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TTFN

November 20, 2017

Today’s post is bittersweet, as it will be our final one here on Canvas. Over the last eight years, DMA educators have enjoyed sharing our passion for art, creativity, and museum education with you here, and we hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about us and what we do at the Museum.

Throughout that time, we’ve recounted our programs, shared DIYs, engaged with art, and had lots of fun along the way, and we don’t want the fun to stop here. Though we’ve decided to end our blogging on this forum, we are excited to continue highlighting our projects on the DMA’s institutional blog, Uncrated.

So if you’re not following already, head over to Uncrated and check out the behind-the-scenes scoop on the DMA—we look forward to seeing you there!

Until then, ta-ta for now!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

Friday Photos: Welcome Baby Juniper!

September 8, 2017
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It feels like just yesterday when Jessica announced to the Education team that she and her partner Jean-Luc were expecting a new little addition in their lives. On August 29, at 11:10pm, Juniper Rosemary arrived healthy and happy, weighing in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces. Jessica’s eldest daughter, Julia, has also been loving her new role as big sister. A big congratulations to the quadruple “J” family! We can’t wait to meet beautiful little Juniper soon.

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Kerry Butcher
Center for Creative Connections Coordinator

Friday Photos: Harvey Helpers

September 1, 2017

As Texans, our hearts go out to our neighbors near the coast who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. So yesterday, we took advantage of a staff retreat to lend our helping hands to relief efforts here in Dallas. We headed to the Trusted World donation drop off in North Dallas to help unload, sort, and box the endless stream of donations coming in by the carload from generous North Texans.

If you’re looking for ways to help, check out this list compiled by the Dallas Morning News. Let’s all pull together and stay #TexasStrong!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

 

C3 Summer Intern Recap: Abigail

August 29, 2017

Hi, my name is Abigail Hofbauer– intern, chocolate lab puppy aficionado, sushi-lover, and new Dallasite. I’m currently in graduate school at Baylor University for my Masters of Arts in Museum Studies, having just completed my Bachelor’s (also at Baylor!) in History.

This summer, I had the chance to intern with the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA. I worked on many things over the summer: daily C3 upkeep, interactions with volunteers, and the newest Visiting Artist Project. Lisa Huffaker’s Sound re:Vision opened my eyes to the hard work behind the scenes of all interactive art installations. It was fun to create zines and to have part ownership of such an interesting piece in the Museum.

As the C3 Summer Intern, my specific project was to observe and evaluate the visitor experience of the Pop-up Art Spot inspired by the Keir Collection of Islamic Art. Through surveys, personal interactions, and simple observations, visitors provided some detailed feedback about what they want in a “pop-up experience” at a museum. Our goal was to make sure visitors were spending time with the art collections, making connections with the art and others in their group, and having fun in the Museum! If the results of my observations are any indicator, I’d say that we reached our goal.

Most of the visitors came in groups – both families and adults. Almost all of these groups spent time in the Keir Collection of Islamic Art either before, during, or after their activity. It was important to confirm this and show the Pop-up Art Spot was making a connection between the art and visitors. The majority of the visitors who participated in the Pop-up Art Spot activities were also adults, rather than children. This was a great piece of information to glean, as it shows how diverse yet simple activities appeal to all ages. Teens and adults above age 45 are some audiences to focus on in future activities.

The coloring and shape search activities were very popular, but the cross-cultural connection postcard activity really touched the hearts of our visitors. Some responses were so heartfelt and interesting! In the surveys taken, visitors indicated that they felt connected, proud, inspired, and excited to spend time with art. Many also indicated that there was a larger social impact of the activities on their visit: some learned about shapes, colors, patterns, or other visitors! We had 73 activities filled out and 183 participants throughout the month of July.

Here are three of my favorite responses from the postcard activity:

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Overall, this project was so fulfilling! I got firsthand knowledge of the visitors at the DMA. I also got to work closely with some amazing volunteers and see how they help educational programs shine. But most important of all, I used skills I learned from classes and previous experience to improve museum programming. This internship has allowed me to be part of so many experiences at the DMA and learn from the amazing Education team. It’s been an honor and I couldn’t have been happier to be here for the summer!

