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Friday Photos: C3 In Bloom

October 17, 2014

Though the weather is getting cooler and the leaves will soon be falling, here at the Museum, the Center for Creative Connections is in full bloom!  In conjunction with the DMA’s upcoming exhibition Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse, we have updated our monitor wall to display visitor submitted photographs of flowers. We’ve also stocked the Art Spot with supplies to make flowery creations.

Stop by and make a flower to add to our garden of creations, or join our Flickr Group, DMA In Bloom and submit your flowery photos to have them displayed on the monitor wall. We look forward to your blooming creativity!

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

New Family Fun: Arturo’s Library Totes

October 14, 2014

If you’re a regular blog follower, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I love picture books {proof here, here, and here}. So it should be no surprise that I’ve been working on getting more picture books into the hands of our visitors! I think stories and art are perfect partners, especially for young children and am thrilled to announce the launch of a new gallery activity for families here at the DMA. Drum roll please… announcing Arturo’s Library totes!

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Arturo’s Library totes can best be described as a storytime-to-go. The totes are designed particularly for families with children ages two to five, and include a picture book, a deck of activity cards, and materials for hands-on activities.

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With our friendly mascot Arturo as your guide, you can take the tote into the Museum galleries and use the contents to explore a specific work of art. The debut Arturo’s Library tote is all about lines—wiggly, squiggly, zig zaggy, straight lines—and coordinates with Place de la Concorde, by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.

Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938-1943, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938-1943, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Using the bag is simple—find the work of art in the galleries, plop down on the floor, and try one of the suggested activities in the activity card deck. There are four categories to choose from—READ, LOOK, PLAY, and LEARN MORE.

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Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman is one of my favorite books to use when talking about lines in art. The illustrations are cheerful, bright and sometimes silly, and the text has a beautiful rhythm to it.

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After reading the book, you and your child can LOOK at the lines in the Mondrian painting and compare and contrast the artist’s lines to those you found in the book.

If you’re in the mood for drawing, follow the directions on one of the PLAY cards and create your own Mondrian-inspired masterpiece or try your hand at a squiggle drawing.

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If you’re more of a 3D type of artist, use pipe cleaners to craft a squiggle sculpture to take home with you.

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Then take some time to learn a little more about Piet Mondrian and his unique painting style.

Each activity has minimal instructions, is easy to dive right into, and offers a fun way to spend a little more time with a work of art. Over the next year or so, we’ll introduce new book themes and new activities, so that you can explore the Museum from top to bottom. Is one of your favorite books up next? Cast your vote to let us know which book you would be most excited to see next in an Arturo’s Library tote!

On your next visit to the DMA, be sure to stop by our Family Fun Cart at the main museum entrance and check out one of the new Arturo’s Library totes!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

 

 

Friday Photos: Educator Block Party 2014

October 10, 2014

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My colleague and office pal Amy Copeland and I had the pleasure of spending Thursday evening at the Meyerson Symphony Center for this year’s Educator Block Party. Over twenty cultural institutions participated at this event, including the Sixth Floor Museum, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Dallas Holocaust Museum, to name only a few! It was wonderful getting a chance to chat with teachers, administrators, and homeschool instructors from around the Metroplex over the course of a relaxing evening. If you missed it this year, we hope to see you at the gathering next time around!

Josh Rose
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

London Calling!

September 30, 2014
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Baby Explorers at the Manchester Museum, used with permission

Some people go to London for Big Ben, or to see the Queen, or to attend a Shakespearean play. I went to London for the babies! Thanks to a generous grant from the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation, I was able to take a research trip to the United Kingdom a few weeks ago to investigate what museums there are doing for children ages 0-2.

More than a year ago, I stumbled across the CultureBabies blog, which highlighted the great work focused on babies happening in museums in Manchester and London. While many museums in the US offer a variety of programs and classes for toddlers and preschoolers, classes actually focused on babies seem to be harder to come by. I knew I had to see what was happening in the UK in person. (And let’s face it, I’d never refuse a trip across the pond!)

I started off in Manchester, where I visited both the Manchester Museum and the Manchester Art Gallery. These two institutions, along with the Whitworth Art Gallery (which is temporarily closed for renovation), have created a suite of programs that focus solely on babies who haven’t started walking. So we’re talking about really young children—the children that most people probably think don’t get much out of a visit to the museum. But what a mistake to think that!

