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Danielle’s Superlatives

October 2, 2015

Today we are saying goodbye to a dear colleague and friend. Danielle Schulz joined the Education department three years ago and has charmed us all with her wit, dedication to excellent teaching, and bubbly personality. She is moving on to a new position at the Denver Art Museum, so we want to send her off with happy memories of all that she has accomplished here. And since she has spent the majority of her time in one classroom or another, we thought it only fitting to say goodbye with the best kind of school farewell we know–the yearbook Most Likely Awards.

Danielle’s Superlatives

MM Care Facility

Most Likely to Put the Able in Abilities

From using pool noodles with participants in wheelchairs to mimic movements in paintings, to cross-stitching astrological signs with visitors with Alzheimer’s disease, Danielle always went above and beyond to find an extraordinary way to connect to those with special needs. Danielle has a gift for listening and relating to visitors of all abilities and uses her talent to figure out how best to teach about artworks.

D and the van

Most Likely to Outsmart Little Rascals

While teaching an outreach lesson at a local school for the Go van Gogh program, Danielle led a discussion with elementary students about the different materials artists use to create art. With a little boy sense of humor, one student offered up “poop” as a suggestion, to which Danielle deftly replied, “Some artists do use refuse to create art” without missing a beat!

Amazon shopping cart

Most Unusual Amazon Shopping Cart

As the lead staff for coordinating the daily come-and-go for our busy summer art camps, Danielle supervised summer interns, set up studios for teachers, emailed parents, made parking arrangements, and all kinds of less-than-glamorous tasks that make summer camps smooth sailing. And oh the supplies–no matter what crazy material a teacher throws at her, Danielle can find it. Hundreds of plastic bags? Check. Toy motors? No problem. Lamp shades? Done. If you judge her by her Amazon shopping cart, you’ll know that this is one crazy, creative, out-of-the-box-thinking girl.

Art Babies

Most Likely to Go the Extra Mile

Danielle is a phenomenal teacher, whether she’s performing for a group of babies, leading a group of high school students through the galleries, or having a conversation with a senior group from a care facility. She always goes the extra mile, searching for ways to really connect with visitors, considering their needs, and adding in her trademark sense of humor. I’ve seen her perform the role of “Dragon King” for Art Babies class, wear a taco costume for a Late Night superhero tour, and bring in a treasured quilt from home for an access program–all in the name of helping visitors enjoy their experiences with art.

D Acting

Most Likely to Make an Award-Worthy Cameo in a Whimsical Grant Video

Did we mention she acts? Several years ago, Go van Gogh went for a BIG opportunity that required us to make a short video selling our wonderful outreach program. Knowing that we needed to reeeally stand out to compete, we worked the whimsical angle, and Danielle spent an afternoon excitedly jumping out from behind artworks on camera. I don’t know how many times she jumped out from behind Nandi the Bull in our South East Asian galleries, but I do know by the time we were ready to submit our video, we had a fantastic (and definitely whimsical) representation of our program. The video went on to earn us $10,000. Without Danielle’s acting skills, teaching prowess, and overall great ideas and energy, we wouldn’t have had a shot. Someone get this woman an agent!

D and chagall edited

Most Likely to Soar as High as the Stars

Danielle’s passion for teaching with works of art and her love of people will propel her as high as her dreams will fly, and we wish her the best of luck at the Denver Art Museum.

We are going to miss Danielle more than we can say, but are so excited for the new adventure that awaits her in the Colorado mountains.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

V.I.B. Visit to the DMA

September 29, 2015


We had a Very Important Baby visit the Museum today! Eleven-month old Vance Douglas Lancaster Van Daele took a stroll through the galleries this morning with his father Vance, and graciously agreed to strike a pose for us. Besides his adorable smile and cheerful personality, what makes baby Vance so very important? Well he just so happens to be the great godson of artist Gerald Murphy!


Baby Vance’s family first met Laura Donnelly, Murphy’s granddaughter, through Deborah Rothschild, curator of the critically acclaimed exhibition Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy, which was on view at the DMA when I first started working here in 2008.


