Posts Tagged 'animals'

Museum Menagerie

Over the years, a variety of animals have visited the DMA, so, to continue the animals-in-the-archives-themed posts, here are a few of the wildest critters that have been seen around the Museum.

A young elephant named Baby Star made an appearance on Ross Avenue Plaza in the fall of 1984. Unfortunately, the reason for the visit is unknown.

A cougar was spotted in the Museum’s Ceremonial Court in 1990. The cat was here to film a commercial.

A snake attended Nancy Hamon’s Masquerade Ball on May 23, 1997. No costume was required.

This adorable African penguin from the Dallas Zoo’s Animal Adventure Program was a guest at the November 19, 2010, Late Night, to the delight of many.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Puppy Love

We love hearing from our visitors about their experiences at the DMA. We especially enjoy learning about ways art touches lives. We recently received an e-mail from Mark and his granddaughter Fiona. Their story brought a smile to so many of the DMA staff that we asked if we could share their visit on Uncrated:

Earlier this month I took my seven-year-old granddaughter to the DMA. We visited the European galleries to look at paintings, more like glances as we raced by all the paintings. But we stopped at a large painting that depicts the myth of Zeus turning into a bull to woo his love. I asked Fi what she thought of this “crazy painting” when a woman paused near us. She shared the story the painting represented and then asked Fiona a question I should have asked at the beginning of our visit: “What kind of paintings do you like to see?”

Without hesitation my granddaughter said animals. She told us that she had the perfect painting for us, one that Fiona would love. The painting was not where she expected it to be and a gallery attendant, named Joyce, told us the painting was “taking a rest” but that she knew of more work depicting animals. While we were touring these animal paintings, Fiona and Joyce swapped pet stories and advice, both agreeing that you need to tell your pets that you love them every day.

After exploring the galleries we stopped at the hands-on area of the DMA (The Center for Creative Connections), where you can make your own work of art. Fiona drew and was able to make a rabbit sculpture with a piece of egg crate and pipe cleaners. She was very proud of her work and asked if she could keep it, and I told her yes. She then surprised me by saying she wanted to give it to the nice lady, Joyce.
joyce 2

A museum can be a cold, intimidating experience, but we found such warmth from our two encounters with DMA staff.
– Mark

We caught up with Joyce in the galleries to talk about her encounter with Mark and Fiona. She told us one of her favorite things about the job is being able to interact with our visitors, especially the youngest visitors like Fiona, and share her love of art. She was extremely moved by Fiona’s gift, which she has fondly named Fiona in her honor, and can’t wait to run into them on their next visit.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

Welcome 2014 Summer Art Camp Interns!

School is almost out and the temperature is rising–summer is here at the DMA! As we gear up for exciting summer programs at the Museum, we’re happy to welcome five new members to our team: our 2014 summer interns! Summer interns are an integral part of Summer Art Camps, making sure campers, teachers and parents alike are having the best educational experience possible.

Say hello to our interns! These amazing portraits were created during our orientation meeting.

Ashley artAshley Ham just completed her first year of graduate school in the Art Education program at The University of Texas at Austin. Originally from Abilene, she received a BFA in Two Dimensional Design from Abilene Christian University. And if she could be any animal she would be a bear, because she’s on a bit of a honey kick right now!Laila art


Laila Jiwani is a rising senior at Texas A&M University, with a focus in International Studies and French. Quite the world traveler, she spent four months studying language, culture and society at Université Moulay Ismaïl  in Meknes, Morocco. Laila’s animal of choice would be a bird, because then she wouldn’t have to pay for those flights abroad!

