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Community Connection: Nasher Sculpture Center

October 5, 2010

This past weekend marked the kick-off of Art in October, a celebration of the Dallas Arts District that features a variety of performances, exhibitions, programs, and events throughout the month.  In honor of this celebration, I walked across the street to the Nasher Sculpture Center for a coffee break with Stephen Ross.  Stephen began working in Admissions at the Nasher months after it opened in 2003.  Since then, he has held the title of Education Coordinator, Assistant Curator of Education, and for the last two years, Curator of Education.  See if you can find Stephen in this picture (hint: you can often identify a museum educator by his/her all-black outfit).

Stephen Ross seen through Jaume Plensa’s Twenty-nine Palms, 2007

What sparked your interest in museum education?
I think you have two choices coming out of graduate school – stay in school and become a curator (even though you don’t know what that is) or get a job at a museum.  I like museum education because I get to work with the public.

What has been the most enjoyable, challenging, or surprising aspect of your work with the Nasher?

I really like our Education Department.  It is limited because of our small staff, which is a total of three people.  I work with two really good people, and together we reach a wide spectrum from young children to adults.  We do a lot – we reach different audiences with different types of learning – so we all get to do a variety of things.

If you could take home any work of art from the Nasher, what would you choose?

I would take home Alberto Giacometti’s Two Figurines (Deux figurines sur socles) because they’re wonderful and tiny.  I love their size and portability – each figurine is less than two inches tall.  Giacometti would carry them around in matchboxes and put up small “exhibitions” on café tables.  They are the smallest pieces in the Nasher collection.

Tell us about your relationship with the DMA.

I work with the Museum Forum for Teachers, a five-day summer program for teachers that occurs at the Nasher, the DMA, The Rachofsky House, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.  We also collaborate on the docent program, which is a big help.  A small museum like ours could never have its own docent program, and we are thankful that DMA docents also lead tours at the Nasher. 

I love the sense of collaboration, in general.  I feel I can pick up the phone and call anyone in the DMA Education department to talk about program ideas, ask questions, etc.

Describe your idea of a perfect day.

Reading Beckett.  Listening to the Rudy Van Gelder sound.

Check out the Nasher and other Arts District venues during Art in October.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

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