Posts Tagged 'workshop'

Friday Photos: Pop Icon Collages

C3 coordinator Jessica Thompson helped us channel our inner Pop artist during last Friday’s Late Night Studio Creations workshop, where visitors used laundry bags, cardboard, magazine clippings, and handkerchiefs to create collages of their favorite Dallas icons. By the end of the night, the studio’s back wall had transformed into a fantastic community installation that gave International Pop a run for its money.

It isn’t easy to pick a favorite, but I’d have to go with the collage of Big Tex during his final moments in 2012. What are your favorite Dallas icons?

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

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

Goodbye for Now

It has been my great pleasure to work in the education department at the Dallas Museum of Art for the past three years. My position as the Program Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections (C3) has been such a huge opportunity to expand my K-12 art education and museum studies masters degree. I have had the great challenge to expand my knowledge in the classroom by leading the hands-on adult workshops in C3, working with local artists on the development of programs, leading programming for hundreds of people,  mentoring young artists, and working with amazing people who have helped me grow as an educator. And now, I am thankful for a new opportunity to teach K-6 art for Richardson Independent School District and will forever be grateful to the DMA for my experience.

C3 Adults

C3 Adults

To close, I would like to say goodbye by remembering some of my favorite times at the museum. There are far more experiences to remember, but thought I would count just thirty-six–one experience per month of working at the DMA.

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My top thirty-six (my three years x twelve months) memories from the DMA:

  1. Meeting many artists and working with them to create dynamic workshops in C3.
  2. Co-teaching a creativity program for adults.
  3. Becoming friends with Meaningful Moments attendees John and Sue, and receiving my very own squirrel foot necklace!
  4. Coming up with crazy Creativity Challenges for Late Night.
  5. Working with studio art students from the University of North Texas to train them how to expand their practice by teaching workshops for adults.
  6. Being the loudest one in the Center for Creative Connections office.
  7. I loved being part of the Urban Armor graffiti camp with our teen specialist JC Bigornia and guest artist IZK Davies.
  8. Teaching Terrific Textiles summer camp with 6-8 year olds
  9. Developing educational components for DMA’s Available Space project
  10. Meeting one of my favorite pop-up artists Robert Sabuda, during a Late Night Creativity Challenge.
  11. Teaching a Think Creatively class and instructing  participants to draw a work of art they hated.
  12. Reading my favorite Fancy Nancy book during summer story time.
  13. Leading a Creativity Challenge for our Meaningful Moments program.
  14. Sitting in front of Orange, Red, Red  by Mark Rothko when I need to think about something important.
  15. Seeing people drop things into a work of art by Nobuo Sekine.
  16. Going bowling for our education retreat.
  17. Having a Task Party with the C3 Adults.
  18. Doing yoga after hours in the Cindy Sherman exhibition with Melissa Gonzales!
  19. Meeting so many talented adult visitors who have helped mold me into a better educator.
  20. $1 coffee
  21. Leading Creativity Challenges for J.P. Morgan; making them create a love story between two works of art and crafting what the baby would look like!
  22. My incredible work-pal who brightened my day by leaving notes, gifts, and encouraging words on my desk weekly.
  23. Giving impromptu tours to visitors of works of art in our collection.
  24. Hosting Wayang Kulit artists in C3.
  25. Holding Life Drawing classes in the DMA galleries.
  26. Meeting Taye Diggs and helping Shane Evans lead a drawing workshop in C3 during the BooksmART festival to promote their children’s book Chocolate Me!
  27. Hosting a poetry showcase with The Spiderweb Salon of Denton, Texas. I was able to hear many musicians and writers (many of whom were C3 visitors) respond through words and songs to an exhibition at the DMA.
  28. Taking creativity breaks in the Crossroads Gallery.
  29. Working with C3 Volunteer Robert Opel to create the vision for the C3 Adult Programs promotional flyer.
  30. Receiving a phone call that Think Creatively changed one of my visitor’s lives and he will never be the same.
  31. Having an incredible boss who took many chances by letting me run with my ideas!
  32. Making new friends and being challenged by my colleagues.
  33. Having access to see the Jean Paul Gultier exhibition anytime I wanted to.
  34. Meeting many new people every day.
  35. Working with Maria Teresa and experiencing how important art is to the community.
  36. Working with Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio on The Motherload installation (opening September 2014) and the launch of parent and child summer camp called Side by Side.

