Posts Tagged 'senses'

Making Sense of Art

We’re super exsighted for Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month! Check our schedule to find an art experience involving senses other than sight!

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Dallas Museum of Art Uncrated

This October marks our tenth year of participation in Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month! Coordinated by Art Education for the Blind, Inc., Art Beyond Sight is dedicated to art education for people with vision impairment and to building an inclusive society for promoting access to all. Each October, the Dallas Museum of Art hosts hands-on activities, gallery discussions, art-making experiences, and artist demonstrations that focus on ways to experience art using senses other than vision.

Artist John Bramblitt joins several Art Beyond Sight programs throughout the month of October to talk about his process as a blind painter, and he leads workshops that include adaptive techniques for people with disabilities. Be sure to check out our full schedule of events to discover the variety of ways you can experience art using all your senses!

Emily Wiskera is the Manager of Access Programs at the DMA.

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What’s That Smell?

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In our family classes here at the Museum, we try to make sense of the art in more ways than one! Whether it’s through tactile objects that mimic textures we see in a painting, or listening to music that inspired certain works of art, we do our best to find creative ways to engage more than just our sense of sight when exploring the galleries. For this month’s Art Babies class, we kicked it up a notch and focused on our sense of smell.

Since babies already naturally rely on the five senses—sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing—to learn about the world around them, they were the perfect audience for this sort of experiment. For me, though, it was a fun challenge to imagine smell as a pathway for exploring art. How could I bring smells into the galleries that were both baby-safe and art-safe? And how could I be playful and engaging in my approach? My solution—puppets and spice jars!

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We began with a story featuring Jack the dog, inspired by Claude-Joseph Vernet’s painting A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm. Jack smells something new in the air and sniffs from one furry friend to the next trying to discover what the smell could be. I used a loveable puppet to bring the story to life, and Jack quickly became fast friends with our little visitors. Several wanted to hug and kiss him, but they also imitated the puppet’s sniffing, and as the story progressed, more and more babies would scrunch up their noses and make sniffing noises along with Jack. (The little one pictured above was one of my most expressive sniffers!) When Jack finally discovers that his mystery smell is the scent of rain, the children and their caregivers made their own discovery too—finding a little dog in Vernet’s painting and noticing the ominous clouds in the top corner of the landscape.

Now that we had planted the idea of using smell to better understand what we see, families set off on a smelling adventure through the galleries, using repurposed spice jars filled with a variety of scents—from apple blossom and rain to fresh hay and mountain air!

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Babies sniffed, shook the bottles like rattles, and stuck them in their mouths. Adults searched for paintings with objects that matched the smells. Together grown-ups and children found new ways to experience art.

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Before the shrieks of delight and giggles could dissolve into tears or frustration at not being able to touch, we left the galleries and made our way to our sensory play stations. Here, any and everything can be picked up, mouthed, dropped, smelled, rolled, bounced, and more. And for a special smell-inspired play area, we offered the babies fresh flowers, oranges, lemons, and limes to smell and investigate.

I do believe that these little ones have quite a nose for art!

You can create your own smell-based sensory play at home with recycled spice jars, cotton balls, and scents. I found inspiration from this blog post. Be sure to avoid scents that might create a burning sensation (like wasabi, chili powder, mustard or pepper). My go-to source for unusual scents is the Demeter Fragrance Company. Smells like art to me!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

 

Totes Awesome! Art To Go Family Bags

Around this time last year, I gave a sneak peek into an exciting new anytime activity that our Education team was testing. After much preparation, redesign, and enthusiasm over the past year, the DMA is now premiering the Art To Go Family Tote Bags for free and public use! Beginning this week, visitors can check out these special totes at the Visitor Services desk and enhance their Museum experience by engaging in a variety of creative activities.

Each Art To Go bag is centered around a particular theme, the first of which are Color and the Senses. The corresponding activities within each bag are general enough to be used with any work of art in the DMA galleries, so the possibilities are endless. The tote bag activities cater to diverse learning styles, encouraging visitors to design their own Museum experience by deciding whether they want to Write, Make, Talk, or Play.

With Art To Go bags, family members can use their imaginations to discover the different scents and aromas present in an Abstract Expressionist painting, or perhaps use their bodies to clap, stomp, snap, whistle and sing to create a soundscape for a Buddhist sculpture. Children can write a postcard to a family member describing their visit to the Museum using all of their senses, or use a viewfinder to focus in and sketch a single section of a French Impressionist painting. The great news is that activities and bag themes will change periodically, so families can create and enjoy new educational and artistic adventures each time they visit!
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Art To Go Family Tote Bags are designed to be creative catalysts, encouraging families to spend more time in the galleries both connecting with works of art and connecting with each other. We invite you to take one of our activity bags along on your next (or very first) visit to the DMA! Bags will be available for free check out at the Visitor Services desk during regular Museum hours. And DMA Friends who complete activities from both bags can earn the Tote-ally Family Badge!

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Get Immersed in Contemporary Art

Have you ever wondered how it would feel to create a painting over eight feet tall and almost seven feet wide? If so, stop by our newest Pop-up Art Spot in the Contemporary gallery and get immersed in Richard Diebenkorn‘s Ocean Park No. 29. Visitors of all ages are invited to assemble a life-size puzzle of this painting with large pieces of felt. Just be ready to get physical as you bend over, stretch, and reach as far as you can to put it together!

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This Pop-up Art Spot engages other senses, too: use your sense of touch (unusual in an art museum!) as you explore the texture of oil paint on small canvas samples or pair different scents with the colorful paintings around you.

Below is our upcoming schedule for the Pop-up Art Spot. We change locations from week to week, so be sure to visit us between February 11-16 to engage your senses!

    January 28-February 2: fourth floor landing, Modern American gallery
    February 4-9: third floor, Indonesian gallery
    February 11-16: first floor, Contemporary gallery

P.S. – This Pop-up Art Spot was created by our wonderful intern Tyler Rutledge, who was featured in a blog post last month.

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager


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