Posts Tagged 'Volunteer'



Volunteer Spotlight: DMA Docents & Mesquite Week

Here at the DMA, you might notice both staff and our amazing DMA docents breathing a sigh of relief. Last week we successfully wrapped up Mesquite Week, one of our most challenging and significant partnerships of the year.

Mesquite Week was started in 1985 by Dr. William Hooper, the arts coordinator for the Mesquite Independent School District. Inspired by MISD’s tradition of offering students an opportunity to visit the symphony and the opera, Dr. Hooper hoped to establish an annual visit to the DMA. However, the DMA had just moved to the new downtown building—folks were wary about too many kids, too much of a time commitment, and not enough docents. Susan Cueller, the Head Docent at the time, took up the challenge of writing the teaching materials, coordinating a schedule, and overseeing the tours. Interestingly, Mesquite Week was the first time we provided pre-visit materials for teachers to build into their lesson plans. The partnership was very successful the first year, and MISD and the DMA have been coordinating to plan trips ever since.

This year we served all of MISD’s 6th grade students and the 8th grade visual arts students. That’s a staggering 2,740 students in six days–wow!

We sat down with Susan Cuellar and Joanie Smith, who currently shares Head Docent responsibilities with Jane Sibley, to chat about Mesquite Week and their experience as DMA docents.

 

 

Thanks to the DMA docents, we’re able to pull off ambitious programs like Mesquite Week and offer thousands of students guided tours of the Museum each year. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re reminded of how grateful we are for our volunteers who share their time and passion for art so generously, and I’m sure 2,740 MISD students would agree.

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Angela Medrano
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Go van Gogh on a Volunteer Excursion!

As another fantastic summer comes to an end, it’s time to start looking forward to a fall season full of fun. To get involved in the excitement, consider becoming a volunteer!

Go van Gogh is currently recruiting outreach volunteers for the 2016-2017 school year to help us lead classroom programs across Dallas! We’re seeking volunteers who love working with children, have a passion for art, and want to give back to the community.

Go van Gogh volunteers help facilitate and teach programs in elementary classrooms that encourage students to look closely at works of art in the Museum’s collection and express their creativity through art making activities.

Interested volunteers must attend bi-monthly training sessions held Tuesday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Additionally, volunteers are asked to teach two programs per month from early October to mid-May. Programs are scheduled on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning.

All applications are due by Thursday, September 8, so hurry and submit your application here. If you’d like additional information, feel free to send an email to volunteers@DMA.org. We hope you’ll Go van Gogh around Dallas with us this year!

Andi Orkin
Volunteer Coordinator for Programming

Teen Ambassadors: Coolest Kids in Town

We know all too well that this summer’s going to be a scorcher, so the Museum is bringing back our free Summer Family Fun programs to offer families some seriously cool activities. Each day this summer will feature different experiences for families and visitors of all ages, from Story Times to Art-to-Go Family Tote Bags. We’re not alone in our efforts, though – we have a secret weapon to help families beat the heat. Introducing the next generation of museum educators…the DMA Teen Ambassadors!

Formerly the Teen Docent Program, Teen Ambassadors will lead Community Tours, Family Story Times, and visitor experiences at the Pop-up Art Spot and C3 Gallery this summer. These enthusiastic, art-loving teens attended a two day orientation where they learned how to engage with visitors (especially young ones!) to prepare for their volunteer shifts.

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The 2016 Class of Teen Ambassadors

This year’s class of Ambassadors is pretty impressive, so make sure to catch them in action!

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

Thankful for the DMA

Any other year at this time, I would be heading home to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family in Maine. This year, however, marks my first Thanksgiving away from home – the journey from Texas to New England is a bit too far to make for the holiday! I recently moved to Dallas to take part in the DMA’s McDermott Internship Program, which runs from September to May. Being away from my family is difficult this year, but I am grateful for all of the experiences that have been offered to me as the McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching.

While my intern duties cover a wide variety of roles here at the Museum, one of my main focuses is Go van Gogh, our community outreach program that brings a piece of the DMA to local elementary and middle schools. This past week, I spent time at Martha Turner Reilly Elementary School with a class of 4th graders. Our program was called Art of the Lone Star State, and it offered the students (and myself) the chance to learn more about the history of this state through art. We looked at works of art that depict Texas landscapes and cityscapes before making our own landscapes with watercolor pencils.

The opportunity to work with children is one of the reasons I applied for this internship, so I am extremely happy that I get to work with our Go van Gogh program.