Thank you DMA for all the amazing memories.

Signing off for the last time as:

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator



Go Mean Green!

Since January, I have had the privilege of working alongside a dear friend and professor Lesli Robertson at the University of North Texas leading a project for her Topics in Fibers course for undergraduate studio majors. The idea for the project arose from a conversation between the two of us about the importance of artists being able to teach others about their creative process. At the Museum, my primary responsibility is to teach adults and to bring in local artists to educate through hands-on workshops in our studio. I am often interviewing artists and trying to find the perfect artist-teachers for my visitors. My background in K-12 art education has helped inform my current teaching practice and we thought it would be helpful to teach these young, up-and-coming artists the value of quality educational art experiences.Throughout the course of a few months, I was able to speak to the students, talk about my educational philosophy and give them some hands-on teaching practice.

As part of the project, the students were assigned the task of designing a workshop for a class of twenty adults. They had to visit the DMA and find works of art from our collection that would be the basis for the hands-on art workshop and design a presentation to pitch. Of the 17 presentations given, we selected a winner based on the following criteria: the student with the most unique idea who modeled how they would scaffold the learning and proved to be someone who would provide my adults with a quality experience! Our selected artist was recently given the opportunity to lead his workshop in C3.

Check out images from his workshop called Memory Cocktail, inspired by the work of John Hernandez. We also selected three additional students to lead workshops in the coming months. We would love for you to join us on May 29th with student Sarah Poppelwell, June 15th with Kat Burkett and the Urban Armor teen program with Felicia Fischer on Sunday, July 13th.

It was amazing hosting a competition for students to translate their work as artists into innovative ways to share their approach with the community. For more information about adult programs in C3 Click Here!

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

Come to the DMA and Play!

The C3 adults are at it again and this time they didn’t spare one ounce of fun! C3 offers a variety of programming for adults on Thursdays, when our visitors have the opportunity to have hands-on experiences with art and artists, be social, and experiment with materials. Think Creatively, one of our popular programs, allows visitors to dig deeper into certain aspects of creative thinking.

Think Creatively on November 7 was designed around the theme of play and how it helps adults enhance their thinking and learning. Dr. Magdalena Grohman and I decided to ask our participants to step out of their comfort zone and participate in a TASK party. TASK parties, originally designed by artist Oliver Herring, are improvised events with loose structure and minimal rules.

We set up the C3 Studio in a way that would promote playful experimentation, fun, and artful self expression. Varieties of materials were placed on worktables around the studio: paper, boxes, tape, sticks, and even toilet paper! The rules were simple: take a TASK from the TASK pool in the center of the room and do what it says. Then when a TASK is completed, write a new TASK and put it into the pool and get another one. Simple as that!

There were a set amount of tasks already created with an intent to promote play and participation from the same perspective as Mildred Parten. Parten studied social play in children and suggested that there are six types of play:

  • Unoccupied play: the child is relatively stationary and appears to be performing random movements with no apparent purpose. A relatively infrequent style of play.
  • Solitary play: the child is completely engrossed in playing and does not seem to notice other children. Most often seen in children between 2 and 3 years-old.
  • Onlooker play: the child takes an interest in other children’s play but does not join in. May ask questions or just talk to other children, but the main activity is simply to watch.
  • Parallel play: the child mimics other children’s play but doesn’t actively engage with them. For example, they may use the same toy.
  • Associative play: children are now more interested in each other rather than the toys they are using. This is the first category that involves strong social interaction between children while they play.
  • Cooperative play: some organization enters children’s play, for example the playing has some goal and children often adopt roles and act as a group.

We knew that anything could happen—and it sure did!

Task Pool

Task Pool

Task: Build a fort for a cat

Task: Build a fort for a cat

Task: Tell someone in the museum a secret

Task: Tell someone in the museum a secret

Working away!

