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Communication Across the Ages

September 27, 2016

This week, the Center for Creative Connections installed an array of communication devices dating from 1909 to 1972. These objects demonstrate the dramatic change communication has undergone over the past century: devices have decreased in size to become more portable, while our ability to communicate with each other has become more immediate. 

 

Before texts and tweets, messages were sent and received by post or telegraph. Imagine sitting at a desk in the early 1900s and using these beautifully designed, handcrafted tools. Perhaps you are opening an envelope or dipping your pen in an inkwell to compose a letter to a dear friend. “Snail mail” would have been the only way to correspond with your out-of-town friends and family. According to the U.S. Postal Service, from 1926 to 2001, the number of items mailed steadily increased from 15 million to 103 million. However, this number had decreased to 62 billion by 2015. Today, instead of waiting days to send and receive a letter, we can simply send a quick text or email that arrives in mere seconds.

 

One of the first cameras to be marketed to women, the Kodak Petite was produced from 1929-1933. It was sold in a handful of colors and its small lightweight design made it easily portable. Today, anyone with a smartphone has access to camera at all times. It’s interesting to note that when the Kodak Petite is closed, it is roughly the size of a modern day smartphone.

 

Until the birth of radio and television in the 1920s, information, news, and entertainment were dispersed to the masses through printed materials like newspapers. This 1930’s Bluebird is a small personal radio, similar in color and design to the larger Nocturne radio in the Museum’s collection. Though this elegant radio may have been outside the budget of most living through The Great Depression, the medium itself remained an important aspect of everyday life in the early 20th century. The way we listen to music has certainly changed today. Instead of waiting for our favorite song to come on the radio, we have access to podcasts and programs like Spotify, which make listening to shows and songs possible practically anytime.

 

The Ericofon was the 1950s version of an all-in-one device. This one-piece phone combined the once separate dialing component with the listening/speaking component. At the time, it’s thirteen ounce weight was a huge improvement on the typical five or six pound telephone.

 

Reminiscent of an astronaut’s helmet, the JVC Videosphere’s spherical design came on the heels of the first moon landing–doubly significant because the landing was televised. The Videosphere was one of the first televisions meant to function as “a second set” for a household. Its small size also indicates that it was designed for use by an individual rather than a group.

Perhaps what is most striking about all of these devices is that each of these modes of communication is readily available today in one small, handheld device. Stop by the Center for Creative Connections to see these works of art in person and consider how communication has changed in your lifetime. 

 

Artworks shown:

  • Gustav Stickley, Desk set, c. 1909, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Beth Cathers and Robert Kaplan
  • Walter Dorwin Teague, “Kodak petite” camera, designed c. 1927, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley
  • Walter Dorwin Teague, Bluebird radio (Model 566), designed c. 1934, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Sonny Burt, Dallas
  • “Ericofon” pattern telephone, Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson, designed 1949–1954, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund
  • “JVC Videosphere” television, Victor Company of Japan, designed 1972, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

Jessica Fuentes
Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections

Friday Photos: Welcome Baby Edie!

September 23, 2016
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We’ve been eagerly waiting the arrival of our newest “member” of the Education staff here at the DMA for a long time. She’s already been to a lot of meetings, participated in many Museum events, and been behind the scenes on a lot of decisions–all before she was even born! On September 6, weighing in at 8 lbs 6 oz and 21 inches long, Edith Grace Blake made her entrance into the world, and we couldn’t be happier. Amanda Blake, Interim Director of Education and Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences here at the DMA, and her husband Ed are the proud parents. Edie is named for her great-grandmothers, and lovingly watched over by her bestie westie, George.

Mom reports that Edie is a champ at eating, smiling, and making her voice be heard. Here at the Museum, we already think that she’s a star. Welcome to the world, baby girl!

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Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

All Access Guide to the Museum: Dementia

September 21, 2016

We believe museums should be fun and engaging for everyone, so in this month’s installment of All Access Guide to the Museum, we’d like to share some tips for creating an enjoyable visit for visitors with dementia.

