Posts Tagged 'Mesquite ISD'

Volunteer Spotlight: DMA Docents & Mesquite Week

Here at the DMA, you might notice both staff and our amazing DMA docents breathing a sigh of relief. Last week we successfully wrapped up Mesquite Week, one of our most challenging and significant partnerships of the year.

Mesquite Week was started in 1985 by Dr. William Hooper, the arts coordinator for the Mesquite Independent School District. Inspired by MISD’s tradition of offering students an opportunity to visit the symphony and the opera, Dr. Hooper hoped to establish an annual visit to the DMA. However, the DMA had just moved to the new downtown building—folks were wary about too many kids, too much of a time commitment, and not enough docents. Susan Cueller, the Head Docent at the time, took up the challenge of writing the teaching materials, coordinating a schedule, and overseeing the tours. Interestingly, Mesquite Week was the first time we provided pre-visit materials for teachers to build into their lesson plans. The partnership was very successful the first year, and MISD and the DMA have been coordinating to plan trips ever since.

This year we served all of MISD’s 6th grade students and the 8th grade visual arts students. That’s a staggering 2,740 students in six days–wow!

We sat down with Susan Cuellar and Joanie Smith, who currently shares Head Docent responsibilities with Jane Sibley, to chat about Mesquite Week and their experience as DMA docents.

 

 

Thanks to the DMA docents, we’re able to pull off ambitious programs like Mesquite Week and offer thousands of students guided tours of the Museum each year. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re reminded of how grateful we are for our volunteers who share their time and passion for art so generously, and I’m sure 2,740 MISD students would agree.

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Angela Medrano
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Friday Photos: Mesquite ISD

We are fortunate to have a long-standing partnership with Mesquite ISD students and art teachers, and we all look forward to their DMA visits each year.  Last Thursday, thirty art and social studies teachers from Mesquite ISD spent the evening at the Museum exploring the galleries and special exhibitions in preparation for their upcoming DMA Mesquite Week visits.  Teachers visited a variety of special exhibitions, including The Mourners, the new C3 installation Encountering SpaceAfrican Masks, and Mexico 200: Jose Guadalupe Posada.  After spending forty-five minutes in the galleries, teachers created a lesson plan relating to one of the exhibitions that they will use in their classrooms. The Posada exhibition sparked a lot of great ideas with the teachers, and it was exciting to hear how they plan on having students turn 2-D illustrations into 3-D works of art.

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This week we welcomed 7th and 8th grade students from each Mesquite middle school for docent-guided visits.  Students spent time in our special exhibitions, as well as in our European galleries.  Art I students focused on art historical developments during their tour, while Art II students viewed contemporary art. Over 1,200 Mesquite middle schoolers visited the DMA this week, and we’ll see each Mesquite 6th grader before the month of October is over!  

Shannon Karol
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Mesquite Week Visits

For the past two weeks, we have been welcoming 5th graders from Mesquite ISD for docent-guided visits.  This isn’t a new program, though.  For the past twenty-five years, students from Mesquite ISD have been coming to the DMA for docent-guided visits of our collection.  When this partnership began in 1985, each 5th and 6th grade student received a tour that aligned with their classroom curriculum.  Over 2,100 Mesquite students toured the DMA that first year.  Since then, this partnership (and the district) have continued to grow.

Today, we see every 5th and 6th grade student, as well as every 7th and 8th grade art student, for a docent-guided visit that aligns with their curriculum.  For the 2009-2010 school year, that totals almost 6,800 students!  This partnership is affectionately known as Mesquite Week because in 1985 the visits did only last for one week.  It now takes five weeks for the Museum to be able to tour that many students. 

DMA Docent Susan Cuellar talks about The Icebergs with 5th graders from J.H. Florence Elementary

Mesquite ISD has a wonderful Fine Arts Coordinator, Debi Waltz, who makes these visits a success year after year.  Debi schedules each school’s visit, orders the buses, and works with us to decide which works of art students will see while they’re at the Museum.  She’s one of the most organized people I have ever met, and I don’t think Mesquite Week could happen without her. 

I recently learned that it was one of our docents, Susan Cuellar, who took on the task of coordinating Mesquite Week visits in 1985.  The district wanted students to have the same types of experiences with art that they were having with music, and they decided that they wanted their students to visit the DMA each year.  Susan wrote the tour outlines for that first year, and she continues to give Mesquite Week tours today.  She says that starting the Mesquite Week program is “one of the most exciting things I have ever done.”  We’re excited that this program is still going strong twenty-five years later.

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator


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