Posts Tagged 'creativity'

The Day the Crayons Came to the DMA

Earlier this week, we had some very special guests visit the Museum! Drew Daywalt, author of the book The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, will be coming to the Museum on May 22 for some family fun as part of the Arts & Letters Live BooksmART lecture series. We were able to snap some behind-the-scenes pics as Orange Crayon and Purple Crayon scouted out the galleries, and we even caught a glimpse of some of their top secret correspondence. If you haven’t already, get your tickets to see Drew in person and hear more about these crazy crayons and their colorful adventures!

The Day the Crayons letter

Artworks shown:

  • Maurice de Vlaminck, Bougival, c. 1905, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.
  • Martha E. Keech, Baltimor, Maryland, “Album” quilt, c. 1861, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous centennial gift.
  • Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1908, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated.
  • Egungun costume, Republic of Benin: Yoruba peoples, Late 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York.
  • Buddha, Thailand: La-na, 15th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation.
  • Oli Sihvonen, Matrix – Red, Gray II, 1967, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, © Oli Sihvonen / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Playful Learning with SPARK!

Why teach the creative process? Last week, my amazing colleague Amy Copeland and I drove the Go van Gogh van (say that three times fast!) to the historic South Side on Lamar building to take part in the 2016 Creativity Confab hosted by SPARK!. We arrived excited to hear some of the city’s most creative minds participate in a panel discussion on the importance of creativity in a child’s education, and were greeted with an inviting maze of slides, “slinky” tubes, catwalks, and creative play stations, including a giant Lite-Brite and a recording studio. Needless to say, not even our inappropriate choice of shoes could keep us from joining in on the fun and exploring!

Inspired by the City Museum in St. Louis, SPARK! was founded in 2010 to teach the creative process and empower children through playful learning. Student visitors are invited to first fully immerse themselves in the space and loosen up by playing. Fred Peña of Booziotis and Company Architects, the space’s designer, says that his favorite part of the project is watching a cautious student finally work up the nerve to tackle the floor to ceiling slide, and then repeat the adventure again and again. After playing, the students move on to an art activity geared to teach the creative process and encourage collaborative problem solving.

photo 3 (1)

While the facility has only been open since June 2015, preliminary research reflects that students are more likely to describe themselves as creative and more likely to believe they’re capable of coming up with a valuable new idea after a visit to SPARK!. Significantly, about 57 percent of the children served by SPARK! come from low-income communities, reflecting the organization’s commitment to offering creative learning programs to underserved groups.

The panel’s consensus? Access to creative learning programs help children develop self-reliance, confidence, and resilience. They’re more like to perform better academically and in their future careers. As with sports, the arts teach children teamwork and help them develop confidence in their own abilities. Moreover, children learn not to fear failure and discover that problems often have more than one solution.

As a museum educator, my visit to SPARK! served as an inspiring reminder of how playful learning can help students make meaningful connections to the arts and tap into their own creativity. I look forward to my next visit, sans the wedge sandals.

tengo

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

DIY Coil Basket Weaving

Each month, we offer a variety of activities at the large tables in the Center for Creative Connections gallery. Each activity is related to a nearby work of art. One of my favorite new activities is coil basket weaving, inspired by the storage basket, bowl, and burden basket created by weavers from the San Carlos Apache tribe.

The actual materials used to create these baskets–devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin–are natural resources found in the Arizona region where the tribe resides. To make the materials more pliable, they are often soaked in water prior to weaving. The patterns are created by alternating dark and light.

IMG_2431In the gallery, we use three colors of raffia ribbon to create our coil baskets. Red is easily distinguishable, so these strands create the basket core which will be covered during the weaving process. Then tan and black raffia are used to wrap the core and create patterns.

Once you have your materials in hand, here are the steps to guide you through the process:

 

 For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

 Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin spiral the wrapped end inward

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin to spiral the wrapped end inward.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Once you get the coil weaving technique down, think about experimenting with other materials. The Apache weavers used devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin because they were plentiful resources. What kinds of resources do you have at your disposal to weave?

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

 

 

Friday Photos: Pop Icon Collages

C3 coordinator Jessica Thompson helped us channel our inner Pop artist during last Friday’s Late Night Studio Creations workshop, where visitors used laundry bags, cardboard, magazine clippings, and handkerchiefs to create collages of their favorite Dallas icons. By the end of the night, the studio’s back wall had transformed into a fantastic community installation that gave International Pop a run for its money.

