Somehow it’s already time for Memorial Day–where has this year gone?! And sadly, that means today we say farewell to this year’s wonderful bunch of McDermott Interns. They’ve contributed to countless Museum projects during their time with us, while managing to fit in lots of fun along the way.
We thank them so much for their contributions and wish them well as they move on to greater horizons!
Let’s consider the proverbial elephant in the room: many school districts, including Dallas ISD, are in need of community help, be it as informed advocates or active participants. Often, those of us outside the intricacies of the district itself feel helpless to initiate assistance, or to even know where to start. It was this realization, along with a desire as both a museum educator working with teachers and a parent of a DISD student, that led me to apply to be a fellow in this year’s Leadership ISD program. To be accepted into the program and participate this year has been an immensely rewarding, heartening, and humbling experience.
Helmed by Patricia Arvanitis and an amazing group of staff and volunteers, Leadership ISD is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering knowledgeable citizen advocates for the Dallas Independent School District, ultimately serving as a growing group who can help all students achieve and thrive.
From September through May, we forty-two LISD Fellows attended a series of monthly seminars each focusing on a different issue DISD schools and students face, including the opportunity gap, early childhood education, and buildings and facilities. Those may sound like dry topics, but the activities and conceptualizing that went into each proved to be fascinating. For the training on buildings and facilities, we began the day in groups charged with this question: what would an ideal school look like? As each group brainstormed and later shared their ideas, it became clear that our approaches focused on different ways of tackling the idea: one group considered what might be done with the empty school buildings already owned by DISD, while another group considered a perfect school developed around different educational models.
One of the benefits of being part of the Leadership ISD is hearing from an array of knowledgeable voices. As part of our monthly meetings we had opportunities to discuss issues with parents, teachers, experts from organizations like Uplift Education, Momentus Institute, and Teach For America, and key figures like school board members, Superintendent Mike Miles, and Mayor Mike Rawlings. At such times we were encouraged to ask probing questions and critically evaluate whatever data was presented.
Beyond these monthly seminars, though, was the real meat of being a LISD Fellow. As part of our participation we were required to attend school visits, DISD board meetings, and participate in a Practicum project assigned to a specific school. These “on the ground” activities not only engaged us in a more individual way with the issues schools, teachers, and students are facing, but empowered us to create active and ongoing results for all involved.
As our year has wrapped up, two different things have been dominating my mind. First, after almost every seminar, meeting, and practicum discussion I was involved with, I always walked away with the sense that the issues schools, teachers, and districts are facing are immensely complicated. There are no easy solutions. The more I learned, the more complicated each topic appeared. Yet, this feeling was always tempered by an extreme sense of hope, of participation as a step amid these complicated issues, to chart a path through them. This second feeling — hope — is one that any of us can have by getting involved and informed. If you are so inclined — and I hope you are — consider applying to be one of Leadership ISD’s Fellows next year, won’t you? The deadline to apply is June 1st!
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs
Each year, the DMA partners with Irma Rangel’s Young Women’s Leadership School, in order to teach students about STEAM. STEAM is a movement championed by the Rhode Island School of Design, which seeks to add art and design to the national agenda of STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
This past Friday, May 8, marked the girls’ third and final visit to the Museum this year. During these visits spent mostly in the galleries, docents and staff work together to teach the students about connections between art and STEM, and then the girls complete STEAM-related activities!
The theme of this last visit was nature: the girls explored subjects ranging from marine biology to evolution, meteorology and natural resources!
We hope the girls enjoyed their time at the DMA and we’re excited for next year’s Rangel visits!
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching
This call goes out to all of you who like to put a pencil to paper and draw! We invite you to join us during Late Night this Friday night, May 15, from 7:00 – 10:00 pm for an African Art Sketching Party. Artist Ellen Soderquist will host, guiding you in the process of sketching your favorite African artworks in the DMA’s collection. All ages and skills levels are welcome, and all materials will be provided.
If you leave your sketch with us (pretty please!), it will be included in a public exhibition this summer. That’s right, your work will be on view in the DMA! Visitors’ sketches of African art will be displayed during July and August on temporary construction walls built near the DMA’s African Gallery, which will close to the public in June for a reinstallation project. While the real artworks will not be on view for a few months, we look forward to sharing your sketches with the public this summer. Seeing things through the eyes of another can often enrich our own view of the world.
See you Friday at the Sketching Party!
Nicole Stutzman Forbes
Director of Education
Last October, staff from the Center for Creative Connections, Founder and Director of Make Art with Purpose Janeil Engelstad, and Skyline High School Architecture program teacher Peter Goldstein began a new project building on a past collaboration at the DMA.
