Archive for the 'Museum Insight' Category

C3 Summer Intern Recap: Abigail

Hi, my name is Abigail Hofbauer– intern, chocolate lab puppy aficionado, sushi-lover, and new Dallasite. I’m currently in graduate school at Baylor University for my Masters of Arts in Museum Studies, having just completed my Bachelor’s (also at Baylor!) in History.

This summer, I had the chance to intern with the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA. I worked on many things over the summer: daily C3 upkeep, interactions with volunteers, and the newest Visiting Artist Project. Lisa Huffaker’s Sound re:Vision opened my eyes to the hard work behind the scenes of all interactive art installations. It was fun to create zines and to have part ownership of such an interesting piece in the Museum.

As the C3 Summer Intern, my specific project was to observe and evaluate the visitor experience of the Pop-up Art Spot inspired by the Keir Collection of Islamic Art. Through surveys, personal interactions, and simple observations, visitors provided some detailed feedback about what they want in a “pop-up experience” at a museum. Our goal was to make sure visitors were spending time with the art collections, making connections with the art and others in their group, and having fun in the Museum! If the results of my observations are any indicator, I’d say that we reached our goal.

Most of the visitors came in groups – both families and adults. Almost all of these groups spent time in the Keir Collection of Islamic Art either before, during, or after their activity. It was important to confirm this and show the Pop-up Art Spot was making a connection between the art and visitors. The majority of the visitors who participated in the Pop-up Art Spot activities were also adults, rather than children. This was a great piece of information to glean, as it shows how diverse yet simple activities appeal to all ages. Teens and adults above age 45 are some audiences to focus on in future activities.

The coloring and shape search activities were very popular, but the cross-cultural connection postcard activity really touched the hearts of our visitors. Some responses were so heartfelt and interesting! In the surveys taken, visitors indicated that they felt connected, proud, inspired, and excited to spend time with art. Many also indicated that there was a larger social impact of the activities on their visit: some learned about shapes, colors, patterns, or other visitors! We had 73 activities filled out and 183 participants throughout the month of July.

Here are three of my favorite responses from the postcard activity:

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Overall, this project was so fulfilling! I got firsthand knowledge of the visitors at the DMA. I also got to work closely with some amazing volunteers and see how they help educational programs shine. But most important of all, I used skills I learned from classes and previous experience to improve museum programming. This internship has allowed me to be part of so many experiences at the DMA and learn from the amazing Education team. It’s been an honor and I couldn’t have been happier to be here for the summer!

Abigail Hofbauer
Center for Creative Connections Intern

The Student Becomes the Master

Summer art camp interns play many roles during their time at the DMA: teaching assistant, museum navigator, problem solver, carpool coordinator, bathroom trip taker, funny face maker, and–most importantly–friend to all campers! This year, we added three exciting new roles to their list: researcher, lesson writer, and teacher. For the first time, in teams and under the supervision of DMA staff, our 2017 summer art camp interns researched, wrote, and taught their very own summer camps.

These interns had six weeks to plan their camps, collecting ideas and teaching tricks from other camps and teachers they worked with along the way. We provided them with basic themes to start from, but from that point on their camps were entirely their own, from the works of art they focused on to the projects they made in the studio. They taught techniques, guided campers in looking and talking about art, and–like every good teacher–improvised when things didn’t go according to plan.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce our two teaching teams: Team Sense-sational Art and Team Portrait Party!

Team Sense-sational Art: Sharidyn Barnes, Jenna Buckley, and Mary Judge

Team Sense-sational Art was tasked with planning a camp all about art and the five senses for a group of children ages 6-8. They divided and conquered, each taking on one or two senses and planning a day around it. Sharidyn found she had a knack for getting into the why and how of art-making, Jenna dazzled with her knowledge of art history and fun facts about the collection, and Mary ignited campers’ imaginations with dramatic storytelling and gallery exploration.

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Team Portrait Party: Madeline Bumpass and Paige Alexander

Team Portrait Party planned a camp focused on portraits throughout the ages, from Roman busts to modern-day selfies, for a group of girls ages 9-12. Madeline and Paige worked together on each of the days, taking turns leading conversations in the galleries and getting elbows-deep in clay, paint, and fabric in the studio. It was a week of singing (lots of Disney and Taylor Swift), masterpiece-making, joke-cracking, and serious fun.

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Now that their camps are done and their internships have concluded, Jenna, Mary, Sharidyn, Madeline, and Paige are wrapping up their summer vacations, heading back to another year at college, and who knows – maybe one or two are on their way to a career in museum education! Congratulations on a job well done, ladies!

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Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

Rising Stars

AT&T Stadium

As this year’s McDermott Interns wind down their time with us here at the Museum, I wanted take a moment to look back at all they’ve accomplished over the past eight + months–A LOT!

Gallery Talks

Each has researched works in our collection and presented a bite of insight over the lunch hour for our adult visitors during Gallery Talks. Our final intern talk will be this Wednesday at 12:15 pm with Marta–don’t miss it!

Blog Posts

They’ve written clever, informative posts on both of our blogs, Canvas and Uncrated. Angela even started a video series to give us a more in depth peek into intern life here at the Museum.

