Posts Tagged 'Museum Forum for Teachers'

Museum Forum for Teachers 2017

The art education-extravaganza that is Museum Forum for Teachers holds the distinction of being one of my favorite weeks of the summer. Each year, The WarehouseNasher Sculpture CenterModern Art Museum of Fort WorthKimbell Art Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art work together to coordinate a week-long workshop dedicated to helping classroom teachers deepen their understanding of modern and contemporary art and develop strategies to teach, interpret, and use works of art in the classroom and in museum galleries. Best of all, each institution hosts one day of the week giving participants and fellow museum educators the opportunity to explore a variety of special exhibitions, collections, and experience different teaching styles. It’s well worth braving traffic across the Metroplex to experience the richness of DFW’s museum community!

The Modern_1

Discussing Doug Aitken: Electric Earth at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

This year, twenty-three educators embarked on a week of museum experiences, gallery discussions, and studio projects for CPE credit. Not every educator who participated has a background studying art, and the variety of perspectives enriched the quality of our discussions. In the spirit of highlighting different approaches, the museum educators brought back the “Educator Exchange” from last year and each led a session at one of the other institutions. I always find that I come away from the week inspired and energized for the upcoming school year. Check out some of our highlights from this year:

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And what do our participants have to say about their experience at Museum Forum for Teachers?

This week has felt like a vacation. It’s as though I have been on guided tours on location by Rick Steves every day. I’d love to attend next year…Well planned. Well done.

This was my favorite year so far…I don’t know how all of you manage every year to make this event a week of so much learning and fun. I can’t wait to get to each museum each day. Absolutely my favorite thing I do all year! Thank you!

This was my first year and I hope to be back! Art camp for teachers is how I will explain it when I am asked about the highlight of my summer.

I feel inspired, charged up again, and optimistic about the new ideas I’ll bring to my students. Thanks!

Once again, this Forum has completely exceeded my expectations. The content was rich, insightful, and relative, the projects were fun and accessible, and everyone on staff is an absolute joy to work with. This Forum is not only the cornerstone of my upperclassman content, but a week for me to reconnect with art and truly be myself. Thank you all so much for what you do!

Sign up to receive our emails and check the box for Information for Teachers, so you can stay connected to exciting professional development opportunities here at the DMA and join us for Museum Forum for Teachers next year!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Teaching for Creativity: A Conversation Between Artworks

Have you read Shannon’s post about our gallery experience with ­­­Anytown, USA during Museum Forum for Teachers? After we imagined businesses, shops, and restaurants inspired by typography, we moved into a gallery in Variations on Theme with figural works of art. In this fun, creatively-charged gallery experience, we projected character traits and narratives onto the ambiguous figures.

To warm up, we created scribble characters and characterized one as a large group. Then, small groups of four or five people turned their attention to the artworks in the gallery. Each group chose two figures to explore and characterize. Then, each group wrote a short piece of dialogue between the two figures. To add a little challenge, each group randomly chose one line of dialogue to incorporate. Though it may seem counterintuitive, limitations within a lesson actually inspire more creativity than a completely open assignment.

These dialogue lines included:

  • What is that smell?
  • You are never going to believe what just happened…
  • I have never been so embarrassed.
  • No, I’m not kidding.
  • Tell me it isn’t permanent!
  • Did you get dressed in the dark?
  • Happy birthday!
  • I tried everything I could…
  • What’s on your face?
  • I heard it on TV…
  • I’m telling you…it won’t work.

Most of the groups’ conversations between artworks were light-hearted and humorous. However, each conversation was diverse with rich characterization. I really enjoy experiences when art-viewers combine what they see visually with their own experiences and ideas to create unique interpretations.

It would fun to tweak the creative twist for a classroom experience. Instead of incorporating a specific line of dialogue, try assigning the students a specific historical era or geographic location to research as a setting for a conversation between two artworks. Or, ask the students to create conversations between a figure in a work of art and a historical or literary figure. One of our Museum Forum participants suggested that students research artists and write hypothetical conversations based on what they discover of those artists.

What might a conversation look like between these two figures?

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator of Teaching Programs

Destination: Anytown USA

Our annual Museum Forum for Teachers has come and gone, and this year was another rousing success.  Twenty-two teachers participated in the week-long program, and spent a full day at each of the following Museums: The Rachofsky House, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Kimbell Art Museum, and of course the DMA.

During their time at the DMA, the teachers went on a walking tour of the Arts District before spending time in Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas.  Both of these experiences led to their afternoon art project: creating a watercolor painting of their impression of Dallas.

One teacher’s watercolor showed the Nasher Sculpture Center and Museum Tower.

Teachers were also able to spend time in a brand new installation, Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s–Present.  While we were in the exhibition, we focused on the themes of the figure, vanitas, and place.  The idea of place was one of our key themes for the day, and we spent quite a bit of time looking at Jack Pierson’s Anytown USA.

Talking with teachers during the 2012 Museum Forum for Teachers

I always love when Anytown USA is on view.  There’s something nostalgic about it, and I always wonder just where “Anytown” might be.  The general consensus among the teachers was that Anytown was a small town that probably looked a lot like Mayberry.  As we looked at the artwork, the teachers were given the following prompt:

The letters that make up this sculpture come from a variety of places. Imagine that each of the letters came from signage on buildings in Anytown USA.  Select one letter and write a description of the business you think used that letter in its signage.  Remember, your response must be inspired by the look and feel of the font/letter you select.

Jack Pierson, Anytown USA, 2000, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Junior Associates, 2004.10.A-I, © Jack Pierson

Based on the teacher’s responses, it sounds like Anytown USA would be a wonderful place to live!  Here are some of their ideas:

NY: A coffee shop where everyone goes to hang out.  Every town has to have a coffee shop.  Or,  a deli run by a transplant from New York.  All of the sandwiches are named after local celebrities.
T: An antique or curio store, and all of the employees are eclectic, just like the goods they sell.
O: A donut shop where grandparents spend weekend mornings with their grandkids.  A city is defined by its donut shops.  Or, it’s an old gas station that is practical, functional, but a little bit dirty.  They don’t care about the aesthetics of their business, they just want to get the job done.
W: This W looks very commercial and slick, like it came from a Walden Books.  Or, it could be from a Woolworth’s Five and Dime.
N: A feminine upscale hotel, or maybe a newspaper printing office.  Or, maybe it’s for a fine art framing shop that has a Thomas Kinkade painting hanging in the window.

U: This belongs to a Western store called “Boot Country.”
S: This S looks universal and simple–it belongs to a store called Supermart that sells everything.
A: This could be part of the sign of a ball park.  Or, it’s the sign for a bar called BAR that’s full of smoke and beer, but is a place to escape.

Surprisingly, none of the teachers selected to write about the first yellow A.  What type of business do you think that A might represent?  I would love to hear your ideas!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching


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