Our little celebrity wasn’t too concerned with famous names as we spent time in front of Murphy’s painting Watch. He solemnly gazed at the painting, then took off crawling around the gallery with delighted squeals. I like to think Gerald Murphy would approve of Vance’s joyful approach to art and life!

Baby Vance has been a super tourist while his family has been in town, visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the Dallas Zoo, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. He loves looking at art, his favorite book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and he’s a regular at his local library.


We were totally charmed by our V.I.B. and hope he comes back to see us again soon!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Friday Photos: Back to Nature

September 25, 2015

With the summer heat subsiding, it’s time to get back to nature and truly enjoy the scenery. Get out this fall and capture some beautiful Texas landscapes, then submit your photographs of the great outdoors to our Flickr Group DMA Back to Nature to have your images displayed at the Center for Creative Connections #DMAdigitalspot.


Need some inspiration? Take a look at these Texas-centric works of art from our collection:

Click here for more information on how to submit your images to the #DMAdigitalspot.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

(Unexpected) Art from Across the Pond

September 18, 2015

In late August, I was lucky enough to spend time exploring the art and culture of London and Paris. As a museum educator, my main goal (of course) was to fit in as many museum and cultural site visits as possible–and I tried my best! While I was mesmerized by the popular artistic highlights of these cities–who doesn’t treasure seeing a Da Vinci first-hand??–for this post I wanted to share some images that were particularly special to me, as they showcase some overlooked sites and scenes from these fascinating cities.

*For more information on Thomas Thwaites’ project (which is fascinating!) click here.  

Perhaps my favorite art educational gem from the entire trip was stumbling upon the Musee D’Orsay‘s crowdfunding restoration project of Gustave Courbet’s The Painter’s Studio. The artwork is being restored on-site in the Museum’s exhibition space and visitors can view the progress in-person over many months, and through various interactive technologies. The most exciting technological component, in my opinion, was a French Sign Language (LSF) interpreted description of the conservation work–fascinating and accessible!FSL

As with most trips overseas, mine was much too short and there were many, many things still left unseen. It was a magical trip and an unforgettable experience, which caused me to stop and think about the unexpected treasures that can be found on visits to popular and familiar places–and I hope you will too!

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Open Looks in the Paint, All Day (and Late Night)

September 17, 2015
Round the World

DMA’s got game. And that game is basketball.

This Late Night, we’re teaming up with the Dallas Mavericks to put a sports-themed spin on our regular Late Night programming. And in a nod to both our encyclopedic collection and the Mavs always-international team roster, the evening will also have a global focus. One of the many activities featured tomorrow is our new ‘Round the World self-guided tour.

Self-guided tours are bite-sized: they focus on four to five artworks each, packaging our wonderfully expansive collection into short, themed looking adventures. Self-guides include facts about artworks you can’t find on gallery labels. They provide artwork images and gallery locations, getting you to the right space in the Museum, but letting you wander just enough that you get that fun I-just-found-something-on-a-scavenger-hunt sort of feeling when you find yourself right in front of the artwork. Self-guides are cheeky and fun, and in the case of ‘Round the World, chock-full of sometimes veiled and other times blatant Mavs/basketball references that some of us here (ahem!) are pretty jazzed about.

So if you’d like to see an artwork that’s nothin’ but net, explore a small exhibition devoted to the DMA’s Big German (he’s a 16th century print-maker), or see two objects that could fit in courtside at a Mavs game, pick up our ‘Round the World self-guided tour at the Visitor Services Desk tomorrow night.

And if you can’t make it to Late Night, ‘Round the World and our many bite-sized tours of the collection can be found in downloadable pdf versions on our website.

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs & MFFL

Made This: Celebrating the DMA’s Resident McGuyver

September 10, 2015

After 16.5 years at the DMA, JC Bigornia, Manager of C3 Programs, is heading across the freeway to take the position of Manager of Mobile Innovation at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. JC is our McGuyver, always ready with an ingenious, perfect solution for any and every art-making challenge we throw his way. For his last day at the Museum, we’re taking a look not just at the countless small and brilliant projects he brought to life through his freakish artistic talent, but the way in which his worked shaped our department in larger ways.

