Archive for the 'Just for Fun' Category

Papel Picado

Papel picado has taken over the DMA art studio!

In celebration of México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde, the DMA offered many exciting activities during our DMA Family Days/DMA días familiares. Not only was admission to the exhibition free, but visitors could also enjoy music performances in the atrium, visit a new Pop-Up Art Spot in the Ancient American Galleries on Level 4, and make papel picado in the studio.

Papel picado is a type of Mexican folk art often used as decoration for all kinds of festivities, like Dia de los Muertos, Easter, and Christmas. Papel picado literally means pecked paper and is made by cutting designs from tissue or crepe paper. These designs are often very geometric and might feature floral elements, birds, skeletons, and more, depending on the celebration.

In the video below, you can watch artisans at work in San Salvador Huixcolotla, a municipality in the Mexican state of Puebla that is well-known for papel picado. Look at how deftly they use chisels (rather than knives or scissors) to punch out designs – using this method, an artisan can cut up to 50 sheets of tissue paper at a time!

At home, papel picado is often made using the fold-and-cut method, which is probably familiar to you if you’ve ever made a paper snowflake. This was our method of choice in the studio. To help visitors get started, Jessica put together some instructions and a simple template to go along with them. Click on the link to download the instructions, find some 8 1/2″ x 11″ tissue paper, and have a go at making your own papel picado!

¡Buena suerte!

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Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

Say What?

Being a part of the family programs team here at the DMA means that we spend a lot of quality time with children of all ages. Whether it’s singing songs to babies, or challenging a group of 8 and 9 year olds to try and beat their parents at a game of art trivia, we engage in tons of fun AND funny conversations. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the funny things we’ve overheard lately in the galleries and studios.

Messy Homechool project

During a homeschool class, my colleague Jennifer gave the kids an overview of what they would be doing. Upon hearing that the studio project for class was going to be messy and fun, an 11 year old boy said, “Miss Jennifer, I’m so glad my mom brought me today because you said it would be messy and fun. THOSE ARE MY THINGS!”

lions

As an introduction to a lesson focused on different lions in the collection, I asked the children what they knew about lions. In response to the question, “what do lions eat?” a flurry of responses bubbled up: “grass?” “worms?” “WAFFLES!” (which resulted in lots of giggles).

elevator pic

Overheard while waiting with a group of children to get on the elevator: “I want to live here!”

dogs in gallery

In a discussion about how some dogs have what we might think of as jobs, I showed the children images of rescue dogs, guide dogs, and police dogs. When I showed a picture of a therapy dog at a hospital comforting a child and asked the students what job this dog has, a little girl called out, “It’s a love dog!” (which prompted a bunch of “awws” from the grown-ups in the group).

mom hero

During a lesson about heroes, I talked with a group of 3 and 4 year olds about what makes a person a hero and who our heroes are today. Three year old Lily piped up, “My mom is my art hero because she watches while I paint.”

We’ve also managed to capture some funny faces:

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Flat Stanley’s Latest Adventure

Flat Stanley is no stranger to the Dallas Museum of Art. In fact, he has visited a few times over the years, and each time he gets to experience a new adventure. We were happy to welcome him back this year to help him explore the DMA and beyond!

This year, Flat Stanley came on a mission! He wanted to see the collection, but specifically he was hoping to see some artwork with dolphins. Unfortunately there weren’t dolphins to be found in the works of art currently on view, but he took a tour around the Museum and found some wonderful water related works of art.

Flat Stanley’s next adventure was a trip with Go van Gogh, a program that brings the DMA to Kindergarten through 6th grade students in schools throughout DFW free of charge.

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Next on Stanley’s agenda was a quick stop at our neighbor’s the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Mostly hoping to spot a dinosaur, Flat Stanley was thrilled to also find a dolphin!

After spending some time in and around Dallas, Flat Stanley caught the travel bug and decided to hop some flights with DMA educators to explore a few cities. First on his itinerary was a quick trip to Washington D.C., where Flat Stanley spent some time at the National Mall. He got to see both the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial!