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Abigail Hofbauer
Center for Creative Connections Intern

Friday Photos: Fresh Prints

August 25, 2017

For our August Meaningful Moments program, participants explored the history of printmaking in the exhibition Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art. After enjoying the galleries, we returned to the studio to try our own hand at block printing on tea towels.

Be sure to catch Visions of America before it closes September 3rd!

Emily Wiskera
Manager of Access Programs

Friday Photos: In 3D

August 18, 2017

One of the best parts of being a museum educator is creating programming for the amazing special exhibitions that come our way. We were especially excited to take on Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion this summer. Her designs are unlike any you’ve seen before, and we love her unique and creative use of materials. Many of her dresses utilize new technology, like 3D printing, to build complex structures.

We’re big fans of art when it collides with science and technology, and recognized this was a great opportunity to reach out to the TECH Truck over at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for an outreach vehicle meet-up! We collaborated on a summer program for teens at the Boys and Girls Club of Mesquite, where we talked about materials, abstract thinking, and computer-aided design! Students learned how to make 3D models in Sketch-Up, which are currently at the Perot being printed. Here’s a look at van Herpen’s process come to life!

Make sure you visit Iris Van Herpen: Transforming Fashion before it closes this weekend!

Jessica Thompson
Manager of Teen Programs

The Light and the Dark

August 16, 2017

What is it about art that speaks to us so deeply? How does it tap into our soul and speak so loudly to us, sometimes even uncomfortably shouting our truths to other people? We spend all of our time hiding the deepest parts of our souls from others around us, sometimes even from the people closest in our lives. But art, this amazing living and breathing thing, shouts our truths back at us and makes us feel emotions that we were positive we had locked away deep in our hearts where they could not escape. Suddenly, there it is. That work of art that is so profound, so fierce, that it stops us in our tracks and we are taken aback. This seemingly unassuming piece vividly screaming out to us and all surrounding us.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Here I was, a four decade veteran of the mind as a psychotherapist, and my mind was the very thing being attacked. I realized something was wrong when I could not get my thoughts straight enough to form words. I could, and can, still speak but there is nothing more frustrating than consistently not being able to think of a word and speak it. My mind has become a tangled web where things often do not make sense and I have to stop and really think about what I want to convey to other people. As parts of my mind grow darker, the more creative and patient I must become–and this is where art has changed my life.

Recently I was able to come to the Museum and spend some time in the quiet stillness of the galleries before it was open to the public during the Meaningful Moments program. As I observed the beauty of this majestic place and wandered the meandering galleries, I took in the colors and the mediums, the brush strokes and the carvings; able to breathe deeply and take in the magnificence of where I was. As I turned the corner of a hallway towards the end of my time at the Museum, I saw a piece that stopped me in my tracks and pulled at my heartstrings.

Jackson Pollock, Cathedral, 1947, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis © Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Cathedral is a piece of contemporary art created by the famed Jackson Pollock in 1947. I had never taken stock in contemporary art, really. But this piece stole my heart and was screaming my truth in a way that I didn’t think was actually possible. In this, I see my mind—this mess of black and grey and white. What is the brain if not a mass of neurons, an incredible weaving of all of your thoughts and feelings, experiences and memories; together it creates this masterpiece that we call the brain. Cathedral puts onto canvas what the brain is and more specifically, those who have Alzheimer’s. The beautiful brightness is the living and breathing part of me that is alive, capable of everything. In contrast the inky black is what the Alzheimer’s has taken from me: the plaques, tangles and weaves that steal my mind.

As I sat looking at this enigmatic piece of art, I thought about my experiences over the last two years. I see the parts of me that I had to let go of: my practice, driving, paying the bills. The death of those things is so eloquently represented with the sharp jagged edges of black here. In contrast, I think of all of the things I still have: helping others as much as possible, holding a conversation with my friends, the love of my husband and family. While my brain has betrayed me in ways I cannot express to those who do not suffer from this disease, it has not taken the essence of who I am.

I sit and stare at Cathedral and in it I see who I am: I see that there is a complexity and a depth; there is pain and there is joy, truly a mix of the light and the dark. So often we do not understand that even in illness we are part of a bigger picture; to not let the dark define who we are is what is important. To embrace who and what we are and celebrate ourselves as part of a larger medium of art is the definition of life–for without the dark there would be no light.

Jane McManus
Participant, Meaningful Moments program

Allison Espinosa
Care Advisor, Honor Health Care

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