Archive for the 'People' 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 Light and the Dark

What is it about art that speaks to us so deeply? How does it tap into our soul and speak so loudly to us, sometimes even uncomfortably shouting our truths to other people? We spend all of our time hiding the deepest parts of our souls from others around us, sometimes even from the people closest in our lives. But art, this amazing living and breathing thing, shouts our truths back at us and makes us feel emotions that we were positive we had locked away deep in our hearts where they could not escape. Suddenly, there it is. That work of art that is so profound, so fierce, that it stops us in our tracks and we are taken aback. This seemingly unassuming piece vividly screaming out to us and all surrounding us.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Here I was, a four decade veteran of the mind as a psychotherapist, and my mind was the very thing being attacked. I realized something was wrong when I could not get my thoughts straight enough to form words. I could, and can, still speak but there is nothing more frustrating than consistently not being able to think of a word and speak it. My mind has become a tangled web where things often do not make sense and I have to stop and really think about what I want to convey to other people. As parts of my mind grow darker, the more creative and patient I must become–and this is where art has changed my life.

Recently I was able to come to the Museum and spend some time in the quiet stillness of the galleries before it was open to the public during the Meaningful Moments program. As I observed the beauty of this majestic place and wandered the meandering galleries, I took in the colors and the mediums, the brush strokes and the carvings; able to breathe deeply and take in the magnificence of where I was. As I turned the corner of a hallway towards the end of my time at the Museum, I saw a piece that stopped me in my tracks and pulled at my heartstrings.

Jackson Pollock, Cathedral, 1947, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis © Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Cathedral is a piece of contemporary art created by the famed Jackson Pollock in 1947. I had never taken stock in contemporary art, really. But this piece stole my heart and was screaming my truth in a way that I didn’t think was actually possible. In this, I see my mind—this mess of black and grey and white. What is the brain if not a mass of neurons, an incredible weaving of all of your thoughts and feelings, experiences and memories; together it creates this masterpiece that we call the brain. Cathedral puts onto canvas what the brain is and more specifically, those who have Alzheimer’s. The beautiful brightness is the living and breathing part of me that is alive, capable of everything. In contrast the inky black is what the Alzheimer’s has taken from me: the plaques, tangles and weaves that steal my mind.

As I sat looking at this enigmatic piece of art, I thought about my experiences over the last two years. I see the parts of me that I had to let go of: my practice, driving, paying the bills. The death of those things is so eloquently represented with the sharp jagged edges of black here. In contrast, I think of all of the things I still have: helping others as much as possible, holding a conversation with my friends, the love of my husband and family. While my brain has betrayed me in ways I cannot express to those who do not suffer from this disease, it has not taken the essence of who I am.

I sit and stare at Cathedral and in it I see who I am: I see that there is a complexity and a depth; there is pain and there is joy, truly a mix of the light and the dark. So often we do not understand that even in illness we are part of a bigger picture; to not let the dark define who we are is what is important. To embrace who and what we are and celebrate ourselves as part of a larger medium of art is the definition of life–for without the dark there would be no light.

Jane McManus
Participant, Meaningful Moments program

Allison Espinosa
Care Advisor, Honor Health Care

Unexpected Internship

Hey everyone! My name is Grecia Soto and I’m a summer intern at the Dallas Museum of Art through the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program. I had been certain that I would not have the opportunity I had been hoping for this summer. However, one fateful summer morning, I was contacted and informed of a possible internship for me, which I quickly accepted. Against all odds, I arrived at a place that I had never imagined working at: the DMA.

Grecia Soto

2017 Mayor’s Intern Fellow Grecia Soto

As part of the Education department, I assist with the Go van Gogh program. This summer’s theme was Guardians from Around the World. Children got to learn and talk about guardians from many cultures in the Museum’s artwork as well as guardians in their everyday life. Seeing the kids’ faces light up when they learned who Wonder Woman was inspired by was a definite highlight.

Besides getting to work on Go van Gogh, I got to assist with many other programs here at the DMA, including summer art camps for kids ranging from 4 to 8 years old. I must say working with small kids that I did not know at all was a little intimidating at first, but thanks to the advice and support from the camp teachers, I quickly adjusted. There is something special about a little kid wanting to share everything about their art with you even though they just met you 30 minutes before. I also got to shadow programs like Meaningful Moments, an access program for individuals with early stage dementia or Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

This summer's Food on the Move and Go Van Gogh collaboration.

I also got to attend professional meetings, and even gave a short presentation at one of them. Talking and sharing what I had learned to a room full of experienced adults was slightly terrifying, but I was up for the challenge, and I thank my supervisor Amy Copeland for having given me that opportunity. At meetings like these I found a deeper appreciation for those who work in this field.

