Posts Tagged 'creative writing'

Let’s Get BooksmART!

 

Our literary and performing arts series Arts & Letters Live just announced the 2017 lineup of award-winning authors and performers, and we are just overflowing with excitement! Arts & Letters is the only literary series that is part of an art museum (that we know of!), and we love celebrating the connections between reading, writing, and art! Every year we host some wonderful children’s authors, and this year is no different. Get cozy with these books while the weather is still chilly, then come see us at the DMA to make some artful literary connections with the whole family!


the-inquisitors-tale-coverAdam Gidwitz
Sunday, February 26, 3:00 p.m.

Adam Gidwitz is the New York Times bestselling author of the Grimm trilogy. He spent six years researching his latest book, The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, in which the adventures of three children take them through medieval France to escape prejudice and persecution. They save sacred texts from being burned, get taken captive by knights, face a farting dragon, and face a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel. Learn more.

Before the talk, your family can embark on a scavenger hunt exploring works of art in Art and Nature in the Middle Ages.


thumb-erin_philipsteadErin and Philip C. Stead
Tuesday, April 4, 11:30 a.m.

Erin and Philip Stead live and work side by side creating heartwarming stories such as A Sick Day for Amos McGee, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal. Erin’s forthcoming book Tony returns to themes of friendship and loyalty with the late poet Ed Galing’s tale of a boy and his horse. Philip’s latest, Samson in the Snow, highlights the power of simple acts of kindness to bring hope and light to even the coldest world. Learn more.

Following their talk at 3:30 p.m., join us for an illustration workshop (ages 6 and older) led by Erin and Philip Stead. Advance reservations strongly recommended as space is limited.


playbookKwame Alexander
Saturday, June 10, 2:00 p.m.

New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander kicks off summer reading with his latest book, The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. A strategy guide written with middle grade readers in mind but motivational for all ages, The Playbook “rules” contain wisdom from inspiring role models such as Nelson Mandela, Michelle Obama, Lebron James, and more. The author of 21 books, Alexander received the 2015 Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor for his book The Crossover. Learn more.


See the entire lineup for the January-June season to see if your favorite author will be coming to town this year. Hope to see you there!

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Teaching for Creativity: Exquisite Corpse

At last week’s Go van Gogh training session, we decided to get everyone’s creative juices flowing with a fun warm-up exercise.  Volunteers got the chance to spend some time exploring works of art they had never seen before through a group writing exercise. During this experience, volunteers each contributed one line of a poem without knowing what the others had written. This collaborative technique was originally created by Surrealist artists interested in incorporating elements of chance into artistic expression. Known by the Surrealists as Exquisite Corpse, this activity can be done as a narrative or drawing game with several people contributing to one poem or artwork. After participating in a written version of this exercise, the volunteers were eager to learn more about the artworks they had written about. Their genuine enthusiasm and sense of wonder made me think that this could be a great way for students to get excited by works of art as well. I hope you will try it out with your students! Here’s how:

1.  Create at least one template with five lines of writing prompts. These are the prompts that we used for three different templates:

  • Noun, two adjectives, three words ending in “ing,” phrase, noun
  • One word, two words, three words, four words, one word
  • Two syllables, four syllables, six syllables, eight syllables, two syllables

2.  Divide into groups of four or five and take a few moments to look closely at a work of art (each group should look at a different artwork)

3.  Provide each participant with one template and a pencil to start

4.  Fill in the first line and then fold it so that your written response is hidden from view

5.  Pass the template to your neighbor

6.  Fill in the next line on the template passed to you, fold it, and pass again

7.  Continue these steps until all the templates have been filled out. At the end of this exercise, each participant should have a completed narrative that they can unfold and read aloud to the other writers. After reading all the templates, each small group should choose one to share with the larger group.

Here are some collaborative narratives that Go van Gogh volunteers wrote:

Starry Crown, John Thomas Biggers, 1987, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund

Gorgeous

Traditional

Ladies talking quilt

Stars, hats, hands, feet, toes, fingers, shine

Perfect

.

Bougival, Maurice de Vlaminck, 1905, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

A fall day in Europe

Landscape of a village

Peaceful

Sunflowers and seawater

Apples

.

That Gentleman, Andrew Wyeth, 1960, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Somber

Serious, somber

Sitting, relaxing, contemplating

Why is he so sad?

Man

.

June Night, Henry Koerner, 1948-1949, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan

Colorful

Everyday, wedding

Marrying, dreaming, loving

A busy art building

Hope

I hope you all have as much fun with this as we did!

