Posts Tagged 'Make Art With Purpose'

Translating Culture II Collaboration

In mid-October, Center for Creative Connections staff embarked on an exciting collaboration with Janeil Engelstad from Make Art with Purpose and a group of students from the Skyline High School Architecture cluster led by teacher Peter Goldstein.

Skyline students have been visiting the DMA on a weekly basis to become acquainted with our collection. During the visits, the students explore the ways in which art can have cultural and personal significance by responding both critically and creatively through activities, dialogue, and reflection.

Starting on Level 4 with American Art and moving all the way to Level 1 with our Contemporary collection, the students have been talking, writing, and drawing works of art that they want to include on their own tour, which will be used to create a new smARTphone tour of the Museum. We also make weekly visits to their high school to further explore the collection and discuss the types of responses that will become content for stops on their tour.

The project is part of Translating Culture, an initiative that launched last year that aims to create links with the community by inviting groups to collaborate with staff through a series of workshops to inspire dialogue for mutual understanding and varied perspectives on the collection. While intending to inspire the use of art as a means of further understanding oneself and the world we live in, Translating Culture II also hopes to give the students a sense of ownership of the Museum and a platform from which to speak out their thoughts and concerns in order to engage their peers and the wider community.

We will continue to meet with the students until the end of November, at which point all the student work will be collected and prototyped into their bilingual smARTphone tour in early 2015. Stay posted for more detailed information on the project and a behind-the-scenes peek at students’ work, such as those below which include a sketch by student Miguel Martinez based on The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church, a drawing by Edith Cruz inspired by Renoir’s Lise Sewing and a set of sketches by Guadalupe Murillo during her visit to The Silk Road exhibit on Level 3.

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Eliel Jones
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

A Year of Launches, Anniversaries, and Free at the DMA

The year 2013 has been an exciting one at the DMA. We’ve welcomed more than 540,000 visitors, launched new programs, and hosted 11 exhibitions. Below are a few of the Uncrated team’s favorite highlights from the past year.

      • Going free!
        We returned to free general admission on January 21 and have loved every minute of opening our doors for free to the North Texas community.
      • Getting more than 41,000 new friends
        In January we launched DMA Friends, the first free museum membership program, and our new friends have been earning points on their visits and redeeming them for unique rewards for almost 12 months!
      • DMA sleepover
        Speaking of unique rewards, we hosted our first DMA Overnight in November. Ten DMA Friends redeemed 100,000 points to spend the night at the Museum with a guest while exploring the galleries after hours, participating in new DMA games and sleeping under the watchful eyes of Tlaloc.
        Overnight Guests
      • C3 got a facelift
        Come by and see new works of art and activities for all ages in the front gallery of the Center for Creative Connections on Level 1.
      • A sky of denim
        The DMA co-organized exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take (on view through January 12!) is full of beautiful and interesting works of art, but we had the privilege of being the first venue to ever show his denim work Untitled (one day it all comes true). It was amazing getting to witness Jim Hodges viewing his completed work on display for the first time.
      • Happy Anniversary!
        This was the year of anniversaries here at the DMA, including the 110th birthday of the DMA, the 80th anniversary of the Dallas Free Public Art Gallery becoming the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the 50th anniversary of the merger of the DMFA and DMCA, the 30th anniversary of the DMA Sculpture Garden opening, the 20th anniversary of the Hamon Building opening (which includes Level 4 and the Atrium), Arturo’s 10th birthday, and the 5th anniversary of C3.
      • From Greece to Dallas
        We had a year of amazing exhibitions, from a celebration of President Kennedy in Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy to the colorful world of Chagall’s sculptures, drawings and costumes in Chagall:Beyond Color, from the famous Discus Thrower from the British Museum in The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece to welcoming the local art community in DallasSITES: Available Space.
      • Art/Arte
        This fall we launched our first-ever bilingual (Spanish and English) guide for visitors, written by members of the Dallas community through a partnership program with AVANCE-Dallas and Make Art With Purpose. Pick one up at the Visitor Services Desk on your next visit.
      • Texas hops and barley
        This summer we had a Texas beer social for Museum staff and sampled brews that come from the Lone Star State. Uncrated team member Melissa Nelson Gonzales out- sipped the competition and won the beer tasting contest!
      • Eyes of the  Ancestors
        In June we celebrated the publication of our catalogue Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art and welcomed special guest Dhalang Purbo Asmoro, who hosted a public gamelan and wayang performance with musicians from Java, Bali and New York. This month, the book was named the winner of the 2013 International Tribal Art Book Prize.
      • Creative rest stop
        We launched a new program this year, the Pop-Up Art Spot, taking C3 into the galleries and inviting visitors to enjoy a creative break while exploring the Museum. Over 12,000 visitors of all ages have participated in drawing, writing and other creative activities!
      • New digs
        In 2013 a portion of the south end of the building was under renovation for the new DMA Paintings Conservation Studio (watch the transition here). Visitors can see into the DMA’s Conservation Studio and explore the conservation process in the adjacent gallery for free during Museum hours. A recent conservation project, Daniel Buren’s Sanction of the Museum, hangs in the Concourse and leads the way to the studio.
      • A Texas-size howdy!
        Our Visitor Services Team, which greets every guest of the DMA when they walk through our doors or visit the galleries, also got a makeover. You may have noticed their friendly smiles and new outfits during your visits this year.

Thank you for helping us make 2013 a great year. We wish you a very happy new year!

Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA.

Friday Photos: The Art of Sahrawi Hospitality

Last month, I wrote a blog post about a project the DMA co-led with MAPMake Art With Purpose, an organization that seeks to transform the world in positive ways. I can personally attest that my world was positively impacted by our community partnership program with AVANCE – Dallas, and through collaborating with MAP’s founder Janeil Engelstad and speaking with her about the impressive and inspiring work that MAP is supporting throughout DFW and around the world.