Right now I’m standing at the crossroads for a tomorrow that I can’t begin to imagine, but this job has been a window into one of many possible futures for me. During my short stay at the DMA, I learned and experienced much more than I could have ever imagined. I have made many memories both professional and personal. Everyone I encountered here has shown so much passion for what they do and have inspired me to find what I am most passionate about as well.

The DMA was not expecting me, and I was not expecting them; nonetheless, they welcomed me with open arms and for that I am forever grateful.

Grecia Soto
2017 Mayor’s Intern Fellow

Volunteering is smART!

Center for Creative Connections volunteer

The DMA is fortunate to have a committed group of volunteers who are dedicated to ensuring our educational programs succeed. If you want to get more involved at the DMA, We are currently recruiting new volunteers for the Center for Creative Connections, Go van Gogh school outreach program, and the Arts & Letters Live speaker series. A formal background in art or art education is not required, we simply seek individuals who are passionate about serving the Dallas community! There is a volunteer opportunity for all interests, so read on for details about each opening.

In the Center for Creative Connections, we seek volunteers who enjoy interacting with the public. C3 volunteers welcome and engage visitors in conversations about art and art making in the Art Spot. C3 volunteers also have the chance to take the  C3 experience to other galleries as a Pop-Up Art Spot facilitator. Volunteers are asked to serve two shifts per month, approximately seven hours, and must attend an orientation session.

Go van Gogh volunteers help teach art programs in elementary classrooms across the city. They encourage students to look closely at works of art in the Museum’s collection and get involved in hands-on art making projects. Interested volunteers must be available to attend bi-monthly training sessions on Tuesday mornings and are asked to teach two weekday programs per month from late September to mid-May.

If you love literature, then becoming an Arts & Letters Live volunteer may be the choice for you! Arts & Letters Live volunteers support speaker events, including BooksmART programs for young readers, by serving as ticket takers, greeters, ushers, and book signing assistants. New volunteers will attend an orientation session in December before the the 2018 season begins.

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Visit our Volunteer page for applications and additional information about each of these volunteer programs or email volunteers@dma.org with any questions. We hope you’ll join us!

Andi Orkin
Volunteer Coordinator for Programming

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

Friday Photos: Volunteers and “México 1900–1950”

As part of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the amazing volunteers helping to bring México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde to our community. Different volunteer groups have come together to make DMA Family Days a resounding success. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, we’re able to offer art highlights, studio activities, and the Pop-Up Art Spot in the Art of the Ancient Americas Galleries, in addition to free admission to the exhibition on those special Sundays.

What’s more, Go Van Gogh bilingual after school volunteers have helped share the exhibition outside of the Museum through community outreach programs. Here’s a quick look at how volunteers are helping our community experience México 1900–1950.

Are you inspired to get involved? Explore volunteer opportunities at the DMA!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Happy National Volunteer Week!

April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week in North America. This special week was created in the 1970s to celebrate and recognize volunteer service across the country. We are so fortunate to have a fantastic group of volunteers at the DMA who support our programs everyday. Since January, DMA volunteers have already donated over 3,600 hours of service and helped create countless experiences for our visitors! In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to share a mini volunteer spotlight for each group to celebrate their daily achievements and show our thanks.

Everyday in the Center for Creative Connections, our Junior League of Dallas and C3 volunteers welcome visitors and encourage them to interact with art in new ways. They are always willing to engage in new opportunities when they arise.

Our Docents share their knowledge and passion for the Museum with hundreds of visitors each week. They are constantly researching and learning new things to ensure their tours and access programs are the best they can be.

Arts & Letters Live volunteers help make our many BooksmART and author events possible while serving as ushers, ticket takers, and greeters. Their ongoing commitment to this speaker series makes each year a success.

Go van Gogh volunteers travel to dozens of classrooms each school year, bringing art education to children across Dallas. We truly appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication in delivering these experiences across the city.

Community Engagement volunteers are always happy to lend a hand at special DMA programs including Late Night and Membership events. They are truly one of our most flexible groups!

The Teen Advisory Council is always thinking of innovative new ideas to involve the community and recently launched the Disconnect to Reconnect teen night. We are also looking forward to welcoming a new group of Teen Ambassadors who will join us this summer.

Thank you so much to all of our wonderful and amazing volunteers! You all help make our programs a reality and we sincerely appreciate your ongoing generosity and support. If you are interested in becoming a DMA volunteer, please visit the Volunteer page or email volunteers@dma.org.

Andi Orkin
Volunteer Coordinator for Programming


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