Posts Tagged 'Center for Creative Connections'

Breaking Down Barriers

It may or may not surprise you to hear that one in five adults in the United States self-identifies as having a disability. At the DMA, we believe that limitations reside not in individuals, but in systematic barriers to participation, and that accessibility is a shared responsibility across the Museum. Collaboration between departments helps the DMA remove barriers to participation and continually broaden our definition of access.

One of the ways we approach accessibility is through individualized experiences for specific needs. But we also learned from visitors that they’d like the means to explore the Museum and its collection through unstructured, anytime activities and resources.

This month we are pleased to unveil the result of the most recent collaboration between our Education and Design departments: large-print booklets in the Center for Creative Connections Gallery.

When designing for the low-vision community, the proper treatment and application of design elements can significantly enhance readability. Simply enlarging standard-print documents does not result in effective large-print material. The font selection, size, and line spacing are just a few components that must be carefully selected and treated.

Sans serif geometric fonts such as Helvetica, Futura, and Gotham Rounded are ideal for large-print documents. Limiting the number of characters per line, creating a high visual color contrast between the background and text, and aligning to the left are further design decisions that help the low-vision community easily consume printed information.

While visitors with vision impairment were at the forefront of our mind during the design process, these design elements can help remove barriers for visitors with dyslexia and those who are English language learners as well.

We are excited to add these large-print booklets to our repertoire of accessible materials for visitors. Some of our previous projects include visual descriptions and sensory activities at the Pop-Up Art Spot. Creating opportunities and programs for visitors with vision impairments has long been an important facet of the DMA’s program offerings with Art Beyond Sight Awareness month in October and our summer touch tour for DISD students with visual impairments.

While many exciting accessibility projects are underway at the Museum, there is still much work to be done. As we evaluate and test the new large-print label format, we will seek to expand the booklets to other exhibition galleries in the future. We hope the introduction of the large-print label booklets will be a next step in exploring what we can do to better serve our audiences and expand accessibility throughout the Museum.

Emily Wiskera is the Manager of Access Programs and Jaclyn Le is the Exhibitions Graphic Designer at the DMA.

Visions of Home: An Interview with Artist Ellie Ivanova

This summer, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) is thrilled to have C3 Visiting Artist Ellie Ivanova here to design interactive in-gallery activities in which visitors contribute their visions of home. These perspectives then become part of a larger print created independently by the artist at her studio before finally being installed back in C3. Get to know more about Ellie and her project below, and stop by the Center for Creative Connections to contribute your own drawing to the project.

Ellie portrait

Tell us about yourself.
I am an artist who uses photography, but goes beyond the print. I have lived in several countries (Bulgaria, Latin America, the United States, and Italy) and am grateful for all the people I have met in all the places where I have lived who have shaped my experience.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
As a researcher pursuing a PhD in Art Education, my special interest is in public pedagogy, which is everything we learn from each other in informal ways outside of a classroom environment and everything we do when sharing experiences through art. Having changed homes myself many times, and living in between two homes right now, I found an affinity with people who are longing for a lost home or dreaming for one. I wanted to see what would happen when all our different ideas of home come together, and what better place to experiment with this than Dallas Museum of Art!

Tell us about the installation you’ve created in the Center for Creative Connections.
It is a participatory print, in which many different small drawings of homes—lost, dreamt, and found—are contributed by visitors on squares of transparency. Using these as photographic negatives, I put together these drawings to print a “neighborhood” of the collected homes on photo-sensitized fabric. I’m using the cyanotype process, an old photo process that has been used through the decades for scientific and architectural imaging along with creative art making. Even though a home is something personal, a place that separates us from the rest of the world, with this project we see how different or similar our ideas of home look like when they are brought together.

 

 

Ellie c3 project

C3 Visiting Artist Project Space

Do you have any favorite visitor contributions you’d like to share?
The simplest drawings have been most delightful! Of course, I enjoy the elaborate, detailed homes done by other artists or others who are invested in the process. But when we have to draw simply, the bare bones of thought show through. I enjoy seeing how our basic image of what a home is can translate into being something so creative.

fabric closeup
Kerry Butcher is the Center for Creative Connections Education Coordinator at the DMA.