Professional Development

They’ve utilized their professional development funding to attend conferences, meet with colleagues, visit museums, and learn about opportunities for their future across the U.S., from L.A. to St. Louis to Maryland and beyond. Grace and Angela shared their experiences with us on here on Canvas as well.

Projects

Not only have they contributed countless hours of research toward the DMA collection, future exhibitions, and program planning, but they’ve also produced some exciting activities you can check out right now! Amy curated Multiple Selves, a small exhibition of works on paper which can be found in our Level 2 European Galleries, and Sara devised the plot for our upcoming Museum Murder Mystery. These are just a few examples–the whole list of each of their contributions would be much too long for one post!

Field Trips

And of course, they had some fun visiting artworks and collections across the Metroplex!

With plans to head off to grad school, embark on careers in museums and the arts, or even help us here at the DMA through the summer, we know these lovely ladies will see much success in their futures. We sure will miss them but are so excited to find out all the places they’ll go!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

Staff Spotlight: Rose Davis

When you find yourself in a room with Rose Davis, it is clear that she is not someone who goes unnoticed. She is warm and charismatic, a person who naturally bonds with a wide range of visitors and staff at the Museum. While it’s her job to observe visitors and make sure they engage with artwork safely, Rose often goes the extra mile and offers her own special discoveries and insights into the Museum’s collection.

Rose with The Icebergs, Frederic Edwin Church, 1861, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt

Rose has been a gallery attendant at the DMA for only 10 months, but in that time she’s grown very fond of one work of art in particular, The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church. About a month ago, during a walk through of the 4th floor galleries, Rose engaged me in a conversation about The Icebergs. She asked us if we’d ever noticed the hidden figures in the painting. Rose excitedly told us about her growing collection of hidden characters in the painting, noting to us that she is continually discovering more as she spends more time with the piece.

Two weeks later, I came back to The Icebergs with Rose and asked her to walk me through each hidden figure she’d discovered. Her first discovery was the gorilla. Then one day when the gallery was empty, she took her first “closer look” and the rest snowballed: a mermaid, a mummy, animals, faces in the ice, and many more. With some laughter in her voice she explained to me that when she first began sharing her discoveries with others, they were skeptical of her, but as soon as they could find one figure in the painting they’d be itching to find another. Below are some of my favorites she shared with us (which I’ve outlined in red). What hidden images will you discover when you look closely at The Icebergs?

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We often think of gallery attendants as people who protect works of art by keeping us from getting too close, but as I’ve learned from Rose, you can “get close” to art in different ways, like absorbing the little details in a painting. Gallery attendants spend a lot of time with our permanent collection, so don’t be shy! Next time you’re exploring our galleries, say hello and ask them what they know. The answers might surprise you!

A visitor’s post-it note about Rose left at our Testing Zone, which currently highlights various writing styles for The Icebergs wall text.

Kerry Butcher
Center for Creative Connections Coordinator

Friday Photos: Intern Tips

About four weeks ago, I left my home city of Los Angeles to embark on a new adventure in Dallas. Now, here I am, settled into my McDermott Internship at the Dallas Museum of Art! So, I wanted to share five tips of knowledge gathered in my four weeks of working here.

2016 McDermott Interns

1. Be on time.

I’m going to be brutally honest with you. I was late on my first day. I had my lame excuses, sure (*ahem* DART) – but nothing is worse than showing up a little pink in the cheeks and frazzled in the mind. Do your research the night before and block time in your first morning schedule for potential mishaps.

2. Be brave.

On my first day as an intern, I met loads and loads of people. They looked smart. They looked professional. They looked like they have been adulting for quite some time now. Even though I may have been the newest fish in the sea, I tried my best to be brave enough to ask my questions and make my shiny and new presence known.

DMA’s Multimedia Producer, Gregory Castillo  & me

3. Dress the part.

You’ll not only look professional but also feel more professional (and thus, confident) knowing that you are dressed to the same par as your (possibly more-adult) peers.

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4. Get to know your work environment.

Explore your new work-home while it’s still okay to look a little lost and slightly confused. Be aware of your surrounding and make a mental map of it all.

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Alfred.

5. Be you.

Even though this may be one of my first work ventures, I still feel my best when I am being organically me. Thus, I still am me: unfortunate jokes, crafty(ish) desk décor and all.

Here’s to many, many more weeks of lessons learned and tips to give!

Angela Medrano
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

The Art of Being an Intern

Finalizing designs with the SDCC teens.

Finalizing designs with the SDCC teens.

Hello everyone! My name is Mariana Gonzalez and for the past eight weeks, I have interned with the Museum’s Education Department as part of the Mayors Intern Fellows Program. The program is highly competitive because it offers 350 students (over 1,000 students applied!) the opportunity to gain real world experience at an eight-week long internship. I am about to begin my senior year at Richland Collegiate High School. It is a charter school in Dallas where I am set to earn my Associates Degree in Science and my high school diploma this coming spring. I aspire to be a well-recognized artist someday and plan to continue my studies with a Bachelors in Studio Art.