Next, Flat Stanley caught a flight to the Big Apple! Of course he had to take the subway system to navigate this new city, so he snapped a photo at the 42nd Street station. He enjoyed visiting some museums, but Flat Stanley’s favorite stop was experiencing the sights and sounds of Times Square.

After the rush of New York, Flat Stanley couldn’t just come back to Texas. So instead he made his way across the pond to London! This required a bit of a costume change–luckily, he was able to find a foot guard uniform just his size for the journey. All suited up, he got to visit Buckingham Palace, where the flag was raised indicating that the Queen was on the premises. While in the area, he also stopped by the Queen Victoria Memorial and the Wellington Arch.

After all that traveling, Flat Stanley was happy to get some rest and return to Dallas and the DMA. He took one last tour around to see the new México: 1900-1950 exhibition before heading home.

Jessica Fuentes
Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections

Cake Imitating Art!

Last fall, I dabbled in cake decorating, and spent a semester at El Centro College’s Food & Hospitality Service Institute learning how to pipe borders and figures, carve cake, finagle fondant, and sweet-talk gum paste from local cake whiz Chef Chris Miller. As I brought my cakes into the office to share—a girl can only eat so many frosted confections on her own!—I couldn’t help but think of connections to artworks at the Museum.

Below are cake creations and their DMA artwork doppelgangers.

And one lone cake sans DMA connection, that looks an awful lot like this Tom Friedman sculpture.

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Once Upon a Time at the DMA

Portrait Party

“Once upon a time” is one of my favorite phrases—it almost always precedes a magical beginning, the possibility of slightly harrowing adventures, a lesson or two learned, new friends, and a “happily ever after.” I’m not afraid to admit, I’m a sucker for any ole fairy tale!

As we’ve been exploring Art and Nature in the Middle Ages over the past few months, I’ve found plenty of fairy tale inspiration in the art. From stained glass windows I imagine would have fit in just fine in Sleeping Beauty’s castle to beautifully illustrated manuscripts that Belle would surely be found reading in the library, this medieval art has the same fairy tale magic as the stories.

Are you a fairy tale fan too? Even after we say goodbye to Art and Nature, there are still plenty works of art in the DMA’s collection that speak to a fairy-tale loving heart. To find the perfect match for your inner fairy tale hero, take our quiz here!

And be sure to come to this Friday’s Late Night, which will be filled with medieval magic and fairy tale wonder!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

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Melinda Blauvelt, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1981, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund © Melinda Blauvelt

As a New Orleans transplant, I wanted to celebrate my favorite holiday with you–Mardi Gras! When most people think of the holiday, they imagine excessive eating and drinking, harlequin masks, and colorful beads. But what is Mardi Gras in New Orleans really like and how did the holiday originate?

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once. 
― Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic: Post-Katrina Stories

In the Catholic tradition, Carnival season starts on the Twelfth Night, also called King’s Day or the Feast of the Epiphany, and runs through Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras comes from the old French, meaning “Fat Tuesday,” and marks the last day of celebration and indulgence before the deprivations of Lent. Carnival season is celebrated across many cultures with Catholic roots, and was introduced to the Gulf Coast of the United States during the French colonial period. Carnival takes on a local flavor wherever the holiday season is observed, including the Samba parade in Rio de Janeiro and the Volo dell’ Angelo in Venice.

Carnival season festivities in New Orleans include parades and masked balls put on by krewes, private social clubs devoted to charitable work and community involvement with their own special regalia and traditions. Revelers will often celebrate in costume. At one time, masking allowed New Orleanians to escape societal and class constraints.

