Posts Tagged 'Community Connection'

Finding the Art in So SMAART

Head of Community Engagement Maria Teresa Garcia-Pedroche and I spent a Saturday afternoon with the So SMAART girls, a group of motivated young ladies aged 9-12 who are “Set on Science, Math, Aviation, Art, Reading, and Technology.” Since its beginning in 2000, the So SMAART program has impacted more than 900 girls from Dallas public schools through various mentorship and after-school activities, all of which prepare the students for careers in STEAM fields including science, math, and the arts. Serving as the girls’ mentors are members of the Trinity Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, a volunteer service organization led by women of color from the DFW area who founded So SMAART to address the lack of minority female students pursuing STEAM careers.

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Trinity Links and the DMA’s Community Engagement team

Throughout their visit, the So SMAART girls and their mentors explored the Center for Creative Connections, toured the African and Ancient American galleries, and created their own masterpieces in the Art Studio. These ladies demonstrated some of the ways the arts can impact and empower the next generation of scientists, engineers, curators, and everything in between:

  • Connect with Communities

The students and mentors contributed to an ongoing basket-weaving project, a response wall discussing personal traditions, and a larger-than-life drawing at the Interactive Gallery and Community at Large installation.

  • See Things Differently

Are those ordinary scraps of cardboard and twist ties, or are they the makings of the next Oldenburg? How does our presence change the way a space feels, functions, or sounds? Our visitors experimented with these and other queries at the Art Spot and the Young Learners Gallery.

  • Blast into the Past

Museum educator extraordinaire Amy Copeland and various DMA volunteers led the So SMAART girls through the African and Ancient American galleries, where they discussed the ways that past cultures and communities influence our current beliefs, traditions, and practices.

  • Make Your Voice Heard

As part of a national competition sponsored by The Links, Incorporated, the students channeled their creativity in the Art Studio to create posters raising awareness about nutrition and healthy habits. Isn’t it a bit easier to forgo the leftover Halloween candy when you’re looking at a solar system made of fruit?

Keep an eye out for these young ladies—we can’t wait to see where the arts will take them!

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

Creativity Matters

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Because the Dallas Museum of Art is closed to the public on Mondays, those days are often strangely quiet without the buzz of school children and families in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). However, on Monday, October 5, C3 was brimming with energy from some of the creative educators, artists, and community organizers that make Dallas great. Earlier this year we were approached by the Sam Francis Foundation to be one of three organizations across the country to host a roundtable event focused on the Future of Creativity.

In 2014, the Sam Francis Foundation set out to start a national conversation about the importance of creativity in learning, and they called this initiative Creativity Matters: The Campaign for Creativity in Learning. The first year they partnered with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and brought together leaders throughout the field in conversations across the United States (at LACMA, The Met, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and The Exploratorium). These first conversations were centered around two questions:

What does creativity look like?

Where and how does creativity thrive?

Following their 2014 roundtables, the Sam Francis Foundation compiled their findings in this report.

This fall, the Sam Francis Foundation continued the conversation with a set of roundtables at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and the Dallas Museum of Art.  These Future of Creativity discussions sought to understand the role creativity will play in the future and the changes needed to prepare students for what that world might look like. Considering the future of creativity in our homes, workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods, our conversations were sparked by these questions:

In twenty years how will creativity shape the world we live in?

How will creativity inform our decision-making?

What new conditions will be needed to unleash creativity?

If we were building a “creativity tool-kit” for future generations – what tactics, methods, and advice would we include?

It was truly remarkable to have so many Dallas leaders, artists, and educators (many of whom we have worked with closely in the past) together in the Center for Creative Connections. The conversations were dynamic, engaging, and inspirational.

Yet, these roundtables are just part of the beginning stage for a grander plan involving community building, the creation of programs, and a public awareness campaign in support of the future of creativity.

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In the end, I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the day.  Some are specific to creativity, and others are general gems to keep in mind.

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Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

 

Friday Photos: Summer Progress

This summer, visitors to the Center for Creative Connections have participated in a communal drawing activity called Community at LARGE. Individual visitors enlarged one small portion of Progress Suite by Luis Jimenez and added their drawing to a large gridded wall, so that collectively they have created an enlarged reproduction of the original lithograph. Initially, it was exciting to watch as the blank wall slowly filled up with drawings and the image became recognizable. But now that each square has been drawn, the fun part has been watching as the drawing changes from day-to-day with the addition of new visitor contributions.

