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Unexpected Internship

August 1, 2017

Hey everyone! My name is Grecia Soto and I’m a summer intern at the Dallas Museum of Art through the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program. I had been certain that I would not have the opportunity I had been hoping for this summer. However, one fateful summer morning, I was contacted and informed of a possible internship for me, which I quickly accepted. Against all odds, I arrived at a place that I had never imagined working at: the DMA.

Grecia Soto

2017 Mayor’s Intern Fellow Grecia Soto

As part of the Education department, I assist with the Go van Gogh program. This summer’s theme was Guardians from Around the World. Children got to learn and talk about guardians from many cultures in the Museum’s artwork as well as guardians in their everyday life. Seeing the kids’ faces light up when they learned who Wonder Woman was inspired by was a definite highlight.

Besides getting to work on Go van Gogh, I got to assist with many other programs here at the DMA, including summer art camps for kids ranging from 4 to 8 years old. I must say working with small kids that I did not know at all was a little intimidating at first, but thanks to the advice and support from the camp teachers, I quickly adjusted. There is something special about a little kid wanting to share everything about their art with you even though they just met you 30 minutes before. I also got to shadow programs like Meaningful Moments, an access program for individuals with early stage dementia or Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

This summer's Food on the Move and Go Van Gogh collaboration.

I also got to attend professional meetings, and even gave a short presentation at one of them. Talking and sharing what I had learned to a room full of experienced adults was slightly terrifying, but I was up for the challenge, and I thank my supervisor Amy Copeland for having given me that opportunity. At meetings like these I found a deeper appreciation for those who work in this field.

Right now I’m standing at the crossroads for a tomorrow that I can’t begin to imagine, but this job has been a window into one of many possible futures for me. During my short stay at the DMA, I learned and experienced much more than I could have ever imagined. I have made many memories both professional and personal. Everyone I encountered here has shown so much passion for what they do and have inspired me to find what I am most passionate about as well.

The DMA was not expecting me, and I was not expecting them; nonetheless, they welcomed me with open arms and for that I am forever grateful.

Grecia Soto
2017 Mayor’s Intern Fellow

D2R 2.0

July 25, 2017
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Disconnect to Reconnect’s open-mic poetry slam.

Last Thursday, our Teen Advisory Council took over the Museum for their second Disconnect to Reconnect night for teenagers. Seeking ways to make the DMA more accessible and fun for their peers, Council members created Disconnect to Reconnect to encourage visitors to put away their cell phones and engage with the art and each other.

For this iteration of D2R, the Council wanted to highlight local teens, inviting musicians, filmmakers, thespians, and writers to shape the event with their talents and interests. Musical acts R.A.G. and Aloe Sara provided a soundtrack for the evening and a rotation of student films screened in C3 Theater, while C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker led a zine-making workshop related to her work on display at the Museum. The Council presented an escape room-style mystery in the Reves Collection, and hosted an open-mic poetry slam in the Museum’s Barrel Vault galleries. Teen Ambassadors were also there to lend a hand, making this Disconnect to Reconnect a true team effort.

I caught up with a few Teen Advisory Council Members, as well as a few assisting Teen Ambassadors, at a planning meeting before the big day to ask them about their goals and the planning process.

Q: What activity has been the most fun or challenging to plan?

“The Reves Murder Mystery was probably the most intense activity to plan.” Emma, Teen Advisory Council

“There were so many things that went into it. We had to research the history of the Reves collection, come up with a story, and find actors.” Claire, Teen Advisory Council

“I think that the process of constructing some kind of murder mystery-type scenario is a lot more involved than you might think, just because you want to know how the crowd will respond and a lot of thinking goes into it. But I think it will be really rewarding!” Anastasia, Teen Advisory Council

Q: Why do you think it’s important to have programs like this for teens at a museum?

“Going to art museums is seen as an old person thing to do, but if there are programs for teens, it shows young people that there are things for them to do here too.” Shirui, Teen Advisory Council

“I think that teens are just as interested as older people, they just don’t know the museum is an option for them to be interested in going to, so if we have programs specifically for teens, it makes it a better place to be.” Anastasia, Teen Advisory Council

“I feel like teens aren’t given a platform to express themselves in a way that’s official or endorsed, so usually teens have to start from scratch and overcome a lot of challenges if they find a place where they can. It’s really nice to have a place that wants to hear what you have to say and a place for you to say it, and share that with others.” Claire, Teen Advisory Council

“It’s also a place for different kinds of people to be united under one umbrella and become a community, and meet people with different experiences than you.” Wolfgang, Teen Ambassador

Q: What do you hope visitors take away from Disconnect to Reconnect?

“I hope it inspires them to share their life and experiences more – maybe sharing it more with people, face-to-face, instead of just on social media.” Claire, Teen Advisory Council

“I hope that people leave knowing that the DMA is for anyone and everyone, with any interest – it’s not just about art! We have a lot to offer.” Tori, Teen Ambassador

“I hope they take away some sort of connection and know that there are things for them here at the Museum. Museums are not some sort of elitist, high-society places, and we do have programs and activities for all ages. There’s a spot and a place here for them.” Arik, Teen Ambassador

After six months of planning, Disconnect to Reconnect went off without a hitch. Over 250 teens participated throughout the night! We’re very proud of the Teen Advisory Council, and look forward to what they will bring to the Museum next.

