Archive for the 'Center for Creative Connections' Category

Fall Transition

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Transition in the Center for Creative Connections is always a bittersweet time. While we’re excited by the infusion of new art in our gallery because it brings new experiences for our visitors, this week we had to say good-bye to some favorites:  The Visitors by Jacob Lawrence, Frank Smith watering his horse, Cross-B Ranch, Crosby County, Texas by Erwin Smith, and Soul Three by Romare Bearden. Now we’re welcoming Ram Mask with Feather Cape by the Kom people in Cameroon, two films by Isa Genzken, and The Mother Load Project, an interactive installation by local artists Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio. Here’s a little more about our newest installations:

Helmet mask with feather costume, Kom peoples, North West Province, Cameroon, Africa, Early to mid-20th century, wood, fibers, and feathers, Dallas Museum of Art, African Collection Fund

Helmet mask with feather costume, Cameroon, North West Province, Kom peoples, early to mid-20th century, wood, fibers, and feathers, Dallas Museum of Art, African Collection Fund

This mask depicts a ram, an animal that is sacrificed in religious rituals. While the face of the animal is carved naturalistically, the horns are designed as two stylized spherical knobs composed of concentric rings. When the mask is worn, it fits snugly on top of the dancer’s head and the dancer’s face is concealed under a fitted hood. The dancer also wears a costume of chicken feathers. masks_of_mbuoshu_book_scan_descreenWhile we are interested in visitors being able to explore the sensory elements of this piece, including the texture of the materials, the weight of the mask, the sounds of a masquerade, and the sight of the feathers in motion, this month we will focus activities in the C3 on mask making. If you were to create a mask symbolic of yourself or an event in your life, what animal would you choose as a symbol, and why?

Additional works from our African collection have recently been installed in the African Galleries on Level 3, including the new acquisition of a sword ornament in the form of a spider.

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In conjunction with the current exhibition Isa Genzken: Retrospective, on view through January 4, 2015, the Center for Creative Connections is showing two films by Genzken in the C3 Theater. On weekdays you can see Chicago Drive, a 16mm film made in 1992 while Genzken was in Chicago preparing for her Renaissance Society exhibition. It reveals her fascination with local architecture, both the famous and the mundane, and also includes intermittent blues music on the soundtrack. On the weekends, My Grandparents in the Bavarian Forest will be on view. This 63-minute film has English subtitles and is a personal account of Genzken’s grandparents’ home in southern Germany. Through the recording of seemingly banal conversations and her grandparents’ quotidian rituals, Genzken draws a moving portrait of the complexity of family dynamics, and the difficulty of coming to terms with the survivors of the World War II generation.

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This week artists Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio have been on hand in the Center for Creative Connections installing The Mother Load project, an interactive work that hopes to start a dialogue with visitors about the balance of nurturing in one’s life. The collaborative project began as a way to engage with women who lead the creative life of an artist while also being a mother. Through the project, Robertson and Macellaio are collecting fingerprints from artists and their children, recording experiences through written word and audio interviews, and documenting the ongoing project through their interactive website (themotherload.org). In the interactive component of the installation, visitors are asked to respond to this question: “In your life right now, what are you nurturing, and why?” Look for an upcoming post where we interview Robertson and Macellaio about The Mother Load.

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 Gallery Coordinator at the DMA.

#DMAVacation

Nic Nicosia, Vacation, 1986, cibachrome photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Meisel Photochrome Corporation © 1986 Nic Nicosia, Dallas, Texas

Nic Nicosia, Vacation, 1986, cibachrome photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Meisel Photochrome Corporation, © 1986 Nic Nicosia, Dallas, Texas

Earlier this month, the large photograph Vacation by Nic Nicosia was installed in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). Vacation is one of seven photographs that comprise Nic Nicosia’s Life As We Know It series. In this series depicting contemporary American life, Nicosia plays with everyday topics such as fashion, youth, and violence. Through his use of fabricated environments and staged scenes, Nicosia blurs the line between illusion and reality. This surreal atmosphere is enhanced by the ironic twists, such as the burning plane in the background, on what would otherwise be ordinary situations.

