Posts Tagged 'New York City'

Reflection

Today marks the 16th anniversary of 9/11, and as we take a moment to remember those who were lost, we reflect on the resilience of our American cities as they are celebrated in our Museum collection.

This work by C. Bertram Hartman celebrates the vibrant energy of New York City almost one hundred years ago. It captures the dynamism of the city and New York’s energetic expansion, which was as palpable then as it is today.

C. Bertram Hartman, New York Skyline, c. 1930, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth M. and Duncan E. Boeckman, 2005.89.2

The painting includes a campanile-type tower, shown in the central-upper-left, that is likely the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower, already a “historic” skyscraper in 1930, when this work was completed. Hartman was a native of small-town Kansas and trained in Chicago, Munich, and Paris. Munich-trained artists are often identifiable based on their muted color palettes, as opposed to the exaggerated colors of the French movements. This energetic landscape of buildings and their harsh shadows is a visual approach that we still associate with the characteristics of New York City. Hartman would have been familiar with Cubism and its numerous Synthetic Cubist inheritors, and in the case of this NYC scene, he uses this type of geometrical arrangement of the buildings. The application of fractured perspectives on an urban view champions that fast pace and spirit of excitement.

Skye Malish-Olson is the Exhibition Designer and Emily Schiller is the Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.

Our Portal Into Publishing

View from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group located in the famous Flatiron Bldg

View from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group located in the famous Flatiron Building

The annual DMA Arts & Letters Live planning trip to New York provides the foundation for each season of the DMA’s literary and performing arts series. During more than 30 meetings in five days at the end of July, Carolyn Bess and I learned which authors are generating a lot of buzz for their new books, and who will be on tour during our 25th anniversary season. These meetings provide a portal into the publishing world not yet revealed to the media or to the public. Here begins the dialogue regarding the authors and books publishers want to catapult into public conversation. We share statistics and successes from our recent events as we attempt to woo such “wish list” writers as Donna Tartt, Bill Bryson, and Nick Hornby. Authors often tour to a predetermined number of cities and only for a short time following their book release date, so there can be significant competition when it comes to securing them for Arts & Letters Live. We seek to balance the type of books, speakers, and performances we feature in each season to construct a mix of literary and historical fiction, poetry, memoir, nonfiction, pop culture, and emerging authors.

Though our meeting schedule certainly kept us busy, we managed to squeeze a few excellent cultural outings into our visit. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed illustrated memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was excellent and would fit nicely into our Artful Musings category (if only Alison weren’t in such high demand these days!). We enjoyed seeing Gerald Murphy’s Cocktail on view in the glorious new Renzo Piano building of the Whitney Museum of American Art as we look forward to hosting Liza Klaussmann tomorrow night at the DMA for her new fictional account of Sara and Gerald Murphy in Villa America. On a Friday evening visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we joined the Museum Hack tour for what their brochure terms “a highly interactive, subversive, fun, non-traditional museum tour.” Their strategy did not disappoint. During our three-hour tour, we learned obscure and whimsical tidbits about a select number of pieces in the Met’s collection and wandered the galleries after hours, inciting childhood fantasies of spending the night in the Met like Claudia in E. L. Konigsburg’s iconic novel, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

One of the things that impressed me most during these meetings was the number of times publishers commented on the excellent reputation of the Dallas Museum of Art and Arts & Letters Live. After working on events with publicists all year via phone and e-mail, it is gratifying to meet with them in person and to hear how much they appreciate the quality of events that we host at the DMA. The professional relationships built and fostered during this New York trip are a key component to Arts & Letters Live’s success.

Michelle Witcher is the Program Manager, Arts & Letters Live, at the DMA.

Staff Highlights from the 2012 NAEA Conference

Over 6,500 arts educators from museums, classrooms, and universities across the United States and around the world converged on New York City from March 1 – 4, 2012 for the annual National Art Education Association Conference.  Museum educators spent an extra day together on February 29 for a Pre-conference focused on exploring the implications of the digital age on our work in art museums.  The Museum Educator Pre-conference also includes time spent in art museums.  This year, the day took us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Museum of Arts and Design.  Many of us stole time later in the conference week and scurried back to these museums as well as others.

The DMA was well represented at the NAEA conference with eight educators attending and presenting.  We are fortunate to send so many staff — conferences are a great place to recharge and be inspired. We do our best to “divide and conquer,” splitting up to participate in as many diverse discussions, demonstrations, and presentations as possible.  During the 2012 conference, there were over 1,000 presentations and workshops!  I asked my colleagues to share a few highlights from their NAEA conference experiences.   What follows is a compilation of voices, notes, ideas, and resources.  Add your voice in a comment, and help us to expand this record of ideas.

