Posts Tagged 'summer program'

Behind the Scenes: YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs Program

Coming into my second month at the museum, I am beginning to learn more about the different facets of our education department.  Last week, I participated in our YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs Program, a week-long program that employs interactive gallery experiences through tours, as well as hands-on art activities based on objects explored in the Museum.  By documenting my first experience with the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs Program, I aim to shed some light on our summer programs at the DMA.

Tour supplies

Our week begins on Monday at the Grand Prairie Boys & Girls Club.  My colleague Melissa Nelson and I head out in the beloved Go van Gogh® van, armed with a bag full of art supplies.  Because it’s our first interaction with the students, we start off with introductions about us and the Museum.  As a group, we talked about the different collections the DMA has to offer and what their first visit will be like.   Finally, we ended the session with an art activity, in which the students drew their own museum filled with items they collect at home.

On Tuesday, the students traveled to the Museum for their first visit, and the tour theme is Animal Safari.  The Animal Safari tour is a fun and engaging tour that encourages students to look closer at the different types of animals found in artworks throughout the Museum.  Some activities I included are an animal scavenger hunt in the American silver gallery, an acrostic poem about a seal or sea otter spirit mask, and a drawing based on the sculptures of mythical animals (aso) from Indonesia.  You can find more interactive activities on our Teaching Resources page.

Preparing for an Animal Safari tour

On Wednesday, we went back to the Boys & Girls Club and reviewed some of the animals we saw on the tour.  Two objects that we asked for them to recall are the sword ornament in the form of a lion and the mythical animal (aso).  Inspired by these two objects, the students created their own animals with Model Magic clay.  It was a great way to connect the students with the artworks and spark their interest in returning to the Museum on Thursday.

On Thursday, the students returned to the DMA for a second time, ready to participate in the Heroes tour.  During the tour, students explored characteristics of heroes and what it means to be a hero in artworks from diverse cultures.  During the tour, we read Courage by Bernard Waber, drew a hero portrait, and wrote a story about heroes together as a group.

Students working hard on their trophies

Our final meeting took place on Friday at the Boys & Girls Club.  We reviewed the different roles of a hero and talked about which artworks we liked the most.  One object that was visited was the Nautilus Centerpiece, which is a yachting trophy.  In this activity, students created their own trophy that either represented themselves as heroes, or to give to someone they consider their hero, like a family member or a friend.

Artist Trophy

My first week with the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs Program has been a blast!  I can’t think of a better way for students to spend their summer than having fun with art and taking the time to look, question, and create.

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Community Connection: It's All About the Kids

Even though school is not in session, we work with many children through tours and outreach programs during the summer months.  We partner with YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas in a weeklong program that includes two interactive Museum tours along with three art-making visits to the branches.  Town North YMCA and Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club have participated in this partnerhip for several years, and their staff (Katherine from Town North YMCA and Cherri from Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club) participated in planning sessions for this summer’s program.


Katherine Ansley, Child Care Director of Town North YMCA

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Katherine:  The best thing about it is working with the kids.  When everything on the administrative side is crazy, I know I can go and play a game of Battleship and relax for a bit.  Spending time with the kids reminds me that everything is not as bad as I think it is.  It helps you forget about yourself for a second, which is really great.

Cherri:  The kids. I get paid to be around kids every day.

You have been a strong supporter of the DMA partnership program.  What motivates you to make sure your students have this experience?

Katherine:  I think it’s valuable. I always remember a field trip to a museum in elementary school.  I saw a piece of art and I just wanted to sit there and look at it.  I was fortunate to have a teacher who let me do that, and I want to make sure other kids can have that moment.

Cherri:  I want the kids to be exposed to everything.  I don’t want them to be limited. We live in an urban area, and I want to expose them to as much as possible.  Art is for everyone, and that is my belief.  Plus, I love art.


Cherri Rowe, Program Coordinator at Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club

The YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs are very busy places during the summer.  How do you unwind after a full day or week of work?

Katherine:  When it’s been a real stressful day, my best friend usually takes me for sushi.  That is the best way for me to chill out.  Sushi is fun because you can try new things.

Cherri:  I love to read and I love to bowl – I’m crazy about bowling.  I go to the movies.  I sleep.  I’ll go outside and sit on my porch and write. Sometimes I have to get out of the house and relax, and sometimes I want to stay in. I love to hang out with my sisters or my mom.

One of our summer tours is called Summer Vacation, and we ask the students where they would most like to travel during the summer.  If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Katherine:  I would love to go to Rome, because I want to see the ruins and architecture there.  It’s fascinating to see how they did all that stuff without modern technology.

 Cherri:  Italy. I would take two months off work and tour the entire country.  I would stay two or three days in each city.  Italy seems so beautiful and has so much history.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


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