Miyoko art


Miyoko Pettinger just completed her first year at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, where she is pursuing a degree in Psychology with an concentration in art therapy. An avid musician, she plays the piano and cello and has been a part of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra for 11 years! If Miyoko could be an animal she would be a sloth, because it looks like a pretty comfortable life! denise art


Denise Sandoval, the youngest member of the intern cohort, is a soon-to-be graduate of the Irma L. Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School in Dallas. Her plan is to study Elementary Education when she enters Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX in the fall. Perhaps her experience working at the Dallas Zoo influenced her choice of animal to-be: she chose a giraffe because they seem to be one of the nicer species.

wilhelmina artWilhelmina Watts, the second Southwestern University member of the intern group, will begin her second year of study this fall. She is pursuing a double degree in Art History and English, with a minor in Chinese. She’ll put her studio art and collage experience to use this summer during art camp. And her animal to-be of choice? A Goat. Why? Because it’s adorable!


When you visit the DMA this summer–we hope to see you often!–you’ll recognize these new faces around the Museum and the Center for Creative Connections. Say hello and welcome them to the DMA family!

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Friday Photos: Animal Guardians

The Indonesian galleries are probably the safest area of the Museum, and I don’t say this because there are nearby fire extinguishers or emergency exits. These rooms, particularly the south Indonesian gallery, are protected by a multitude of ferocious animal guardians.

The aso is a mythical animal that combines the strengths and characteristics of a dog and a dragon. This pair of aso, carved from wood, are both regal and elegant with their upright, smooth bodies, and yet intimidating with their dragon-like spirals and bared teeth.

Pair of mythical animals (ask)

Pair of mythical as0, Kayan people, Malaysia, 19th century, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund and the Museum League Purchase Fund

The body of two conjoined aso form the handle of a door, which served as a protective barrier in a traditional Kayan longhouse.

Door with protective symbols, c. 1850-1900, Indonesia, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, 1997.111

Door with protective symbols, Kayan people, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, c. 1850-1900, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund

One more work of art, not pictured here, also features carved aso. Come to the DMA and look for the aso‘s signature spiral forms, serrated teeth, and ivory eyes. If you visit during a week that the Pop-up Art Spot is stationed in the south Indonesian gallery (for instance, July 9-14), be sure to pick up a scavenger hunt so you can find the other animal guardians in Indonesian works of art.

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager

Show Me the Love!

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air here at the Museum! The works of art might not have their own shoebox mailboxes like the one I made in third grade, but I like to imagine the homemade Valentines they might pass between each other. We have our “going steady” couples, our “head over heels” couples, and even a few secret admirers. If you haven’t made your own Valentines yet, don’t fret—there’s still time. Take a note from the art couples below, use the DIY tutorials featured, and you’ll be showing the love to your one and only in no time.

These two are joined at the hip! Painted by John Singleton Copley in 1747, Woodbury and Sarah Langdon were real-life sweethearts who commissioned the artist to paint their portraits shortly after their marriage. Woodbury was a wealthy New Hampshire merchant with dreams of politics, and Sarah was his young bride. The couple eventually had ten children, and Woodbury went on to hold political office and serve on the New Hampshire Superior Court. Since these two are never far apart, I can imagine Woodbury sending this Valentine to his sweetheart:

matchbox-love-note tutorial valentine's day party ideas party printables valentine's day crafts

Download a template and find instructions for this project at the Bird’s Party blog.

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-1847, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-1847, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

These animals have been peacefully sharing their close quarters for years! Painter Edward Hicks returned to this subject again and again, imagining a world where the lambs and lions, leopards and kids could all exist together in peace. Heavily influenced by his Quaker roots, Hicks painted this subject more than one hundred times. After spending all that time together, I imagine these animals consider one another family. Perhaps the bear could send this Valentine to the lamb?


Free printables and an animal group cheat sheet can be found at the Modern Parents, Messy Kids blog. Who knew that a group of giraffes is called a tower?