Both the Manchester Museum and the Manchester Art Gallery focus on sensory play as a way for caregivers to interact with their babies, and for babies to explore their world. Educators at each institution were inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, an educational approach which champions the value of allowing children to direct their own learning, to learn through their senses, and to learn with one another. The Reggio Emilia approach also puts an emphasis on the importance of environment, and calls for early childhood classrooms to be filled with natural light, beautiful real-world materials, and to have open community spaces where children interact with one another.

Baby Explorers at the Manchester Museum, used with permission

Baby Explorers at the Manchester Museum, used with permission

The Manchester museums have translated Reggio Emilia principles into a museum setting by transforming exhibit and studio spaces into beautiful, engaging environments filled with things babies can touch, smell, taste, see, and hear. At the art gallery, an artist takes inspiration from an exhibition on display, and then creates a temporary installation for the babies in the studio. The sessions I observed focused on the work of artist Ryan Gander, and the Baby Art Club session was an exploration of traditional childhood play like making forts, playing peek-a-boo, building with blocks, and playing in the kitchen. Babies were knocking over cardboard boxes, burrowing into mounds of fabric, playing in a bowl of flour, and clanging metal spoons together. There were shrieks of delight, lots of happy babbling, and adults and children giving themselves completely over to enjoying play.

At the Manchester Museum, the Baby Explorers session begins with an interactive story-song time in which caregivers cuddle, sing to and bounce their babies as a teaching artist introduces the theme of the class and the gallery connection. I observed a class focused on ancient cultures, so the singing time included songs about a mummy and a camel. Babies and adults then had time to explore sensory “islands” that educators had set up in the children’s exhibit area—a sound station with musical instruments, a texture area with lots of natural materials, a metal area with shiny objects, and a light box with sparkly, translucent materials. Images of objects in the Museum’s collection or actual objects in protective boxes were scattered throughout the entire area, allowing babies to investigate ancient cultures in an age-appropriate way.

Baby Explorers at the Manchester Museum, used with permission

Baby Explorers at the Manchester Museum, used with permission

I was struck in both sessions by how ordinary objects became things of beauty. In the metal sensory play area at the Manchester Museum, metal bowls, spoons, whisks, and kitchen containers were transformed from utilitarian utensils into light, reflection, and shine. I observed one mother shining a flashlight through a metal object, and watched as her baby focused on the light and reached for the object as the light reflected around her. The next minute, the baby was waving a whisk through the air, experimenting with its weight and feel.

I saw tremendous value in both programs for adults and babies. For the adults, these classes seem to give them permission to leave behind all the usual tasks that build up in a day, and allow them to simply enjoy being with their babies. The adult-child interactions I observed as an on-looker were definitely sweet, but even more importantly, were contributing to positive social-emotional growth and language development for the children. Caregivers also leave these sessions with ideas for how to use everyday materials at home as playthings, learning that items as simple as a wooden spoon and a bowl of flour can provide endless entertainment and valuable open-ended learning opportunities for babies.

Baby Explorers at the Manchester Museum, used with permission

Baby Explorers at the Manchester Museum, used with permission

But perhaps the greatest outcome of these baby classes from a museum educator point of view, is that the families create strong relationships with the museums and see them as valuable partners in the journey of raising a child. At the Manchester Museum, one little girl has been attending the Baby Explorers class for the past few months with her foster mother. This month, she attended for the first time with her new adoptive parents. It was truly beautiful to see this little girl so confident in her surroundings, sure of herself as she crawled from one space to another, even as she adjusts to a new family and home life. The adoptive parents too were warmly welcomed into the museum family and appreciated the observations museum educators were able to share about their new daughter.

Art Babies at the DMA

Art Babies at the DMA

I came back to the DMA inspired and ready to try new ways of playing and learning with babies in our own galleries. We launched the Art Babies class for children under 2 years old here at the Museum in January, and the class has been a fun educational journey for me personally as we experiment with how to best serve our very youngest visitors. Over the coming months, I hope to incorporate some of the ideas and strategies I gathered from our colleagues across the way. Stay tuned for our own version of the British (baby) invasion!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Calligrams & Concrete Poetry

September 23, 2014

A calligram is a word or phrase in which the design of the text is arranged to create a visual image that expresses the meaning of the words. For example, the below piece on the right (by Low-Commitment Projects) integrates words that describe a flamingo (leg, long neck, pink) into a recognizable shape that mimics the bird.

 

Similarly, concrete poetry, an experimental literary style that gained prominence in the 1950s, also heavily relies on the aesthetics and visual design of the words used in a piece of writing to impart overall meaning to the work. In this respect, language is image, and the physical material from which the poem or text is made is just as vital to the meaning of the work as the words that are chosen. The poem becomes an object, and the poet an artist.