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  • Plan your visit in advance through the DMA’s website to find information about parking, dining options, and more.
  • Take a load off! Wheelchairs are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. All Museum galleries are accessible to wheelchair users and those who may want to avoid stairs.
  • You don’t have to see it all in one day! Plan to look at only a few works of art that spark your interest and take breaks to sit and reflect. General admission to the Museum is free and you can return again and again!
  • Consider the interests of the person you care for when choosing which galleries of the Museum to visit. You can explore the Museum’s collection online in advance, or see what catches your eyes when you arrive. If the person you care for has a special interest, try searching the Museum’s online collection for related works of art, such as “dog” or “Italy.
  • Spend time with a work of art. Begin by just looking and reflecting. Ask the person you care for to describe what they see using questions about things like colors or shapes. Encourage them to express themselves through movement, such as acting out the facial expression or pose of a portrait. Create your own story to go with a work of art.27800664023_4f799bba63_k
  • Bring some small sensory objects that connect to a work of art. For example, if you are admiring a beach scene, feeling a seashell may inspire more connections to the work of art. You can also listen to music with headphones or repurpose old spice jars into scent jars to evoke the smells of an object.1472657932-dmameaningfulmoments_al001
  • If the person you care for connects with a work of art, take note! You can revisit the object again from the comfort of your home through the DMA’s online collection. Print out images of the object and hang them up in the room of the person you care for, so they can revisit and enjoy them often.
  • If you prefer to plan your visit during non-peak hours, you may want to come September through May (Tuesday-Friday, after 1:00 pm). If you are planning your visit during Summer, Spring Break, or holidays, you may want to visit Tuesday-Friday, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
  • Some of our galleries are often less crowded and quieter than other areas of the Museum: Wendy & Emery Reves Collection, Decorative Arts & Design, Conservation Studio and Gallery, and Ancient American Art. A map of the Museum is available here. 17170929235_a4656f016b_k

We invite visitors with early stage dementia and their care partners to participate in our monthly art program on the third Tuesday of every month. Designed specifically for individuals with early stage dementia and their family members or caregivers, Meaningful Moments includes a gallery discussion, an interactive component, and an art-making activity. Participants will have the chance to relax and connect with art in the galleries, share stories, and gain inspiration.

You can find out more from our recent Meaningful Moments profile in the Dallas Morning News. The program is free, but reservations are required and space is limited. For more information or to register, call 214-922-1324 or e-mail access@DMA.org.

Emily Wiskera
Manager of Access Programs

Friday Photos: North Texas Giving

September 16, 2016

North Texas Giving Day is right around the corner–September 22 to be exact! To get in the giving spirit, visit the Center for Creative Connections this weekend and participate in a community project all about giving.

Make a button about how or why you give back to your community. Leave your button to inspire someone and take another that inspires you!

Jessica Fuentes
Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections

DIY Shaving Cream Art

September 13, 2016

If you asked me what the most popular art supply was in camp this summer, my answer wouldn’t be paint. It wouldn’t be clay, it wouldn’t be paper – it wouldn’t even be hot glue. It would be…

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shaving cream!

You read that correctly. Not just one but SIX of our summer camps had a day when they made masterpieces using shaving cream. Our teachers this year were certainly inspired by this unconventional material! What other material could you use to marble paper, mix your own textured paint, make the freshest smelling foam dough, AND clean everything up afterwards?

As for what the campers thought, let me offer this quote overheard in carpool:

“Mom, we made art out of SHAVING CREAM today!!!” (Extra exclamation marks included.)

What you need:

  • A can of foaming shaving cream. I used Barbasol; shaving cream that comes out as a gel won’t work here!
  • A cookie sheet, which you’ll fill with a layer of shaving cream.
  • Various colors of paint. Nearly anything will do: tempera, acrylic, liquid watercolor, and food coloring are just a few ideas.
  • Craft sticks.
  • A ruler.
  • Heavyweight paper. You need something like watercolor paper or thick cardstock – thinner paper will warp, dissolve, and tear from all the moisture in the shaving cream.