Hannah Burney
Community Teaching Programs Assistant

Teaching for Creativity: A Conversation Between Artworks

Have you read Shannon’s post about our gallery experience with ­­­Anytown, USA during Museum Forum for Teachers? After we imagined businesses, shops, and restaurants inspired by typography, we moved into a gallery in Variations on Theme with figural works of art. In this fun, creatively-charged gallery experience, we projected character traits and narratives onto the ambiguous figures.

To warm up, we created scribble characters and characterized one as a large group. Then, small groups of four or five people turned their attention to the artworks in the gallery. Each group chose two figures to explore and characterize. Then, each group wrote a short piece of dialogue between the two figures. To add a little challenge, each group randomly chose one line of dialogue to incorporate. Though it may seem counterintuitive, limitations within a lesson actually inspire more creativity than a completely open assignment.

These dialogue lines included:

  • What is that smell?
  • You are never going to believe what just happened…
  • I have never been so embarrassed.
  • No, I’m not kidding.
  • Tell me it isn’t permanent!
  • Did you get dressed in the dark?
  • Happy birthday!
  • I tried everything I could…
  • What’s on your face?
  • I heard it on TV…
  • I’m telling you…it won’t work.

Most of the groups’ conversations between artworks were light-hearted and humorous. However, each conversation was diverse with rich characterization. I really enjoy experiences when art-viewers combine what they see visually with their own experiences and ideas to create unique interpretations.

It would fun to tweak the creative twist for a classroom experience. Instead of incorporating a specific line of dialogue, try assigning the students a specific historical era or geographic location to research as a setting for a conversation between two artworks. Or, ask the students to create conversations between a figure in a work of art and a historical or literary figure. One of our Museum Forum participants suggested that students research artists and write hypothetical conversations based on what they discover of those artists.

What might a conversation look like between these two figures?

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator of Teaching Programs

Community Connection: Ekphrastic Poetry

In honor of National Poetry Month, April’s Community Connection is Kolby Kerr.  Kolby is an English teacher at New Tech High at Coppell who incorporates a DMA visit into his creative writing curriculum.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I teach AP English IV, regular English IV, and creative writing at New Tech High. It’s a unique school and school environment.  This is my fourth year teaching, and I teach all seniors.  I graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in English and got a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry from Seattle Pacific University.  I am interested in literature and creative writing and the intersection aesthetics and academics.

What drew you to New Tech High?

We are a public choice high school; students come here based on a lottery or a first-come, first-serve sign-up within Coppell ISD. We have a one-to-one technology pairing, so students have access to their own laptops and to the internet at all times.  Our curriculum is project-based; everything has to be invested in real-world, directly applicable projects.  Hopefully, that will increase students’ investment in their own intellectual curiosity.  They tell us what they need to know to complete their projects.  I have, more or less, autonomy to create my instruction around concepts and ways of life I’ve found helpful in engaging the world with the mind.

Tell us about your relationship with the DMA.

In my undergraduate degree program, a creative writing professor took us to The Art Institute.  He set us loose, told us to engage and interact with single work of art, and write an ekphrastic poem based on it.  I found the activity liberating and interesting; I don’t know much about art, but I really felt like I had an engagement with the artwork on a deeper level than I had experienced before.

When I knew I would teach creative writing, that was the first project I wanted to do.  I grew up going to the DMA with my grandmother, who was a big art-lover and always took us down there.  I came last year and this year with my students.  We started with an hour-long guided tour of highlights in the DMA collection, then I set them free.

How do you set up the assignment at the DMA?

It is fairly open-ended.  After the highlights tour, I suggest that students take an hour to narrow down four to five different works, take notes, snap a photo and journal.  Then, they spend a full hour with one piece, which forces their attention in one direction.  With constant distraction and consumer overload, writing forces you to produce something from yourself.  You can get at ekphrastic poetry from two angles – either read into the moment of the painting, which provides narrative or a character you see in painting, or take something from the painting and let it project into your own life and become a more lyrical expression.  Some poems are almost all image-driven, while some are story poems.  Either type of poem drives you back to the art and makes you want to see the art and compare the experience of the poem to the experience of the piece.

This partnership gives a sense of relevancy and authority to a field – creative writing – that sometimes feels too abstract.  Creative writing exists way off the beaten path and this assignment gives a kind of legitimacy to a culture that creative writing is not only hoping to sustain but helping to thrive and flourish into the 21st century.

How do you combine poetry and art in your assignments?

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


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