Here are a few short flipagrams of the evolution of my favorite squares.

 

 

 

Stop by the Center for Creative Connections during your next visit to the Dallas Museum of Art to make your own contribution to our communal drawing. Look for more photos of this project on Instagram and Twitter with #DMAlivingdrawing.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

Learning to Help the Learners: My Year as a Leadership ISD Fellow

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Let’s consider the proverbial elephant in the room: many school districts, including Dallas ISD, are in need of community help, be it as informed advocates or active participants. Often, those of us outside the intricacies of the district itself feel helpless to initiate assistance, or to even know where to start. It was this realization, along with a desire as both a museum educator working with teachers and a parent of a DISD student, that led me to apply to be a fellow in this year’s Leadership ISD program. To be accepted into the program and participate this year has been an immensely rewarding, heartening, and humbling experience.

Helmed by Patricia Arvanitis and an amazing group of staff and volunteers, Leadership ISD is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering knowledgeable citizen advocates for the Dallas Independent School District, ultimately serving as a growing group who can help all students achieve and thrive.

From September through May, we forty-two LISD Fellows attended a series of monthly seminars each focusing on a different issue DISD schools and students face, including the opportunity gap, early childhood education, and buildings and facilities. Those may sound like dry topics, but the activities and conceptualizing that went into each proved to be fascinating. For the training on buildings and facilities, we began the day in groups charged with this question: what would an ideal school look like? As each group brainstormed and later shared their ideas, it became clear that our approaches focused on different ways of tackling the idea: one group considered what might be done with the empty school buildings already owned by DISD, while another group considered a perfect school developed around different educational models.

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One of the benefits of being part of the Leadership ISD is hearing from an array of knowledgeable voices. As part of our monthly meetings we had opportunities to discuss issues with parents, teachers, experts from organizations like Uplift Education, Momentus Institute, and Teach For America, and key figures like school board members, Superintendent Mike Miles, and Mayor Mike Rawlings. At such times we were encouraged to ask probing questions and critically evaluate whatever data was presented.

Beyond these monthly seminars, though, was the real meat of being a LISD Fellow. As part of our participation we were required to attend school visits, DISD board meetings, and participate in a Practicum project assigned to a specific school. These “on the ground” activities not only engaged us in a more individual way with the issues schools, teachers, and students are facing, but empowered us to create active and ongoing results for all involved.

IMG_20150508_141712As our year has wrapped up, two different things have been dominating my mind. First, after almost every seminar, meeting, and practicum discussion I was involved with, I always walked away with the sense that the issues schools, teachers, and districts are facing are immensely complicated. There are no easy solutions. The more I learned, the more complicated each topic appeared. Yet, this feeling was always tempered by an extreme sense of hope, of participation as a step amid these complicated issues, to chart a path through them. This second feeling — hope — is one that any of us can have by getting involved and informed.  If you are so inclined — and I hope you are — consider applying to be one of Leadership ISD’s Fellows next year, won’t you? The deadline to apply is June 1st!

Josh Rose
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Student Voices Coming to a Smartphone Near You

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Last October, staff from the Center for Creative Connections, Founder and Director of Make Art with Purpose Janeil Engelstad, and Skyline High School Architecture program teacher Peter Goldstein began a new project building on a past collaboration at the DMA.

Translating Culture: Community Voices at the DMA originally started as an initiative to create links with the community by providing different platforms to share varied perspectives on the collection. After a very successful first collaboration with AVANCE Dallas, the project took a second life with a group of 11th grade Architecture Cluster students at Skyline High School.

After months of hard work, Translating Culture II: Community Voices at the DMA will finally launch on the DMA.mobi site this coming Friday, May 15. That night as part of Late Night, we’ve organized two programs for visitors to engage with this new project.

The events scheduled for the night include a self-guided tour throughout the Museum of new stops (which are both in English and Spanish) and an opportunity to meet up with the students themselves. You can find maps with the outlined stops at the Center for Creative Connections from 6:00 p.m. until midnight. And you can join us there from 8:00-9:00 p.m., where students will be available to talk to visitors about the project, their individual contributions to the site, and to share about their overall experience.

To spark some excitement about the launch, I thought I would speak to two of our key people in this project–Janeil and Peter–and ask them a few questions about Translating Culture II and their expectations for the future. I leave with you their answers below. Be sure to check out the student contributions on DMA.mobi beginning May 15!