All of the amazing Go van Gogh programs would not be possible without our volunteers! Go van Gogh has over 30 volunteers, both in Dallas and the surrounding Metroplex. These individuals volunteer their time with the programs in schools, but also spend time here at the DMA for volunteer training. During training, the volunteers become the students as we simulate the programs that they teach. We also spend time in the galleries, looking at the works of art that the students will see. Being a Go van Gogh volunteer shows a commitment to the DMA and to education, and we are extremely grateful to have such wonderful volunteers!

Go van Gogh is just one of the many programs I have been involved with during my time at the Museum. Three months into my nine month internship, I have worked closely with the docents, given school tours, and been involved in programs with Booker T. Washington High School, just to name a few! While I miss my family, I am thankful that I have this position and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the internship brings! And of course, I’m thankful for the opportunity to drive our amazing van around town!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Liz Bola
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

New Year, New You

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Whether you set specific goals for 2014, or are just considering ways to give back to the community, the C3 Volunteer Program may be right for you. Center for Creative Connections (C3) volunteers help visitors to enjoy and explore the Museum’s collection and interactive activities, both in the C3 and in our collection galleries.

We’ve invited Kenton Visser, an artist and current C3 volunteer, to share his experiences–and a few of his works–with “Uncrated.”
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The first question I ask myself when I wind up somewhere new is “Where is the art?” The Dallas Museum of Art has been the best answer I’ve found to that question in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

During my first visit to the DMA, my sister and I spent over an hour in C3. We were excited by how the Museum valued a space for visitors to not just observe art objects but respond by creating as well. The people at the DMA are aware that the Museum contains worlds to be found, and they encourage exploration with self-guided tours that focus on a particular theme or subject in various areas of the collection. As my personal take on these tours, I sometimes give myself drawing assignments in order to absorb what’s on display more fully, often surprising myself with what I can notice if I really look.

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Recent changes with the DMA’s return to  free general admission and the launch of  DMA Friends  have removed barriers and made it easy for visitors to gain rewards based on a point system. Volunteering brings its own rewards (such as free parking and free admission to special exhibitions and events) as well as 500 points for every shift. Naturally, I’ve enjoyed these perks, but volunteering has been rewarding enough in itself.

Although the Museum isn’t exactly close by for me (I currently live south of Fort Worth), I’ve always found it to be worth the trip. I applied to be a volunteer this past summer, looking for a way to better connect with artistic circles. My monthly shifts have given me a recurring reason to visit the Museum, and volunteering with C3 has provided an energizing platform for interacting with visitors through art. Even though I spend a large portion of my time making art, being in the Museum (and especially in C3) gives me a unique chance to see how art is received by a wide variety of people. School groups, individuals, adults and children, those who have studied art and those who haven’t—everyone who comes into C3 has a different reaction to the art and the hands-on activities available.
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I’ve particularly enjoyed volunteering at the Pop-Up Art Spot, a compact cart stocked with simple activities that shows up in different galleries each week. It’s a nice oasis in the galleries and brings creative connections to people who wouldn’t seek out the main C3 space. I’ve been able to win over a number of visitors who seem unsure about participating in an activity (usually “I can’t draw” or “Isn’t this for kids?”) but then find themselves thoroughly enjoying it. Because I’m usually drawing or working on activities myself, I often have conversations with visitors about my own art. I’ve even had a few requests to prove my abilities by drawing portraits of the visitors or popular cartoon characters. These experiences in the C3 Gallery and Pop-Up Art Spot are perfect proof of the DMA’s belief that an art museum shouldn’t be just a building full of objects but a place where art happens.

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If you are interested in becoming a C3 volunteer, request an application here. The application deadline is Friday, January 10.

Kenton Visser is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and has lived in Crowley, Texas, since 2009. In addition to volunteering, he works as an illustrator, studio assistant and certified framer. His portfolio can be seen on his website.

Melissa Nelson Gonzales is the C3 gallery manager at the DMA.

Wanted: A Few Good Volunteers

If you would like to become more deeply involved with the DMA, consider these exciting volunteer opportunities.  We are currently recruiting applicants to fill three different volunteer positions!

Starting in Summer 2013: C3 Volunteer Program
Pairs well with: An interest in interacting with people of all ages, leading fun activities in the galleries, and spending time with works of art

The Center for Creative Connections (C3) is an experimental, dynamic learning environment that provides interactive encounters with works of art and artists. C3 volunteers act as hosts and welcome visitors, answer their questions, and personalize their Museum experience by providing information on the Museum’s collections, programs and activities. In addition, volunteers manage the C3 space by organizing and maintaining the C3 area, enforcing good Museum behavior, observing visitor flow, and prepping program and activity supplies. Volunteers also lead activities in the galleries and assist with special events such as Late Nights.

