Posts Tagged 'Creativity Challenge'

Love is in the air….or in Hoffman

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If you are a frequent guest at DMA Late Nights on the third Friday of every month, you may be familiar with interesting riddles like this one:

Love is in the air or bitterness abounds, whatever you may be feeling there is healing in sound! Join us for this melodic Creativity Challenge about love and hate!

MVI 0450 from A Batson on Vimeo.

These kinds of poems and rhymes are all part of a program called Creativity Challenge which occurs throughout the year and during Late Nights. Visitors sign up to participate as part of a team–equipped with a team name, like The Flaming Chinchillas–to compete in an on-the-spot challenge to create something unique based on a work of art.

MVI 0458 from A Batson on Vimeo.

Many times the challenges engage a variety of learning styles in order to have visitors view art in a new and different way. Occasionally visitors will dance, sing, write, act, build, etc. within the challenge. They work with others in a team that allows them to build on each other’s strengths, resulting in a dynamic show at the end of their challenge.

MVI 0457 from A Batson on Vimeo.

This past Friday evening, February 21, 2014, ten teams of challengers faced off to create a musical instrument and original composition about a work of art in the DMA’s contemporary collection.  The teams then had to create and perform in front of the sixty people who attended! The composition was to be a love song or a song of complete disgust to an assigned work of art. Coming off the heels of Valentine’s day–I thought this challenge would be appropriate! Check out some of these incredible interpretations!

MVI 0448 from A Batson on Vimeo.

Creativity Challenge in the Hoffman Gallery

Creativity Challenge in the Hoffman Gallery

Are you up to the challenge? Join me and the other teams next Late Night on March 21st, 2014, for a Creativity Challenge that will be sure to entice your taste buds!

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

Getting Smart about Play

Tyler Rutledge began volunteering at the DMA during Late Nights  over a year ago, and joined the C3 Volunteer Program last January. Through our conversations with Tyler, we learned that he had a strong interest in talking to and sharing his passion for art with visitors. We offered Tyler a volunteer internship so that he could learn more about the Museum and, in turn, we could learn from his unique and thoughtful perspective. As his internship draws to a close, we’ve invited Tyler to share a few insights about his time working with us.

Get Smart was one of my favorite TV shows for play-pretending. I loved the unsuspectingly gadget-ized scenery—the excessively concealed entrance to CONTROL or Max’s dangerously unassuming apartment—mostly because it gave me the perfect setting to play and explore my world as it could otherwise exist.

Playing with a visitor and his abstract scribble drawing at the Pop-up Art Spot on level four

Playing with a visitor and his abstract scribble drawing at the Pop-up Art Spot on level four

Similarly, my education internship with the Center for Creative Connections has encouraged me to imagine alternatives through play. For example, I designed a Creativity Challenge for the Late Night in October. During Creativity Challenges, visitors exercise their imagination in projects based on works of art at the Museum, working within parameters such as limited, pre-selected materials and a thirty-minute time limit. This Creativity Challenge prompted visitors to create a memorial to a cause or event inspired by the DMA’s Indian Shrine. Despite the proposed scale of the project, which was about the size of a roadside memorial, the winning team imagined a monument-marketplace capable of providing food to all seven continents.

Exploring the different perspectives of DMA visitors has been delightful as well. I originally began volunteering at the Museum to learn more about the stories related to our guests’ ephemeral creations. During one Late Night, a physician attending a digestive medicine conference in Dallas talked with me about a sculpture formerly on view in C3, Untitled (35) by Lee Bontecou. She explained that, to her, the wall-mounted sculpture represented a portion of the digestive tract, whereas the metal framework served as blood vessels and the small copper wires adhering cloth to the structure were nerve endings. To me, this conversation revealed the intuitive way that people play within their own space. Playing together also gave us a small shared-intimacy: she gave me a trinket she made at the Art Spot inspired by our conversation about Untitled (35). She explained that her trinket symbolizes her desire to be open and available to new imaginings.

