Archive for the 'Just for Fun' Category



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

Friday Photos: Family for All

We know there’s no one definition of family.

There’s family we’re given and family we choose,
Family we luck into, family we couldn’t bear to lose,
Family that’s near and family we miss every day,
Family for hugs and reminding, “It’ll all be okay!”
From parents to grandparents, sister to brothers
(All those whom we couldn’t replace with any others),
Aunts, uncles, and cousins – the list never ends,
Coworkers and communities, good friends and best friends,
And let’s not forget pets! Dogs and cats, too,
For a friendly tail wag or nuzzle when we’re blue.
Let us wish for your holidays (should you celebrate any –
I won’t name them all for I know there are many):
Enjoy some time with your family, be it minutes or hours,
And please know we’re so grateful to count you in ours.

With love,

Jennifer Sheppard (and everyone else at the DMA!)
Teaching Specialist

A Fairly Good Time

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A view of the Esplanade at Fair Park from Jessica Thompson, Manager of Teen Programs.

Last Tuesday was our sixth annual Education Fair Day, a chance to escape the chill of the Museum for some deep-fried fun in the sun at the State Fair of Texas. For some, like Jessica Thompson, going to the Fair is a time-honored tradition. Jessica’s paid a visit to Big Tex nearly every year of her life. For others, like our McDermott Interns, it was a super-sized introduction to a slice of Texas history and culture.

Emily Wiskera and I tackled the trip together. While we chowed down on Fletcher’s corny dogs (a must!), admired the blue ribbons in the creative arts building, and searched for our favorite haunted house ride, I started wondering about what connections could be made between the fair and the DMA. A set of photographs recently installed in the Center for Creative Connections certainly provides some fair feels, but what about elsewhere in the Museum?

State and World’s Fairs

The above pair of posters was an easy connection to make. On the left, we have the 2016 State Fair of Texas poster; on the right, the DMA’s poster from the 1968 World’s Fair in San Antonio. Each was designed around a unique concept. Hemisfair, San Antonio illustrates the overarching idea of people coming from all over the globe for the World’s Fair. The artist, Robert Indiana, used circles with arrows drawn in towards a star in the south of Texas to convey this message. The star, besides featuring prominently on the state flag of Texas, acts a giant X-marks-the-spot, where the Hemisfair and San Antonio are the treasure.

Immediately recognizable in the State Fair of Texas poster is our celebrity cowboy, Big Tex, surrounded by fields, livestock, and farming equipment. The design is graphic, straight forward, and conveniently explained by a page from the State Fair of Texas website:

Originally established as a livestock exposition back in 1886, it is without question that the Fair has deep roots in agriculture. In honor of its history, the Fair constantly strives to promote agricultural education and aims to further support this initiative through its 2016 event, themed “Celebrating Texas Agriculture.”

Though on different scales, state fairs and world’s fairs both bring people together for a variety of cultural experiences. Here’s how the State Fair of Texas compares to world’s fairs:

  • The State Fair of Texas, at 24 days per season, is the longest running state fair in the United States. A World’s Fair can last up to six months–the 1968 Hemisfair in San Antonio did!
  • An estimated 1.5 million – 3 million people attend the State Fair of Texas each year. For reference, the population of Dallas is 1.3 million people, and Texas’ population is 27.47 million people. The 1968 Hemisfair brought in 6.4 million people from all over the world, and the recent 2015 Expo (or World’s Fair) in Milan had 20 million visitors.
  • This year marks the 130th anniversary of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. In contrast, world’s fairs are held in a new city and country every year.

Creative Arts

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Baltimore, Maryland, “Album” quilt, c. 1861, Martha E. Keech, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous centennial gift

The Baltimore album quilt above, despite being 155 years old, isn’t too different from a quilt you might find on a visit to the creative arts building. This kind of quilt, with its trademark white background and squares (or blocks) with floral designs in red and green, first became popular in… you guessed it: Baltimore! The style remains popular today. This particular album quilt was made by hand by one woman, Martha E. Keech. Sometimes groups of women would join forces to make one of these quilts and each would sew one block and sign their name, hence: an album quilt.