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When coming up with the plan for my print, I looked to a piece of art that’s inspired cookie decorating (twice!) and marshmallow peep art made by DMA staffers: Odalisque (Hey, Hey Frankenthaler) by Lynda Benglis. The twisty poured latex shapes were fun to recreate by swirling paint through the shaving cream.

You can see how I made my print in the slideshow below:

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Once you’ve scraped the foam off your print, lay it flat so it can dry. Your paper may start to curl up at the corners, but that’s not anything a little time under a heavy book can’t fix. You can continue to make prints using the remaining shaving cream in your cookie sheet with the paint already there or by adding more paint and swirling with a craft stick again.

When you’re all done, admire your finished prints as they are or turn them into thank you cards, backgrounds for imaginative drawings, or anything else you can think of!

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The neat part about this technique is that it can be used on more than just paper. Try using acrylic or fabric paint to print cool rainbow bandanas. Even food coloring can be used to dye Easter eggs! For more fun, check out these other shaving cream ideas:

What crazy craft can you come up with?

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

 

Friday Photos: C3 Volunteer Spotlight

September 2, 2016

The Center for Creative Connections (C3) is fortunate to have a number of amazing volunteers. From engaging visitors in conversations about art to maintaining supplies, volunteers play a key role in the C3 experience. Today we’d like to recognize four dedicated C3 volunteers: Mary Burkhead, Ryan Heerwagen, Briana Segarra, and Deborah Herring.

Mary Burkhead has been volunteering at the DMA for more than three years. She loves visiting museums and believes that being a volunteer has made her a more engaged and appreciative patron. When she is not volunteering, you can find Mary reading and attending theater, opera, and music performances.

Ryan Heerwagen has been a C3 volunteer for over two years. He enjoys having access to works of art and doing something that helps the community. When he is not at the DMA, Ryan can be found reading, playing video games, running a religious studies group, and consuming all of the knowledge the world has to offer.

Briana Segarra has been volunteering since December 2015. Volunteering in the C3 gallery satisfies her love for art and education. She also finds it nearly impossible to leave without a sense of fulfillment. In her free time, Briana can be found helping out at two local galleries, traveling, and educating future artists.

Deborah Herring began volunteering more than four years ago after retiring as an educator. She volunteers in order to stay connected to the creative world and to encourage visitors to have a worthwhile experience. In her spare time, Deborah loves knitting, playing Pokemon GO, and exploring places that encourage walking.

We are so thankful to have such a wonderful group of volunteers! If you are interested in becoming a Museum volunteer, please email volunteers@DMA.org for additional information.

Andi Orkin
Volunteer Coordinator for Programming

How to Own Your Face

August 31, 2016

This year is the 25th anniversary of the DMA’s literary and performing arts series Arts & Letters Live! We celebrated this great achievement with a fantastic lineup of award-winning authors and performers earlier this spring, and then decided to extend the celebrating this fall. We’ve scheduled six programs that strongly connect to the DMA’s collection, and one of them is a wonderful book about celebrating our differences.

Robert Hoge

The Australian author Robert Hoge was born with a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs. The surgeons were able to remove the tumor and built a new nose using one of his toes! He survived, but his face would never be the same.

This didn’t stop Robert, though. He played pranks, got into trouble, had adventures with his big family, and finally found a sport that was perfect for him to play. Then he had to come face to face with the biggest decision of his life: undergo a dangerous surgical procedure that might make him look less different but potentially make him blind, or live with his “ugly” face forever.

His memoir Ugly, designed for middle grade readers and older, offers a powerful message about being yourself, shaking off bullying, and accepting your appearance–themes we can all embrace!

“We all have scars only we can own.” —Robert Hoge

Hoge

Robert Hoge: Own Your Face

Sunday, September 11, 3:00 p.m.
Promotional Partner: TEDxSMU

Buy Tickets

 
 
 
At 2:00 p.m.: Join us for a pre-event tour of art that explores self-image and ideas of beauty, including Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait Very Ugly. Tour sign-up will begin 30 minutes prior to the start time. Tour space is limited and is first-come, first-served.

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

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