Posts Tagged 'Urban Armor'



Getting Inside the Teenage Brain

Last month, Shannon and our colleagues at the Nasher Sculpture Center decided to bring together our respective teen groups so they could get to know each other.  The DMA Teen Docents met with the Nasher’s Student Advisory Board for an evening of art-making, food, and conversation.  Our main conversation point centered on things docents should (and shouldn’t) say or do on high school tours.  Our docents often have a hard time connecting with our teenage visitors, so we thought that sharing advice in the teens’ own words would be the first step in helping our docents feel more comfortable with these groups in the galleries.  Some of the comments that resonated with docents were:

  • I really don’t like when docents treat you like children or assume that you don’t know anything and are very momish around students.
  • Make it not just guiding us around like sheep, but know really interesting facts about that artist, the time period, the technique, or that specific work of art.  Like what makes it really cool or unique and why does it deserve to be at the Museum.
  • Show respect towards the artist and be open-minded about the work.
  • Pay attention to your group.  If they’re not engaged or interested, move on so they don’t zone out for the rest of the tour.
  • Make it cool and interactive and not just looking at the works of art.

A group of teens in the DMA’s galleries

Our docents also read an article written by a 15 year-old titled Why Museums Suck.  Howard Hwang visited six museums in Los Angeles and shared his frank opinions about what made each Museum so terrible.  Hwang isn’t shy about voicing his distaste for art museums, labeling them as boring, places for “old people,” and even describing docents as “answering machines.”   His opinions brought a bit of levity to our discussion, but a lot of his comments really did hit home with our docents.  How can we connect with someone who hates old, boring art and is most concerned with what he’ll buy for lunch?

We talked a lot about how we can make make teenagers feel comfortable in the Museum, and we agreed that a tone of mutual respect needs to be set at the very beginning of a tour.  Many docents felt that we need to set up the expectation that the students will be engaged in the tour, but also that they’ll have fun while they’re at the Museum.  One docent mentioned that we need to “pop the bubble of pretention” and remind students that we’re all looking at works of art and learning together.  Docent-guided tours are not intended to be lectures–as Hwang put it, that type of tour “is like being in a locked room with Oprah talking constantly.”  Instead, tours should be conversations with docents and students both contributing to the dialogue and moving the conversation forward.  By helping students feel comfortable and welcome, they’re more likely to want to engage in these discussions.

A DMA Docent discusses American art on a guided tour

Another of Hwang’s directives to museums was decidedly simple: “You have to make it hands-on and interactive.”  At the DMA, the Center For Creative Connections (C3) is answering this call, and cultivating an interactive space where visitors can look, touch, listen, read, make and talk about art.  C3 endeavors to inspire and engage audiences through unique programming, like our Urban Armor workshops.  This distinctive program for tweens and teens offers students a chance to meet, relate, and investigate themselves and the world around them.  Classes are designed in a way that the concept of identity is the heartbeat of each workshop.  Teenagers are at a critical age of self-discovery, so each Urban Armor workshop is designed to promote decision-making, critical thinking skills, and self-determination.

A photograph from the most recent Urban Armor workshop at Klyde Warren Park

This past Sunday, Urban Armor took teens on a photography walk through Klyde Warren Park.  The workshop focused on using positive and negative space in environmental photography, and encouraged students to reflect on the individual choices they make when taking a photograph.  Armed with a camera, each participant explored the Park on their own, with DMA staff acting as facilitators.  This time of autonomous art-making is a central component of each Urban Armor workshop.  The final portion of class was dedicated to discussing what each student had captured during their photo walk.  It was important to encourage the teens to reflect upon and discuss the individual decisions made during each photograph, so that their individual choices could be linked to tangible outcomes.  Each student’s collection of photographs was uploaded to the DMA’s Flickr account, where they are able to view their own and other’s images, and share with the public.  The most exciting outcome of the workshop will come a few weeks from now, as each student enters his or her photographs into the C3 Encountering Space photography exhibition.  Teens have an opportunity to see their artwork publicly displayed in the C3 space!

