Posts Tagged 'Dallas Symphony Orchestra'

Autumn in the Arts District

This October is going to be one of the most exciting I can recall – from the 15th anniversary of the Crow Collection of Asian Art and 10th anniversary of the Nasher Sculpture Center to the U.S. premiere of Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take at the DMA, and even (dare I say it?) the unveiling of a new Big Tex at the State Fair. Having spent most of my life in the Dallas Arts District thanks to my mom, Susan (a DMA docent since 1976), I am thrilled to serve my first year as executive director of the Dallas Arts District during the inaugural year of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Klyde Warren Park, and the Dallas City Performance Hall, and in the first year of DMA Friends (the DMA’s free membership program) and free general admission.

Image source: dbdt.com

Image source: dbdt.com

With the end of summer, the Dallas Arts District is in full swing again, beginning with a day of activities on Saturday, October 5. The Dallas Black Dance Theatre will kick off its 8th annual DanceAfrica marketplace and festival at Strauss Square with a pedestrian parade of dancing in the streets from the DMA to the AT&T Performing Arts Center. CBS Radio’s Fall for the Arts will have free family activities and three stages of performances from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can also catch a sneak peek of Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take at the DMA that day, before the exhibition officially opens. Additionally, the Crow Collection of Asian Art will celebrate its 15th anniversary with the grand reopening of its sculpture garden, which will include kids events and food truck lunch service.

Jim Hodges, and still this, 2005-2008, 23.5K and 24K gold with Beva adhesive on gessoed linen, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMAamfAR Benefit Auction Fund , © Jim Hodges

Jim Hodges, and still this, 2005-2008, 23.5K and 24K gold with Beva adhesive on gessoed linen, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMAamfAR Benefit Auction Fund , © Jim Hodges

The Crow isn’t the only institution celebrating a milestone anniversary this fall. The Nasher Sculpture Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary with Nasher Xchange, a three-day weekend of free festivities culminating in a ten-hour celebration on Sunday, October 20. Friday, October 18, will also include a free afternoon concert and tour at the Meyerson Symphony Center, TEDxSMU at the Dallas City Performance Hall, and the Arts District Fall Block Party. The Nasher, DMA, and Crow Collection of Asian Art will stay open until midnight for our fall Arts District Block Party, and light-based, site-specific new media and immersive art installations can be explored district-wide as part of Aurora’s Light of Convergence, presented by the Dallas Morning News.

Image source: dallasaurora.com

Image source: dallasaurora.com

A new class of first year students has begun their academic semester at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and a new crop of leaders is starting a new chapter in the neighborhood as well. Dr. Scott Rudes is Booker T.’s new principal; Tara Green started this summer as president of Klyde Warren Park; Doug Curtis is the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s new president and CEO; and The Dallas Opera welcomes its new music director, Emmanuel Villaume. Maestro Villaume will begin his inaugural season with Carmen on Friday, October 25, at the Winspear. The performance will be simulcast free in Klyde Warren Park – complete with a costume contest and singalong. Park visitors can also enjoy food and drink from the Park’s new restaurant, Savor, and their grab-and-go kiosk, Relish – both opening soon.

Courtesy of Dallas Opera

Courtesy of Dallas Opera

There’s far more to share, including new seasons of the Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Shakespeare Dallas, as well as newcomer Oral Fixation’s true storytelling series. You can enjoy a Pearl Cup Coffee or free Patio Sessions concerts in Sammons Park. To stay up-to-date on all the goings-on in our neighborhood, “Like” Dallas Arts District on Facebook, follow @DalArtsDistrict on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly  e-blast here.

Thanks for supporting our new collaborative and inclusive programming, and I hope to see you soon in the Dallas Arts District!

Catherine Cuellar is the executive director of the Dallas Arts District.

Autism Awareness at the DMA: A Father’s Perspective

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Four times a year we host an Autism Awareness Family Celebration at the Museum for children with autism and their families. Families have fun together at this special event in the Museum’s Center for Creative Connections for two hours before the Museum opens to the public.

In April, we recognized Autism Awareness month with an April 2 Autism Awareness Family Celebration in collaboration with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The morning event focused on music as Jaap van Zweden, Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and his wife, Aaltje van Zweden-van Buuren joined us. A Dallas Symphony Orchestra string quintet performed, and Jaap van Zweden talked about movement as he waved a colorful streamer in the air along with children. Aaltje van Zweden-van Buuren shared a compelling story about her family’s experience using music therapy with her son, an individual with autism.

I had the joy of talking with an enthusiastic and involved father at our recent event; Denny Singh is clearly his son’s number one fan.

Denny and Sohan

What three words would you use to describe your family?
After my son’s diagnosis:  strongER, as in “what doesn’t kill you makes you . . . “; closER, as in redefining the word “love” and spending more time together; and MORE appreciative of what many take for granted, like our son playing with a friend.

What types of activities does your family enjoy together?
Shopping while letting my son take photos of stores (his current obsession), visiting museums and the aquarium and zoo, going to water parks, and hanging out with his beloved cousins.

What is unique about your son?
His quirky, outgoing personality (e.g., asking people about their rings and jewelry), his grasp of technology and working a smartphone better than his parents, his empathy and ability to care, and his effort to overcome challenges and inspire us to be better people while guiding us on this unexpected journey.

What do you like most about the Autism Awareness Family Celebrations? 
To borrow from a Visa commercial:
Admission to the Autism Awareness Family Celebrations: Free
Additional expenses like supplies for crafts and fun activities: Free
Creating a safe environment where families and their children are welcomed, supported, and valued: PRICELESS

Have the events changed your perception about visiting an art museum with your family?
The events have empowered our family to be more involved in the community and not be afraid of activities or environments because of autism. And just as important as the event are the tickets given to families for a follow-up visit to the DMA any other day like any other family.

The most recent Autism Awareness Family Celebration was focused on music. What is the role of music in your family? 
Music plays an important role in our family, especially for our son. He loves music and all instruments, which he knows by heart (confusing a clarinet with a bass clarinet is a no-no!). While riding in the car, he asks to listen to a specific CD over and over again. Other parents tell me this isn’t just an autism thing, although his memorizing eighteen songs by number is! For those with autism, music has been shown to teach language and improve overall functioning.

Sohan and his family meet Jaap van Zweden

Do you have any advice about visiting museums for other parents who have a child with autism?
JUST GO!!! Regardless of your child’s “level of functioning,” he or she deserves the opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of the arts. As communities become more inclusive and welcoming, it is our duty as parents to take our children out into them. Take it slow at first to make a visit a positive experience for all. Most of all, remember, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

I eagerly look forward to seeing you at the next Autism Awareness Family Celebration at the DMA!

Denny, Su Chen, and Sohan with Jaap van Zweden

Amanda Blake is Manager of Family Experiences and Access Programs.


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