Posts Tagged 'TAEA'

Sharing Practices: 2014 TAEA Conference

San Antonio

Jessica and Danielle’s feet at Artpace San Antonio

 

Each year the Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) holds an annual conference where art educators from elementary to higher ed to museums gather to learn about new trends in curriculum, research, technology and more. This year, the TAEA conference was held in San Antonio and my colleague Danielle Schulz and I attended and presented. Here are some highlights from the sessions we enjoyed during our 2014 TAEA experience.

Supported Interpretation at the Heart of San Antonio
Working in the Center for Creative Connections, the DMA’s interactive educational space, it can sometimes be difficult to find relevant professional development opportunities. Out of all the sessions at TAEA, I was most excited about this one, led by Alicia Viera, Director of Cultural Programs at Texas A&M University at San Antonio. Ms. Viera runs the Educational & Cultural Arts Center associated with TAMU San Antonio, which is an exhibition space located in the heart of the downtown San Antonio arts district. Her sessioncontemporary-latino-art-san-antonio-angel-rodriguez-diaz recounted a recent exhibition she developed with a team of artists and professors using the Supported Interpretation model. This model is intriguing because it is similar to the way we develop content for the Center for Creative Connections, including: moving away from didactic resources and more towards an active learning style; approaching labels and text with a diverse audience in mind; displaying visitor contributions/feedback in an exhibition; and using evaluation to inform the way we grow and change. An interesting aspect of the Supported Interpretation model which has not been fully realized in the Center for Creative Connections is the production of an exhibition with a team made up of Curatorial, Education, and Installation staff, along with representatives of the Museum audience. As much as possible, this is something we strive for, but it can be difficult to fully involve all parties. Ms. Viera’s presentation sparked my interest and I will continue to keep a watchful eye out for the work she is doing at the Educational & Cultural Arts Center.

For Teens, by Teens: Expanding Museum Communities
Connecting with teen audiences through programs and activities is a rapidly growing focus of many museums. In this session, educators from Artpace San Antonio and The Contemporary Austin shared their practice and insight into working with Teen Councils at their respective institutions. A shared goal of these museums was to make teens feel welcome and comfortable visiting their art institutions and attending events. Taylor Browning, Assistant Curator of Education, Teen & University Programs at Artpace, asserted that enlisting teens into designing teen-focused programs and events at their locations was a key aspect of achieving this goal. An interesting conversation covered during this presentation was the importance of flexibility in communication, in both low and high tech ways. WIGGIO, a free online communication tool for groups, was utilized by both institutions because it allows teens to choose their method of contact–via email or text message–which removes a hurdle often encountered by staff working with this group. A more grassroots method of communication was also highlighted: the paper flyer. Both Artpace and The Contemporary Austin promote teen-focused activities and events through event flyers posted in high school hallways and community centers, and they celebrated the cost-effective nature and success of this low-tech promotion.

This presentation supported the current work the DMA is doing with teen audiences, and more importantly, it sparked some fruitful ideas for how we can grow and develop our current teen-focused programs. We are currently working with our own Teen Council to design a teen-focused Late Night event, and have students from our Skyline and Booker T. Washington partnerships using the Museum and it’s collection as an extended classroom. It’s exciting to think of ways that we can extend these collaborations into making the Museum a more welcoming place for teens!

Out of Sight
Currently at the DMA we offer a handful of Access programs for visitors with special needs, and we are always looking to expand the breadth of our events and activities and increase their impact on visitors of all ages and abilities. In celebration of the national Art Beyond Sight Awareness month, the Museum has annually hosted a variety of hands-on activities, gallery discussions, art-making experiences and artist demonstrations that focus on ways to explore and experience art using senses other than vision.

tactile graphicThe Out of Sight session at TAEA was very beneficial because it described resources and tools used by the Meadows Museum and the Ann Richards Middle School in their art programs for visitors with low or no vision. One of the most interesting resources covered were tactile graphics–representations of images that are adapted, using braille and texture palettes, for the sense of touch. It was easy to visualize how tactile graphics could seamlessly be put into practice in the Center for Creative Connections and other educational programs at the DMA. More and more as a department we are exploring the concepts of Universal Design for Learning, and investigating how to create activities and interactives that are accessible to diverse visitors with a range of abilities and learning styles. Carmen Smith, Director of Education at the Meadows Museum and co-presenter of this session, often reiterated that resources like tactile graphics and verbal descriptions of works of art are not just helpful for visitors with low or no vision, but that sighted visitors find these resources to be beneficial as well. Many of the tactile graphics used by the Meadows Museum were created by Visual Aid Volunteers, or more simply by using glue or puff paint to outline details of a printed image. Another intriguing resource mentioned was a machine called a PIAF (Pictures In A Flash) which is a great, albeit expensive, tool to create detailed tactile graphics. Watch this video to see how it works.