The Urban Armor participants in Klyde Warren Park

At the DMA, we are working to cultivate spaces and programs that engage teens and involve them in the Museum.  Maybe teens like Howard Hwang would think differently about museums if they could see their artwork hanging on the wall.  We are also continuing to work with our docents to provide tips to better engage with teens on tours.  For now, we’re going to turn the conversation over to you.  If you’re a teacher, what tricks do you use to get teens talking about art?  If you’re a teen, what would you like to see happen at the DMA that might make you want to spend more time here?  We look forward to your responses!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Danielle Schulz
McDermott Intern for Family Experiences

Special thanks to Amanda Batson and J.C. Bigornia.

Urban Armor: Elements of Art and Skateboard

The DMA’s tween/teen program Urban Armor seeks to integrate works of art, rich group discussion, and art making with an over-arching theme of identity so that students can find relevance and practical application to their lives. This exclusive tween/teen program kicked off the new school year with an awesome class, led by art educator and artist Mark Gutting. The workshop emphasized the elements of art and principles of design in our contemporary collection in order to inspire ideas for students to use in their work—their very own skate deck! The students created custom designs, symbols, and logos and were able to screenprint these designs on the back of a skateboard. While working with him, I gained some great insight on who he is as a teacher and a student. Check out my interview with Mr. Gutting below:

What is your background and why did you decide to become a teacher?

Mark Gutting: “Drawing fills my heart with joy.  I think it started with a doodle in childhood and has kept growing since.  Ten years ago, teaching became a logical direction. Teaching art presents a daily opportunity to share that joy.”

What were you like as a teen?

MG: “I’m sure that I was like any other teen–trying to stand out while fitting in. High school is when I first began to develop a style of my own. The funny thing is, I kept it hidden, like it was some big secret.  I didn’t want anyone to steal my style before I fully developed it!”

What about working with our Urban Armor teen group appeals to you?

MG: “The program’s focus on identity.  I’m not sure there is a more apt theme to being a teenager.  Creativity in any form is a wonderful avenue to discovering one’s identity.”

Is there a difference between teaching students in the museum and in the classroom?

MG: “In my experience, students are students; however, the museum presents a situation that can never be duplicated in the classroom–the gallery walk.  To wind through the galleries, sketching a pattern from a textile, a bead from a necklace, a tool mark from a sculpture, and a brush stroke from a painting, is to mainline inspiration.”

What was the goal of the program on Sunday?

MG: “As an educator, teaching the fundamentals of any subject is vital to building a base of knowledge.  Getting students inspired to learn–while having fun–is no easy task.  There are a multitude of art fundamentals found in skateboard deck art: line, shape, form, pattern, balance, positive and negative space, spatial organization, an endless list really.  I wanted to present the Urban Armor group with a unique project–screen printing a skateboard–while incorporating those fundamental concepts.”

Why skate decks?

MG: “I loved skateboarding as a teen.  The movement–the freedom of it–mesmerized me.  Since I was never good at skating, the deck art became my focus.  I spent many hours drawing my last name into some skull-infested graphics.  Back then, the concept of screen printing was future talk–complete science fiction to me.  I simply wanted to present the Urban Armor group with an opportunity I never had–to screen print an actual skateboard deck.”

What was your fondest memory of this class?

MG: “Getting to see the Urban Armor group experience the process of printing actual skateboard decks was a joy.  Hopefully, some of them will want to build their own screen printing rigs in their parents’ garages and crank out original works of art.  Everyone has to start somewhere!”

Why do you like working at the DMA?

MG: “The programs offered to students at the DMA are instilling a deep love for art and creating a new generation of museum patrons.  Who knows?  Maybe even the next Picasso.”

To find out more about Urban Armor and upcoming workshops please visit the website.