It isn’t easy to pick a favorite, but I’d have to go with the collage of Big Tex during his final moments in 2012. What are your favorite Dallas icons?

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

Creativity Matters

Creativity_Matters_09_2015_GC064

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.

creativity-matters.2015-projects.sff-logo.revised_3_25

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

Art to Go Family Totes at Home: DIY Story Dice

Whether you’re seeking sunburn-free, sweat-free fun this summer or new experiences to share with your family, the DMA has what you’re looking for! As usual, the Art Spot in the Center for Creative Connections is open every day for art-making and exploration, and our Family Guides are always available at the front entrance for exploring the galleries. Weekdays and Saturdays through June and July will also offer different (air-conditioned!) activities as part of the DMA’s Summer Family Fun. These activities include the Pop-Up Art Spot, story time and family tours, and our wonderful Art to Go Family Totes.

A family using the Color Art to Go Family Tote and story dice in Between Action and the Unknown: Shiraga/Motonaga.

A family using the Color Art to Go Family Tote and story dice in Between Action and the Unknown: Shiraga/Motonaga.

An important thing to note is that the Art to Go Family Totes are only available this summer on Tuesdays between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.! In June, we’ll have them out for use in Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga, and in July you can find them up on Level 4 in Formed/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present.

If you can’t wait to make it to the Museum to try out our Totes, or have already enjoyed them and wished you could have the Art to Go experience at home, here’s a quick and easy DIY to help you recreate one of the activities from our Color Tote.

DIY Story Dice

Art to Go Family Tote - Color, Writing Activity

Color Art to Go Family Tote – Writing Activity: Once Upon a Time

The Art to Go Family Totes include activities to MAKE, PLAY, TALK, and WRITE. This “Once Upon a Time” writing activity is one of our favorites and includes two ‘story dice’ to inspire a story written with a piece of artwork as its setting. Our dice are pretty simple–images of possible main characters and colors are pasted on the sides of two cube-shaped cardboard boxes (small ones that fold down for easy storing).

Color Art to Go Family Tote - Writing Activity Story Dice

Color Art to Go Family Tote – Writing Activity Story Dice

To make your own story dice at home, you could use boxes like we have here (big or small – play with proportions!). Other options include small wooden craft blocks or making your own paper cubes. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even put together this twelve-sided paper dodecahedron to use instead of the traditional six-sided dice shape!

Once you have the base for your die, all that’s left is to decide which theme you’re going to assign to it, pick out images or words to convey different ideas for each side, and attach your images. The possibilities are absolutely endless. To get you started, here are a few ideas for combinations of themes:

  • Attach images of family members on one die and parts of an adventure on others: settings for the adventure, modes of transportation, treasures to hunt, etc.
  • Fill one die with superhero images and another with giant monsters to face off in an epic battle!
  • Make murder mystery themed dice (for older storytellers) with possible murder weapons, locations of the murder, and prime suspects.
  • Have entirely artwork-based dice: cover one with your favorite portraits, one with landscapes, and one with still lifes or ancient artifacts–or anything else you might think of.

With a little imagination and teamwork, any kind of story dice you create can lead to a GREAT story and a serious brain workout! You can even re-purpose your story dice. Maybe on a day when you’re feeling more like an illustrator and less like an author, just give your dice a roll and voilà! Your story ideas work just as well for creating a new piece of artwork. Have a go at it and let us know in the comments how your efforts turn out. And don’t forget to stop by the Museum to check out the rest of our Art to Go Family Tote activities and other Summer Family Fun experiences!

Jennifer Sheppard
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Community at LARGE

If you’ve visited the Center for Creative Connections (C3) within the last week, you may have noticed that the popular Art Spot is currently under construction. In addition to this redesign, we’re also installing a new work of art and related activity. Often when we plan these types of activities, we begin with the work of art as inspiration. This time, however, we started with the activity and found a work of art that fit.

Last summer during our July Late Night we hosted a drop-in program in the C3 Studio where visitors participated in a communal grid enlargement project. As visitors entered the studio they received a small image square and a larger blank card. Their task was to paint the image from their square onto their blank card and then display their painted card on a large grid in the back of the room. Over the course of the evening, the identity of the two paintings were revealed as visitors completed their cards and added them to the wall. The activity was such a success that we decided to recreate it in the C3 gallery this summer.