The more than 25 categories for quilts at the State Fair this year include sections for ones made by individuals, pairs, and groups, both by hand and by machine. Overall, there are over 1,100 categories in the creative arts competitions! Many people are familiar with submissions like pies, quilts, and collectibles, but did you know the Fair also has LEGO assembly categories for kids and adults, as well as a “Glue a Shoe” contest? This year’s Glue a Shoe contest features such entries as “Grumpy Flat,” after everyone’s favorite internet cat, and “Hamilton: An American Shoesical.”

Fantastic Foods

No Fair day is complete without sampling some of the sensational snacks! Here are some numbers from Eater Dallas on a fair-goer favorite, Fletcher’s corny dogs:

  • On average, 630,000 corny dogs are sold each 24-day State Fair of Texas run.
  • Fletcher’s is in its 74th year of selling corny dogs at the Fair.
  • To satisfy corndog purists, 1,500 gallons of mustard are needed each year.
  • To satisfy heathens like myself (see selfie above), only 800 gallons of ketchup are required.

Yes, corn (sometimes called maize) is a key ingredient in the batter used for corny dogs, but it’s more than a family resemblance that ties together this State Fair staple and Otis Dozier’s Maize and Windmill. Dozier, a native Texan, was a member of a circle of artists called the Dallas Nine. He regularly submitted works of art to the State Fair of Texas’s creative arts competitions – and he often won. According to a DMA docent, Maize and Windmill is one such blue ribbon winner!

A bonus connection: Dozier’s upbringing on a Mesquite farm instilled in him a lifelong love of agriculture which can be found in his many paintings of farms, fields, flora, and fauna. This ties in pretty neatly with this year’s Celebrating Texas Agriculture theme, don’t you think?

The Fair closes this Sunday, October 23, but these three works of art will still be here to greet you on your next visit, up on Level 4. What other fairly relevant connections can you find? You know that something has to relate to the butter sculpture!

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

Friday Photos: Summer Lovin’

The Education team works very hard to make your summer vacation fun and exciting for families and kids of all ages. So it only makes sense that we play just as hard! Some of us had some big art-related vacations, exciting camping adventures, and we had a lot of fun working in between (with or without our pups!). Check out some of our summer highlights!

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Beyond the Coloring Book

Coloring Book 1

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now, and the perfect relaxing activity to take a break from your spreadsheets at work, the laundry piling up at home, or that never-ending to do list. If you don’t really want to share your coloring books with the kids, here are some creative, easy ideas that go beyond the coloring book.

Coloring Book 3

Graph Paper Drawing
A couple years ago, one of the few things on my nephew’s Christmas wish list was graph paper. He was genuinely thrilled to open up a gridded white board, and got to work right away creating all kinds of designs. If a blank piece of paper is too overwhelming for your child, graph paper drawing is a great alternative. The preprinted lines and shapes provide just enough structure while still allowing for open-ended expression. You can download and print your own graph paper in all kinds of designs, from regular squares to triangles, circles, hexagons, and more, here.

Coloring Book 4

Scribble Drawings
Scribble drawings are still one of my very favorite ways to doodle. Simply scribble a line (or two or MANY) on your paper and then fill in the spaces with color for a fun abstract design. Or, step back, take a closer look at your doodle and see if any images materialize. Can you see a face? A tail? Fill in the appropriate spaces to finish out what your imagination sees in the lines.

Coloring Book 5

Back and Forth Drawings
Turn coloring time into together time by playing simple drawing games together. Tangle Art & Drawing Games for Kids has tons of creative ideas. We tried “Horizon Drawings” here in the office. I drew a wacky horizon line on a piece of paper, then handed it off to Jennifer, who turned it into these delightfully kooky characters. Can’t you just imagine the story that is happening here?

Surreal Drawings
Surreal drawings are another imagination-builder. Start off with an everyday object—clip pictures from recycled magazines or print images from the internet. Challenge your child to transform that object into something new by drawing. Characters are an easy place to begin—a carrot turns into a basketball player, an egg beater becomes a charming friend.

Coloring Book 8

Pokemon Go Unplugged
When it’s time to unplug and disconnect, your kids can still burn off their Pokemon Go steam with a little old-fashioned drawing. Have everyone in the family invent and draw their own Pokemon Go character and hide it somewhere in the house or yard. Call “ready, set, go” and race to see who can collect the most characters.

For more great drawing ideas, check out these links:

Fun drawing games at The Artful Parent

All kinds of drawing prompts from TinkerLab

Drawing game using household objects from Craftwhack

And ten more drawing games from Craftwhack

Happy coloring!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Friday Photos: Dress Like an Egyptian

Ask any member of our Education Department: we love our props, and we LOVE dress-up! Luckily for us, our visitors do, too! No matter the age or the stage, we all have a blast getting into the spirit (and outfits) of our art.

