Archive for the 'Center for Creative Connections' Category

#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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

Celebrating Friendship: The First 12 Months of DMA Friends

The DMA Friends program turns a year old this month, and what a year it’s been! Our DMA Friends have helped reshape the way people visit the Museum—collecting points and badges—and the experiences they have at the DMA. There are so many highlights that we decided to recap some of the greatest hits of the past 12 months.

January – Let’s Get This Party Started
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We launched the DMA Friends program, as well as our return to free general admission, with a day full of free activities on January 21, 2013. By the end of that first day, we had over 800 new friends. New DMA Friends have continued to join with enthusiasm—in fact, we welcomed the largest number of DMA Friends between December 26 and 31. Happy Anniversary, DMA Friends!

February – Busy Bees
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The first full month of our new gallery activity, the Pop-Up Art Spot, was very pop-ular. DMA Friends love taking a creative break in the galleries with inspiration from the DMA’s collection. The Pop-Up Art Spot is currently the most popular activity for DMA Friends.

March – Rewarding Rewards

Lacey with her red hat

With all of their visits, activities and check ins, DMA Friends started raking in their points quickly. Our first high value reward, Dinner and Movie, was redeemed only two months after the launch of DMA Friends. It was the first of many special rewards redeemed this year, including the Art Beauty Shoppe reward, which you can read more about here.

April – Cindy Sherman Doppelgängers
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We encouraged DMA Friends to test their creativity with our Cindy Sherman Super Fan activity. DMA Friends grabbed their wigs, costumes and cameras and tweeted their interpretation of Cindy Sherman for extra points and a bonus badge. DMA staff even got in on the fun—see more here.

May – Hera, Medusa and Zeus. Oh My!
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Throughout the year, DMA Friends have had the opportunity to earn special limited-edition badges. In May, those who came to Late Night dressed as their favorite Greek hero received the Midnight Masquerade Badge, not to mention some adoring and impressed fans.

June – Indonesian Celebration
The DMA celebrated the award-winning catalogue Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art with a week of activities, which was right up our DMA Friends alleys. The DMA’s Asian Galleries received the most visits by DMA Friends, with over 18,000 check-ins!

July – The President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy
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We were halfway through our presentation of the DMA-organized exhibition Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy in July. This exhibition was the most visited exhibition of 2013 by DMA Friends.

August – Into the Deep
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The DMA Friends reward Into the Deep was featured in the Dallas Observer in August. Since the launch of DMA Friends, 26 guests have explored the Museum’s art storage by redeeming this exclusive reward.

September – Coast to Coast
In September, we received great news: the DMA was awarded an IMLS grant to help fund the expansion of a platform of engagement based on the DMA Friends program to partner institutions, including the Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Stay tuned this year for exciting news as their plans develop.

October – Late Nights, High Numbers
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Ten months into our program, we reached over 30,000 new DMA Friends! And they loved October’s Late Night, when we welcomed the largest number of new DMA Friends during our monthly event.

November – Overnight at the Museum
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Ten DMA Friends visited exhibitions, attended lectures, created art at the Art Spot and more to earn 100,000 points since the launch in January. Those DMA Friends and a few of their buddies were the first people to ever spend the night at the DMA. Read about their fun overnight adventure here and start saving your points now!

December – Feeling the Love
DMA Friends are making news around the world! In December, The Economist magazine put the spotlight on DMA Friends with its “How to Win Friends” article on the program.

Celebrate the first year of DMA Friends, as well as the DMA’s 111th birthday, this Friday during Late Night. We have a lot of fun events in store, including a few surprises for DMA Friends! Check out the Late Night schedule here to start planning everything you want to do.

If you aren’t already a DMA Friend, be sure to sign up for the free program on your next visit.

Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA and Sarah Coffey is the assistant to the chair of learning initiatives at the DMA.

New Year, New You

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Whether you set specific goals for 2014, or are just considering ways to give back to the community, the C3 Volunteer Program may be right for you. Center for Creative Connections (C3) volunteers help visitors to enjoy and explore the Museum’s collection and interactive activities, both in the C3 and in our collection galleries.

