer programs for families, you’ve probably met a Teen Ambassador. The Teen Ambassador Program has been around in some shape or form since 2001, providing fun and interactive experiences to thousands of visitors each summer.

Teen Ambassadors volunteer at the Museum for a short period of time, but they’re at the Museum a lot between June and August. Our 2018 class volunteered over 560 hours in 2018! In just two and a half months, participating teens get comfortable with their voice, learn how to be a good team member, and become experts in the DMA galleries. They truly embody what it means to be a leader—but what does leadership mean to a Teen Ambassador?

For participating teens, leadership is more than just having confidence. “A leader is not about someone in charge that you have to listen to,” one Teen Ambassador said. “It is about someone who takes initiative. If they find a problem they work with it. [They are] not afraid to make mistakes [and] learn from them.” Another Teen Ambassador described a leader as someone “who can take control of the situation and lead others onto a good path. A leader is always kind and has good integrity.”

Many Teen Ambassadors feel that a real leader is someone who listens to and respects others. While a Teen Ambassador can confidently stand up and give a tour to a large group without breaking a sweat, most find themselves learning how to communicate with others and be themselves. “I’ve learned how to make others feel welcome,” one Teen Ambassador reported at the end of last summer. “I was able to break out of my shell to connect with more people.”

Inspired by these teens’ experiences? Applications for the 2019 Teen Ambassador Program are now open! If you’re a teen who is at least 14 years old and interested in getting involved at the Museum, find out more by clicking here. Applications are due on Sunday, April 28.

Jessica Thompson-Castillo is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

The Making of “Teen Renaissance”

When the DMA Teen Advisory Council (TAC) re-convened for this year’s session, we started our first brainstorming exercise with the question we ask ourselves every year: what do we want the Dallas Museum of Art to be for teens? While the answer we ultimately arrive at takes a different form, the teens always think of inventive new ways to create a space for their peers.

A Teen Advisory Council meeting in session

This year, the conversation revolved around teen artists. Council members know that young people in DFW have a lot to say, and use their talents to express their ideas. To give these talented artists a space to be heard and recognized, TAC decided to launch Teen Renaissance, a new student art exhibition inspired by the innovation and unique perspectives of their generation.

In developing the open call, TAC settled on the theme of “Your Personal Lens,” inviting teens to submit artworks that shared their interpretations of the world. A whopping 195 students submitted their artwork for consideration, representing more than 15 different schools around the Metroplex.

TAC members making curatorial decisions for the Teen Renaissance art installation

While narrowing down so many submissions was difficult, TAC specifically looked for artworks that could speak to each other. We looked at all the submissions together, finding common themes and works that would be cohesive when viewed together. The council went through three rounds of elimination before deciding on the final 15 works on view at the Museum.


TAC members discussing and planning for Teen Renaissance

So how do teens see the world? This year’s Teen Renaissance shows us that being a teen is a lot about what’s happening on the inside as young people start creating a place for themselves in the world. For many teens, their personal lens is their cultural heritage, and how multiple identities merge and balance to create a unique individual. For others, their personal lens is the complicated journey of growing up, finding a world view that’s authentic to them, and creating meaningful relationships with others.

Join the Teen Advisory Council on Saturday, March 16 for Your Personal Lens, an all-day celebration of the exhibition and teen talent throughout Dallas!

Teen Renaissance is now on view through March 28, 2019, on Mezzanine 2, next to the Mayer Library.

Jessica Thompson-Castillo is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

Mini Zines: March Open Studio

You asked—we answered! After many requests for more drop-in art making in our Art Studio, we were excited to launch the Open Studio program in January, and crossed our fingers that families would show up. And you did! More than 1,400 visitors have stopped by the studio since we opened the doors in January, and we are thrilled to see so many artists of ALL ages making and creating. So what could be better than gluing and painting and drawing to your heart’s content? How about having local artists join in the fun?

The March Open Studio project is designed by local artist Raul Rodriguez, a photographer, publisher, and zine-maker from Fort Worth. His publishing company, Deep Red Press, helps Texas artists express their art through print, digital, and other formats across the United States. For the March Open Studio program, he designed a mini zine project, explaining, “I like zines because they can be easily made and they have no limits on the content, medium, or voice. Everyone can voice themselves with a zine!”

Mini Zines

In planning the project, Rodriguez was drawn to the art featured in the Women Artists in Europe from the Monarchy to Modernism exhibition, which presents work by women artists who broke the traditional rules of the time. One of the works in the exhibition is a book titled A Little’s Duck’s Nest . . . of Bad Words by Olga Vladimirovna Rozanova (Russian, 1886–1918), which includes images of art not intended to be displayed on walls or replicated. Rozanova combined poems and narratives with abstract drawings to express her emotions and thoughts in the hand-colored book. Rodriguez notes, “With just a few materials and disciplines, [women artists] counteracted discrimination and made work for the Cubist, Expressionist and modern art movements of their time.”

Creating a zine is easy and fun. Most zines don’t have specific narratives—instead, they are more like art magazines, with each page its own work of art; however, I made sure each page had a personal connection. I had a great time working on my zine, from making an “about me” page, to creating a still-life drawing based on something I saw on my desk. It was very therapeutic.