A trinket left by a visitor that I keep by my phone to remind me to be receptive (yes, I still use a home phone)

A trinket left by a visitor that I keep by my phone to remind me to be receptive (yes, I still use a home phone)

A creation left at the Art Spot

A creation left at the Art Spot

A shared intimacy of art and play is one experience I hope visitors have together at the Pop-Up Art Spot in the DMA contemporary galleries. The abstract expressionist paintings on view are fiercely independent yet possess bold relationships, inspiring me to develop activities based on sensory experiences. An activity that has proven particularly difficult to predict visitor response is called Olfactory Produced, a title meant to reference Jasper Johns’ Device in addition to personal preferences of scent. Olfactory Produced asks visitors to consider associations between different scents and paintings, and it encourages them to wonder how the sense of smell enhances the experience of looking at and thinking about works of art. This activity is intended to elicit an entirely subjective, personal experience with the works of art.

Jessica Fuentes took this picture of me while we worked on an activity for the Pop-up Art Spot in the contemporary galleries

Jessica Fuentes took this picture of me while we worked on an activity for the Pop-up Art Spot in the contemporary galleries

Eventually my reenactments of Get Smart ended (if I remember correctly) when my mom realized my bathroom’s secret-telephone towel hooks were loose because I unscrewed them to talk, and my time of play at the DMA must also end. In January I will depart for Los Angeles and, with it, exciting new scenery for adventurous play. Share your scenery and playtime with me on Instagram.  Tag @TylerGreyDragon and #DMAPlay!

**My playtime as a volunteer and weekend intern in the Center for Creative Connections has been accompanied by some of the best playmates on the swing set: Leah Hanson, Amanda Blake, Danielle Schulz, Amy Elms and JC Bigornia, who have inspired me to play with materials and sensory experiences; Amanda Batson, who encourages me to be my very best self through all of her magnificent achievements and friendship; Jessica Fuentes, who has guided me through creative problems and has been a faithful Klyde-Warren-Park-Food-Truck play pal; Melissa Gonzales, who refines my sandcastles and teaches me about how to build their bridges; and, Susan Diachisin, who has opened me to a new world of play through her expansive imagination.

Tyler Rutledge
C3 Intern

A Click of the Heel

Late Night Creativity Challenges are something I look forward to each month. The energy, originality, and competition unleashed in the galleries of the Museum is so inspiring. The visitors who participate in these activities are able to look at the artwork in our collection in a whole new way.

Here are some of the thoughts of our challengers and participants:

“The creativity challenge helped me step out of my ‘corporate head’ and connect with the artwork in such a way that I was able to make a connection with the pieces and see them with new eyes.   The artwork my team was assigned to work with was not something I would normally have gravitated to in a visit to the museum, yet by the end of the challenge, I was quite fond of the work!”

“I really enjoy the challenges, they make me appreciate the art and it’s fun to go by paintings I’ve written songs about or made Facebook pages for because of the challenge. It makes me really look into the piece and walk away with a better understanding and more of a connection rather than reading a brief synopsis and walking away. Not only have I been able to go in depth with a few pieces but have been able to remember other pieces fellow participants have made things about. Interacting with art was something I thought I could never do. Appreciating art was something I also considered out of my reach. Creativity Challenges have proven me wrong in both of those regards and created a whole new experience for visiting the DMA”


Me with our special guest Robert Sabuda

The latest challenge was inspired by the paper mechanics of the great author, illustrator, and pop-up creator Robert Sabuda. Having been inspired by Sabuda and a longtime fan of his work, I was thrilled to create a program inspired by him. And did I mention that he was also our guest judge for the creations?

The theme for our March Late Night and the fuel for my Sabuda Creativity Challenge was the wonderful Wizard of Oz. The teams were challenged to create their own shoes inspired by Dorothy’s ruby slippers, which of course gave Dorothy the power to go home. Each team had to create their own magically-powered shoes with the limited materials of paper and tape. After they created their shoes, the teams modeled their creations and explained what magical powers their shoes possessed, all while walking down a handmade yellow brick road leading them into the gates of The Emerald City–well, the gates to the DMA’s The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection to be more exact.

“The most rewarding experiences (and the projects that are most successful) have occurred when people work together. The winner of the latest creativity challenge is a good example. The family that won made red shoes with fringed red construction paper, and each person in the family had a specific job. Their project was successful, I think, because they developed prototypes together and found usefulness for everyone. From my perspective, the most creative teams are typically the larger teams. While the art hanging on the walls is certainly inspiring, the collaborations and conversations between team members seem to be the best idea-catalyst.” – C3 Volunteer

Here are a few examples from the challenge:



These shoes were unique for many reasons, but what struck our guest judge and I the most was the power the shoes had to take the person who was wearing them into any situation. They could be courageous when wearing the shoes and defeat any obstacle that came across their path. They also named the shoes after our guest judge, which is always a nice touch!

