Posts Tagged 'teaching'



Intern Project: Introduction to Me & My World

Me & My World is an hour-long education program for first graders. We offer it as a docent-guided tour as well as a Go van Gogh classroom experience. Both programs introduce students to artwork in our collection with:

Both programs give the first-graders an opportunity to create artwork to take home with them at the end of the museum visit or school day. The overall goal is to assist the students in looking carefully at various works of art and making personal connections to them.  Because the settings are different (Museum galleries vs. school classroom) the experiences with works of art vary. Here is an example for Mary Cassatt’s Sleepy Baby from Go van Gogh:

Sleepy Baby, Mary Cassatt c. 1910, pastel on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Clues: a piece of a pink blanket, a pacifier, and the arm gesture of rocking a baby

After a conversation about the mother and baby (“Have you ever held a baby? Do you have a baby brother or sister at home? Have you ever sat on someone’s lap? How did it feel?”) a brief poem is read aloud to the class:

Human Pillow
By Sondra Falck

A sleepy head lay yawning,
Quietly on my chest,
His little legs were tired,
Needing a bit of rest.

Little boy, face filled with dreams,
Of all he planned to do,
Games to play and trees to climb,
Before this day was through.

 Busy dreamer, sound asleep,
Had to find the softest lap,
To be his human pillow,
So he could take a nap.

As a class, we discuss connections between the poem and the work of art. Then, we create a poem of our own, by asking the students to finish the sentence “Babies are ___”. When completed, it will look something like this: 

Babies are _soft_.
Babies are ­­­_sweet_.
Babies are _loud_.
Babies are _smelly_.
Babies are _squishy_.
Babies are _sleepy_.

Here is an example of Romare Beardon’s Soul Three from the Docent Tour:

Soul Three, Romare Bearden, 1968, paper and fabric collage on board, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund

Soul Three, Romare Bearden, 1968, paper and fabric collage on board, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund

 

Clues: Detail of cloth from the collage, a foot tapping, and a tambourine

There are two themes that can be brought up during this conversation: one highlights what the students see in the painting (patterns, shapes, colors, figures) and the other explores the relationship of the people and the activity that they are participating in.

After this conversation, the students are encouraged to create a story about these three friends by considering the following prompts:

  • Give each of the gentlemen and the lady a name.
  • How did they meet each other?
  • What kind of music do they like to play?
  • Where are they playing their music?
  • Who is listening to them play? Are there other people around?
  • What happens when they stop playing their music?

The activity encourages the students to pose like one of the figures in the work of art and then choose one part of their body to move when the docent claps out a rhythm. Since we love working with children of all ages, we have decided to revise both of the Me &  My World programs as our McDermott Intern Project. We are still in the brainstorming stage, and we would love your help!

What are some of your favorite works of art from the DMA collection to use with young visitors? Has our collection inspired any fun activites that you use with your students? Tell us in the comments!

Jessica Kennedy & Hannah Burney
McDermott Interns for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Teaching for Creativity: Two Cool Web Sites

One of the ways that I like to inspire and motivate my own creativity is to surf the web and see what’s happening at other places and museums in the world.  When I find something I like, I will periodically revisit a web site to see what is new and also reconnect with some of the creative sparks that caught my mind on the first visit.  For this post in the Teaching for Creativity series, I am sharing with you two art museum web sites that are quickly becoming regular stops on my web surfing adventures, and are particularly relevant to the themes of art, artists, and creativity.

Tate Modern: turbinegeneration
This innovative website is based on the idea of international exchange and collaboration. Designed for schools, artists, and galleries, the Tate’s Unilever Series: turbinegeneration project is an offshoot of their annual Turbine Hall installation sponsored by Unilever.  Each year, the Tate Modern commissions an artist to create an installation for this colossal space.  The most recent Unilever Series artist featured on the turbinegeneration website is Ai Weiwei.  The next artist to be featured is Tacita Dean.  The installation created by each artist serves as the catalyst for students, teachers, and artists participating in the turbinegeneration project.  Through basic social media, participants can connect and share ideas and artworks that are inspired by the work of artists featured in the Unilever Series.  An online gallery of artworks created in response to the work of Ai Weiwei includes participants from Brazil, United Kingdom, Korea, Portugal, and India.  How cool is it to see how students across the world respond to the work of this contemporary artist!

Denver Art Museum: Creativity Resource for Teachers
This website from the Denver Art Museum launched several years ago on the premise that the creativity of artists can inspire the creativity in each of us.  The site houses a wealth of resources that can be sorted by artwork or lesson plan topic and grade level. Each featured artwork includes information about the maker and the inspiration for the piece, as well as things to look for and multimedia resources that may be useful for teaching.  

What websites inspire you?  Which ones do you find yourself returning to over and over again for creative ideas?  Share your websites in the comment section below – I would love to hear about them and add them to my web surfing adventures.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Artist Spotlight: Emile Bernard

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with our docents about two paintings within the collection by 19th-century, French artist Emile Bernard (1868-1941).  Both of these works feature Breton women (from the region of Brittany in France) in traditional festival attire.  In the late-19th century, the villages of Brittany, like many other rural sites outside Paris, had become the center of various artist colonies.  The most well-documented of these sites is the city of Pont-Aven, which between 1886 and 1894 became the stomping ground of notable artists such as Paul Gauguin, Paul Serusier, and Emile Bernard.  This cast of characters, along with an international array of artists from countries such as Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, became known as the Pont-Aven School and triumphed a pared-down aesthetic that departed from the naturalism of Impressionism and emphasized a synthesis of the impressions of nature and abstract forms that underlined emotional experience. 