The question was, which work of art to choose? We had a few ideas that guided our decision. First, since this is an enlargement activity, we were looking for a relatively small work of art. Also, since the activity takes place in the gallery, visitors will be limited to using colored pencils, so we wanted a work of art that demonstrated that kind of mark-making. Originally we considered a drawing, but after consulting with our registrars, we found that lithographs or engravings might also be a good option. Finally, subject matter was of great importance; we wanted something bright and lively. All of these specifications led us directly to Progress Suite by Luis Alfonso Jimenez, Jr.

1978_38_3_o4

Progress Suite exemplifies all of these qualities: it’s a colorful dynamic lithograph created by a Texas-born artist, measuring 23.5 inches x 35 inches. It will be enlarged by visitors to 300% of its original size. This mock-up illustrates just how large the activity will be.

c3 Protoyping Wall Elevation

Throughout the summer, as more visitors participate, the drawing will grow and evolve. Stop by the Center for Creative Connections to contribute to our scaled-up reproduction of Progress Suite and watch how this “living” drawing, made by our community, changes over time.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

Let’s Hear It for the Kids!

Let’s hear it for the kids! This week (April 12-18) is Week of the Young ChildTM. Never heard of it? The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) established this annual tradition in 1971 to “focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.” This year’s theme is “Celebrating our Youngest Learners,” and here at the DMA, we love nothing more than doing just that!

In honor of Week of the Young Child, I thought I’d share what we love most about the children who have become part of our DMA family over the years.

They are honest.

AAM Feb 2015

In preschools across the country, teachers often refer to the children as “friends.” So rather than calling out “boys and girls” when it’s time to leave the playground, you might hear someone say “all my friends—it’s time to go!” I often use this language in the Arturo’s Preschool classes I teach here at the DMA. One morning as we were sitting in front of Frank Gehry’s Easy Edges chair, I asked “Friends—what material do you think the artist used to make this chair?” Without missing a beat, a little boy looked me square in the eyes and said, “I’m not your friend!” Ouch! I laughed and did my best to win him over by the time we went down to the studio. I love knowing that four year-olds will give it to you straight!

They are curious.

Another admirable trait I often see in the preschool crowd is that they are excited about pretty much anything! Wherever we go in the galleries, they always want to make sense of what they see and figure out how it connects to their own lives. Once during a class focused on the art of ancient Egypt, I asked the children to imagine what life would have been like with no TVs, no electricity, no cars. One little girl piped up with all the authority of a wise three year-old, “they used cans and strings, right?” She cleverly deduced that if the Egyptians didn’t have the kinds of phones we have today, they must have used tin cans and strings to communicate! She wasn’t deterred by the concept of “long ago and far away”—but instead, she found a way to relate abstract ideas to her concrete reality. Brilliant. (And I just love the image of Pharoah calling down to his court on a tin can).

They are open-minded.

Picasso Portraits

Young children are incredibly willing to entertain new ideas and explore new possibilities in art. While an adult might look at a painting and ask “why is this art?,” children move beyond “why” and ask “how,” “where,” “when” and “can I try it too?” This month we’ve been learning about the artist Pablo Picasso and Cubism. Inevitably, when I show the children a cubist portrait, they giggle and say “that’s a crazy face!” But then they take a closer look and are delighted when they find the nose and ears and eyes and can explain what the artist did to surprise us.

They are creative.

Arturo's Art and Me 12.2014

You can’t help but feel the buzz of creativity and the energy of little fingers at work when you step into an early learning studio class. Whether they are painting with their feet, concentrating on sewing stitches onto burlap, or experimenting with watercolor, young children are fearless when it comes to making art—something I think we can all aspire to. They dive in, not concerned about doing it “right” or making it look “just so.” They enjoy the materials for what they are, and love to see what paint or markers or paper or their own two hands can do! And when they’re done, they can’t wait to show off their work and tell you all about it.

This year, April 16th is Artsy Thursday, so grab your crayons and paint, and celebrate the young children in your life!

For more ideas on how you can celebrate Week of the Young ChildTM, check out the resources and suggestions on the NAEYC website.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

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


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