During their first DMA visit of the new school year, our Booker T. Washington Learning Lab students investigated the concepts of calligrams and concrete poetry. As senior visual art students, they are understandably comfortable expressing themselves through purely visual means. But with this exercise, we wanted to challenge the students to expand their avenues of communication, and explore this hybrid visual/literary method as an alternative way to express themselves and provide insight into their personal and artistic interests.

The calligrams the students created were quiet varied, taking the shapes of animals, pop culture icons, people, and even geometric and natural forms. Getting to know the students through this unique introduction helped us as educators gain insight into their artistic and personal modes of expression, and (we hope) provided them with useful self-reflection as well. We’ll be working with these students all year long as part of our Learning Lab class partnership, so stay tuned for more exciting things to come from this group of creatives!

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Friday Photos: The Mother Load

September 19, 2014

This week artists Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio have been on hand in C3 installing The Mother Load Project, an interactive piece which hopes to start a dialogue with visitors about the balance of nurturing in one’s life. The collaborative project began as a way to engage with women who lead the creative life of an artist while also being a mother. As part of the project, Robertson and Macellaio are collecting fingerprints from artists and their children, recording experiences via written word and audio interviews, and documenting the ongoing process through their interactive website.

Visit C3 tonight from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm to explore the work and speak with Robertson and Macellaio. Their piece will be on view from September 19, 2014 – March 31, 2015.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

Warm Welcome

September 17, 2014

Each September, we welcome eight new colleagues to the Museum: our wonderful and oh-so-talented McDermott Interns. Three of them will be blogging here with us for the year, so we must do proper introductions. Here’s a little bit about each of these fresh new faces:

LizBola

Liz visiting Venice over the summer

Liz Bola
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Liz joins us from Massachusetts, where she recently earned her MA in Art History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Liz will be working with docents, K-12 tours, and our Go van Gogh program.

Which DMA artwork describes you best and why?

Edward Hopper, Lighthouse Hill, 1927

First of all, I studied American art in graduate school and I especially love Edward Hopper’s paintings. In addition, I grew up in Maine, about 20 minutes away from the lighthouse that Hopper depicts. This painting reminds me of visiting the Two Lights lighthouse and the nearby Lobster Shack with my family in the summer!

JenniferSheppard

Jennifer minigolfing in Massachusetts over the summer

Jennifer Sheppard
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Jennifer is a Dallas native who recently earned her BA in Studio Art with a Painting Concentration from the University of Rochester in New York. Jennifer will be assisting with our programs for early learners, families, and access audiences.

Which DMA artwork describes you best and why?

J. T. Grant, Looking North, Fort Worth 1999, 1999

I was born and raised in Dallas, so I have a special fondness for the big, blue Texas sky (and depictions of it) to the extent that the fall semester of my junior year in college I turned in exclusively sky-themed projects for all my drawing and painting assignments. Looking North even calls to mind how I left Texas for four years to attend the University of Rochester in upstate New York. I’m happy to be home again, though!

One extra fun little connection: this painting can be found in the Mayer Library. I volunteered at my neighborhood library throughout high school, so I share the feeling of being at home among books.

Eliel worked at a fishery in Norway over the summer

Eliel worked at a fishery in Norway over the summer

Eliel Jones
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

Eliel joins us from the UK, where he completed his BA in Fine Art at the University of the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey. Eliel will be working in C3 and assisting with our community partnerships.

Which DMA artwork describes you best and why?

Nic Nicosia, Youth, 1986

Nic Nicosia’s photograph titled Youth best encapsulates how I have been feeling for the past year. The scene depicts three youngsters having the time of their lives. Youth speaks of the beauty of being free, young and somehow unafraid, not necessarily because those things are tangible realities but more because they are concepts that go beyond truth and exist within the parameters of utopian experience and imagination.

I like to think that the characters are riding up a gallery of an art museum. I somehow always end up referencing the scene in Jules et Jim (François Truffaut, 1962) where Jules, Jim and Catherine daringly run down a bridge, a scene that was later re-interpreted in The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertulocci, 2003) where the three main characters run up a gallery of the Louvre in Paris. Both the films and Nicosia’s photograph attempt to portray what it might mean to be young: a mixture of love, faith, passion and sometimes reckless attitude. If you add art to the picture you probably end up with me!

We’re so excited to work with our new colleagues this year. The next time you catch them on the blog or in person, be sure to say hello!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

 

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