Come join in the fun next Late Night on April 19!

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

C3 The Place To Be!

The Center for Creative Connections is a hands-on, interactive, experimental learning environment for people of all ages at the Dallas Museum of Art. I am honored to be part of some amazing programs for adult visitors that offer a variety of learning experiences for beginners and experts!

Thursday Night Programs

Twice a month during DMA’s Thursday Night Live, C3 offers two-hour adult workshops from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in our classrooms. During one of these Thursday evenings we bring in creativity expert Magdalena Grohman, Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Dallas, and a local art educator to lead Think Creatively. The Think Creatively program provides adults the opportunity to put creative thinking to practice and discover the power to transform the imagination. Each workshop has a different theme and focus on one of the following: associations, inquisitiveness, or transformation. To sign up for upcoming C3 Adult workshops click here.

Participants discussing their work.

Participants discussing their work.

The other Thursday program offered is our C3 Artistic Encounters workshop where we invite local artists from the community in to lead art making workshops related to the DMA’s collection. In addition to that, this year we also featured an evening called C3 Digital Show and Tell where our visitors submitted their personal artwork and work they created during the C3 classes to show to everyone on the big screen!

C3AE with guest artist Juergen Strunk

C3AE with guest artist Juergen Strunk

Late Night Programs

Late Night at the DMA is an incredible evening for the entire family. There is always something happening in our various theaters, stages, classrooms and galleries. One of our Late Night programs is the Creativity Challenge. Ten teams compete against time and others with limited materials in order to make unique creations inspired by works of art from our collection. These challenges are always fun, risk-free, hands-on and meant to encourage divergent thinking.

Creating love songs to works of art and musical instruments. This team is creating a one woman band!

Creating love songs to works of art and musical instruments. This team is creating a one woman band!

Miss DMA Creativity Challenge

Miss DMA Creativity Challenge

Our next Creativity Challenge will be during Late Night on March 15th. Bring your team and sign up with me at 9:30 p.m. in C3!

Be sure to come by and check out the exciting programming happening in C3!

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

Friday Photos: Creative Chairs

We recently started a new partnership with the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School.  Over the course of the year, eighth grade students will visit the DMA four times for tours focused on the components of STEAM.

On a visit earlier this month, the students spent time thinking about the design and engineering of various chairs in the collection.  They were then challenged to create a chair out of everyday materials.  Here are some of their creations (and photographic proof that their chair supported the weight of our baby doll).

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Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Friday Photos: Creative Teens

Armed with tissue paper, construction paper, wire, and art straws, our Teen Docents were asked to complete a Creativity Challenge during their training last month.  Their challenge was to create a 3-D response to a 2-D work of art using only the materials provided to them.  They were not given any scissors, glue, or tape, and they had a time limit of forty minutes.  Their creations were quite impressive, and I hope you enjoy this peek at their finished products.

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Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Late Nights With Family, Bring Everyone Together

Trying to find new things to do with the family on Friday night can be a challenge. That’s why we want to give you the inside scoop on family-friendly activities available at Late Nights at the DMA. Held the third Friday of each month, these are fun ways for you and your family to unleash your creative tendencies. Here are ten ways to help you plan a “great escape.”