Working away!

Visitors at play

Visitors at play

Task: Draw a portrait

Task: Draw a portrait

Task: Create a Mask

Task: Create a Mask

Don’t miss our next Think Creatively workshop on December 5, 2013. If you are reading this post and are interested in attending for 50% off–click here and enter the special code: CANVAS.

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

I Thank My Lucky Stars

As a child, I never attended sleepaway camp. My idea of summer camp was largely shaped by a few books I had read and (to be honest) the movie Dirty Dancing. So when a dear friend told me she had registered for an art camp exclusively for women, I was immediately intrigued. Once I looked at the Lucky Star Art Camp website, it didn’t take long for me to follow suit. The camp promised five days of creative workshops, nightly guest speakers, and a gaggle of like-minded women, all during the best weather of the year in the most beautiful area of Texas (in my opinion).

Camp Waldemar

Camp Waldemar

Lucky Star offered a wide array of workshops you might expect at an art camp: painting, creative writing, photography, and jewelry-making. It also offered sessions on cheese-making, canning and preserving, and yoga. My personal background is in art history rather than studio art, but I do love to make things and would practice yoga every day if I could. This led me to sign up for activities that I would do more often if I had the time: a sewing class, a jewelry class, an art and yoga class, and a creativity free-for-all workshop.

In the days (and hours) leading up to camp, I will admit I had a few doubts. It’s funny, even as an adult I’m pretty sure I experienced some of the same fears and concerns I would have felt as a child: Will our cabins and beds be clean and comfortable? Will I be eating “camp” food, like hot dogs, all week long? And, perhaps most scary, will I like my classes and make friends with the other campers, roughly seventy-five in all?

Pretty much all of my concerns were dispelled within the first few hours of arrival. I can emphatically and ecstatically say that Lucky Star far exceeded ALL of my expectations. First question: Will our cabins and beds be clean and comfortable? Here are a few views of the gorgeous Camp Waldemar, which hosted Lucky Star.

Cabin exterior

Cabin exterior

Cabin interior

Cabin interior

The Guadalupe River runs through Camp Waldemar.

The Guadalupe River runs through Camp Waldemar

Beautiful cypress trees along the river

Beautiful cypress trees along the river

Second question: Will I like the food? As it turned out, every single meal was delicious, healthy, and made with fresh ingredients. Among the highlights were bright and crunchy salads every day for lunch, a sweet treat at every meal, and the warm hospitality of Chef Laura and her staff.

Third–and biggest–question: Will I like my classes and make friends with the other campers? The answer? YES! I loved all of my instructors–four talented, creative, funny, and generous women. I learned something new in each class and walked away feeling happy, renewed, and inspired. Each class offered just enough structure and instruction blended with freedom to take our projects in the direction of our choice. I also enjoyed chatting with and getting to know my fellow campers, who were all wonderfully different, creative, and talented in their own ways. During mealtimes, we would sit and chat excitedly about the class we had just taken. We could also view and display projects from different classes, which inspired a lot of “Ooh, I want to take that class next year!”

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Each evening after dinner, a different speaker shared with us her personal and professional passions and creative ideas. Bernadette Noll, author of Slow Family Living and co-creator of the Slow Family Movement, shared wise words related to the time that we give to our family and to ourselves to be creative. We were privileged to get a sneak preview of Lisa Seeger’s TED talk (fast forward to the three hour, fourteen minute mark) about Blue Heron Farm, the goat dairy she runs with her husband, and their strong beliefs about the food we eat and how it is grown and raised. And Shawn Strattman shared her inspiring story of achieving her creative dream, and gave us practical, tangible advice for pursuing our own creative dreams.

But that’s not all! After dinner, after our evening speakers, and after the stars came out, we gathered around the campfire for the lovely musical stylings of Austin-based guitarist and songwriter Mandy Rowden. Mandy charmed us all with her wit and musical talent, and was generously kind and supportive during our sing-alongs.

