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Art is for Families

June 12, 2012

Do you remember family visits to museums as a kid?  Picking favorite artworks together, seeing something completely perplexing/absolutely beautiful, or learning (maybe the hard way) that you can’t touch the art?

My colleague, C3 Gallery Specialist Jessica Nelson, is dedicating her master’s thesis research capturing such experiences.  Last week, Jessica forwarded me a link to her more-than-excellent blog Art is for Families.  The blog documents her Art Education master’s thesis project, for which Jessica is embarking on a series of wonder-full museum adventures with her six-year-old daughter, Julia.  Jessica’s research focuses on family learning in museums: specifically, how museum-produced self-guided materials help families have meaningful experiences with artworks.  She is also interested in inter-generational collaborative research and art-making as a vehicle for storytelling.

Together, Jessica and Julia will visit six museums in the metroplex, making use of available self-guided materials, and documenting their journeys in a variety of media. The two are equal collaborators: Julia and Jessica make art together, collect stories, take separate photos of their experiences, and throughout, have a dialogue about their process.

So far, Julia and Jessica have visited the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art—taking advantage of the Modern’s self-guided sketchbook, Ten Pages and the Carter’s Postcard Tour.  Below are just a few of many pictures of their visits and resulting projects:

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Julia twirled through my office last week, just in time for me to take the adorable mother-daughter photo above for this post.  Julia, we cannot wait to see more of your art and read (and read and read) more of your stories about museums.  Jessica, what an amazing project!  We look forward to learning from your research.

To have a self-guided family adventure at the DMA, ask for one of our four bite-sized Self-Guided tours at the Visitor Services desk, or print them at home.  And for more family-focused art-making and art-exploring ideas, visit We Art Family! The DMA Family Blog.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

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