A few provocations from the Museum Educator Pre-Conference:

  • What is the role of physical space in digital learning?
  • Museums are intermediary spaces for informal and participatory learning, primed for blended and cross-generational learning experiences
  • Museums should actively support “do-it-together” learning
  • We need social instigators rather than authoritative professionals to lead communities in the co-creation of museum experiences
  • We need to turn online spaces into nodes, not end points — making sure they are part of a well-conceived network
  • Institutions don’t have “openness” in their DNA.  How can we (art museum educators) be a part of changing this?
  • Be careful how you use technology — don’t think of it as a means to keep the status quo in the galleries.  Use technology to enter into dialogue with visitors on site and online.
  • In his closing keynote, Peter Samis from SFMOMA emphasized the importance of listening, and he referenced Design Thinking (Empathize, Design, Ideate, Prototype, and Test). Refine the problem, not just the solution.

Notable ideas and highlight from the Conference:

  • The BMW Guggenheim Lab is very cool and low tech.  The emphasis is on people discussing urban life face-to-face.
  • Amy Kirschke from the Milwaukee Art Museum said something to provoke thinking about docents in a new way.  “Not only are docents a Museum’s best advocates, but they’re also our largest multi-visit program.”  Since they’re here every Monday, how can we structure their training to make it fresh and exciting from one year to the next?
  • The importance of listening was stressed in several sessions.  How can we all be better listeners in our work with museum visitors of all ages?  How can we help docents and volunteers become better listeners?
  • Professor Olga Hubard from Teacher’s College at Columbia University led a session, To Theme or Not To Theme, which left me questioning some of the themes we use to promote our K-12 docent-guided tours.  I have observed several 4th grade tours recently where a docent will say “Our tour is called A Looking Journey,” but never says what that means.  I wonder: what does A Looking Journey mean to me?  What does it mean to teachers?  And most importantly, what does it mean to the 4th graders taking an A Looking Journey tour?
  • John Maeda, President of Rhode Island School of Design, presented about STEAM initiatives at RISD, such as a $20M NSF project focused on climate change.  Throughout his talk, Maeda emphasized the significance of an arts education and the importance of designers and artists in society.  Artists and designers have what the world needs: “visioning, understanding, clarity, and agility.”  Maeda also referenced an article by Fareed Zakaria in his talk.
  • Educators from the National Gallery of Art shared their experience in creating family programs focused on curiosity. Using the Artful Thinking strategies from Harvard’s Project Zero, they designed Artful Conversations, a program that is all about wonder. Families share what questions a work of art sparks for them and these questions shape the ensuing discussion.
  • Art teacher Kristen Kowalski discussed the sensory needs of children with autism and shared research about minimizing the symptoms of the disorder by integrating iPads into the art curriculum. For children with autism, art apps on the iPad help them to deal with sensory overload and allow them to create artwork that they previously hadn’t been able to do. Check out Doodle KidsFaces I Make and BrainPOP apps.
  • Two educators from the Portland Museum of Art shared about new opportunities they created for families to explore the PMA. They designed a rubric and observed the interactions of sixty families in their galleries throughout one summer, and used the data from these observations to transform and create program offerings, including a cell phone tours for kids, family gallery labels, and a new family brochure.
  • Colleagues from the The Brooklyn Museum shared information about their Teaching Lab.  The Lab is a bi-monthly professional development gathering of education staff that serves to (1) define and extend their teaching practice, and (2) encourage “reflective and reflexive practice”.  Lab sessions focus on Object Observations (investigation of a museum object while experimenting with ways of seeing, visual analysis, critical thinking, and the nature of responding to a work of art), Roundtables (discussions about issues related to teaching), Workshops (exploring issues in-depth, occurring in galleries when possible), and Fieldtrips (to explore educational content and process).  The focus is on teaching, not programming.
  • The conference proved to be a huge success for early career professionals. The Student Chapter population ranges from undergraduate to doctoral students who attend conference sessions to aid them in their educational path. There were over 900 students in attendance this year! The conference is the culminating annual event where students come together to share their passion for arts education and grow in their experiences as a collective group.

In the April newsletter, NAEA President F. Robert Sabol shares a few of his reflections about the 2012 conference and looks ahead to next year.  The 2013 NAEA Annual Conference will be in Fort Worth, Texas!

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships


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