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Brittany was fertile ground for the Pont-Aven School artists because of its association with an exotic aesthetic that played up the primitivism of the picturesque peasants and overlooked the industrial developments and spread of Parisian taste and sophistication to the not-so-remote villages.  In this sense, what the artists left out–factories, commericalism, and modern advancements–become just as much the subject of the work as what they included.

Bernard first visited Brittany in 1886 and would return to the region the next four summers.  In 1888, he worked closely with Paul Gauguin, and together they launched the Synthesist style that characterized much of the work coming out of Pont-Aven.  Bernard was inspired by Medieval cloisonne, or the technique of applying enamel partitions within stained glass.  He and Gauguin, like many artists of the period, also looked to Japanese prints for inspiration and a means to rejuvenate the European style. 

The two DMA paintings by Bernard are dated 1891 and 1892 by the artist in the lower right-hand corner of the canvases next to his signature.  In 1893, he left for a ten-year soujourn in Egypt and would not return to Brittany until 1910 for a brief stay and 1939-1940 for an extended stay the year before his death.

“Othering” is the act of creating an uneven power hierarchy through the myth of a binary of “us” and “them.”  This serves tp emphasize the percieved weaknesses of “them,” or the marginalized society, as a means of underlining the superiority and right to power of “us.”

These works of art can be used with students at the Museum or in the classroom.  They are a great jumping off point to think about exoticism and its role in art.  Exoticism is typically associated with well-known works by Orientalist painters such as Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres and primitivists like Paul Gauguin.  The Pont-Aven School works embody similar ideas of “othering,” except that the exotic projections take place within France and become a sort of internal othering.   What other examples of othering, based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, etc. can you think of in art and popular visual culture?

Ashley Bruckbauer
McDermott Intern for Teacher Programs and Resources

Teaching with African Art

Prior to becoming the Coordinator of Museum Visits at the DMA, I served as a McDermott Curatorial Intern working with our curator of African art, Dr. Roslyn A. Walker.  During my year with Roz, I learned not only about the arts of Africa, but I also grew to love the DMA’s collection.  We have a fantastic collection of African art at the Museum, and I enjoy sharing it with our docents, teachers, and especially with students.

A few weeks ago, I led a docent training session entitled Art and Death in Africa.  A majority of African art deals with the cycle of life, so birth, initiation, and death are constantly referenced in our collection.  I felt that death was an especially interesting theme to investigate since it ties in so nicely to one of our current special exhibitions The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy.  Check out last Friday’s photo post for some of my favorite works from the collection relating to art and death in Africa.

Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria at the MFA, Houston

In September, I was invited to lead a Teacher Workshop at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston related to the exhibition Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria.  The works of art in the exhibition date from the 9th to the 15th century, and many of them have never traveled outside of Nigeria.  It was a special treat to see them, let alone to teach with them!  We spent time in the exhibition and also in the MFAH’s African galleries exploring the themes of kingship and belief.  At the end of the day, teachers created concrete poems inspired by a work of art in the Ife exhibition.  I was impressed with the teachers’ finished products, which were created on paper that they had embellished with a watercolor wash. 

A concrete poem created by one of the teachers

Later this month, I will be presenting Themes for Teaching with African Art at the Texas Art Education Association conference in Austin.  Using works of art from the DMA collection, I will share themes, questions, and experiences that can help students make connections between African art and traditions and their lives today.  If you’re attending TAEA this year and want to learn more about teaching with African art in your classroom, plan to attend my session at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, November 12th.  I hope to see you there!

Shannon Karol
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Exploring Photography and Creativity

Our next teacher workshop is our final workshop of the school year:     

Exploring Photography: The Lens of Impressionism
7 CPE hours; limit 20
$50 full price; $40 DMA members   

 

Gustave Le Gray, Brig Upon the Water, ca. 1856. Albumen print, Founders Society Purchase, Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation Fund (F78.41) Photo © 2004, Detroit Institute of Arts

This workshop stretches over two meetings; please plan to attend both dates.

Saturday, April 24, 2010; 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 1, 2010; 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.   

Two special guests will join us for this workshop:   

Dr. Terry Barrett, Professor of Art Education at the University of North Texas, will lead a gallery conversation based on photographs in the Lens of Impressionism exhibition on April 24.  Learn more about Dr. Barrett by visiting his Web site or by reading his recent interview on this blog.   

Frank Lopez, photographer and visual art teacher at Greenhill School, will lead a demonstration of ambrotype photography on May 1.  Visit Mr. Lopez’s Web site to learn more about him and his work.   

We’re also taking reservations for our annual summer course offered in conjunction with The University of Texas at Dallas:   

Summer Seminar 2010: The Creative Process   

 June 15-18, 2010; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily   

$100 registration fee   

Join UT Dallas faculty and DMA staff to explore the theory and practice of creativity in this graduate-level seminar.  Discussion sessions and interactive workshop experiences will take place at the Dallas Museum of Art in classrooms, galleries, and the Center for Creative Connections.     

Both programs are open to K-12 teachers of all subjects.  Register now before spaces are gone.   

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs


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