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Describe Translating Culture II in one sentence: 

Janeil: Translating Culture II: Community Voices at the DMA is a bi-lingual, Spanish-English, smartphone tour where museum goers engage with and experience interpretations of art work in the DMA permanent collection from the point of view of students from the architecture cluster at Skyline High School.

Peter: It’s a program that provides students with the opportunity to share their insights, observations and experiences with works of art in the DMA collection.

15877460231_9f1789c3e8_kSkyline Students

How will this collaboration contribute to the DMA and the community of Dallas?

Janeil: Translating Culture II is a statement by the DMA that the voices and ideas of people from different Dallas communities and cultures are a relevant part of the dialogue about art. I see this statement as gesture or a sort of offering that creates new spaces for engagement and play. Through the process of the project, new relationships and connections between the institution, the collection and the community have been built, which is a new and valuable thread in the fabric of the community.

Peter: The DMA is an invaluable part of our community–it is a unique place of learning and inspiration with a diverse collection of art from around the world. The DMA encourages and facilitates student and community involvement through a wide range of activities focusing on their outstanding collection of art.

In your opinion, what do you think was most valuable about this project?

Janeil: The expression of diversity and inclusion around art was most valuable, providing access and bringing under-represented voices into the larger cultural conversation, which is a key part of MAP’s mission.

Peter: The Translating Culture II project allowed students to engage in a conversation about works of art that spoke to them on a personal level. The students discussed and analyzed the artworks they encountered, and then created responses that are a reflection of their own unique interests and perspective.

Art has the ability to communicate beyond geographic boundaries and across time. With the support and guidance of the DMA and MAP, the students involved in this project were able to explore works of art from artists and cultures around the world, and then embark on a journey to communicate their ideas and discoveries for others to enjoy.

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What do you hope will come out of Translating Culture in the future?

Janeil: I hope that the visitor who takes one of these tours has his or her imagination lit in a way that inspires new thinking or new ideas, and brings joy.

Peter: Our hope is that the work you see on the DMA.mobi site will spark the interest of other students (and adults!) and inspire them to explore the incredible richness and diversity of the Dallas Museum of Art. Translating Culture is about discovery–and sharing those discoveries with others.

Eliel Jones
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

Friday Photos: The Mother Load Responses

In September, we did a Friday Photos post of The Mother Load Project installation in the Center for Creative Connections. Now that this interactive installation has been on view for a few months, we’d like to share some of the wonderful visitor responses. The Mother Load Project asks visitors to respond to the question:

In your life right now, what do you nurture, and why?

Visitors write their responses on small gray tiles and place their tile on one end of a balance marked for self or for others. I love coming in and seeing which way the balance is leaning on any given day and watching it change course over a matter of hours.

The Mother Load Project Installation_balance

Here are just a handful of the thousands of responses we have received so far.

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View more visitor responses on The Mother Load website and stop by the Center for Creative Connections to contribute your thoughts to this project.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

Friday Photos: C3 In Bloom

Though the weather is getting cooler and the leaves will soon be falling, here at the Museum, the Center for Creative Connections is in full bloom!  In conjunction with the DMA’s upcoming exhibition Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse, we have updated our monitor wall to display visitor submitted photographs of flowers. We’ve also stocked the Art Spot with supplies to make flowery creations.

Stop by and make a flower to add to our garden of creations, or join our Flickr Group, DMA In Bloom and submit your flowery photos to have them displayed on the monitor wall. We look forward to your blooming creativity!

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

Camp and Community

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I spent the last week in July in sunny California. Though I divided my time between walks on the beach, wandering the bustling boardwalk, and exploring the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH), this was no beach vacation, but rather an intense seventy-two hours at Nina Simon’s Museum Camp 2014.  Even with the itinerary, I honestly did not know what to expect as I walked up to the MAH, feeling like a true camper toting my loaded backpack and refillable water bottle attached to my purse.  As a museum educator, this was a dream come true.  Not only has Simon influenced the way we think about and create programs and interactives in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), but I also used her book in the literature review of my Master’s thesis.  As relevant professional development can be hard to come by as a museum educator working in an interactive space, this Social Impact Assessment themed camp seemed to be what I was looking for to give me some direction in the evaluation of the C3 and specific activities within our space.