Just this week, our Meaningful Moments group, led by our wonderful McDermott Intern Emily, got funky with the pharaohs in some hip headwear. Take a look!

Did you catch Pharaoh Alan putting bunny ears on Pharaoh Emily?

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

Adventures in Plating ala Pollock

Stained, poured, spattered, seeped, imprinted, feathered, and the oh-so-famous: dripped. Artworks in the DMA’s Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots radiate action verbs that describe both how Pollock made his art and how the art continued to transform once the paint/ink hit the canvas/paper. Spending the last few months surrounded by these works and their many verbs, I decided to take some of Pollock’s verbs into my kitchen to see where inspiration took me. And in a very big stroke of luck, I heard about and tracked down a local Dallas chef who had done the same thing!

First task on my adventure: source black “paint.” While I’m big on “eating my colors,” brainstorming black foods turned out to be tricky (how many can you name without Google?!). Trips to a few grocery stores provided some diverse and exotic options:

Second task: put black “paint” to “canvas.” Black paint absorbed into Pollock’s unprimed canvas leaving halos and burred edges around the solid poured lines in works like Number 26, 1951, shown in detail below. Fresh mozzarella turned out to be a perfect responsive canvas, and a thick, syrup-y reduction of balsamic vinegar and a little black strap molasses became the black(-ish) paint that stained and soaked into the cheese in big thick dollops. This also turned out to be a pretty tasty painting.

And much like Pollock, I got really into it, and had a bit of collateral damage as I worked…

balsamic reduction + phone!

Next, taking inspiration from Pollock’s works on paper, I rounded up some thin paper-like phyllo dough, which I left layered in sheets, and painted with a sweet coffee and black fig sauce. The sauce stained and puckered the phyllo, much like Pollock’s ink stained Japanese paper. I didn’t actually eat this one as it’s shown, but the sauce tasted good on ice cream!

And now, saving the best for last….While I had lots of fun playing around in the kitchen, going for more of a visual approximation than a dish you would whip up for dinner, I was excited to see how someone who cooks for a living would use Pollock’s art as inspiration. My chef friend Charlotte connected me with local chef Jordan Criss, of Deep Ellum’s Twenty-Seven, who had come to the Museum to see the exhibition and walked away with some great ideas (thank you, Charlotte!).

Below is Chef Criss’s West Bank Pho, a creation made from crispy fried garlic, cilantro, tasso ham, Sriracha, and Hoisin sauce, and beneath the tastiness, his inspiration for plating the dish:

West Bank pho

West Bank pho

The show inspired my dish by shattering my idea of contrived plating. All Of Pollock’s work is a kind of calming chaos that isn’t taught and rarely seen in culinary arts.  His work pushed the limits and I feel it’s hard not to want to do the same after walking through his exhibition.

Has an artwork or exhibition ever inspired you to head into the kitchen to play with (or plate) your food? Share in our comments, and then, check out our Education staff’s collection-inspired cookies, including a masterfully Pollock-ed cookie!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Everything Zen

Alternative rock band Weezer’s second album, Pinkerton, was released in 1996 to little fanfare. Panned by critics and lackluster sales, the sophomore entry was a far cry from the band’s multi-platinum debut, the self-titled Weezer with the hit single “Buddy Holly.”

Retrospectively, however, the album has become a cult classic and is regarded as one of the most significant albums of the 1990s. Exemplifying this polarity is the fact that Rolling Stone readers voted Pinkerton as the third worst album of the year in 1996, yet six years later in 2002 voted it the 16th greatest album of all time.

A modified image of a print from Ando Hiroshige’s Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, a copy of which is in the DMA’s collection, was chosen for Pinkerton’s album cover. Kambara: Snow at Night depicts a snowy evening in Kambara village—an unlikely scenario, since Kambara was located in a temperate area.

Hiroshige’s romantic enhancement of reality for emotional effect makes the woodblock print a fine choice for Pinkerton, since it is such an expressive album. Angst-filled, youthful poets so often tend to exaggerate events for greater dramatic impact. Interestingly, examination of the resulting production style and various thematic elements in Pinkerton inextricably link it to Zen Buddhism and other aspects of Japanese culture.