Much of my job here as an intern for the Education Department involved getting dirty with many diverse groups of kids. I worked in the C3 Studio on some days and other days I was on the move with the Go van Gogh program! We created works of art and hosted all kinds of camps for the kiddos from fashion camp to a cosplay camp. Every day was completely different. I also had the opportunity to help guide a teacher forum. I essentially taught teachers about teaching art. From doing craft projects to visiting a few exhibitions, these teachers were offered the finest of opportunities to learn all about how we do things here at the DMA.

One of my favorite partnerships happened with the South Dallas Cultural Center. The Go van Gogh program and teens from the SDCC banded together to create temporary street art with duct tape. We began with marshmallow ice breakers, finding inspiration from artists like Banksy, and sketching out various designs. We outlined our ideas in chalk and finally worked the duct tape into the concrete to create street art. The entire experience was mind blowing –who would’ve thought we could make art on concrete out of non-expensive tape? These brilliant teens innovated my manner of thinking and that lesson will always stick with me.

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When I was little, my mother taught me about many things, but no amount of preaching on her behalf could have taught me what I learned from the kids at the DMA. Working with such a vast amount of children allowed me to realize how much I enjoy their company. They are all young, vibrant, and honest. Something I looked forward to every single day of my internship. Overall, my internship transformed my summer into a memorable experience. I am forever in debt to my supervisor and all of the wonderful people who helped guide me on this fantastic journey of learning and teaching at the DMA. I even had the opportunity to be featured on The Dallas Morning News!

Mariana Gonzalez
Mayor’s Intern Fellow

The Signs They Are A-Changin’: Bilingual Museum Signage

FullSizeRenderLast week, while vacationing in San Juan with my family, we stopped by the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. When I travel to a new city, I always like to visit the museums to see their collections and learn about their educational initiatives. Puerto Rico is a US Territory, but it’s quite a different place than any of the fifty states. Though my family is bilingual, I’m a non-Spanish speaker, so I was pleased to learn that Puerto Rico is bilingual. Many residents speak both Spanish and English and, to my delight, all of the museum signage was bilingual! As a museum educator who has been involved in making signage more accessible, it was amazing to walk in and find that everything from the museum map to the artwork labels were in both Spanish and English. (Click on the images below to enlarge.)

 

Last year Steve Yalowitz wrote a guest post on Nina Simon’s blog about the significance of bilingual signage. As co-author of the Bilingual Exhibit Research Initiative, which strove to better understand bilingual labels from the visitor perspective, Yalowitz offered these three points as significant findings:

  1. Code-switching – We found lots of evidence of effortless switching back-and-forth between English and Spanish….The power of bilingual text is that it’s bilingual – it provides access in two languages, and code switching lets you understand and express yourself from two different perspectives, with two sets of vocabulary.

  2. Facilitation – We researched intergenerational groups, so it’s not surprising that many of the adults saw their role as facilitator as essential to their own and the group’s success in the exhibition….With Spanish labels available, adults were able to facilitate, guiding the conversations and interactions, showing their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews where to focus and how to interact. Adults who were previously dependent on their children could now take the lead as confident facilitators.

  3. Emotional reaction – This study found that the presence of bilingual interpretation had a profound emotional effect on the groups. Groups said they enjoyed the visit more, felt more valued by the institution, and many said having bilingual interpretation changed how they felt about the institution.

When I read Yalowitz’s article last year, it opened my eyes to the experiences of non-English speakers in museums with English only text. But the experience was made even more tangible as an English speaker visiting the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Had the text only been in Spanish, I would have had to ask my daughter or significant other to translate for me. This would not have been impossible, but rather inconvenient. If I stopped to look closely at a work of art that they were not interested in, I would have to call them back and interrupt their experience to get assistance understanding the label. Having bilingual text allowed me to take on the role of facilitator, reading the label and prompting my daughter with questions, and allowed my family to switch between Spanish and English comfortably. Furthermore, going beyond bilingual label text and providing bilingual directional signage was significant as well: we were each able to easily and equally participate in the entire museum experience.

Over the last few years, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) has begun to incorporate bilingual text and voices in a variety of ways. This initiative began soon after the DMA moved to free general admission. With this change in our admission policy, our overall number of visitors and the diversity of those visitors increased. The need for accessible signage for Spanish speakers was apparent, so in late 2012 we started to test out the use of bilingual prompts at the C3 Art Spot.

This was the perfect place to start because it is one of the busiest spaces in the Center for Creative Connections. It was also easy to begin using bilingual text in these kinds of prompts because these signs typically change more often and are easier to alter than more permanent wall signage. In 2014, we began to use bilingual activity prompts in the main C3 Gallery as well. This is a prompt for an activity where visitors use a light box and reproductions of works of art from the Museum’s collection to create hybrid creatures.

These small steps have been leading up to a bigger change. This year when we installed our Community at LARGE project, both English and Spanish text was included not only in the table prompt, but also on the wall text.

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As we continue to install new works of art in the Center for Creative Connections, our hope is to integrate bilingual text throughout the space.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager


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