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  1. Studio Creations: Studio Creations enables you to use different media, such as paint, pencil, sculpture, and fabric, to create works inspired by Museum exhibitions. Late Night creations combine research on existing art with creation of new art.
  2. Arturo’s Nest: Our 2- to 4-year-old visitors can explore the space around them while using blocks, puzzles, and games to develop spatial learning skills in a fun and creative environment.
  3. Yoga for Kids: Children are constantly surrounded by stresses and stimuli and need a healthy way of centering themselves. Yoga for Kids helps youngsters improve their body awareness and flexibility in a fun and relaxing environment.
  4. Bedtime Stories with Arturo: Kids can dress up in their pajamas and listen to bedtime stories with our award-winning storyteller, Ann Marie Newman.
  5. Space Bar: Tap into your family’s creativity and make works of art inspired by the Center for Creative Connections’ Encountering Space exhibition.
  6. Creativity Challenge: It’s a race against the clock! Design creative pieces inspired by works of art before the time runs out. The challenges require teammates to work together with limited resources, stretching their creativity and exercising their ingenuity.
  7. Film Screenings: Each Late Night, the Museum showcases various films inspired by different exhibitions and artworks.
  8. Performances: Every Late Night features various artists doing what they do best. From instructional programs to lectures in the Auditorium, a variety of performances are available for you to experience.
  9. Tours: Our Insomniac Tour showcases works of art from our collections and exhibitions, and is led by our in-house art experts. If you can’t hold out until 10:00 p.m., take a self-guided tour as a family with one of our bite-sized tours and discover the collections in a new way.
  10. Music: From classical to modern, music can be heard throughout the galleries and in the Atrium each Late Night, enhancing the experience of art lovers.

Each Late Night is full of activities and special events suitable for children and grown-ups of all ages. The theme for each Late Night changes from month to month, so each visit to the Museum features different familyexperiences. Check out the Late Night schedule on our website for more information on our upcoming activities.

We [Heart] Office Supplies

Especially when we repurpose them as art materials!

Teachers, here’s a fun challenge to give your left brain a break (should you or your students need one after standardized testing).  This DMA Creativity Challenge, aka art-making activity where limited materials and time are provided, is guaranteed to flex your brain muscle and challenge your creativity. 

We [Heart] Office Supplies Challenge
The Challenge: To create a sculpture using only materials commonly found in office desk drawers. 

  • Begin by gathering materials.  Try combinations of the following to create your artwork: binder clips, post-it notes, rubber bands, file folders, paper clips.  Grab a pair of scissors, but leave the tape, glue/glue sticks in the desk drawer for more of a challenge.
  • Sketch out your ideas on blank paper.  
  • Give yourself a time limit.  The pictures below are artworks made over an hour’s time, but making sculptures in ten or fifteen minutes is just as fun.
  • Make a label for your sculpture: title it, date it, name the artist(s), and write a short creative description of it.
  • Display your artwork in the classroom or wherever else you keep your creations.

 Ready, go!

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

What's Not to Love About Being a Teen Docent?!?

Did you know that we have a group of twenty-seven Teen Docents who lead tours at the DMA each summer?  We are lucky to be the fearless leaders of the Teen Docent program, and we both love working with this talented and enthusiastic group of students.  The Teen Docent program was started because the Museum believes that teens have a unique ability to capture the interest of our youngest visitors and help them to see how works of art relate to their lives.  

Amy and Shannon with some of the Teen Docents


Teen Docents are wonderful at sparking imagination in the children they tour, and their enthusiasm in the galleries is contagious.  Some of the teens are new to the program this summer, and some have been with us for three or more years.  The Teen Docents come from a variety of backgrounds, but one thing that they all have in common is their excitement for sharing works of art with children.  

Amy and Shannon with even more Teen Docents


We asked some of the teens to reflect on their role at the Museum, and here are their responses: 

  • “If I were able to better someone’s experience at the DMA, and not only mine, it would make being a Teen Docent at the DMA worth every minute of my time.”
  • “I enjoy assisting others in creative ways.  It is wonderful to be around warm smiles and beautiful pieces of art.”
  • “I just want to be able to contribute to the greatness of the museum and in the process learn more about it.  I want to show people how much fun museums are and that it’s not nerdy to love museums.”
  • “I like touring children that have an excitement for the art.  I want to hear their perspectives about certain pieces and try to pass on interesting information they might not know.”
  • “My whole life, I have had an interest in art and I want to continue to feed that interest.  I enjoy learning about different styles of art and artists and what better way than at the museum.  Last year, I enjoyed my time as a Teen Docent enormously and I look forward to making new friends, memories, and continuing my study of art.” 


It’s not too late to schedule a visit to the DMA for your group this summer.  Teen Docents will be touring through mid-August, and we would love to welcome your students for a Color My World or A Looking Journey tour.  Email to schedule your visit! 

Amy Copeland and Shannon Karol
Coordinators of Go van Gogh and Museum Visits


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