Developing an Eye for Design
Though the work Danielle and I do at the DMA is quite different, our passion for photography and teaching often brings us together to collaborate on presentations and workshops for many different audiences. This year at TAEA we presented on several low and high tech photography related activities and projects that teachers could incorporate into their classrooms. These lessons were based on a photography summer camp we co-taught last summer at the Museum. During our session we covered the variety of themes and projects we taught to our summer camp kids, explaining their significance to the field of photography and to design instruction. Additionally, we incorporated two art-making components into our presentation so participants had some hands-on learning opportunities. For our low tech project, attendees learned how to build their own camera obscura using simple found materials. For the high tech portion, participants experimented with the photography app VSCOcam, to enhance their digital photographs. View our full presentation here.

The annual TAEA conference is a great way to hear about the work being accomplished by art educators across Texas, as well as share with the field the DMA’s great education programs. We’re taking in all the program ideas and resources we gathered, seeing how they can best be utilized, and already looking forward to next year’s conference.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Teacher Resource: Beyond the Meme

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January 2011

What’s a meme? The word meme comes from the Ancient Greek words mīmēma, meaning “imitated thing,” and mimeisthai, meaning “to imitate.” Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins introduced the term as a way to describe the spread of ideas and culture. Dawkins considered memes to be things such as melodies, catch-phrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches. Internet memes are similar in that they are a form of culture that spreads, however, they are purposefully altered over time and may exist in a variety of formats (image, text, hashtag, video, or gif). One of the most familiar internet memes may be Condescending Wonka. Take a look at how this meme has been altered over time:

While internet memes are creative and fun, we can push our students to use technology and social media in a more artistic way. Many of them are already using these technologies, so it’s just about giving them a little direction and guidance to go beyond their clever memes and explore their artistry in a 21st century style. Here are a couple of lessons that use Instagram as a way to explore this idea of creating and sharing digital art.

Insta Appropriation

Memes can be a fun, relevant tie in to the idea of appropriation in art history. Start a lesson discussing Andy Warhol, Sherrie Levine, or Richard Prince, then compare their processes to current memes. Let students discuss how these are the same or different. Using Instagram, take and share a photo. Let the students take turns appropriating your image, almost like a game of visual telephone. Each student will appropriate the previous student’s image, modifying it slightly. You can use a hashtag to keep track of the images submitted. A few of the DMA education staff members tried this out using the hashtag #DMAofficeAPPROPRIATION. Take a look at how our images transformed over time.

Day in the Life

This is a great way to talk about the history of photography, and specifically documentary photography. You can discuss how cameras and access to cameras have changed over time and what that means for the visual record of a culture. In the late 1800’s, few people had cameras, taking a photograph was a time-consuming endeavor, and the amount of photos taken was small in comparison to today. Now, almost everyone has a camera (on their phone) or access to one, and little time and skill are required to capture a moment. Challenge your students to become documentary photographers and really consider how the photos they take of themselves are a representation of them. Each student should take one photo a day that gives a peak into the lives they lead. This project could last anywhere from a week to a semester! Encourage students to use the hashtag #DITL followed by their last name. For example, Danielle used the tag #DITLschulz and I used the tag #DITLfuentes to document each of our lives. Take a look at some of our images:

Find us at TAEA

Want to learn more about this topic and get more lesson plan ideas? Danielle Schulz and I are presenting at this year’s Texas Art Education Association’s annual conference. The conference will be held in Dallas next month, so make sure you register soon!  Our presentation is Saturday November 23rd at 1:00 pm–we hope to see you there!

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

The Google Art Project: Art Accessible to All

Most of us usually experience artworks from books, magazines, and by visiting our local museums and art galleries. There are countless artworks all over the world that most of us will not get an opportunity to see in person. Wouldn’t it be amazing if students in Dallas could take a field trip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City? How about a trip to Florence, Italy to view The Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery, or a trip to Hong Kong, China to visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum?

Google has created a way to virtually visit these museums. Thanks to the Google Art Project, anyone with internet access can have a virtual tour of artworks, and gallery spaces in major art centers all over the world. Students in any part of the world can get online and experience artworks that they may otherwise not have access to.

Right now you may be thinking, “This sounds good, but what exactly is the Google Art Project, and how does it work?”  Here is a preview.

My first encounter with the Google Art Project took place about a year ago while taking a museum education class at the University of North Texas. My instructor Dr. Laura Evans approached a few of the students about the possibility of presenting on the Google Art Project at the 2011 Texas Art Education Association Conference in Galveston, TX. After doing some research on this project, Jessica Nelson, Nicole Newland, David Preusse, and I decided to work as a team under the leadership of Dr. Evans. Our presentation, Virtual Museum Field Trips: The Google Art Project was aimed at providing ways in which high school art teachers could incorporate the Google Art Project into their classrooms. Afterward, we received positive feedbacks from the teachers in attendance.