Volunteers attend mandatory trainings at the Museum beginning in June. The first training is on June 15 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Three-hour volunteer shifts are available Tuesday-Sunday from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Thursdays 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., and select Fridays 6:00 p.m.-12:00 p.m.

We are especially in need of volunteers who are available Tuesday-Friday from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., but folks who are available on evenings and weekends are equally welcome to apply. To request an application, email Rhiannon Martin. The application deadline is Friday, May 31.

Georgia, a C3 Volunteer, greets visitors as they enter the Center for Creative Connections.

Georgia, a C3 Volunteer, greets visitors as they enter the Center for Creative Connections.

Starting in Fall 2013: Docent Program
Pairs well with: A passion for teaching and learning, leading conversations and gallery experiences, and spending time with works of art

The desire to communicate the power of art to others is the main requirement to become a docent, and we are currently recruiting new docents for the 2013-2014 training year. New docents complete a yearlong training program consisting of lectures, gallery talks, and workshops led by Museum staff and outside experts. These training sessions, held each Monday from September through May, prepare new docents for tours by introducing them to the DMA’s collection and immersing them in our teaching philosophy. After completing training, docents conduct weekly tours for groups of visitors ranging from elementary school students to adult visitors.

If you (or someone you know) would like to learn more about the DMA docent program or to request an application for the 2013-2014 training year, email Shannon Karol. The application deadline is Friday, May 24.

Marilyn, a DMA Docent, talks with students about Edward Hopper's Lighthouse Hill.

Marilyn, a DMA Docent, talks with students about Edward Hopper’s Lighthouse Hill.

Starting in Fall 2013: Go van Gogh Program
Pairs well with: Enthusiasm for teaching 1st-6th grade students, leading conversations and art-making activities at Dallas-area schools, and spending time with works of art

Check back in July for information about volunteering with the Go van Gogh® program during the 2013-2014 school year.

Karen, a Go van Gogh volunteer, helps students with an art project

Karen, a Go van Gogh volunteer, works with first grade students on an art activity

We hope you’ll consider volunteering with us!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Community Connection: We Heart Volunteers

Meet Deborah Harvey, who is starting her fourth year as a Go van Gogh volunteer.  We can always count on Deborah for her positive and fun attitude and for her willingness to try new things.  For example,  Deborah bravely volunteered for an unknown task during a volunteer training focused on the different ways that people learn.  Little did she know that our guest speaker was a musician, and as part of his demonstration, he taught Deborah to play a song on the guitar in a mere thirty minutes.  You can see a picture of Deborah performing below.

Deborah plays a newly-learned song at volunteer training.

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m a former teacher.  Most of my teaching experience is with younger elementary students.  I’m also married and have a sixteen year-old son and a twelve year-old daughter.

What motivated you to join the Go van Gogh volunteer program?

I wanted to stay in the realm of teaching once I retired.  I like the opportunity to have a whole classroom experience as opposed to one-on-one interactions with students. The subject matter among all the Go van Gogh programs is varied, which keeps things interesting for me.

Share a memorable experience from your time as a volunteer.

Just today, I visited a fourth grade classroom at J. Erik Jonsson Community School with a program about Texas art.  The children shared a lot about their vacation experiences and things that felt like Texas to them.  I really enjoyed the wide variety of responses.  One student talked about going to the beach, and another student’s family owns a ranch with longhorn cattle.

Deborah visits a fifth grade classroom at Felix Botello Elementary.

Has anything surprised you about teaching with works of art, visiting classrooms, or student responses to the programs?

At times, I’m surprised that the older children are still very engaged.  Sometimes it can be hard to find a common ground or things that interest them.  The programs are so age-appropriate that the kids get really engaged.

Outside of volunteering with Go van Gogh, how do you spend your time?

I volunteer as a board member at both of my kids’ schools, and I volunteer with Meals on Wheels.  I also like to travel; I’m going to San Francisco tomorrow for my husband’s birthday, and our family is taking a trip to Vail for Christmas.

Thanks to volunteers like Deborah, 430 classrooms throughout Dallas – approximately 8,800 students – experienced Go van Gogh programs during the 2009-2010 school year.  Request a program now for the 2010-2011 school year!

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


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