Jessica Thompson
Manager of Teen Programs

Museum Forum for Teachers 2017

July 21, 2017

The art education-extravaganza that is Museum Forum for Teachers holds the distinction of being one of my favorite weeks of the summer. Each year, The WarehouseNasher Sculpture CenterModern Art Museum of Fort WorthKimbell Art Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art work together to coordinate a week-long workshop dedicated to helping classroom teachers deepen their understanding of modern and contemporary art and develop strategies to teach, interpret, and use works of art in the classroom and in museum galleries. Best of all, each institution hosts one day of the week giving participants and fellow museum educators the opportunity to explore a variety of special exhibitions, collections, and experience different teaching styles. It’s well worth braving traffic across the Metroplex to experience the richness of DFW’s museum community!

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Discussing Doug Aitken: Electric Earth at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

This year, twenty-three educators embarked on a week of museum experiences, gallery discussions, and studio projects for CPE credit. Not every educator who participated has a background studying art, and the variety of perspectives enriched the quality of our discussions. In the spirit of highlighting different approaches, the museum educators brought back the “Educator Exchange” from last year and each led a session at one of the other institutions. I always find that I come away from the week inspired and energized for the upcoming school year. Check out some of our highlights from this year:

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And what do our participants have to say about their experience at Museum Forum for Teachers?

This week has felt like a vacation. It’s as though I have been on guided tours on location by Rick Steves every day. I’d love to attend next year…Well planned. Well done.

This was my favorite year so far…I don’t know how all of you manage every year to make this event a week of so much learning and fun. I can’t wait to get to each museum each day. Absolutely my favorite thing I do all year! Thank you!

This was my first year and I hope to be back! Art camp for teachers is how I will explain it when I am asked about the highlight of my summer.

I feel inspired, charged up again, and optimistic about the new ideas I’ll bring to my students. Thanks!

Once again, this Forum has completely exceeded my expectations. The content was rich, insightful, and relative, the projects were fun and accessible, and everyone on staff is an absolute joy to work with. This Forum is not only the cornerstone of my upperclassman content, but a week for me to reconnect with art and truly be myself. Thank you all so much for what you do!

Sign up to receive our emails and check the box for Information for Teachers, so you can stay connected to exciting professional development opportunities here at the DMA and join us for Museum Forum for Teachers next year!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Our Harp’s Delight

July 18, 2017

July’s Meaningful Moments program was all about music as participants explored The Harp Lesson by Jean Antoine Théodore Giroust. While closely examining the 18th century French painting, participants shared their memories related to learning to play a musical instrument.

We were joined in the galleries by harpist Cindy Horstman, who shared her own experiences of learning the harp in college and becoming a professional musician. Cindy brought The Harp Lesson to life as she plucked away at her harp, filling the gallery with music.

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Cindy began by playing “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach, a piece of music that was popular during the time The Harp Lesson was painted. She also wowed us with a wide-ranging assortment of music including “Norwegian Wood” by the Beatles and “Summertime” by George Gershwin, all played from memory!

At the end of the program, participants were already asking when Cindy could return again.

Emily Wiskera
Manager of Access Programs

Food on the Move + Go van Gogh: A Meeting of the Vans!

July 14, 2017

This week Go van Gogh staff, volunteers, and summer interns packed up the Go van Gogh van and spent a few days with our friends from Food on the Move. Food on the Move is a mobile meal program delivering free breakfasts and lunches to non-traditional sites like apartment complexes across the Metroplex. CitySquare’s AmeriCorps members pull out blankets and tables at each site, setup activities and games, and pass out meals from the back of their great big van.

To this already rich program, we brought art activities developed by this year’s Mayor’s Intern Fellow, Grecia Soto. Inspired by objects in our Ancient American collection, Grecia developed an activity that had us making miniature sculptures out of Model Magic clay.

Imagine our surprise when we heard an old friend was sporting new wheels! Last summer, our Mayor’s Intern Fellow Joshua Berry-Jones developed our project for the then brand new CitySquare partnership. This summer, Josh has switched flashy outreach vehicles, and is an Americorps member working for CitySquare on Food on the Move!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Communication Through Portraiture

July 11, 2017

One of the best things about working in the Center for Creative Connections is getting to see all the hard work of redesigning the spaces come to life. Over the last few weeks, staff and visitors alike have watched some new faces pop up on our walls in the front gallery.

 

Today, technology makes it easy to snap hundreds of photos of ourselves on a front facing camera phone. But for centuries, portraiture has played an important role in how we study and interpret subjects through aspects like environments, surrounding props, clothing and even color and lighting. All of these things are visual clues shown to us by the artists to communicate an underlying narrative about the subject. Even the way an artist chooses to capture their sitter can reflect on their relationship with them. Observing Chuck Close’s “Phil/Fingerprint” from a distance, you might not realize that Close used his own fingerprints to create an intimate portrait of his close friend, composer Phillip Glass.