Inspired by this work of art, the C3 team created a photo station where visitors can pose for their own staged picnic-themed photograph. Some have embraced the surreal nature of Nicosia’s work more than others. Check out our visitors’ photographs and stop by C3 to snap a photo of your DMA vacation.

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 Gallery Coordinator

Free Summer Fun

Summer has officially arrived at the DMA! Today we began our Summer Art Camps and launched our free summer activities. Throughout June and July, we’re offering new opportunities for fun in the Museum every day of the week, on top of our year-round free general admission. Families can catch a tall tale in the DMA galleries on Tuesdays or join a family tour every Thursday. And visitors can learn more about the DMA’s collection and exhibitions during lunchtime gallery talks every Wednesday. There are many ways to experience the DMA for free, including our upcoming Late Night on Friday, June 20, and the Dallas Arts District block party! Find out about all of this and more summer fun at DMA.org.

How Many Words Are There for “Light”

How many words can you think of that describe light? Your list can include characteristics, opposite words, and metaphors for the concept of light.

A Panel Depicting the Tuba Tree, with the 99 Names of God on its Leaves, c. 1900, watercolor on paper, The James and Ana Melikian Collection

A Panel Depicting the Tuba Tree, with the 99 Names of God on its Leaves, c. 1900, watercolor on paper, The James and Ana Melikian Collection

The exhibition Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World explores the concept of light and the many ways it is captured, studied, and featured in works of art and scientific objects from Islamic culture (nur is the Arabic word for “light”). A work of art from the exhibition titled A Panel Depicting the Tuba Tree, with the 99 Names of God on Its Leaves is currently on view in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). This painting illustrates the concept that there can be many meanings associated with a single idea. Similarly, visitors are invited to add their ideas to a growing collection of light-related words in the accompanying community installation.

Leave your ideas on what light is through the run of the exhibition, which closes on June 29.

Melissa Nelson Gonzales is the C3 Gallery Manager at the DMA.

Having a Ball During DMA Spring Break

What do March Madness and the DMA have in common? If you are thinking that both are in Dallas, you are correct! This year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and Championship games will be played right here in North Texas. But wait, there is SO much more! Here at the DMA we are celebrating Art Madness, our own version of the beloved tournament. DMA Friends picked an artsy Sweet Sixteen that you don’t need a ticket to enjoy, and we are now down to the Elite Eight. Works of art from the Museum’s collection are competing for your vote to determine which artwork is the ultimate champion. If you haven’t voted yet, it’s not too late to get in on the game.

Since basketball is on the brain here, it seemed only fitting that we spend our spring break elevating our game, and we’ve planned an action-packed week of Art Madness family fun for everyone! Enjoy story time in the galleries, family tours, art-making in the studio, family competitions and more all week long in our art and basketball mash-up. We will even have a real piece of the NCAA here at the Museum! Be sure to score a look at the NCAA Championship trophy in the Center for Creative Connections, on view March 11-16.

Can’t get enough of the Madness? Then take an overtime for fun and join us for a Family Block Party on March 14, when we’ll stay open until 9:00 p.m. Families can sketch in the galleries, take a tour of the Art Madness competitors, do some yoga in the galleries, enjoy a puppet show, design trading cards in the studio and more. Everyone will be a winner!

But don’t take our word for it. We asked a family of museum (and sports) experts to walk us through the spring break starting line-up.

b-ball storytime

Little B-ball enjoyed story time in the galleries, hearing favorite stories and looking at one of the Art Madness competitors.

b-ball tote

The entire family used the hands-on activities and games in the Art to Go Family Tote to explore color in some of their favorite paintings.

b-ball challenge

With art supplies, a healthy dose of imagination and their competitive streak, the B-ball family worked as a team to design a jersey for their Art Madness MVP in the daily Championship Challenge.

b-ball yoga 2

Mama B-ball thought yoga was very relaxing and loved finding peaceful inspiration in the art around her. (Little B-ball wasn’t quite as meditative.)

b-ball ventriloquist

Daddy B-ball couldn’t help but laugh at ventriloquist Nancy Worcester’s hilarious show in the Horchow Auditorium.

