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He(ART) History

December 13, 2016

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My name is Kenzie Grogan, and I am a senior at Lake Highlands High School. This year, I was accepted into the Professional Internship Program at my school. PIP is designed to give seniors experience in the career they are interested in pursuing in college. During my junior year, I ultimately decided that I wanted to focus on art history and see what a degree in it could lead to in the real world. Art has always been an area of interest for me, and history has always been my favorite subject in school. So, I figured why not give art history a try and see if I like it?

My internship began in September and I was extremely nervous. I was shocked when my teacher told me that I was placed with Teen Programs at the DMA – I wasn’t expecting to be placed at a museum. Throughout my internship I got to participate in a variety of programs, from helping paint a canvas for Dallas Pride and assisting with Family Workshops, to helping with Arts and Letters Live and getting to see Cary Elwes.

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Since I worked with Teen Programs, a lot of my time was spent helping prepare for Teen Tours on Thursday nights, and even assisting in writing a few of them. Researching the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck opened my eyes to the incredible symbolism in the painting. It was the first time in my life where I actually wanted to study something more. I ended up teaching part of the Renaissance tour, which was a little intimidating. Let me tell you, the teenagers who go on the Teen Tours know their stuff! It wouldn’t surprise me if some of them could get up and teach the tour themselves.

When I wasn’t working on Teen Tours, my time was spent working on my official research project: an interactive teen guide for the Museum. The DMA has a series of self-guided tours for families and adults, but it lacks one specifically for teens. What better way to make a tour for teens than to have one design it?

Since my internship has been all about art history, I wanted my teen guide to reflect that experience. Narrowing down the art I wanted to use was difficult, but I chose what I felt best represented a broad range: Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism, American, and Surrealism.

The next step was researching and writing the informational parts that would go into the final tour guide. As I began writing, I saw a universal theme throughout the paintings: each painting represented a new genre that went against the popular art style of the time. Because artists rebelled against society in their own way, I decided to call the guide Rebels With a Cause.

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All of the tours at the Museum have some sort of interactive aspect about them, whether it be prompts for drawing or questions to answer. Since music and art are my favorite things, I decided I wanted to create a playlist that represents each piece in the guide. This way, teens are able to connect with the painting using two senses. For anyone without an electronic device, there are other ways to interact with the art, like taking a selfie with Frida Kahlo or using color swatches to notice new colors in a painting.

Participating in this internship has been the best experience of my high school career. I’ve learned so much in the short amount of time I was here, and I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with so many amazing people. I can now say I plan to study art history in college because I’ve seen first-hand all the different careers it can lead to. I’ve loved getting to come to the Museum, and I definitely plan to come back and volunteer as much as I can.

Be sure to check out Rebels with a Cause at the DMA this spring and check how other teens have left their mark at the Museum!

Kenzie Grogan
Teen Programs Intern

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