The Power of Pop-Up Art Spot

Since the debut of the Pop-Up Art Spot in 2013, this roaming activity cart has become a favorite stop for visitors of all ages. In a continued effort to make immersive activities that are inspired by nearby works of art, the Center for Creative Connections team has introduced a brand new Pop-Up Art Spot cart designed around special exhibitions. Our first focus is The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, which features over 250 objects revealing the splendor of Asante regalia from the 19th to 21st centuries.

The Power of Gold Pop-Up Art Spot will rotate monthly between two carts of activities until the exhibition closes on August 12, 2018. At the April Late Night, visitors learned about proverbs connected to selected goldweights in the exhibition by playing a match game and making drawings.

In May the cart will focus on textiles. Visitors will observe the detailed patterns in kente cloth and use silk thread to create their own weaving. They can also explore the symbols in adinkra cloth and create a rubbing using various adinkra stamps.

Come try these activities, and more,  in the Power of Gold exhibition on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and on selected Late Nights from 8:00 to 10:30 p.m. A special exhibition ticket is required.

Kerry Butcher is the Education Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

Artist Interview: Timothy Harding

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Last month, our first C3 Visiting Artist of 2018, Timothy Harding, began his participatory installation in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). We’ve enjoyed watching the project grow as Harding adds new contributions to the installation biweekly. Learn more about the artist, his process, and his experiences at the DMA.

Tell us about yourself. (In 50 words or less)
I’m an artist based in Fort Worth, a die-hard Dallas Stars fan, and proud owner of a cat named Clyde. When not cheering on my team, I work in my studio and teach at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
Recently my practice has been confined to the studio with no outside collaboration. I was interested in coming up with a project that would allow me to collaborate with others and open the opportunity to explore methods that I have not previously used. This is the first project I’ve done that is almost entirely digital in execution and produced with people who I never directly interact with. I’m excited to see how this might impact my practice moving forward.

 

Tell us about the installation you’ve created in the Center for Creative Connections.
The installation is a site-specific line drawing made up of hundreds of individual marks. This ongoing work is produced from scribbles and gestures left by Museum visitors on an iPad. Visitors leave their mark in a program and send it to me over the creative cloud. From there I make a couple of slight alterations to the file and cut them out via laser cutter in varieties of gray, black, and white paper. After cutting, I visit the Museum and add to the installation. The marks are layered in a manner that allows each to be noticeable while working together to produce an intricate whole.

 

Do you have any favorite visitor contributions you’d like to share?
I can’t say I have any specific favorite marks that have been sent yet. What I have found most interesting about this project is the number of unique marks I receive on a daily basis. Earlier projects have used my own scribbles, which are very familiar to me. It’s refreshing to find new marks and think about the decision making of that viewer without knowing who they are or anything about them.

What have you enjoyed most about this experience so far?
I’ve enjoyed interacting with Museum-goers. I had the opportunity to give a presentation to an engaged group of people about my work and this project. That was a very rewarding experience. Other interactions have been more casual and occur during installation. People of various ages, from children to adults, seem curious about the project and what is happening. It has been fun to have casual conversations with them and solicit their contributions.

C3 Visiting Artist Timothy Harding will lead a Teen Tour and a Teen Homeschool Workshop in April. Learn more about upcoming Teen Programs here.

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

2018 C3 Visiting Artist Project

Last year the Center for Creative Connections launched the C3 Visiting Artist Project, as a new way to engage with local artists both in the physical space of C3 and through various educational programs offered by the Museum. Through this initiative, we worked with four visiting artists; completing a total of twenty programs throughout the year and serving over 800 visitors. Of course this doesn’t include the countless visitors who had the opportunity to interact with each artist’s creation in C3–from self-guided tours to musical zine making.