Their final conclusion: “Visiting the DMA is a slam dunk!”

Our analysis? Art + Basketball = A surefire hit for the entire family. We hope to see you here March 11-16!

Amanda Blake is the head of family, access, and school experiences at the DMA.
Leah Hanson is the manager of early learning programs at the DMA.

Creating Connections with Writer Shay Youngblood

John Thomas Biggers, Starry Crown, 1987, acrylic and mixed media on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund

John Thomas Biggers, Starry Crown, 1987, acrylic and mixed media on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund

I began research on John Biggers’ Starry Crown, which is on view in the DMA’s Center for Creative Connections (C3), in order to create interactive elements in the gallery for visitors. When I began, it was clear that the symbols and imagery in the painting hold a lot of information that needed to be unpacked. I found that one of the overriding themes in this piece, and other works by Biggers, is the transfer of knowledge by women across generations. The three figures depicted here reference important women in Biggers’ life, and the string that connects them alludes to the sharing of knowledge, traditions and family history through dialogue.

wheniwas

As an art educator, I found it important to help visitors connect with this work of art by considering their own similar experiences. I started by posting prompts like “When I was _____ (age), ______ (an important woman in your life) taught me _________.” The responses were inspiring, sweet and at times comical. These snippets were interesting, but what I really wanted was the great stories that these sentences only hinted at.

Late_ Night_04_19_2013_AG_72

For this, the Center for Creative Connections enlisted the help of DMA Writer-in-Residence Shay Youngblood. During Late Nights, Shay interviewed visitors about family traditions and lessons they learned from important women in their lives. We chose a handful of stories from the dozens collected, and then Shay reimagined them through the lens of a creative writer and presented them at the January 2014 Late Night. Visit DMA.mobi and enter stop number 125 to listen to our visitors’ stories.
Shay
ShayStarryCrown

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 gallery coordinator at the DMA.

Makers Made

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Now in its fifth month, Maker Club is a free drop-in program for ages 13-19 that asks, “What happens when art, science, and technology mix?” Capitalizing on the popularity of the Maker movement and incorporating elements from STEAM education, Maker Club is a combination between open studio and led workshop that explores a different theme each month.

Image courtesy of makeymakey.com

Image courtesy of makeymakey.com

Experimentation and open-endedness rule the day as traditional art materials and tech-based supplies are thrown into the ring together. Past projects have included creating a Makey Makey mini-arcade, making found-object sculptures from discarded electronics, and using electro-luminescent (EL) wire and glow-in-the-dark screen-printing ink to make light-up clothing and accessories.
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Since no experience is required to take part, Maker Club also provides an opportunity for teens to learn and “level up” a variety of skills–from new artistic processes and creative problem solving, to circuit building, soldering and more. Group learning and collaboration is also a happy by-product of this process; oftentimes, the adult facilitators are learning just as much from the students as vice versa.
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So why have a maker-type program in an art museum? To me, the ideas aren’t mutually exclusive, but rather complementary. In the latest issue of Make magazine, Don Undeen, manager of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MediaLab, writes that all artists are, in fact, makers, and that museums have the potential to be a living forum where the two groups can talk to and inform one another.

There are even makers in the DMA’s collection, and those artists inspire the Makers Club members. Martin Delabano’s Family Portrait gave one teen the idea for this found-object sculture (pictured below). See how many makers you can spot in the DMA’s collection on your next visit.
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Martin Delabano, Family Portrait 1963, 2001, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Lorine and David H. Gibson, and Sonny Burt and Bob Butler

JC Bigornia is the C3 program coordinator at the DMA.


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