Campfire music with Mandy

Campfire music with Mandy

At the end of camp, I felt blissfully happy, relaxed, and refreshed. Working at the DMA,  I am surrounded by art and creative people. People sometimes assume that I am also an artist, or at least a creative person. While working in a museum environment can definitely be inspiring, it can also be intimidating. I learned many things during my time at Lucky Star, but I walked away with two simple, yet important lessons that I can apply both in my professional and personal life:

  • Make time for yourself to be creative. It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time, working on a big project with lots of materials. It can be as simple as doodling on a postcard-sized piece of cardboard, writing a message on the other side, and sending it to a friend. Or, you can keep a journal of daily musings, drawings, mixed-media collages – whatever you want. You can even set a timer for five minutes if you want to keep your creative time short and focused.
  • Give yourself a break. I hit a creative wall during a class, and my instructor suggested I take a walk. I strolled by the river, relaxed on a hammock, and explored the campgrounds. Much to my delight, I discovered a cabin called “Happy Haven.” When I returned to class, I felt like a weight had been lifted, and I channeled my Happy Haven feeling into my artwork.

I’ve surrounded myself with little reminders of my classes and my new friends, such as the collage I hung in my office and the wrap bracelets I made during and after camp that I now wear daily. A few weeks ago, Mandy happened to come through town and I was thrilled to introduce her to friends during a fun potluck dinner and house concert. My friends and colleagues are probably tired of hearing my many art camp stories, but I cannot emphasize enough the incredible and, yes, life-changing experience I had during those five days in Texas Hill Country at Lucky Star Art Camp.

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2013! With a fresh year comes new resolutions for many people, and whether you are the type to keep your goals for just a week or to strictly adhere to them for an entire year, why not let the DMA help out?

Be healthy! A popular resolution is to be healthy, which may include getting fit by visiting the gym more often or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The DMA is agreat place to master stairs. Did you know that the Museum has over 120 stairs?  Or, bring the family to bend and twist during our Yoga for Kids during Late Night at the DMA.

Climb up and down the stiarcase near the Atrium Cafe a few times - there are 62 stairs here!

Climb up and down the staircase near the Atrium Cafe a few times – there are 62 stairs here!

Families enjoy yoga in the galleries

Families enjoy yoga in the galleries

Save money Budgeting and spending less is often a top resolution – especially after the spending frenzy that usually takes place around the holidays. A visit to downtown Dallas might make you think of reaching for your wallet, but in a few short weeks, both general admission and membership will be FREE at the DMA!

Sketching in the Galleries - one of the many things you can enjoy for free after January 21!

Sketching in the Galleries – one of the many things you can enjoy for free after January 21!

Learn something new Expand your horizons and learn all kinds of cool things at the Museum. Learning a foreign language? Visit Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries to discover how many new French words you can pick up. Attend an Arts and Letters Live event and hear an award-winning author to expand your literary expertise. Pick up an artistic skill in the Studio with a hands-on experience during a C3 Artistic Encounter. You can even meet and interact with artists in a variety of DMA programs!

Visitors exploring art materials in the Studio

Visitors exploring art materials in the Studio.

Artist John Bramblitt talks about his artwork during an Art Beyond Sight access program.

Artist John Bramblitt talks about his artwork during an Art Beyond Sight access program.

Spend more time with family and friends Spend time with family and friends while learning about works of art in the galleries and you might even learn some new about one another! Have a date night at the Museum during Jazz in the Atrium on a Thursday evening or bring the whole family and enjoy a wide variety of experiences during a Late Night at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Fun times during Late Night Studio Creations!

Fun times during Late Night Studio Creations!

Whatever your resolutions might be, having fun is one resolution that should be on everyone’s New Year list. Take time to enjoy life and appreciate the beauty around you! Happy New Year!

Amanda Blake

Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences

Community Connection: Oil and Cotton

Every six months or so, our department gets away for a day-long retreat.  It’s an opportunity for us to reflect, look ahead, and spend time together outside of our typical work spaces.  We’ve been fortunate to hold two of these retreats at Oil and Cotton, a creative space in Oak Cliff that offers a variety of multidisciplinary art classes, workshops, and camps.  Opened in September 2010, the space is managed by Shannon Driscoll and Kayli House Cusick.