Susan Diachisin, The Kelli and Allen Questrom Director of the Center for Creative Connections, perfectly captures what it is we all enjoy about our resident DIY expert:

JC is a creative and diligent art educator who has managed and taught thousands of programs for museum visitors during his tenure here. He worked with people of all ages, guiding them in careful looking at works of art from the collection and then making connections through an art making process.  He was at the helm of our popular Late Night Studio Creations, the drop-in art making program that hosts over 250 multi-age visitors each month. And for many years he led the drop-in weekend family Studio Creations that took place on every Saturday and Sunday all year long. He spent the summers managing logistics for the Summer Camp Program for children and teens, as well as many other family programs too numerous to mention here.

JC has a pretty high coolness factor that was perfect for his accomplishments of working with teens—a focus he originally started back in 2008. In 2013 he was the Project Manager of the IMLS Teen Learning Lab planning grant in partnership with the Perot. For that he spent extensive time researching teen developmental learning, designing innovative programs, and launching a DMA/Perot Teen Advisory Council (TAC). This project boosted his already popular Urban Armor program and launched Maker Club the Thursday night program focusing on the intersection of art and science. He recruited and met bi-monthly with the thirteen member TAC team, and collaboratively led experimental programs, visiting artist projects, and community projects in partnership with other Dallas organizations.

JC brings extensive artistic skills to the programs he designed. I can’t tell you how many times during the development process he had to test and produce project samples. He would say, “I’ll just make that.” And a short time later he would share a creation that was absolutely incredible.

As humble a person as JC is, there are a few memorable projects that you might have seen and may not know they were his:

If you were ever at the Materials Bar in the C3 Materials & Meanings exhibition you might have caught JC’s creative hands demonstrating how to work with materials on the video screens:

JC's hands demo art-making ideas in C3

JC’s hands demo art-making ideas in C3

Last year, JC developed a week-long teen summer camp program call Brains, Brains, Brains where the participants learned about the art and science of zombie culture. Inspired by our collection, they transformed themselves into zombies and went roaming in the galleries:

The Perot Museum entrance featured a mural designed by the TAC students led by JC:

Teen Art Council mural

Teen Art Council mural

JC’s students in the Urban Armor: Street Art Workshop transformed the DMA Sculpture Garden with masking tape:

And this year, the popular teen themed Late Night in June was developed and run by JC’s teens.

JC is a terrific listener and thoughtful which makes him an excellent supervisor to our volunteers and interns. They adore working with him. They enjoy his creative ideas as well as the support he gives them. He is genuinely interested in the people he works with and takes the time to get to know everybody. I’d like to publically thank him for his outstanding work at the DMA with our visitors.

In case you—like all the rest of us here—would like to siphon off a little of JC’s talent and take some art-making adventures of your own, check out his many DIY tutorial blog posts on how to make: sounds prints, printed t-shirts, etchings with cola, vinyl toy mini-amps, collagraphs, and cosplay armor and accessories.

In his new position, JC will oversee the Perot’s fleet of Mobile Innovation trucks so look for him on the streets–taking learning into the community!  We’re gonna miss ya, JC!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Amy’s Favorite Arms, Part 2: A Somewhat Touchy Subject

September 4, 2015
Cast as flashy accessory, great place for stickers

Cast as flashy accessory, great place for stickers

Several years ago, my Education colleague and fellow Amy, Amy Wolf, took a close look at paintings in our European collection, with an eye for really great arms. With good reason–there are a lot of great arms on the 2nd floor. And the gestures these arms make–whether of dramatic and grand introductions, or a tender and comforting touch–set the tone for the artwork and go a long way in telling it’s story. Arms are pretty important.

Which is something I’ve recently come to appreciate (big understatement) as I’ve longed for the returned use of my own favorite arm (the right one—sorry left one!) and all the things I desperately want to do now that it’s in a cast—snap, wave in a less hilarious way, get my jazz hand game back, open jars, have a signature that doesn’t look EKG-ish. So with arms on the brain, I decided to revisit this theme of arms in art and took my own stroll through the galleries to expand the reach and add to the legacy of Amy’s Favorite Arms photo posts with works from across the collection. Some of which are making me kind of jealous right now.

Images above are small details of larger artworks. All are best viewed in their totality and at arm’s length here at the Museum. :)

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs


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