Currently, the Google Art Project features artworks and gallery spaces from selected collections worldwide. This project is relatively new and still developing.  Similar to the street view and navigation features in Google Maps, the Google Art Project provides an interior view and navigation of art galleries and museums. It is structured to emulate a viewer’s perspective within the space. You can easily navigate from one gallery space into the next, zoom in and out of artworks, and get more information on each artwork. Moreover, you can log in and create your own personal gallery collection of your favorite artworks.

The Google Art Project is easy to use, and its structure encourages countless possibilities for art education activities in K-12 art classrooms. Some suggestions for activities include:

  • Comparisons – compare and contrast artworks in the same space or in different galleries.
  • Art critique activities – describe, interpret, and critique works of art.
  • Personal collections  – curate customized art collections for classroom projects.
  • Imaginative narratives – write stories inspired by artworks in the same gallery space.
  • Original artworks – create artworks inspired by a gallery space or by selected artworks in different museums.

Below is a summary of one of the art activities I created and presented during the TAEA conference.

Activity: Compare and Contrast: ARTexting
Grade: High school

Objective: Using the notion of texting, students create an informed conversation between two artworks in a gallery space. This ARTexting activity encourages students to make decisions and insightful observations as well as develop personal connections and individual creativity.

Outline:

  • Choose two artworks in the same gallery space that are displayed facing each other.
  • Imagine what these artworks would say if they could send text messages to each other.
  • Which artwork will send the first text?  How will the second artwork respond?
  • What interesting facts will they learn about each other?
  • Students should research basic facts about their selected artworks and write a possible conversation that the artworks could have via texting.
  • The dialogue should be fun and also informative.

Example
Museum: Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy

Artworks:

Sample text dialogue:

Portinari: Hello Goddess of Love, what’s up?
Venus: Nothing much, I am just emerging from the sea. It’s so cold out here. You look warm over there with all those bright outfits!
Portinari: Lol. We have baby Jesus here. Some shepherds stopped by to check him out.
Venus: Ohh how fun! But why is he on the floor?
Portinari:
He is really humble – he was born in a manger
Venus: Oh I see. That must be his mom next to him. How cool!
Portinari: …

Venus: …

This activity was inspired by considering how the Google Art Project  could relate to high school students. The education link on the Google Art Project provides more ideas and examples of activities, suggestions, and videos from a variety of experts. Such resources can be useful to classroom teachers, students, museum educators, or anyone interested.

The zoom in feature is remarkable. Unlike being in a museum that has restrictions on how close you can get to artworks, the Google Art Project allows you to zoom in and experience every texture, form, or brushstroke of an artwork.

The Google Art Project is truly an innovative approach to making art available to the masses. It provides new ways to interact with artworks and exciting tools for art education. Moreover, it is free and available to anyone with internet access.  This means that a student in my home country of Cameroon can have access to artworks in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as well as artworks in the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City. This Google initiative is certainly at the core of arts advocacy, as it creates cross-cultural connections by making the arts more accessible across the globe.

The Google Art Project makes art accessible to everyone. So, do not wait any longer – visit www.googleartproject.com and let your exploration begin!

Mary Nangah
Community Teaching Assistant

TAEA 2010

This past weekend, my colleague Shannon Karol and I took a trip down I-35 to Austin for the annual Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) conference.   TAEA brings together art educators in K-12 classrooms, universities, and museums.

My favorite part of TAEA has been getting to hear what other museums in the state are doing.  This year, I learned how ArtPace works with community partners in a program called ¿Como Vives?, how the Meadows Museum structures a multiple-visit program with area 6th graders, and how the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston engages audiences with contemporary art.  There was a lot to take in! 

Shannon and I also got a chance to talk about the DMA in presentations we gave.  Shannon shared her expertise in African art with conference-goers in her session, Themes for Teaching with African Art.  The session included themes (including family, proverbs, and royalty) that can be used to engage students of all ages with African art.  If you are interested in integrating African artworks into your classroom, I hope you’ll check out Shannon’s African Art Resources

In my session, Close-Looking, Collaboration, and Creative Response: Interactive Experience with Works of Art, I shared three activities that allow for my favorite kinds of gallery experiences: ones that are open-ended, involve groupwork, and art-making or writing in response to a work of art.  My favorite of the three is Post-It poetry.  I like poetry exercises; I think they’re a great way to get students to distill their ideas about an artwork into brief, meaty responses.  With Post-It poetry, students write words that describe an artwork on individual Post-Its and stick them to a board that serves as a group word bank.  After all group members have contributed responses, the group works together to rearrange Post-Its to create phrases or sentences.  Click here for more detailed Post-It poetry instructions.

What I like most about this activity are the unexpected resonances that happen when students read poems.  Hearing different, fresh combinations of words always enriches the experience of looking at an artwork for me.  Below are some Post-It poetry pictures, and a Post-It poem participants made during my TAEA session.

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The two of us also took in the sights in Austin.  We checked out the Blanton Museum of Art, stopped by the capitol, shopped funky stores on South Congress, and had a blast eating out of trucks!  (Not the F-150 kind, but the street-food-vending kind).   All in all, it was quite the weekend.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach


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