Engaging with your child

This is a great project for friends and families to do as a group, but also alone as an individual. When engaging with your child, think of a topic that interests him or her and design a page inspired by that topic. If your child is crazy about transportation, make a page all about things that go. Or choose a favorite family memory and have everyone in the family design a page that captures their favorite moments and create a family zine! Challenge older children to use mixed media like magazines or newspapers and create poems or stories to make their zine.

Possible topics to consider:

  • Self-portraits or portraits of family members
  • All about me
  • My favorite place (landscape)
  • My favorite things (still life)

Fun fact

You may wonder, “How are you supposed to pronounce zine?” and the answer is pretty simple (but I still say it wrong!). It’s like maga-“zine” or “zeen.” No matter how you pronounce it, we hope to see you here at the DMA for Open Studio!

Upcoming dates

Saturday, March 2

Sunday, March 3

Saturday, March 16

Sunday, March 17

Time: Noon–4:00 p.m.

Melissa Brito is the Teaching Specialist for Family and Access Programs at the DMA.

Zine Club’s “Opening Year”

What is a zine? Short for “magazine,” zines are self-published books of writing and art that are made for as little money as possible and circulated in limited quantities. Zines became popular in the 1970s in counter-culture circles as a way of promoting art and ideas outside the mainstream media, but creators have been self-publishing their ideas for much longer! Many can trace the lineage of zines back to 1776, when Thomas Paine published “Common Sense.”

In September 2018, the DMA hosted its first Zine Club meeting for high school students. Teens have great ideas and make interesting connections between the DMA’s collection and their own lives all the time; look no further than Disconnect to Reconnect, for example, hosted by the DMA Teen Advisory Council. Zine Club is a way for teens to explore their ideas through art and share those ideas with DMA visitors and their own communities in Zine Club’s biannual issues.

Zine Club meets the first Thursday evening of the month, and it is completely free to attend and participate. Teens enjoy snacks, go to the galleries to brainstorm, and return to the studio to make pages for the zine. Everyone who attends Zine Club gets at least one page in the final issue and receives several copies of the zine to share with friends and family. Museum visitors can pick up their own copy of the zine for a limited time in the Center for Creative Connections.

After several months of creating, Zine Club presents Opening Year. Over the course of four months, nine teens, three educators, and one visiting artist explored the following questions: What do we change about ourselves to fit in with the status quo? What do images say about beauty? What stories do you want told at a museum? Click here to browse their answers for yourself!

Physical zine copies will be available in the Center for Creative Connections for a limited time this month, so plan your visit and pick up a copy the next time you’re at the Museum. Zine Club picks back up again this spring for four meetings all about personal experience and stories, so check out our upcoming meeting schedule at DMA.org. Hope to see you this spring!

Jessica Thompson-Castillo is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

Teen Time

It’s a Thursday night at the DMA, and conversations fill the galleries. A group of friends joins a discussion led by a Visiting Artist, who is hosting a workshop later that evening. Total strangers are chatting in front of their favorite work of art, bonding over shared thoughts and interests. A great band is playing in the Center for Creative Connections, and a small crowd is jamming along with them. Upon closer inspection, all of these visitors are teenagers, and – remarkably – there’s not a cell phone in sight!

This is the vision of the DMA’s Teen Advisory Council, a group of highly motivated students from around Dallas-Fort Worth. Since 2013, the Council has worked with DMA Education staff to develop programs and activities for visitors. If you’ve attended a Late Night in the last few years, you’ve likely experienced their work firsthand. From scribbling robots to life size board games, they never fail to creatively interpret the Museum’s collections and exhibitions in new and exciting ways.

This year, the Council has turned their focus toward their peers in an effort to share the Museum with their fellow teens. At a brainstorming meeting earlier this year, the discussion turned toward a common stereotype of young people: that they are glued to their cell phones 24/7. There are benefits to being connected all the time. In my experience, teens today are much more involved and knowledgeable about current affairs than I was at their age, thanks in part to having information so easily accessible. However, teens know there are consequences: a friend is just a text away, but so are bullies, school pressures, and global politics.

Because Teen Council members are at the Museum so often, they know it as a place where they can take a break from being connected. It’s a place where they can learn at their own pace, find calm within themselves, and open up to new perspectives and experiences without being judged. To share that feeling with others, the Council has worked hard planning Disconnect to Reconnect, a night of free, fun activities for teens.

Disconnect to Reconnect invites teens to discover what the DMA can offer them, from solving an Escape Room themed after the history of the Reeves Collection to creating art with Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker in the Center for Creative Connections. The Teen Council also invited teens to showcase their own talents – the two musical acts of the evening, R.A.G. and Aloe Sara, are high school students, and short films made by local teens will also be playing in the C3 Theater. All of the Council asks is that visitors be fully present, with cell phones silenced and put away while participating.

We hope you’ll be able to join us this Thursday, July 20th for Disconnect to Reconnect from 5:00-9:00 p.m.!

Jessica Thompson is the Manager of Teen Programs 


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