What do you get when you put art and technology together? The UA Maker Club! A mash up between led workshop and open studio, the Maker Club combines traditional art supplies with tech-based materials and asks participants to explore the resulting possibilities. It’s a place for people to experiment, make mistakes, and have fun through tinkering. The Maker Club is also a place where collaboration rules: everyone can share their knowledge and learn from each other–students and staff alike! Because we (the staff) are not experts ourselves, it’s a great opportunity for us all to exchange ideas and gain new skills.
For our very first meet up last Thursday, students explored simple circuits through the use of mini LEDs. Through a series of challenges, teens learned how to light up their LEDs using a variety of conductive materials: copper tape, wire, foil, graphite, and conductive tape. They then had to come up with various ways of making their lights turn on and off by constructing a switch. Finally, they were to create a work of art that incorporated LEDs in some way. We had a great group of teens with a wide range of interests–art, science, even robotics. As you can see, all of the creations were unique and varied:
The UA Maker Club meets every month and is open to anyone between the ages of 13-19. No prior experience is necessary and all materials are provided. Drop in to this month’s workshop on November 21 to make glow-in-the-dark clothing and accessories using electroluminescent wire and screen printing ink!
C3 Program Coordinator
One of Mexico’s most important holidays is upon us–Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead! This popular holiday began centuries ago, and, although a celebration based on skulls and skeletons may appear a tad morbid, Dia de los Muertos is actually quite a festive and joyous time. Many of the Mesoamerican civilizations that flourished hundreds of years ago (like the Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs), believed strongly in the cyclical nature of life and death. This ancient belief resulted in a celebration of death, rather than a fear of it. Death is viewed as simply a continuation of life, and holidays like Dia de los Muertos are observed in order to celebrate and honor those who have passed away.
There are many things you can do to join in on the celebration this weekend.
Creating an Ofrenda - These small, personal altars honor loved ones who are no longer with us. They are decorated with flowers, candles, food, drinks, photos, and personal mementos of the person being remembered. Luckily the DMA store has many items that can beautify any ofrenda.
Decorating Gravesites - The activity of cleaning and decorating the graves of deceased loved ones has become a festive tradition, with family members congregating to adorn the sites with photographs and flowers as well as the person’s favorite food and drink. Many artists are captivated with the beauty of Mexican cemeteries and have included them in their artwork over time.
Sharing Stories about the Deceased: Part of honoring the dead is sharing stories about their life, particularly funny anecdotes. It is believed that the dead do not want to be thought of in a sad or somber way, but instead remembered and celebrated. So in this light, I wanted to celebrate and shed some light on the artist Frida Kahlo. Kahlo is most well known for her self-portraits. But of her 143 paintings, did you know that 55 are self-portraits that feature her treasured animals? After her life-changing traffic accident, Kahlo channeled her energy and emotions into her artworks and her many pets–monkeys, dogs, birds and a fawn–which lived at her home, in Coyoacán, Mexico City. To celebrate her love of animals, I placed a representation of my cat next to a bust of Kahlo.
Whether as a personal experience, family event, or social gathering, I hope that you are inspired this weekend to celebrate your loved ones as part of the Dia de los Muertos holiday!
- Máximo Pacheco, The Zócalo, 1929-1936, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase
- Dean Ellis, Aspect of a Mexican Cemetary, 1950, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase
- Jerry Bywaters, Mexican Graveyard, 1939, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of A. H. Belo Corporation and The Dallas Morning News
- Frida Kahlo, Itzcuintli Dog with Me, 1938, Private Collection
Last month, I wrote a blog post about a project the DMA co-led with MAP – Make Art With Purpose, an organization that seeks to transform the world in positive ways. I can personally attest that my world was positively impacted by our community partnership program with AVANCE – Dallas, and through collaborating with MAP’s founder Janeil Engelstad and speaking with her about the impressive and inspiring work that MAP is supporting throughout DFW and around the world.
MAP 2013 – a festival and exhibition of social practice projects – launched October 1 and extends through November 24, 2013. Some of the C3 staff took a walk through downtown to visit one of the MAP projects called The Art of Sahrawi Hospitality. This project was inspired by artist Robin Kahn’s month-long visit with Sahrawi families living in the Tindouf Refugee Camps and within the “Liberated Territory” of Western Sahara.
From October 16-20, any and all passersby could enter a large traditional Sahrawi tent and experience Sahrawi hospitality firsthand with Kahn and six Sahrawi women. Inside the tent, the women women were talking, dancing to traditional music, serving tea, and applying henna tattoos. Susan, Amanda, and I each got tattoos on our hands.
This wonderful project has already ended, but please check out the other MAP events and programs scheduled through November 24 on MAP’s online calendar.
C3 Gallery Manager
This month’s recipe is inspired by Francis Bacon, whose birthday is on October 28. Walking Figure, the DMA’s only work by Bacon, evokes a sense of ominous, eerie isolation, which is characteristic of his work and rather appropriate for this month of Halloween. But perhaps you might be wondering–how does this relate back to bacon bacon? Well, it may be hard to believe, but some people are still horrified to think of this breakfast meat as a salty sweet treat. So don’t be scared! Embrace Bacon in all its forms and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Recipe adapted from On Sugar Mountain.
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives
The DMA, as well as other museums and cultural institutions across the country, have been tackling this question in the hopes of creating environments that are safe, open, and comfortable for a wide variety of people. Primarily, accessibility is thought of as a physical construct: a museum is deemed accessible if it holds no physical barriers to entry. Ramps, elevators and similar architectural structures are essential components for accessibility, providing individuals with and without mobility issues easy entry into any type of building. Removing physical boundaries is a key first step towards addressing the accessibility question.