In 2018, we are looking forward to another great year of artist projects and programming. Stop by this year to participate in Timothy Harding’s exploration of gesture, contribute to Ellie Ivanova’s collaborative cyanotype neighborhood, and engage with Lauren Cross’ interactive sensory environment. Meet the artists:

Timothy Harding
January – April

Timothy Harding’s education and career have been closely tied to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He received his MFA from Texas Christian University, BFA from Texas Woman’s University, and currently teaches at Tarleton State University. His work explores the relationship between drawing, painting, and sculpture, through dimensional paintings and sculptural installations. Harding’s works have appeared at local venues including Cris Worley Fine Arts, the Power Station, and 500X Gallery. Other Texas exhibitions of his work have taken place at the Grace Museum (Abilene) and Box 13 (Houston). In addition, Harding’s art has been in shows in more distant sites including: Florida State University Museum of Art (Tallahassee, FL); SCENE Metrospace (East Lansing, MI); and And Gallery (Jackson, MS). He was a 2009 recipient of The Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund Grant from the DMA and a 2016 Artist Microgrant from the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Ellie Ivanova
May – August

Ellie Ivanova is a Bulgarian-born lens-based artist who currently splits her time between Texas and Italy. Her major creative interest is the experience of memory, home, and identity in traditional and experimental formats. She uses processes and conceptual approaches through which images continue to evolve after being captured and printed, erasing the boundaries between the factual and the fictitious. As a researcher, she is interested in the museum and the archive as a metaphor for social and artistic expression. Ivanova has an MFA in Photography from the University of North Texas, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Art Education/Visual Studies. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States in solo and group exhibitions and are part of the permanent collection of Human Rights Art at South Texas College and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, among others. In 2010 she founded Third Eye Workshops, which teach photography to children from marginalized groups in Bulgaria.

Lauren Cross
September – December

Lauren Cross is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and scholar whose work has been exhibited across the country. Cross earned her BA (2006) in Art, Design, and Media from Richmond, the American International University in London, England, her MFA (2010) in Visual Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and her Ph.D (2017) in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. Cross is a passionate advocate for diversity in the arts, founding WoCA Projects, a non profit arts organization that curates exhibitions and community arts programs that champion women artists of color. She has also written and contributed academic research on the intersections of race, gender and the arts in the fields of women’s and gender studies, visual culture studies, and multicultural studies. In 2013, Cross was among three Fort Worth artists selected for the 2013 Fort Worth Weekly Visionary Awards, and in 2015 she was listed among 100 Dallas Creatives by the Dallas Observer.

Stay tuned to see updates throughout the year about each artist project and upcoming programming. Be sure to stop by the Center for Creative Connections to interact with their creations.

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA

Testing for Truth

The Center for Creative Connections has an area designated as the Testing Zone. The space consists of two walls, each with a chalkboard, a large table with stools, and three wires from which items can be suspended for display. The Testing Zone debuted in 2012 as a vehicle for education staff to evaluate the ways visitors engage with various types of art, experiment with potential in-gallery activities, and enable visitors to share their preferences on what objects and interpretative materials are provided in permanent collection galleries.

Prior to the opening of Truth: 24 frames per second, we decided to use the Testing Zone to post a series of open-ended questions and gauge visitors’ interest in a range of topics inspired by works in the exhibition. Unlike most Testing Zone activities, the Truth experiment was challenging because participants did not have the benefit of seeing the works beforehand, nor could we summarize the full scope of the exhibition in the limited amount of space. Additionally, the exhibition resists traditional notions of fine art and consciously avoids a singular narrative, lesson, or point of view.

After reading the series of prompts clipped to the Testing Zone’s three display wires, visitors selected one or more slips of paper to share their thoughts. Each slip contained a single prompt followed by five potential responses that would indicate their level of interest in the topic, whether the prompt was easily understood, and whether the question was something they wanted to encounter at the Museum or discuss in a community forum. The back of each piece of paper was left available for people to write additional thoughts.

Much to my surprise, nearly 350 visitors shared their feedback over two weeks. The responses allowed me to rephrase some of the questions and set others aside. In the end, the prompts became part of the exhibition’s visitor guide and the conversation continues via Twitter (#DMATruth) and written responses which provide the source material for a scrolling LED sign hanging near the exhibition’s entrance.

Emily Schiller is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA

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


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