Archive for the 'Center for Creative Connections' Category

Common Thread

This month the Center for Creative Connections (C3) says goodbye to a few of our favorite works of art currently on view. Anytown USA by Jack Pierson, The Minotaur by Marcel Dzama, and Starry Crown by John Biggers are all set to come down the last week of April. It has been a joy to witness the frequent Instagrams taken of Anytown USA, to see the countless drawings made by visitors of all ages of The Minotaur, and to read the numerous visitor responses to Starry Crown.

samaran89 I saw this at an art gallery today in #Dallas. I feel like it should be the image of my travels around America!

samaran89 I saw this at an art gallery today in #Dallas. I feel like it should be the image of my travels around America!

marc.os.c

lisavanahn Loved this interactive piece of art at DMA, it asked you to write a piece of advice a wise woman had given you and pass it down. and right there front and center "you are enough" #bestadviceevergiven

lisavanahn Loved this interactive piece of art at DMA, it asked you to write a piece of advice a wise woman had given you and pass it down. and right there front and center “you are enough” #bestadviceevergiven

In honor of the thousands of visitors who have responded to our prompt related to Starry Crown, with the help of C3 Visiting Artist Kendra Greene, we have compiled booklets of visitor responses to give back to the community.  Stop by the Center for Creative Connections this month to pick up a keepsake, “Common Thread: Selections of women’s wisdom, guidance, counsel, advice, experience, notions, revelations, hard truths, and plain facts.”

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Stop by C3 at the beginning of May to see these new additions to the space. How will they inspire you?

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

A Staff Selection in C3

As part of our mission in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), we highlight voices from our community. We achieve this in several ways: by offering visitors the opportunity to publicly respond to works of art, by commissioning local artists to create interactive installations, and by collaborating with local artists to offer special programming. In addition, each year we work with DMA staff, those who wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to select which works of art go on view, to pick a work of art to be installed in C3 and write about it. We call it “C3 Staff Point of View.”

This year, Maria Teresa Garcia Pedroche, Head of Community Engagement, has chosen an assortment of nine retablos, which were installed December 14 and can be seen on your next visit to C3.

 

Describe your job in fifty words or less.
I create experiences and programs both at the Museum and off-site that promote conversation and engagement by inviting community partners to share their unique perspectives on the Museum’s collection. My job also  includes organizing the annual “Young Masters” exhibition, which features works created by Advanced Placement students participating in the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Fine Arts Incentive Program.

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All of these works are titled Retablo. For our readers who may not know, what is a retablo?
Although these works are titled “retablos,” Spanish for “devotional paintings,” many of them are also considered “exvotos,” paintings that serve as offerings of gratitude. “Exvotos” are created on tin or sheet metal by local artists or artisans using inexpensive materials. Many “exvotos” include a painting of a saint with the name and image of a patron.

What factors led to your decision to choose these works of art to go on view in C3?
Often I work with communities outside the walls of the Museum. We have a proud history of serving North Texas, connecting art and people. Over the years, the communities we serve that collect “exvotos” and “retablos” have asked if these types of works are part of the DMA’s collection. I chose these works of art because some of our communities are specifically interested in them, and showcasing global works helps visitors appreciate and understand the importance of art created by everyone. Personally, I have created “retablos” inspired by strong women in my family.

Also, I love the art and stories with answered prayers. Growing up in Brownsville, Texas, my family traveled to the Basilica of Guadalupe, DF, San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, Real de Catorce, SLP, and other churches. We participated in pilgrimages where visitors would pray for their loved ones and leave their votive offerings at the altar and outside the place of worship. It was wonderful to see and hear visitors share blessings and miracles.

What do you hope visitors will gain from seeing these works of art?
The demographics show that Dallas is multicultural; we can bridge the cultural differences and find common language through the arts.  The arts are the soul of our community, helping reflect and promote the city’s history and cultural diversity: past, present, and evolving. I hope visitors will be open when viewing these works and consider how these “exvotos”—these hopes, dreams, and prayers—are similar to their own.

When you stop by the Center for Creative Connections to see these newly installed retablos and exvotos, take a moment to create your own exvoto illustrating a personal experience or prayer.

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Manager at the DMA.

Pen Pals

Write a Friend Post

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Stop by the DMA Store to stock up on supplies! Pick a postcard of your favorite work of art from the DMA’s collection and send it to a friend with a thoughtful message.

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Manager at the DMA.

The Creative Spiral

The creative process is often described as cyclical, and sometimes, when I’m in it, I feel like I am going around in circles, ending up where I started. I always hope that when I come back around in that circular process, my ideas have evolved so that even though I may be in a familiar place, I am truly somewhere new. Perhaps the creative process is more like a spiral, repetitious yet constantly moving forward. This concept not only illustrates an important artistic process that we want to share with visitors to the Center for Creative Connections (C3) but also describes the methods we employ as our space evolves. The creative process is an inspirational component of C3, and it is exemplified through the Art Spot, a hands-on art-making area.