Amanda Batson
Program Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections

Urban Armor Street Art Camp with Isaac Davies

Guest Artist Isaac Daniel Davies

Urban Armor is the Dallas Museum of Art’s unique program for tweens and teens.  These photos highlight the first summer camp  for this age group focused on identity through street art.

During this camp, students developed new ways to express themselves with the assistance of our Urban Armor teachers Amanda Batson, JC Bigornia and guest artist Isaac Davies.

Teens Working

Isaac Daniel Davies and Urban Armor student

Late Night Camp Demo with Isaac Daniel Davies, Anthony Gonzales,  DJ EZ Eddie D, Amanda Batson, JC Bigornia, and Urban Armor students

Completed

For upcoming Urban Armor programs, please visit our website.

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

Top Ten List of New and Upcoming Programs and Events

  1. iMuseum 2.0 Late Night:  Our September 21st Late Night is a not-to-miss night of new, experimental, and interactive programs.  Among them are a Choose Your Own Adventure tour and your chance to text a work of art with your questions.
  2. New acquisitions on viewCurrent exhibition Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s-Present features more than a dozen of the Museum’s 2011 and 2012 new acquisitions.  Check out online versions of the Museum’s Annual Reports and What’s New to keep up with our recent acquisitions, and then come see them at the Museum.
  3. Art-making in Posters of Paris. An art-making area in the upcoming Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries exhibition will provide visitors with everything they need to create their own artistic poster.  Leave a copy of your creation at the Museum (to be posted on a wall in the exhibition), and take the real thing home for the fridge!
  4. Staff Art, Staff Selections.  Visit in November to see an exhibition with artworks created by staff members.  Also on view in the Center for Creative Connections is our Personal Point of View series where a Museum staffer is invited to select and respond to an artwork for the main gallery space.
  5. Book Talk.  A book club-style event, Book Talk brings together Museum members (Sustainer level and above) for exhibition-inspired book discussions, exclusive lectures and tours, and author meet & greets.
  6. Klyde Warren Park Opening & Art Beyond Sight.  On Saturday, October 27th and Sunday, October 28th, the DMA takes art-making activities into Klyde Warren Park for their grand opening.  In honor of Art Beyond Sight Awareness month, we are focusing on experiencing art with senses other than vision. Sketch a nature scene, and then use scented paint to create your scene based on how it might smell.
  7. Karla Black: Concentrations 55:  As part of Concentrations—a series of project-based solo exhibitions by emerging artists— artist Karla Black will transform our Hoffman galleries with a sculptural installation.
  8. Urban Armor: Programs for Teens & Tweens.  As someone who discovered her love of art as a teenager, I’m pretty excited about the new suite of programs we offered are offer for a teen/tween audience. Urban Armor recently wrapped up a two-day graffiti project with a local artist and will kick off its Open Lab program this Sunday, August 26th, from 1:00-3:00pm.
  9. Arts & Letters Live presents Chris Cleave. On Tuesday, October 9th, the New York Times bestselling author of Little Bee will discuss his newest novel.  Chris Cleave’s Gold is a tale of friendship between two female cyclists and how they traverse the shifting sands of ambition, loyalty, and love on the eve of their last Olympics.
  10. Thinking Creatively Workshops.  I’m cheating a little with this one; it isn’t new to us, it’s just a great program. Starting September 13th, creativity expert Dr. Magdalena Grohman will lead a monthly Thursday evening Thinking Creatively workshop. The experience will begin with creative thinking exercises and conclude with a making activity that builds on ideas generated during the exercises. Workshops will be held on October 11th, November 8th, and December 6th, all from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in the Center for Creative Connections.  To get a taste of what you can expect, check out our Teaching for Creativity series; many featured activities are inspired by Dr. Grohman’s past workshops.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Urban Armor: Meet. Relate. Investigate.

Urban Armor is the Dallas Museum of Art’s unique, ongoing program for tweens and teens that offers students a chance to meet, relate, and investigate the world around them. Classes are designed in a way that the concept of identity is the heartbeat of each workshop. Urban Armor classes serve teens, who represent an often underserved age group in museums and are at a critical age of self-discovery.