How did you get started?

Shannon:  Kayli and I met during a volunteer project in our neighborhood called The Better Block. The project took an area of the neighborhood, where Oil and Cotton is now located, and made temporary changes to the block that we felt as a community would make it more pedestrian-friendly.  We met at one of the first meetings, where we both raised our hands and said we were interested in doing a pop-up art studio for the community.

After that, Kayli and I started planning, and we created Rock, Paper, Scissors.  We used a warehouse on Seventh Street, asked for donated materials from friends and family, and set up a base of volunteers for two days during the Oak Cliff Art Crawl.  We set up a long, long table full of art supplies and materials, and had volunteers lead people through creative projects, from collage to stenciling to drawing and painting.  All the volunteers were artists or had different creative backgrounds from Oak Cliff and beyond.  The space was packed with crowds for the entire weekend.  It was really wonderful to see people of all ages and backgrounds and from different parts of the neighborhood and of Dallas, sitting together and making things side by side.

After the festival, people in the community approached us and said they didn’t want us to stop what we were doing.  The gentleman who owned the warehouse had a building that came up for rent, and we talked to him and decided to go for it.  Kayli and I both come from art-related backgrounds, and we brought our experiences as artists and educators to what we’re doing.

Shannon Driscoll, co-owner and instructor at Oil and Cotton

What did you do before opening Oil and Cotton?

Shannon:  I had a private conservation practice – I’m an art conservator.  I had also been teaching classes on the side at my studio and at the Dallas County Jail with Resolana – I’m a board member for Resolana as well.

Kayli:  I wrote curriculum for my mother, who had a business for about twelve years off and on. It was something we did as a family growing up; she was an art teacher, and she made elementary art curriculum for Coppell ISD.  When she opened a business with my sister, I was a music composer at UNT, and it ended up being the perfect fit.  I also taught piano lessons privately out of my house forever and ever.  Then I had a child; when I met Shannon, my daughter was two, and that’s what I was doing.  I had always had the idea on my backburner, if I could ever figure out how to combine all the loves I had, and have a work environment my child could be in, I could do everything I love to do.  It all came together when I met Shannon and she said, of course we can do that.

What has the community response been to Oil and Cotton?

Shannon:  It has been wonderful.  A day hasn’t gone by when someone has not come in to ask how they could help us or how they could donate materials to us or asked us for another class that we’re not offering.  People feel involved in what we’re doing; they’ve seen us grow from something very small to something more permanent and a part of their neighborhood.  I think that’s exciting for people.  They feel invested in what we’re doing, and they want to help us.  We wouldn’t have been able to do what we’ve done in this amount of time without their help.  People have donated a box of white tiles, which we used to create backsplash for the sink; corks; fabric; paper… we always find a way to use what we’re given.  We’ve had people come to us and say, “I have this idea for a project, and I want to see it happen”.  For example, an architect led a two-week architecture workshop for teens, and they created a deck for us.  All the materials were donated, and architects came and talked to the teens everyday.  We’ve had the most amazing, talented interns that support our education outreach, and we’ve had teachers who help select children in the neighborhood who might not be able to afford classes here, and we give them scholarships.  We rely on these neighborhood teachers to send us people who need help, and who will benefit from coming to Oil and Cotton.

A community collage was part of a free open house and student exhibition

What has been your most successful or fun class?

Kayli:  For me, it’s songwriting camp.  I got to work with other musicians – I worked with David Daniels, who is a touring indie rock musician; Floramay Holliday, a touring country music singer; and Mikal Beth Hughey, a jack-of-all-trades who plays in some bands locally and teaches piano and voice in her studio at The Kessler Theater.  It was a weeklong summer camp.  The kids came in and formed bands; they collaborated to write a song together, rehearsed it like crazy, recorded it, made a CD, and had a performance at the end of the camp.  They had to come up with merchandise and think about the visual aspects of what they were doing, in the form of a band t-shirt, poster, and CD cover.  We had a photographer take pictures of them for their CD’s.  It was just awesome fun for me as a musician; I got to learn from other musicians how they approach writing.  We occupied the whole space, with kids rehearsing in every room as loud as they could be.  The kids could be themselves without a lot of adult interference.