But then what? How does accessibility extend inside museum walls? Museums strive to ensure that their collections, programs, and services are accessible to all audiences, often by providing diverse educational programs that cater to visitors of varying abilities. When we think about teaching at the DMA, we think about inclusive experiences that are open to everyone, regardless of a person’s ability. While making learning experiences at the DMA open and accessible to all is important, we also believe that designing individualized experiences for a range of needs is important too. And we hope these special programs raise the awareness that art is for everyone, though some visitors may need to work in different ways to see and enjoy it.
Our Access Programs provide these individualized experiences for visitors with special needs. Interactive gallery experiences and hands-on art making opportunities are available for adults with developmental disabilities as part of our partnership with The Arc of Dallas, as well as for adults with dementia and their care partners during our Meaningful Moments monthly program. For families and visitors with autism spectrum disorders, we organize a specialized summer art camp for children as well as Autism Awareness Family Celebrations throughout the year. These multi-sensory programs and events involve tactile opportunities and art-making activities that enable visitors of varying abilities to discover and appreciate artists and their works of art. During the month of October, we participate in Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month and focus on helping visitors enjoy art using senses beyond eyesight.
The DMA is an Art Beyond Sight Partner and is proud to have participated in programming for Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month each October since 2007. Composed of leading institutions in 35 states and 25 countries, Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month is an outreach effort dedicated to promoting art education for people with vision impairment and building an inclusive society with improved access for all. This year, we were excited to expand our offerings to include programs for adults.
Artist John Bramblitt joined several ABS programs this month to talk about his process as a blind painter. Our October First Tuesday was focused on the senses and the Museum’s youngest visitors had the chance to immerse themselves in a sensory experience in Arturo’s Nest, our space for children under the age of four. John led Studio Creations in early October to kick-off a month of ABS-themed weekend art-making. He also led this month’s Meaningful Moments for visitors with Alzheimer’s disease and he will close our month of experiences by teaching our homeschool class. In our Arturo’s Art and Me class for children aged 3-5, kids got to paint in the dark to experience sightless painting and our Arc participants had the chance to wear blindfolds to paint with their fingers!
In addition to these experiences, John led a public gallery talk for adults, during which he shared images of his artwork, talked about his process, and provided insights into his subject matter. And during Late Night last Friday, John teamed up with Stephen Lapthisophon in an artist’s lecture. Both artists have visual impairment, and both approach painting in a completely different way.
John’s process is very detailed and planned out, with various techniques that he employs for raised lines. John uses raised lines to sketch the base of his drawing first – some of the lines are raised for only a short period of time while others remain raised to allow John to feel the contours of his drawing for a longer amount of time. After he drafts his lines, John adds many, many layers of paint. For Stephen on the other hand, art-making is a social art and isn’t highly technical.
Both artists have varied creative inputs as well. Much of John’s artwork is representational and a reflection of an internalization of his sensory world, while Stephen’s artwork is more about the experience of his senses as he is creating (often with food and text) which could be a reflection of society and the associations of his materials. Each artist spoke a bit about his process and then each had the chance to sit down for a conversation together before taking questions from the audience. The artists had the chance to ask questions of one another and it was interesting to hear them contrast their processes and to get their takes on how other senses play a strong role in their own art. This program was an opportunity for visitors with visual impairment to meet and talk with John and Stephen. The lecture ended with a woman who has been blind for five years asking advice from the artists about her own art. Each artist gave her some ideas and encouragement before meeting with her after the lecture to continue the conversation.
The Access Programs offered by the DMA are essential components in creating welcoming, accessible environments, but there is still more to be done. What other types of resources can and should be made available to visitors? Let us know what you think and be sure to check back in the future as we delve deeper into this matter.
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences
In an effort to build relationships, mutual understanding and internal support, the Education Division decided to institute work pals. Check out some of the new confidants and buddies that have been formed by just drawing names from a hat! Think about ways that you can boost morale, have fun, and establish these types of working relationships in your workplace.
Work pals Rhiannon and Amanda love sending notes of encouragement and fun gifts throughout the week. Rhiannon is our Volunteer Coordinator and Amanda is the C3 Program Coordinator.
Amanda, Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences, and Andrea, Interpretation Specialist, bond by grabbing a cup of joe. They make the perfect work pals! Amanda said, “something I found out about Andrea is that she loves color, interior design, and I am super impressed by her crafting abilities. She is making all of the bouquets and centerpieces for her upcoming wedding! We of course both love dogs and talked about a future work pal dog date!”
McDermott Interns Amy and Amelia have been spending a lot of quality time with Wendell, our Jazz in the Atrium Program Coordinator. Amy and Amelia are planning to shadow Wendell during Jazz in the Atrium and learn all about what he does in the Adult Programming department. These two admire Wendell and say that he is a very funny and humble man.
Our Head of Adult Programming and our Teaching Specialist decided to get to know each other better while they attended the State Fair of Texas during our annual Education Fair Day. Stacey and Danielle give a big thumbs up as they said howdy to our very own Big Tex!
And here’s Sarah, Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives, and McDermott Intern Hayley, also enjoying the State Fair of Texas! They tried the 2013 Big Tex Choice Award Winner for Most Creative: Fried Thanksgiving Dinner. They also discovered that they are both Anglophiles who love the Royal Family. But while Sarah dreamed of marrying Prince William, Haley had her eyes on Prince Harry!
Here are a few suggestions to do with your work pal:
- Meet for coffee/tea to learn more about your duties or role.
- Brainstorm together on future projects–It’s a great opportunity to gain a fresh perspective.
- Send each other encouraging emails or handwritten notes!
- Shadow each other for a few hours to gain more knowledge of your respective positions.
- Take some tips from my co-workers by getting to know one another and having a little fun on the job!
C3 Program Coordinator