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Chuck Close, ‘Phil/Fingerprint’, 1981, Lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon Fund

After viewing and reading more about all the artists and subjects that fill the gallery, we’re inviting visitors to put their own methods to the test when capturing a subject. We’ve been watching over the last few weeks how visitors have excitedly sat at one of our tables in the gallery to sketch themselves or a friend…

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…or at the C3 Photo Studio to find the right pose for their own compelling portrait.

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Strike a pose when you stop by C3 on your next visit!

Kerry Butcher
Center for Creative Connections Coordinator

Friday Photos: What Did You Learn at Camp?

July 7, 2017

With 24 camps focusing on all areas of the DMA’s collection, our summer campers sure learn a lot! In any given week, campers might learn how to mix just the right color, why Picasso portraits look so funny, the secret to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics, and much, much more. The best part is that many of these camp lessons are also life lessons. Here are a few of our favorites:

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Art (and life) can get messy… and that’s okay!

Funny faces are always in style.

When you work hard, be proud of what you accomplish!

What lessons has camp (or art!) taught you?

For a list of all our available camps, click here. You can also keep up with the fun here on the blog and through the C3 Flickr page.

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

 

Friday Photos: Sending a Message

June 30, 2017

For the past several years, the DMA has collaborated with the South Dallas Cultural Center during Summer at the Center, a multi-week summer camp where students learn about African history through the arts. The teens at the center visited the DMA twice this summer. Together, we traced the Middle Passage and the Atlantic Slave Trade through art in Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art, unpacking responses to this period of cruelty and injustice with artists like Kara Walker, Charles White, and Elizabeth Catlett. We also explored our Arts of Africa collection, where we investigated cultures that had a visible impact on American culture.

Because artists, and print-makers especially, use their work to spread ideas and messages through their art, we made prints about things that are important to us that we would like to share with the world. Here are a few highlights from the prints we made today, representing everything from music to community!

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Our summer partnership with the South Dallas Cultural Center is one of the highlights of our year. As an educator, it’s amazing to work with a group of students that are so knowledgeable about history – especially parts of the world that I’m still learning new things about. I think they end up teaching me a lot more than I teach them!

See all of you next summer!

Jessica Thompson
Manager of Teen Programs

Prints Charming

June 27, 2017

With the opening of Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art, we’re completely and utterly in love with a new Prints Charming—the art of printmaking! Printmaking is an artform that is easily accessible to even the youngest children. All you need is paper, some kind of ink or paint, and a surface that “holds onto” your print.

Here are some of our favorite ideas you can try at home!

Monoprinting

We tried monoprinting with the Toddler Art class, and the kids loved the “magic” that appeared before their eyes as their prints were lifted off the inked surface. All you need at home is a cookie sheet or even a piece of waxed paper taped to the table. Completely cover the cookie sheet or waxed paper with a layer of paint, and then have your child “draw” a design in the paint using a Q-tip. Gently press a piece of paper on top of the painted drawing, and watch the image transfer from the cookie sheet to the paper. Then do it all again!

Styrofoam Printing

Styrofoam printing allows you to make multiple prints from a single image. For this process, any Styrofoam will do–a plate (with the ribbed edge trimmed off to create a flat surface), a recycled foam tray from a grocery purchase, or a sheet of foam purchased at a craft store. Children can draw their image into the foam using a dull pencil. Special Note: if they add any letters, numbers, or symbols into their drawings, they’ll need to write them backwards, as their image will be reversed when printed. Once the drawing is complete, cover the entire surface of the foam with ink or paint, then press the inked surface onto a piece of paper. For an extra challenge, older children can try to print layered images by drawing and printing in one color, then drawing additional details on a second sheet of foam, covering the sheet in a different color, and then printing onto the original piece of paper.

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Fruit & Veggie Printing

This is one of my most favorite printmaking projects to do with kids! Many children have probably done the classic stamping-with-an-apple project. But have you tried printing with celery, okra, or onions? Fruits and veggies have beautiful hidden patterns that make for really fun (and smelly!) printmaking. For this one, cut up fruits and veggies and have your child dip them into paint and then stamp onto paper. I experimented with cutting several of the produce–particularly apples, oranges, onions and bell peppers–both lengthwise and widthwise so that we could create different patterns with each.

For even more fun printmaking ideas, check out these posts on some of my favorite blogs:

Happy creating!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

 

Friday Photos: Viva Frida!

June 23, 2017

Throughout the run of the México 1900-1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde, we’ve seen lots of visitors take inspiration from one of the most famous female artists of the 20th century. We’re hosting two exciting upcoming events where you can continue to celebrate the fabulous Frida Kahlo!

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Do you want to learn more about Frida? Hayden Herrera, her biographer, will be speaking at the DMA Wednesday, June 28.

Do you want to be Frida? Celebrate her 110th birthday with us!

We hope to see you soon–unibrows and flowers optional!

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

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