MAP 2013 – a festival and exhibition of social practice projects – launched October 1 and extends through November 24, 2013. Some of the C3 staff took a walk through downtown to visit one of the MAP projects called The Art of Sahrawi Hospitality. This project was inspired by artist Robin Kahn’s month-long visit with Sahrawi families living in the Tindouf Refugee Camps and within the “Liberated Territory” of Western Sahara.

From October 16-20, any and all passersby could enter a large traditional Sahrawi tent and experience Sahrawi hospitality firsthand with Kahn and six Sahrawi women. Inside the tent, the women women were talking, dancing to traditional music, serving tea, and applying henna tattoos.  Susan, Amanda, and I each got tattoos on our hands.

right entrance

entrance to tent

entrance to tent

entrance to tent

Najat prepares the stencil and henna ink for tattoos.

Najat prepares the stencil and henna ink for tattoos.

Susan and Najat chat as Susan gets her henna tattoo.

Susan and Najat chat as Susan gets her henna tattoo.

The tent was constructed with beautiful traditional fabric.

The tent was constructed with beautiful traditional fabric.

Najat prepares the tea.

Najat prepares the tea.


A friendly camel greets you inside the tent.

This wonderful project has already ended, but please check out the other MAP events and programs scheduled through November 24 on MAP’s online calendar.

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager

Community Connection: Make Art with Purpose

When you hear the words social change, what comes to mind? Some people think of government and politics, others think of social activists. When Janeil Engelstad envisions social change, her definition includes collaboration, working across disciplines, flexibility, and trust. Janeil is the Founding Director of Make Art with Purpose, “an organization and virtual resource center for creative projects that are shaping and transforming our world in positive ways.” These projects will be showcased during MAP 2013, a festival and exhibition occurring during October and November 2013 in the DFW Metroplex.


Janeil Engelstad, Founding Director of Make Art with Purpose

What inspired you to begin your work with MAP?

MAP grew out of my own creative practice, working with communities and addressing social and environmental concerns for the past two decades. Beyond that, I saw a need for a grass-roots organization that promotes the work of artists and organizations who are doing this work internationally and also acts as a connector for these artists, groups, and people from other disciplines (such as scientists and community activists) who could come together through or via MAP to collaborate on a project.

What do you hope to accomplish with the festival this fall?

Producing MAP 2013 Dallas, my initial hope was to bring a handful of national and international artists, talk to local cultural, community, and civic organizations, and see what kind of impact we could have if we came together to produce projects that address concerns that are relevant both locally and globally, such as immigration and climate change. I also hoped, with this initial beginning of reaching out and bringing in, that a spark would be lit that would inspire people to come aboard and address their own needs and concerns. That has been successful beyond my wildest dreams. Local artists and organizations who have never worked this way are seeing this as an opportunity to engage their community and talk about issues that are import to Dallas, and that is inspiring – that organizations and artists are wanting to engage in a civic conversation. Additionally, there are legacy projects that leave something behind, which create something that is longer lasting than a conversation. Some examples are the DMA project, building a new garden at the Trinity River Audubon Center, and a new seating area within a natural dye garden at UNT.

Describe your project with the DMA.

This project grew out of several conversations with Susan Diachisin about the possibility of collaborating with the Center for Creative Connections. During this time, the DMA was in the process of rewriting its mission statement and returning to free general admission. This dovetails with a central part of MAP’s mission to provide access to cultural programs for communities that are often marginalized for one reason or another. Thinking about how we could bring our experience and knowledge together to create something new, I came to the idea of inviting community members to create a guide to the Museum.

During Translating Culture…Community Voices at the DMA, twelve members of the Dallas chapter of Avance spent nine two-hour sessions at the DMA, during which they learned about the Museum’s collections and wrote their personal interpretations and connections about an artwork of their choice to be included in a printed tour for visitors in Spanish and English.

Rosy shares her insights about an 18th-century European painting during a group exercise early in the program.

Rosy shares her insights about an 18th-century European painting during a group exercise early in the program.

Bety contemplates a 20th-century American painting she has selected for the tour.

Bety contemplates a 20th-century American painting she has selected for the tour.

Participants were invited to bring their children, who made art projects in the Museum galleries with DMA and MAP staff.

Participants were invited to bring their children, who made art projects in the Museum galleries with DMA and MAP staff.

How do you tap into your own creativity?

It’s not a conscious thing I do; rather, it ignites when I am swimming…or I could be meditating. If I know I need to come up with a creative idea or solution for something and the seed is planted, after a day or two it will evolve. It comes from a combination of my life experiences, my teachers, my collaborators, Spirit and all the things that inspire me.

Janeil collects items from nature – such as bird nests that she discovers on the ground – by photographing the item in her hands.

Janeil collects items from nature – such as bird nests that she discovers on the ground – by photographing the item in her hands.

What will you do after the festival?

Immediately after the festival, I am working on a project in collaboration with MIT where I’m guest-producing the winter, on-line issue of ARTMargins, which will include a main article in the print edition, linking these two platforms for the first time in the history of the publication. The issue focuses on Eastern European art, ecology, and sustainability. Next year, I’m starting work on something called the Mobile Ecology Art Lab, which is a MAP project that is a retrofitted shipping container that will go around the world and be used as a platform to produce MAP environmental projects: a sort of art center, community house, and school all in one unfolding, portable structure.

For more information about MAP’s great variety of projects, visit

Melissa Gonzales
The Center for Creative Connections Gallery Manager

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