One of my favorite parades is hosted by the Krewe of Muses, an all-female krewe know for their dazzling, often bitingly funny floats and their prized feature throw—glittering, homemade shoes fit for a Grecian goddess. Speaking of throws, it’s estimated that 25 million pounds of Mardi Gras items get tossed from floats in New Orleans every Carnival season! Parade floats often have a special theme, and are worked on year-round in the krewe’s secret hub, or den, until it’s time for the parade to roll. Along with floats, parades include dance troupes and marching clubs, high school marching bands, and flambeaux, or torch-bearing marchers who have been part of Carnival since the first night parades in the 19th century. While there are more than 80 official krewes, the largest and most extravagant parades thrown by the super krewes kickoff the Saturday before Mardi Gras with the Krewe of Endymion. Their motto, “Throw until it hurts,” reflects the over-the-top spectacle of Carnival.

New Orleans owes many beloved Carnival traditions to its African cultural heritage. During the colonial period, many of the enslaved people and Free People of Color in the city came from the Senegambian region of Africa. Their influence on the Gulf Coast can be seen in the region’s cuisine, music, architecture, and unique culture traditions.

Egungun costume, Republic of Benin, Yoruba peoples, Late 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York

Egungun costume, Republic of Benin, Yoruba peoples, Late 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York

Masquerade and processionals are an important aspect of African culture and the continuum of these traditions can be seen in second lines and marching cultures in New Orleans. Drawing from Nigerian beading traditions, Mardi Gras Indians craft spectacular suits for processionals and performances that take an entire year to create and weigh as much as 150 pounds. While the origin of this tradition is not easy to pin down, Mardi Gras Indians name themselves after American Indians to honor the help they provided for people escaping slavery and to “create an identity of strength and resilience.” There are more than 50 Mardi Gras Indian tribes in New Orleans, and on Mardi Gras rival tribes will meet to compete through costume and song.

While I won’t be celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year, I had to make a king cake, a sweet brioche served during Carnival, for my amazing DMA colleagues to sample. King cake is decorated in the Mardi Gras colors of purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power) to honor the three kings who visited the Christ child on the Twelfth Night. It traditionally includes a hidden plastic or ceramic baby, and the person who finds the trinket must buy the next king cake or host the next party.

king-cake

FYI, calories do not count during Carnival.

After all, in essence, Mardi Gras is about celebrating the sweetness of life with your friends, family, and neighbors.

This Mardi Gras I hope you indulge a little (or a lot!), kick up your heels, and show your community some love. Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

DFW Faves

Have you ever explored your own city as if you were a tourist? While the Dallas Museum of Art will always be my number #1 spot to spend time in the Metroplex, I thought I would share a few of my favorite places alongside works from the DMA’s collection. You might just discover a new hangout in your hometown!

Klyde Warren Park

Located right across the street from the DMA in Downtown Dallas, this amazing urban park is built over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Pick up something tasty from one of the many food trucks, take a stroll with your pup to My Best Friend’s Park, or enjoy free public programming ranging from dance classes to outdoor concerts and films. What I love most about Klyde Warren Park is how it serves as a gathering space for the community.

Dallas Farmers Market

When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is visit the local market. Happily, the Dallas Farmers Market is one of my all-time favorites with seasonal fruits and veggies, local goodies, and fun events. Visit The Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to buy directly from farmers, ranchers, and artisans (if you’re lucky, you can also enjoy some samples!) The Market is open daily and offers local specialty foods and artisanal vendors. Where else can you pick up locally grown produce, honor Texas music with a Willie Waylon George & Beyonce t-shirt, and take a wine and cheese appreciation class?

The Foundry & Chicken Scratch

I might be in hot water with my colleagues for revealing our favorite lunch spot, but Chicken Scratch is too good to miss! The fried chicken, biscuits, and coconut waffles are all a special treat (we’ve contemplated, but never ordered their big salad bowls…we’ll try them next time…maybe), and the design of the space is comfy and eclectic: shipping containers delineate the boundary of the patio and a stage made out of reused pallets created by Gary Buckner of Stash Design sits outside of The Foundry, the laid-back bar next to Chicken Scratch. Definitely give Chicken Scratch a try – just be sure to leave us a table!

As we move into the new year, I’m looking forward to visiting old favorites and playing tourist while exploring more of the Metroplex. What are your favorite places to visit in DFW?

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs


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