This trio is often seen hanging out in the galleries together like best buddies. There’s the boisterous, rowdy friend and the beautiful, calm sidekicks. Vernet’s A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm (top left) highlights the wild beauty and sheer power of nature, while Anne Vallayer-Coster’s floral still life paintings (bottom left and right) capture the calm, quiet loveliness of a well-placed petal. Can’t you imagine the still life paintings slipping this Valentine into Approaching Storm’s pocket (perhaps with some giggles)? With its gusting winds and swelling clouds, how could Storm resist the bubbles?


Find bubbles at the dollar store and use this free printable from the Lil Luna blog to make your own.

Vishnu as Varaha, 10th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation and the Alconda-Owsley Foundation, E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Wendover Fund, and gift of Alta Brenner in memory of her daughter Andrea Bernice Brenner-McMullen

Vishnu as Varaha, 10th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation and the Alconda-Owsley Foundation, E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Wendover Fund, and gift of Alta Brenner in memory of her daughter Andrea Bernice Brenner-McMullen

This pair is one of those “you’re my hero” kind of relationships. The 10th century statue from India depicts the Hindu god Varaha in his boar-headed avatar Vishnu. When the earth goddess Prithvi is imprisoned under the sea by an evil demon, Vishnu saves the day, rescuing her from the depths. Look closely and you can see Prithvi perched on Vishnu’s shoulder. No doubt, she would send him this Valentine:

Superhero Valentine 9

Use the free printable at the Zakka Life blog for the superhero in your life.

I hope you are feeling inspired by our artsy couples. Come pay them a visit and decide for yourself if the Valentine fits. As for your own Valentine’s bliss, if all else fails, bring your true love to the DMA and let them know this:


(Print available for purchase at Love Sugar’s etsy shop)

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Collection Connections: War Horse

Recently I enjoyed a fantastic performance of War Horse over at our Arts District neighbor, the Winspear. I was completely blown away by the horse puppets, created by the South African Handspring Puppet Company. Classifying them as puppets, however, does not seem to do them justice. The beautiful craftsmanship of the puppets along with the expertise of the puppeteers magically breathed life into horse protagonist Joey and his other horse and animal companions. (I was highly entertained by Joey’s hysterically energetic goose friend.)

What I found most amazing was how the puppets, puppet artists, and actors were able to so powerfully communicate the strength of an animal-human bond. I was so moved by the relationship between Joey and his owner Albert that I teared up throughout much of the play!

I wanted to explore how works of art in the DMA’s collection could similarly convey the potential of human and animal relationships. I thought of the following works:

This small ivory sculpture from the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria presents a man with the most important import: the domestic horse. Horses were introduced to Africa via Asian conquerors in Egypt between 1640 and 1532 BC. Because of their speed, strength, and ability to lift a rider taller than any standing man, horses symbolized power and prestige to the Yoruba.

In this nineteenth-century painting, Cinderella and her pet cat gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes. As pets are the best listeners, I would imagine she is venting about her mean stepsisters, who vainly admire themselves in the mirror behind her.

In this sculpture, the Hindu god Vishnu appears as a man with a wild boar head.  The earth goddess, whom he just saved from a demon, sits on his shoulder and embraces his snout.

Coats of arms often included representations of animals. Throughout history, humans have admired certain characteristics of animals and used animal imagery to symbolize human values. Think of a courageous lion or a wise old owl…

Here a man stands with open arms, locking eyes with two birds. The stylistic similarities between man and bird suggest man’s undeniable connection to the animal and natural world.

Artworks shown:

  • Horse-and-rider figure (elesin Shango), 17th to 18th century, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.
  • Thomas Sully, Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation
  • Vishnu as Varaha, 10th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation and the Alconda-Owsley Foundation, E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Wendover Fund, and gift of Alta Brenner in memory of her daughter Andrea Bernice Brenner-McMullen
  • Plate with coat of arms, c. 1740, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
  • Rufino Tamayo, Bird Watcher, 1950, Dallas Museum of Art, Collection of Robert Harville Bishop, gift of Eugene H. Bishop

Signing off,

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator of Teaching Programs


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