We’ve invited Kenton Visser, an artist and current C3 volunteer, to share his experiences–and a few of his works–with “Uncrated.”
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The first question I ask myself when I wind up somewhere new is “Where is the art?” The Dallas Museum of Art has been the best answer I’ve found to that question in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

During my first visit to the DMA, my sister and I spent over an hour in C3. We were excited by how the Museum valued a space for visitors to not just observe art objects but respond by creating as well. The people at the DMA are aware that the Museum contains worlds to be found, and they encourage exploration with self-guided tours that focus on a particular theme or subject in various areas of the collection. As my personal take on these tours, I sometimes give myself drawing assignments in order to absorb what’s on display more fully, often surprising myself with what I can notice if I really look.

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Recent changes with the DMA’s return to  free general admission and the launch of  DMA Friends  have removed barriers and made it easy for visitors to gain rewards based on a point system. Volunteering brings its own rewards (such as free parking and free admission to special exhibitions and events) as well as 500 points for every shift. Naturally, I’ve enjoyed these perks, but volunteering has been rewarding enough in itself.

Although the Museum isn’t exactly close by for me (I currently live south of Fort Worth), I’ve always found it to be worth the trip. I applied to be a volunteer this past summer, looking for a way to better connect with artistic circles. My monthly shifts have given me a recurring reason to visit the Museum, and volunteering with C3 has provided an energizing platform for interacting with visitors through art. Even though I spend a large portion of my time making art, being in the Museum (and especially in C3) gives me a unique chance to see how art is received by a wide variety of people. School groups, individuals, adults and children, those who have studied art and those who haven’t—everyone who comes into C3 has a different reaction to the art and the hands-on activities available.
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I’ve particularly enjoyed volunteering at the Pop-Up Art Spot, a compact cart stocked with simple activities that shows up in different galleries each week. It’s a nice oasis in the galleries and brings creative connections to people who wouldn’t seek out the main C3 space. I’ve been able to win over a number of visitors who seem unsure about participating in an activity (usually “I can’t draw” or “Isn’t this for kids?”) but then find themselves thoroughly enjoying it. Because I’m usually drawing or working on activities myself, I often have conversations with visitors about my own art. I’ve even had a few requests to prove my abilities by drawing portraits of the visitors or popular cartoon characters. These experiences in the C3 Gallery and Pop-Up Art Spot are perfect proof of the DMA’s belief that an art museum shouldn’t be just a building full of objects but a place where art happens.

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If you are interested in becoming a C3 volunteer, request an application here. The application deadline is Friday, January 10.

Kenton Visser is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and has lived in Crowley, Texas, since 2009. In addition to volunteering, he works as an illustrator, studio assistant and certified framer. His portfolio can be seen on his website.

Melissa Nelson Gonzales is the C3 gallery manager at the DMA.

#DMAGiveMore

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The Center for Creative Connections (C3) has taken the Jim Hodges exhibition title, Give More Than You Take, as a call to action. Hodges gave the exhibition this title after reflecting on what it means to be an artist and have a voice in our community. Inspired by this idea of the power of our individual voices, we are offering visitors a chance to consider how they might use their voices in creative and positive ways.

Throughout the run of the exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, we are hosting a Community Exchange in C3. You can make a button with a personal, positive motto that you want to share with the community. Then leave the button you create on our Community Exchange wall and take someone else’s button from the wall.

Wear the button you take out into the community to share a positive message. Document your button’s journey by tagging photos with #DMAGiveMore (check out our #DMAGiveMore on the DMA’s Instagram).

Want to truly give more than you take? Make a positive gesture by giving your new button away to someone else.
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Jessica Fuentes is the C3 gallery coordinator at the DMA.

Open Office: Center for Creative Connections

Most people don’t realize how fun having an office on the first floor of the museum can be! The ten of us (plus one intern) in the Center for Creative Connections (C3) office space are especially close, quite literally. We all sit within earshot of each other and are very close to the visitors in C3, which makes it a very lively workplace! Those who live here during the day (and often get locked in because they have stayed too late) are a fabulous group from the DMA’s C3 team; the wonderful ladies from the Family, Access, and School Experiences squad; and the Head of Community Engagement. You can visit Susan, Amanda, Amanda, Leah, Maria Teresa, JC, Danielle, Melissa, Jessica, Amy, and Tyler anytime you want! Just don’t forget which Amanda is which.

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Amanda Batson is the C3 program coordinator at the DMA.


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