Posts Tagged 'Artist'

DIY String Art Tutorial

Last weekend, the Dallas Museum of Art teamed up with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for our Art + Science Festival. Visitors enjoyed activities ranging from light graffiti to digital microscope observations to a film about artists and scientists who devote their lives to origami.

If you ventured to the DMA’s Fleischner Courtyard during the festival, you probably noticed a colorful creation of string being woven through the trees. That’s because guest artist Amie Adelman was leading a workshop which involved visitors helping her create a sculpture of geometric lines and angles using just the courtyard’s trees and string as supplies.


Although it may be difficult to create a work of art on your own as immense as the one that graced the DMA’s courtyard last weekend, there’s a simple way to create your own string art with supplies that you can find in your own home:

What you need:

  • Cardboard square (our example is 8″ X 8″)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Exacto knife
  • Scissors
  • Thread

Step 1

Using a ruler as a guide, make small marks with a pencil on all four sides of your cardboard square that are one inch apart from each other.


Step 2

Once you have drawn marks on all four sides of your cardboard square, score the marks all the way through the cardboard with an exacto knife.


Step 3

After all pencil marks are scored, wrap your cardboard square with thread. Make sure that the thread is wrapped tight enough through the scored marks that they do not easily slip out. This will also keep you from having to knot the thread when you’re finished creating your design.

Think about the different geometric designs that you want to make with the thread. The more layers of thread that you add to your cardboard, the thicker and more visible it will appear when you’re finished.


Step 4

Once you’re through using your thread of choice, cut the thread on the back of your string art creation.


Step 5

Optional: Keep adding more colors of thread to your design. If you choose to add more colors, repeat steps 3 and 4 for each color of thread that you add.


There are a lot of different geometric designs that you can create with string art! Share what colors and designs you decide to incorporate into your own string art creation in the comments!


Amy Elms
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

Staff Spotlight: Mary Nangah

Mary Nangah wears many hats.  She is an artist, a student, and an aspiring chef.  She is also the DMA’s part-time Community Teaching Assistant.  Mary’s hard work behind-the-scenes helps make Go van Gogh visits and community outreach events happen.  Here, Mary tells us more about her role at the Museum.

Mary Nangah

Describe your job here at the Museum:

I work primarily with Go van Gogh,  and my main duties involve planning and prepping supplies for volunteers to take into the classroom.  I also help with any upcoming projects that may arise, such as reviewing the DMA Connect website and helping with the Dallas International Film Festival‘s High School Day.  I also assist Melissa with Go van Gogh volunteer training.

Could you trace the path that has brought you to the DMA?

It was the summer of 2011, and I was interning at the Rachofsky House during the Museum Forum for Teachers.  I met Melissa  during that week, and she thought I was awesome because I helped her during an art-making activity.  And she must have thought to herself, “Hmm, Mary would really be a good fit for the Go van Gogh program.”  So by the end of the week, Melissa and I exchanged contact information and she said she would keep me posted on internship opportunities at the DMA.  I started here as a part-time intern at the end of August.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your work here?

Well, besides checking out the food trucks, it has been interesting to see how much planning goes into the Go van Gogh program.  Every little step matters, from making sure the materials are prepared ahead of time, to packing the bags, to making sure the schools are reminded that volunteers are coming.  Each of those steps, which may seem small, all keep the program flowing smoothly.

The people I work with are an essential part of what makes my work here interesting.  Hannah and I work well together because we have an understanding of what needs to be done to keep things moving steadily forward.  With the larger department, there is a good amount of collaboration, teamwork, and encouragement.  And we have great lunches together, too!

How do you spend your time outside the Museum?

I enjoy watching CNN, the Food Network, and HGTV.  I also love cooking.  Oh, yeah, I am working on my PhD at the University of North Texas, too.  Hence, I do a lot of reading, thinking, and writing about art education.  Specifically, I am researching contemporary West African art.  My interest in this area comes from my background as a Cameroonian artist, as well as my interest in finding out about other contemporary West African artists.  The next step of my research is to travel to Ghana in the summer of 2012.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Well, I had better be done with my PhD and working at either a university or a museum/art center.  I’m leaning towards wanting to be a curator, but a curator who is attached to education because I think they’re connected.  As an art educator, I believe it’s important for me to create an environment where art can be experienced by and accessible to everyone.  Art education, for me, goes beyond the classroom and the museum and into every day happenings.  Art is for every day.