Translating Culture: Community Voices at the DMA originally started as an initiative to create links with the community by providing different platforms to share varied perspectives on the collection. After a very successful first collaboration with AVANCE Dallas, the project took a second life with a group of 11th grade Architecture Cluster students at Skyline High School.
After months of hard work, Translating Culture II: Community Voices at the DMA will finally launch on the DMA.mobi site this coming Friday, May 15. That night as part of Late Night, we’ve organized two programs for visitors to engage with this new project.
The events scheduled for the night include a self-guided tour throughout the Museum of new stops (which are both in English and Spanish) and an opportunity to meet up with the students themselves. You can find maps with the outlined stops at the Center for Creative Connections from 6:00 p.m. until midnight. And you can join us there from 8:00-9:00 p.m., where students will be available to talk to visitors about the project, their individual contributions to the site, and to share about their overall experience.
To spark some excitement about the launch, I thought I would speak to two of our key people in this project–Janeil and Peter–and ask them a few questions about Translating Culture II and their expectations for the future. I leave with you their answers below. Be sure to check out the student contributions on DMA.mobi beginning May 15!
Describe Translating Culture II in one sentence:
Janeil: Translating Culture II: Community Voices at the DMA is a bi-lingual, Spanish-English, smartphone tour where museum goers engage with and experience interpretations of art work in the DMA permanent collection from the point of view of students from the architecture cluster at Skyline High School.
Peter: It’s a program that provides students with the opportunity to share their insights, observations and experiences with works of art in the DMA collection.
How will this collaboration contribute to the DMA and the community of Dallas?
Janeil: Translating Culture II is a statement by the DMA that the voices and ideas of people from different Dallas communities and cultures are a relevant part of the dialogue about art. I see this statement as gesture or a sort of offering that creates new spaces for engagement and play. Through the process of the project, new relationships and connections between the institution, the collection and the community have been built, which is a new and valuable thread in the fabric of the community.
Peter: The DMA is an invaluable part of our community–it is a unique place of learning and inspiration with a diverse collection of art from around the world. The DMA encourages and facilitates student and community involvement through a wide range of activities focusing on their outstanding collection of art.
In your opinion, what do you think was most valuable about this project?
Janeil: The expression of diversity and inclusion around art was most valuable, providing access and bringing under-represented voices into the larger cultural conversation, which is a key part of MAP’s mission.
Peter: The Translating Culture II project allowed students to engage in a conversation about works of art that spoke to them on a personal level. The students discussed and analyzed the artworks they encountered, and then created responses that are a reflection of their own unique interests and perspective.
Art has the ability to communicate beyond geographic boundaries and across time. With the support and guidance of the DMA and MAP, the students involved in this project were able to explore works of art from artists and cultures around the world, and then embark on a journey to communicate their ideas and discoveries for others to enjoy.
What do you hope will come out of Translating Culture in the future?
Janeil: I hope that the visitor who takes one of these tours has his or her imagination lit in a way that inspires new thinking or new ideas, and brings joy.
Peter: Our hope is that the work you see on the DMA.mobi site will spark the interest of other students (and adults!) and inspire them to explore the incredible richness and diversity of the Dallas Museum of Art. Translating Culture is about discovery–and sharing those discoveries with others.
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement
This will be a special Mother’s Day for our friend Melissa–she just welcomed a precious new addition last month! Baby Eva was born on April 18 at 8:04 am, weighing 7 lbs 14 oz. Both mama, dad, little brother Elijah, and baby are fabulous and enjoying their time together! Check out this little cutie:
We want to recognize all the other moms out there this weekend too, so stop by our Center for Creative Connections on Mother’s Day for a special gift: we’ll be giving out booklets of responses to our artwork Starry Crown, containing words of wisdom and insight contributed by our visitors.
Happy Mother’s Day!
This week — May 4th through 8th — is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Originally designated as National Teacher Day in 1953 through the efforts of Eleanor Roosevelt, the holiday became a nationally recognized day in 1980, then extended to a full week in 1984.
We have many different types of teachers here at the Dallas Museum of Art, ranging from Education staff, Docents who give tours, and trained volunteers who lead programs off-site as part of Go van Gogh®. We wanted to take a moment to thank all of our many wonderful teachers, and share some photos with you of a few of them at work.
Teachers make such a huge impact in our lives and in the lives of our children. Take a few moments this week to recognize that special teacher who has touched your life, or who brightens your child’s each day. A handmade creation is always a perfect way to say thank you–make a paper flower bouquet or check out this list of other fun thank you DIYs to try!
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs