I first met dance instructor Misty Owens last summer when she partnered with some of my colleagues to present movement-based workshops for visitors with special needs here at the DMA. She brought pool noodles, scarves, inspiring music, and a mesmerizing grace into the galleries, and it was so fun to watch her work with our visitors.
This past spring, I saw her in action once again when she brought her Dance for Parkinson’s Disease class to the Museum for regular visits. Her ability to communicate ideas through movement and encourage even the least-coordinated person (me!) to attempt some dance moves in the galleries is inspiring. The culminating performance for Misty’s Dance for PD group just happened to fall on the same day as a Toddler Art class I taught. As the children trickled out of our classroom space after class, they literally stumbled upon the dance group’s dress rehearsal. The toddlers were mesmerized! They spontaneously sat down on the carpet and became an impromptu audience as the dancers practiced their steps. There were huge smiles (on both the toddlers’ and the performers’ faces), and it sparked an idea—what would it be like to have Misty work with our littlest visitors?
Lucky for me, Misty is willing to try just about everything, and earlier this month, she was at the DMA once more, this time as a special guest teacher for the Art Babies class. The Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty exhibition served as our inspiration, and Misty led caregivers and babies in a lively exploration of Penn’s photography through movement.
We began by looking at Issey Miyake Fashion: White and Black. Misty and I were both taken by the fabric and thought that the peek-a-boo playfulness to the image seemed to be begging for some baby dance moves! Using lengths of stretchy white fabric, we experimented with making shapes with our bodies, played peek-a-boo, and created living sculptures around the babies. One little guy could not stop giggling as his mother wrapped him and unwrapped him in the fabric, surprising him with silly faces.
For our next stop, we took a closer look at Frozen Foods (one of my personal favorites from the show!) This time, Misty focused our attention on the different textures in the photo—we noticed the long, straight shoots of asparagus, the rounded pops of frozen berries, and the crackling frozen lentils. Using pool noodles, shakers, and maracas, the babies and parents created their own soundscape for the photo, and moved and danced in rhythm to bouncy melodies. It was a ruckus, but so much fun!
I loved watching the parents and children experience the art in an entirely new way. When the music came on, the babies couldn’t seem to help themselves, and their little legs and arms would start bopping in time to the music. Parents were all smiles and gave themselves permission to be silly as we jumped and reached and swooshed around the galleries. And for me personally as an educator, Misty helped me to approach these works of art with a new eye and gain an even greater appreciation for Penn’s artistry and talent. I noticed textures, shapes, movement, and stillness where I hadn’t really seen them before.
Lesson learned—a little dance is good for everyone, no matter how big or small!
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs
Howdy, y’all! I’m so excited to write my second blog post for this fantastic blog. Even though I still haven’t been invited to go inside the DMA to see where my human spends her days away from me, it’s still such a doggone fun place to visit and tromp around outside.
Especially now, since they have a fancy, new outdoor patio cafe that is…dog-friendly! I love going with my family to eat at dog-friendly spots. The outdoor cafe is called Socca and is named after the type of grub it serves – which is a chickpea crepe made PAWpular in southern France, where it is a specialty. Tres chic! The PAWsome thing about Socca, is that it is healthy; humans can add tuna, chicken, lettuce, and my ultimate fave – cheese. Great news for us mutts as we patiently await food dropping from tables. Well behaved dogs on leashes are welcome on the Socca patio – woohoo!
Encompassing Socca is the brand new Eagle Family Plaza, which is a relaxing spot full of lush grass on which to lounge and a fantastic commissioned sculpture called Pas de Deux (Plaza Monument) by British artist Rebecca Warren, which I thoroughly enjoyed gazing up at to admire.
If the new cafe isn’t exciting enough, guess what the Late Night theme is tonight? It’s all about us: four-legged furry family members! If you’ve been working like a dog all week, bring your muttly crew for a evening of fun. Although canine companions aren’t allowed inside the DMA, humans can celebrate the PAWsomeness with pup-focused films (one of my faves, Best in Show – you can’t beat the Terrier Song), to animal-themed tours, live music, and scavenger hunts, it’ll be a PAWsitively rip-roarin’ good time.
I hope to see you rompin’ around the grass-filled surroundings of the DMA soon!
Until next time,
George Costanza Blake
Canine Museum Consultant
We know all too well that this summer’s going to be a scorcher, so the Museum is bringing back our free Summer Family Fun programs to offer families some seriously cool activities. Each day this summer will feature different experiences for families and visitors of all ages, from Story Times to Art-to-Go Family Tote Bags. We’re not alone in our efforts, though – we have a secret weapon to help families beat the heat. Introducing the next generation of museum educators…the DMA Teen Ambassadors!
Formerly the Teen Docent Program, Teen Ambassadors will lead Community Tours, Family Story Times, and visitor experiences at the Pop-up Art Spot and C3 Gallery this summer. These enthusiastic, art-loving teens attended a two day orientation where they learned how to engage with visitors (especially young ones!) to prepare for their volunteer shifts.
This year’s class of Ambassadors is pretty impressive, so make sure to catch them in action!
Have you ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? This week, the Digital Collections Content team played Six (plus a few more) Degrees of Francis Bacon and sought interesting connections across DMA artworks. On a daily basis, this team extensively tags artworks in the collection with terms related to material, maker, subject matter, and more, so they are pretty adept at finding connections!
Let’s start with a figural painting—a man in stark green surroundings—by 20th century artist Francis Bacon, part of the DMA’s contemporary collection.
Next is another painting from the contemporary collection. This one is on paper, incorporates non-conventional materials, and is by Dallas artist Stephen Lapthisophon.
Our third work of art is a print, Barnyard with Tanks and Pigs, by another Dallas artist and supporter of the arts, Velma Davis Dozier.
This next container from our Pacific Rim collection incorporates the same subject: a pig!
Pigs also adorn this glass from our decorative arts collection.
Another work in our decorative arts collection is this porcelain plate by artist Acee Blue Eagle, which shows a figure in a headdress.
Like the central figure on Acee Blue Eagle’s plate, this Maya figure, riding a peccary, wears a headdress.
At a little over two inches long, this ridiculously cute little piggy tape measure is comparable to the size of the peccary.
This print depicts the inside of an antique store, full of interesting odds and ends–just the sort of place you might find a collection of sewing accoutrements like the one in which our little piggy tape measure was donated.
Another print—also inscribed near the bottom—is a portrait is of Nicholas Bacon, English government official and father of philosopher Sir Francis Bacon.
Which brings us back to the painting by Francis Bacon (not to be confused with the aforementioned philosopher), Walking Man.
Perhaps you might notice a broader theme running throughout our list? The connections really are endless! Which ones will you make on your next visit?
Andrea Severin Goins
Head of Interpretation
Hi, I’m Taylor Strander, a senior from McKinney Boyd High School and a DMA Teen Advisory Council member. As the school year draws to a close and graduation looms near, I thought it was a perfect time to reflect on my busy year at the DMA! I have spent a great part of my school year exploring the DMA collection and collaborating with staff on a project for my ISM class.
What is ISM? ISM stands for Interdisciplinary Study and Mentorship – a program specifically designed for high school students who have an idea of the career they want to explore beyond high school. The goal of the class is to develop interpersonal and networking skills in the hopes of obtaining a mentor that can offer their expertise in the creation of a final product. As someone interested in studying art history in college, I immediately sought to find a mentor who worked in a museum and was immersed in art every day. I distinctly remember growing quite fond of the DMA after my first visit with my elementary school class, and since then I have seized every opportunity to learn more about the Museum by participating in the Teen Docent Program and serving as a Community Engagement Volunteer.
Due to my prior experience, I thought it would be most fitting to select a mentor from the place that catalyzed my passion for art. So I began my weekly commute to the DMA to meet and brainstorm with my mentors, Jessica Thompson and Whitney Sirois, on my final project for the class. Working with them has offered me a deeper understanding of the field of museum education and has strengthened my desire to pursue a career in a museum one day. My final project turned out to be something greater than I ever could have imagined and best of all, it is something that can be implemented in the Museum today.
During my first meeting with Jessica and Whitney, I was inspired by the DMA’s exhibition Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, which features a variety of Islamic works from the internationally renowned Keir Collection. It was important to me to reference this collection for my project because Islamic art seems to be misunderstood and its influence on global cultures is often forgotten. After some heavy research, I used my newfound knowledge of Islamic art to create a Bite-Sized Tour entitled “Cross-Cultural Connections.” This guide highlights Islamic works and directly compares them to other objects in the DMA’s permanent collection in an effort to encourage visitors to notice similar qualities or influences across cultures.
The second component of my final project is an Art-to-Go Family Tote Bag, which is meant to reinforce visitors’ understanding of Islamic art through different activities that highlight specific artistic elements. Family Tote Bags are great because they offer fun, on-the-go activities for a variety of different age groups and learning styles. For the tote bag, I came up with four separate activities – write, make, draw, and talk.
The writing activity asks visitors to reference Islamic calligraphy to create their own epic poem. The make activity allows visitors to make their own astrolabe, a navigational tool that revolutionized Islamic culture. The drawing activity invites people to design their own geometric patterns inspired by Islamic textiles and ceramics. Finally, the talk activity encourages visitors to discuss Islamic art influences within the Museum’s permanent collection. Islam’s holy month of Ramadan has just begun, so take a moment to explore the many connections you can make to this world religion and its artistic traditions on your next visit to the Museum.
A special thank you to my mentors, Jessica and Whitney, for giving a young person like me an invaluable experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Your words of wisdom and constant support will not be soon forgotten. And finally, thank you to the DMA for transforming before my eyes into a place that I know all too well, a place that feels like home.
Teen Advisory Council Member
It’s hard to believe K-12 visits for 2015-2016 school year wrapped up last Friday! We’ve had a busy year here at the DMA welcoming visitors of all ages, leading tours, and helping them make meaningful connections with works of art. Now it’s time to take a look back on all we’ve accomplished!
How many groups visited the Museum?
- 1,227 Visits Scheduled
- 711 Schools or Community Groups
- 96 Independent School Districts from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico
How many students received docent-guided tours?
- 37,374 K-12 students
- Approximately 2,698 hours discussing works of art with students!
How many students completed self-guided visits?
- 12,275 K-12 students
What were the most popular tours?
- A Looking Journey: 17,357 4th graders; 1,158 hours in the gallery
- Arts of the Americas: 5,172 5th graders; 345 hours
- Collection Highlights: 2,386 students; 160 hours
- Recipes for Art: 545 K & 1st graders; 37 hours
How many visitors toured special exhibitions?
- Inca: Conquests of the Andes: 888 students; 60 hours
- International Pop: 1,312 students; 88 hours
- Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots: 1,694 students; 113 hours
- Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty: 370 students; 25 hours
What do our visitors say about their experience at the DMA?
“The students had a wonderful time, and they are already asking when we can visit again!” – Skyline High School, Dec. 6
“The docents were very knowledgeable (as has always been the case in the past three years that our school has been visiting). We thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you again for providing this artistic experience in our Dallas community.”– Urban Park Elementary, Feb. 17
“Thank you so much for having such amazing people working with our kiddos! We LOVED the DMA! So grateful!”– Nathan Adams Elementary, March 10
“Our docent was so knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and great with my seniors. I love that I get to bring my kids to the DMA every year, and this year’s trip was made even better because of our docent. See you next year!”– John Horn High School, May 6
Thank you to all our volunteers, staff, and visitors for an amazing school year!
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs
Audience Relations Coordinator