Mary Nangah, The Ultimate Leap, 2010, Oil on canvas

We have all enjoyed working with Mary over the past year and can’t wait to see where her poise, intellect, and excellent sense of humor take her in the future!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Coming Soon: Mark Manders

A new exhibition opens at the DMA this Sunday, and it’s one I’m looking forward to seeing in person.  Mark Manders: Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments presents eighteen sculptures by the Dutch artist.    Manders is a poet-turned-artist, and his sculptures combine everyday objects (such as teabags and pencils) with items that he creates himself.  At first glance, you might assume that his sculptures are made with found objects.  In actuality, the busts, tables, and newspapers are objects that Manders constructs.  You can see a behind-the-scenes look at the installation of the exhibition on the DMA’s Uncrated blog.

Mark Manders, Anthropological Trophy, 2010. Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Although the subject matter of the exhibition includes physical sculptures, there are also elements of archaeology, architecture, and literature that can be explored in Manders’s works.  One way that we are exploring these different themes is through a Thursday evening program called In Residence.  Every Thursday evening through the run of the exhibition (January 15-April 15, 2012), DMA staff members will be available in the exhibition to converse with visitors about Manders’s thought-provoking work and process.  On three of these Thursdays, a Perspectives series will be offered.  Perspectives will pair a DMA staff member in conversation with scholars from various fields to explore the different perspectives they can shed on the art of Mark Manders.  The Perspectives line-up includes:

  • February 9: Gregory Warden, archaeologist
  • March 22: Farid Matuk, poet
  • April 12: Mark Gunderson, architect

Mark Manders, Ramble-room Chair, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

Teachers are encouraged to participate in the In Residence and Perspectives conversations to learn more about Mark Manders.  Remember: teachers receive free admission to the Museum on Thursday evenings when they show their school ID.  I also encourage you to visit Mark Manders’s Web site to explore his works of art and to read about them in his own words.

Mark Manders, Still Life with Books, Table and Fake Newspaper, 2010. Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

I also want to make you aware of the fact that Mark Manders: Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments will be the only contemporary art on view at the Museum this spring.  Any teachers who request a “Contemporary Art” tour from January through April will be scheduled for a tour of this exhibition.  Please keep this in mind when scheduling your visits to the Museum.  I hope you and your students enjoy exploring and discussing the sculptures of Mark Manders!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Thursday Night Live: An Artful Addition to the Nightlife in Dallas

Nightlife in Dallas has a touch of jazz on Thursday nights. Our weekly event, Thursday Night Live, features an exciting vibe with great Dallas jazz bands, exquisite art, and thoughtful conversations. In this video, some of our most loyal fans describe what makes Thursday nights so special in the Dallas Arts District, including live jazz, Artist Encounters, and free student admission.

Every Thursday Night Live runs from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted).  Please leave a comment and tell us about your Thursday Night Live experiences.

Community Connection: Connecticut to Dallas to Houston and back.

This month’s Community Connection is Vicki Meek, Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center. I would be hard-pressed to find someone else in Dallas who embodies the words “community” and “connection” more than Vicki. Not only is she a prominent member of the Dallas arts community, but of the Houston arts community as well. Read below to find out more!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been involved in the Dallas arts community since 1980. I first actually came here as an artist, coming from being a Senior Program Administrator at the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. I came here to get married and decided I was just going to be an artist. That lasted about 2 years.  Then, I had a baby boy and had to get a “real” job again. In summary, from 1977 to the present I’ve had arts administration experience on a state agency level as an Arts and Education Coordinator and then as a Senior Program Administrator.  I followed that with multiple positions developing programs for local arts agencies. I am now the Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center, and have been with the Center since 1980. 

Tell us about your work at Project Row Houses in Houston.

Round 31 Life Path 5: Action/Restlessness was designed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Project Row Houses by taking it back to its original intent: using visual art as an agent for social change and community engagement in that community. I was the curator of Round 31; I selected the artists involved with the project and also did a house myself. My house is the Imani/Nia House. The house is designed to get people to think about how their spiritual selves motivate their activism. I worked on the installation for two weeks, and just returned to Dallas this past Sunday. 

What advice would you give to young artists?

Be vigilant in your pursuit of excellence. It’s a very hard field to be in, and if you’re not absolutely passionate about what you’re doing, you will not survive it. 

Finish this sentence: In 10 years, I’d like to be…

Happily married in Senegal. I’m actually doing this in three years.

The Dallas Museum of Art partners annually with the South Dallas Cultural Center during their Summer Arts at the Center program. In 2009, DMA staff worked with the teens at the Center to create a presentation on their summer topic, the Middle Passage.  The group met twice a week throughout the five-week program, and worked collaboratively on the research, writing, and design of the presentation.  In addition, they selected works of art from the DMA’s African collection to help illustrate their topic.  Much of their time was spent in the DMA’s Tech Lab, where the teens wrote and built their presentation. 

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Learning Partnerships with the Community


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