Pinkerton features a very raw and abrasive sound in an effort to evoke a live performance. The recordings for Pinkerton were done in one take, meaning everything was recorded simultaneously with little to no overdubbing after the fact. For example, lead singer and principal composer Rivers Cuomo recorded the vocal tracks with his fellow band members in unison around three microphones close to one another. This recording method contrasts with the way vocals are usually recorded, in an isolated chamber after the instrumental tracks have been laid down. Instead, the band member’s vocal tracks bleed into one another much like the guitar, drum, and keyboard work do. Little if any editing was done to their singing or the instruments. The resulting quality of the album sounds extremely rugged and unrefined, which contributes to its liveliness and emotional intensity.

Rivers Cuomo spent his early years in upstate New York living at a Buddhist Zen Center. Eventually he would move to Yogaville, an enclave of the spiritual practice in Virginia, where he remained for the rest of his childhood. These experiences no doubt contributed to the direction of production for Pinkerton. The desire to create the audio effect of an energetic, live performance is reflective of the fluid, in-the-moment perspective treasured in Zen Buddhism for the creation of art.

Moreover, Zen artistic values that permeate into the culture of Japan to this day treasure simplicity and the rough. Indeed, Zen art seeks to inspire contemplation of human existence as something that is ephemeral, lonely and melancholic through its emphasis on imperfection.

In this way a crooked, shabby cup is perceived as more attractive than an immaculate, symmetrical, and fastidiously constructed bowl made of fine material. This perspective results from the fact that the malformed cup encourages reflection on the nature of reality instead of merely being aesthetically pleasant to look at, like the “perfect” bowl.

Due to Pinkerton’s initial poor sales and critical reception, Weezer nearly disbanded, going on hiatus for 5 years until 2001’s Weezer (Green Album). With this new release onward, the band has not recorded in the atypical fashion they had on Pinkerton, instead choosing production enhancements that resulted in greater polish and clearness. The Zen artistic values of spontaneous creation and greater emotional depth achieved through imperfection serve to illuminate the artistic brilliance and relevance the band was able to achieve at that moment.

Artworks shown:

  •  Ando Hiroshige, Kambara: Snow at Night, 1834, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus.
  • Deep Bowl for Tea Ceremony (Mukozuke), Japan, A.D. 1568-1615, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Haynes.

Devon Hersch
McDermott Intern for Asian Art

Leaping for Leap Day

Leapin’ lizards! Some of the McDermott Interns celebrated Leap Day by putting a little spring in our step, following the footsteps of past interns and staff inspired by Jumping in Art Museums. You don’t need to wait another four years to join the fun–the next time you stop by the Museum, take your own jumping photos (from a safe distance of course!) and share them on Twitter or Instagram!

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Reaching for the stars in front of Rufino Tamayo’s El hombre (Man).

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It was just a hop, skip and a jump to Robert Rauschenberg’s Skyway.

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Our love for Barbara Hepworth’s Sea Form (Atlantic) grew by leaps and bounds.

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One small step for man, one giant leap for Mark Di Suvero’s Ave.

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Jumping for joy in front of the Kimbell Art Museum.

We came to get down, we came to get down, so come to the Museum and jump around!

Arworks shown:

  • Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds
  • Rober Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund, © Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York
  • Barbara Hepworth, Sea Form (Atlantic), 1964, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark, © Alan Bowness, Estate of Barbara Hepworth
  • Mark Di Suvero, Ave, 1973, Dallas Museum of Art, Irvin L. and Meryl P. Levy Endowment Fund, © Mark DiSuvero

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

Whitney Sirois
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Emily Wiskera
McDermott Graduate Intern for Family and Access Teaching

When the Clock Strikes Twelve

All over the world, the new year is a time to celebrate renewal, prosperity, and hope for the future. In many cultures, the count down to midnight is a time for traditions. In Australia, it’s tradition to bang pots and pans loudly at midnight; in Taiwan, eating fish (for prosperity) for Chinese New Year is a must; in Venezuela, wearing yellow underwear on New Years is lucky; first-footing in Scotland has been a tradition for centuries; and in the United States–particularly in the South–we eat black-eyed peas for good luck.

Here are a few of the clocks at the Dallas Museum of Art that are ticking in anticipation to celebrate the New Year tonight at midnight.

Best wishes for a happy 2016!

Whitney Sirois
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching


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