Overnight camp as an adult is a unique opportunity, so when I was offered the chance to attend Museum Camp and sleep over at the museum, I was all in.  There is a special bond that is formed by spending that kind of concentrated time with a group of people.  That bond is reinforced by going through certain trials and tribulations together, like searching for a comfortable spot to sleep, waking up and walking through a foggy Santa Cruz morning to the gym to take a shower, or late night revelations in the Confessional Tent.  Though not all the campers opted to stay the night at the Museum, there were other opportunities for bonding, like karaoke night, mess-hall style dinners, swimming in the Pacific, and of course the fast-paced group research projects that were at the center of our camp experience.

 

We met our group members at the end of the first day of Museum Camp and, through a tumultuous game of White Elephant, our research locations were determined.  Over the next few days we developed a research question, hypothesis, and indicators, then carried out our research and compiled our findings. The goal was to use unconventional methods of data collection to gather information regarding social impact. My group, the Metacampers, had a more sensitive location than most because we were attending a private rather than public event. The event was hosted by the Beach Flats Community Center for a small group of Latino families. Since we were all outsiders, we found it important to gather as much information as possible before engaging in our research.  We visited both the community center that was hosting the event and the park where the event would take place. Yet, we still came to our project with a handful of assumptions both about the community and the location. We planned our methods so as to be as natural as possible at the event; our Spanish-speaking group members engaged in informal interviews with adult participants, our non-Spanish-speaking members made observations of both adult and youth participants, and towards the end of the gathering we asked the youths to each take a photograph of  what they found most fun at the event. We expected to be greeted with some amount of skepticism, but were surprised to find the community was quite welcoming. The key to this was our Spanish-speaking group members; they were able to become ingrained in the event as participants, and holding informal interviews was a natural aspect of that.

This brings me to my biggest take-away from Museum Camp.  While undertaking the research project and learning about the other groups’ methods was interesting and insightful, my biggest take-away has more to do with the idea of community.  Time and again throughout camp, I was surprised by how immersed Nina Simon is in her city.  Clearly, whether the camp was going on or not, Simon would have had dinner at India Joze or gone to karaoke at I Love Sushi or walked to the beach to go swimming in the Pacific. As a cultural and educational institution, connecting to the community is an important aspect of the Dallas Museum of Art’s mission. What I learned at Museum Camp is that rather than seeking to connect to the community we must be embedded in it; we must be active participants in our own communities.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Museum Camp 2014 experience, take a look at these resources from camp and reflections by other campers.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

Friday Photos: Capturing Culture

Art is often a reflection of a society’s culture; it can range from an artist’s response to a specific experience, to a cultural relic born out of a particular time and place.  The Dallas Museum of Art’s collection represents cultures from every continent over the last 5,000 years.  Help us explore the diversity within North Texas by sharing your photographs that capture culture.

Upload your photographs here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/dmaculture 

Click here for guidelines and more information.

Submitted photos will be on view in the DMA’s Center for Creative Connections starting in July.

Jessica Fuentes

C3 Gallery Coordinator

Young Masters at the DMA

MT Young MastersIf you haven’t had the chance to view the fantastic artworks in the Young Masters exhibition, be sure to stop by before the exhibition closes on February 17, 2013. This annual exhibition is organized in partnership with the O’Donnell Foundation’s incentive program, Create Schools of Excellence in Fine Arts Education, and recognizes the artistic achievements of students and teachers in Dallas area schools. This year, 56 works of art were selected for the exhibition out of 620 works submitted for consideration.

I had the chance to interview Maria Teresa G. Pedroche, Head of Community Engagement here at the DMA, about her role in co-curating the studio art selections and organizing the overall exhibition.

What is the history of the O’Donnell Foundation Advanced Placement Arts Incentive Program with the DMA?

Since 1995, the O’Donnell Foundation and the Dallas Museum of Art have generously sponsored Young Masters. Young Masters celebrates the creativity and skill of each grant program: AP Art History, AP Music Theory and AP Studio Art. Integrating all three disciplines at this prestigious event highlights and reinforces the interconnectedness of the arts.

How are student artworks chosen to be featured in the exhibition? 

Participating AP Fine Arts students are invited to submit the following works:

    • AP Art History – an original essay in response to a work in the DMA’s permanent collection
    • AP Music Theory – an original four minute composition
    • AP Studio Art – an original two-dimensional or three-dimensional art work

The final works and award winners for each program are selected by a panel of artists, art historians, and musicians.

 What is your favorite part about working on this exhibition?

