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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

Friday Photos: Go van Gogh Guardians

August 11, 2017

This summer, Go van Gogh volunteers visited libraries and recreation centers across Dallas to present our Guardians from Around the World program. We are so appreciative of these volunteers and their enthusiasm and dedication for bringing art education to the community. Thank you for a great summer!

If you are interested in getting involved in this fun program, consider becoming a Go van Gogh volunteer! Additional information about this exciting opportunity is available on the Volunteer section of our website.

Andi Orkin
Volunteer Coordinator for Programming

The Student Becomes the Master

August 8, 2017

Summer art camp interns play many roles during their time at the DMA: teaching assistant, museum navigator, problem solver, carpool coordinator, bathroom trip taker, funny face maker, and–most importantly–friend to all campers! This year, we added three exciting new roles to their list: researcher, lesson writer, and teacher. For the first time, in teams and under the supervision of DMA staff, our 2017 summer art camp interns researched, wrote, and taught their very own summer camps.

These interns had six weeks to plan their camps, collecting ideas and teaching tricks from other camps and teachers they worked with along the way. We provided them with basic themes to start from, but from that point on their camps were entirely their own, from the works of art they focused on to the projects they made in the studio. They taught techniques, guided campers in looking and talking about art, and–like every good teacher–improvised when things didn’t go according to plan.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce our two teaching teams: Team Sense-sational Art and Team Portrait Party!

Team Sense-sational Art: Sharidyn Barnes, Jenna Buckley, and Mary Judge

Team Sense-sational Art was tasked with planning a camp all about art and the five senses for a group of children ages 6-8. They divided and conquered, each taking on one or two senses and planning a day around it. Sharidyn found she had a knack for getting into the why and how of art-making, Jenna dazzled with her knowledge of art history and fun facts about the collection, and Mary ignited campers’ imaginations with dramatic storytelling and gallery exploration.

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Team Portrait Party: Madeline Bumpass and Paige Alexander

Team Portrait Party planned a camp focused on portraits throughout the ages, from Roman busts to modern-day selfies, for a group of girls ages 9-12. Madeline and Paige worked together on each of the days, taking turns leading conversations in the galleries and getting elbows-deep in clay, paint, and fabric in the studio. It was a week of singing (lots of Disney and Taylor Swift), masterpiece-making, joke-cracking, and serious fun.

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Now that their camps are done and their internships have concluded, Jenna, Mary, Sharidyn, Madeline, and Paige are wrapping up their summer vacations, heading back to another year at college, and who knows – maybe one or two are on their way to a career in museum education! Congratulations on a job well done, ladies!

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Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

Friday Photos: Sands of Time

August 4, 2017

Some old friends are back on view in our Barrel Vault galleries this month. Stop by the Museum to savor those last few days of summer: you might just enjoy a sandy view sans the salt and heat!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

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

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