Untitled #21, Karel Funk, 2006, Acrylic on panel, Overall: 31 x 27 in. (78.74 x 68.58 cm), The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2010.28

Each workshop is built around the concept of identity. The name Urban Armor is inspired by the Karel Funk painting Untitled #21, currently on view in Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s-Present, and the notion that we clothe ourselves in physical layers of clothing to protect us in a literal sense against the elements but also as a metaphorical means of protection. It could be to guard ourselves against the scrutiny of others, attempting to fit in, or wanting acceptance. In a similar way, the different faces we present to others depending on the environment can be seen as figurative armor to serve the same purpose. Who are we underneath these layers? That question drives us to help support teens through the program and to facilitate transformative experiences with art that allow for personal expression. They also learn new techniques, meet artists and DMA staff, and develop social bonds through their interactions with each other.

Teens participating in Urban Armor Street Art Camp with Isaac Davies

This year, Urban Armor launched its first exclusive teen summer camp in an effort to provide teens with a way to enhance their world and the space around them. Students encountered new forms of expression with the assistance of our Urban Armor teachers and guest artist Isaac Davies. They contributed to a large community “piece” on Ross Avenue Plaza, worked on their personal expression and self-statements in their sketchbooks and on their own painted panels, and explored how artists express themes of identity and space in artworks throughout the DMA’s collection.

Street Art Camp with Isaac Davies

Regardless of diverse opinions about street art, everyone can agree that it is a public way people are communicating or expressing themselves in our city. It is common now to see a tag, sticker, mural, or art bomb on any given street of Dallas. With heavy influences from artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Shepard Fairy, Banksy, and the many unnamed artists on every wall in town—it is important to recognize street art’s strong influence on our culture. For today’s generation, this is a prevalent force in their lives and a heavy part of their visual culture.

Watch participants from the summer camp Urban Armor: Street Art Camp and guest artist Isaac Davies as they demonstrate learned techniques from their camp experience tonight during Late Night at 7:00 p.m.

Amanda Batson is the Program Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections and JC Bigornia is the Coordinator of Family Experiences.

Urban Armor: Urban Art

Urban Armor is a program for tweens and teens focusing on building identity through discussion and artmaking. This month, we’re offering a graffiti workshop inspired by the Mark Bradford  exhibition.  We’ll look at several works in this incredible show, and talk about the relationship between place and identity on both a personal and communal level.

Mark Bradford, A Truly Rich Man Is One Whose Children Run into His Arms Even When His Hands Are Empty, 2008, Collection of Marguerite Steed Hoffman

What has me excited about this workshop is the opportunity to discuss with participants the idea that not only are we influenced by our environment, we in turn leave our mark on the spaces we inhabit through our presence and actions. For teens, I think this desire to make someplace your own is particularly strong—from their rooms at home, lockers at school, to their personal space (how they dress, for example). This connection between place and identity is fundamental not only to Mark Bradford’s work but to street art as well, which is something we’ll explore during the workshop. Teens will also  have the chance to talk about their own reactions to Bradford’s work in terms of his materials and his use of layers.

Participants will then have the opportunity to make a work of graffiti art using a wide variety of materials that focus on their individual creative strengths.  Some may feel more comfortable with  drawing, others with collage, etc. Regardless of the medium they choose, we’ll emphasize the notion of self-expression through the use of layers. They’ll learn how to make their own stencils and how these can be used to create patterns through repetition in their artwork as well as a way of personalizing their own stuff at home after the workshop.

My sample, Training Wheels/Bull Market, shows layering and stencil processes

Urban Art will be offered Friday, October 21 from 9:30-11:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 29 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  The October 29 workshop is currently full, and registration is encouraged for the October 21 workshop (drop-ins will be welcome but space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis).  All supplies will be provided, and the program is free with paid admission to the Museum.

JC Bigornia
Coordinator of Family Experiences


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,604 other followers

Archives

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Categories