For the past 13 years I have seen students exhibit strength and diversity within a broad range of styles and expressions; their autobiographical statements express their thoughts with clarity and elegance. During the Late Night in January, students were interviewed by Nancy Churnin of the Dallas Morning News before visitors voted for their favorite works in the exhibition. It was enriching for visitors to have the opportunity to talk with students in the gallery. The Young Masters exhibition inspires both children and adults!

Who picks the first, second, and third prize artworks? When will we know which works are chosen?

The final works and award winners for each program were selected by a panel of artists, art historians, and musicians. They included:

  • Dr. Susan Bakewell, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art History at University College, University of Southern Maine, and former College Board AP Ar History Chief Reader
  • Erin Cluley, Exhibitions and Public Relations Manager at the Dallas Contemporary
  • Dr. Blaise Ferrandino, Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Texas Christian University and College Board AP Music Theory Consultant and Reader
  • Dr. Robert Frank, Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Southern Methodist University
  • Erin Hannigan, Principal Oboe of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Adjunct Associate Professor of Oboe at Southern Methodist University
  • Paul Jeanes, Foundation Faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art and College Board AP Studio Art Exam Table Leader
  • Martha MacLeod, Curatorial Administrative Assistant for European and American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art
  • Maria Teresa G. Pedroche, Head of Community Engagement at the Dallas Museum of Art
  • Charissa N. Terranova, Assistant Professor of Aesthetic Studies at The University of Texas at Dallas

Young Masters and their teachers were honored tonight at an awards ceremony held at the Dallas Museum of Art. Here are the winners:

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AP Art History

1st Place: Benjamin Lee from Plano Senior High School
2nd Place: Stephanie Chen from Plano Senior High School
3rd Place: Conner Frew from McKinney Boyd High School
Honorable Mention: Macy Huang from Plano Senior High School

Visit the Young Masters AP Art History Gallery

AP Music Theory
1st Place: Trey Strickland from Plano East High School
2nd Place: Joshua Choe from Creekview High School
3rd  Place: Dylan Hunn from Plano West Senior High School
Honorable Mention: Josh Sniderman from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Honorable Mention: Chase Dobson from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts     

Visit the Young Masters AP Music Theory Gallery

AP Studio Art

1st Place: Samuel Hersh from Plano Senior High School
2nd Place: Mackenzie Miller from Lovejoy High School
3rd Place: Sungkeun Kim from Creekview High School
Honorable Mention: Audrey Allen from McKinney Boyd High School
Honorable Mention: Anna Fields from Richland High School
Honorable Mention: Larissa Logelfo from McKinney Boyd High School
Honorable Mention: Lea Menaul from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts      
Honorable Mention: Hayley Parsa from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts 
Honorable Mention: Lauren Ussery from Coppell High School

Visit the Young Masters AP Studio Art Gallery

ImageWhat is the People’s Choice Award?

The Young Masters Exhibition Awards Ceremony reminds me of the Academy Awards. Three years ago I suggested we add the People’s Choice Award and invited visitors to vote for their favorite work in the exhibition. The response has been rewarding–visitor’s voices count and students appreciate the feedback.

The upcoming Late Night on February 15–our first with free admission–will showcase students in the exhibition from 7-9pm. You can vote for your favorite work of art during Late Night from 6-9pm and check apstrategiesarts.org after February 18 to see which work earned the People’s Choice Award.

How has the inclusion of works by AP Music Theory and AP Art History in the exhibition changed the overall exhibition experience?

Visitors experience Young Masters in a whole new way through our smARTphone tour at www.DMA.mobi.  Everyone enjoys hearing original music compositions and essay readings by students featured in Young Masters.  Including Art History essays and Music Theory compositions strengthens the exhibition.

For more information on Young Masters, check out Guide Live and the Arts Blog of the Dallas Morning News.

Thanks to the O’Donnell Foundation! We congratulate the artists on their accomplishments and acknowledge their dedicated teachers for motivating students to reach their full potential. The arts are the soul of the community helping to reflect and promote the city’s history and the community’s cultural diversity: past, present, and evolving.  It is an honor to work with the O’Donnell Foundation. We are grateful to Edith and Peter O’Donnell for their generous support, along with their dedicated staff, especially AP Arts Director Deborah Moore for her creative leadership on this program that builds confidence and self-esteem and inspires students and teachers to reach to the highest level in the arts.

Amanda Blake
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences


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