We also got to work with the DMA on the Mark Bradford exhibition.  That was very special – I am a big fan of his work.  We were part of a meeting with people from Oak Cliff to bring some Oak Cliff blood into the situation.  We volunteered to work with Nicole and have our teen class to do this interactive project during a Late Night.  That was really fun.  What I liked about that was all the ages and different people; we had senior citizens to little kids, and it was a lot like Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Everyone brought something different to it.  By the end of the night, the teens were destroying the project and making little sculptures out of it.  It was originally a weaving, and it became sculptural.

Oil and Cotton Mark Bradford Late Night project

Has anything surprised you since the opening of Oil and Cotton?

Kayli:  The amount of generosity people have shown in our community, and the enthusiasm of the art community here to try and make Dallas good.  The amount of interns and volunteers we get because they want to see us succeed and want to be a part of it.  People understand this is art in social practice, that we’re making this happen for real.  It’s been a surprise to us that something that is natural for us to be doing makes people think “Oh hey, I can do my thing and survive.  If I don’t spend too much money and work my tail off, I can survive”.   It helps to have the support of our neighborhood, and we could never have made it without that support.  People offer to paint walls, dig the dirt in back of the building.  My mother also gave us a ton of furniture and art supplies.

What is one of your most treasured handmade possessions?

Shannon:  I am a collector of art, and art has always been a part of my life.  My dad is a junker; I grew up going to yard sales, estate sales, and junk shops with him in Baltimore, so I’ve collected things over the years.  I’ve got a collection of drawings that a little girl made from 1908. She must have done them in her classroom, because there is a drawing of the back of the head of the child sitting in front of her.  There is also a drawing of a doll she titled “Mr. Eat-a-Pie”.  They are beautiful pencil drawings, and she watercolored some of them as well.  She made a little portfolio for them that says 1908 along with her name.

Kayli:  A little woodblock that was my grandmother’s.  She was an Okie, and she had an amazing collection of all kinds of Native American things.  She had this little tiny wood block, around five by seven inches, with mustard yellow paint remnants on it.  I’ve always wanted to do something with it.  It has a sort of a tesellation or radial design with teepees and geometric shapes that come out from the center.  It looks like an old lino; you can see all the different colors used to print it, like red and green under the yellow.  You know it was used a lot, but you don’t know what for.  It says “20 cents” really big on the back.

Kayli House Cusick, co-owner and instructor at Oil and Cotton, and her grandmother's woodblock

Kayli:  We would love to see more teachers getting together here.  We’d love for people to know that if they have a group and want to do a special technique workshop, we’ll either teach it ourselves or find someone else to teach it.  This is great space for retreats.  (*Editor’s note: we agree!)

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

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

Friday Photos: Teacher Workshops

Last week, we finished up a great summer series of professional development workshops for K-12 educators.  Thank you to everyone who joined us for cool experiences (temperature and otherwise) and stimulating discussions in the DMA galleries.  Here are a few photo highlights and teacher reflections from the summer workshops.

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“Conversations that arise from looking at the various art is, to me, the most significant aspect of workshops like these.”

“The activities helped us examine pieces in a way we might not do on our own.  It also gave us ideas for classroom activities….”

“The experience was even better than I anticipated.  Unlike most professional development, the focus is on providing good teachers with tools to bring out the best in their students.”

At DMA Teacher Workshops, educators have fun, learn something new, share ideas, and collect CPE hours for each workshop.  In October, professional development workshops will begin again and we invite you to join us for the following.

  • Layered Materials, Layered Meanings: Mark BradfordSaturday, October 22
  • Art and Games with Artist Tom Russotti — Saturday, November 12
  • Art and Fashion — Saturday, December 3
Visit Programs for Teachers on the DMA Web site for more information.

Nicole Stutzman

Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships


Flickr Photo Stream