A Brief History

 

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In 2008, the hands-on art-making area within the C3 exhibition Materials and Meanings was called the Materials Bar, which provided a hands-on experience of the creative process, engaging visitors with an inspiration wheel, videos that modeled techniques, materials that encouraged play, and a reflective label writing component. In 2010, C3 presented its second exhibition, Encountering Space, which involved a complete redesign of the entire C3 and transformed the Materials Bar into the Space Bar, which included prompts for the hands-on art-making experience. In 2012, the hands-on area was renamed the Art Spot: Anytime art-making for everyone, and it focuses on rotating works in the C3 galleries or the idea of creativity.

Commonalities and Spiraling Forward
For me, the creative process can be simplified to four steps: inspiration, exploration, creation, and reflection. With each iteration of the making area in C3, we come full circle. We start with an idea—a theme like materials, space, creativity, or a work of art; next we explore the possibilities of that idea and play with what it might look like; then we construct it for visitors to experience; and finally we reflect on the actual visitor experience. Over the years, the various iterations are in many ways similar, but with each new endeavor we learn and revise.

Martin Delabano's Family Portrait behind sea of visitors

Martin Delabano’s Family Portrait behind a sea of visitors

In the past, we strived to inspire participants with the art on view in C3, though we found this can be difficult when the works of art are not directly adjacent to the making area. In the upcoming redesign, we are installing more works of art in the Art Spot and are strategically placing them near the tables where participants will be creating. The cases housing these works will have prompts directly on the glass to provoke thought and discussion about the materials, design, and process. These kinds of prompts can help visitors get into the making mindset, a way of critically looking at and exploring materials.

Also, our approach to choosing works of art has shifted. In the past, we chose works of art that exemplified a concept and might inspire visitors to create. This time we are taking our inspiration from our visitors. Over the past few years, we have documented the kinds of creations made at the Art Spot. We know that regardless of the theme or materials, there are common items that are made: rings, animals, flowers, hats, and woven objects. So we started with those observations and chose works of art, such as those featured below, that visitors might more easily relate to and that had some evidence of both the materials and the method of making.

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Finally, we will continue to encourage the creation of three-dimensional objects, but rather than having one set of materials, we will offer different materials at different stations that relate to the nearby works of art. This will offer some variety and give visitors more options.

Looking Ahead
When the Art Spot reopens next week, we will continue to ask for visitor input, because being an experimental space means that we are constantly evolving through the creative process. We will document the creations visitors make, read the reflective statements they write, talk with them about the works of art, the materials, their creations, and their overall experience to get a sense of what aspects of the new design are working and what we might revise. Stop by the Center for Creative Connections this summer to see the redesigned Art Spot, be inspired by the newly installed works of art, make a creation, and give us your feedback!

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Manager at the DMA.

Stir Your Senses

For Friday’s Late Night, we wanted to make sure we engaged all of the senses, giving visitors an immersive experience at the DMA. There will be many programs to stir your senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.

To tempt you to stay out late, I have highlighted one program for each of the five senses.

SIGHT

Visit our Flora Street Entrance and our Sculpture Garden to see vivid outdoor installations representing color, pattern, and movement created by The Color Condition.

Color Condition 2

SOUND

Experience the physicality of sound with a newly commissioned performance by New York artist Kevin Beasley. BLACK ROCKER will premiere at the DMA as part of the inaugural SOLUNA festival.

Kevin Beasley

TASTE

Our Lounge @ Founders will tempt all of your taste senses with something salty, sour, sweet, and bitter.

Founders 2

SMELL

Families can stop by the exhibition Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga and check out a Sensory Art-to-Go Family Tote Bag. The tote bags are filled with a variety of activities, such as imagining how a work of art would smell and then writing a poem about it.

Tote Bags

TOUCH

While you can’t touch the art, you can stop by the Art Spot in the Center for Creative Connections and make your own work of art using a variety of materials.

Art Spot 2

We hope you’ll join us on Friday to see what else is in store!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA. 

You Know You’re a Museum Mom If….

Over the years I’ve had the chance to see children grow up right before my eyes as they’ve attended classes at the DMA. They may solemnly gaze at me from their strollers in Art Babies, toddle around with their binkies in Toddler Art, and then proudly graduate to the “big kid” art classes before confidently marching off to kindergarten. I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know many amazing moms in the community. They push strollers, wrangle kids, balance wet paintings on their arms, and cheerfully champion their children’s creativity. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are just a few of the things we love about Museum Moms!

Mothers Day 1

Fun is often messy. Museum moms aren’t afraid of messes—even big ones! We’ve challenged children to paint with their feet, create dripping, gluey sculptures, and blow colorful paint bubbles onto paper. To say that we sometimes get messy in the Art Studio is a bit of an understatement. But our DMA moms are always enthusiastic, encouraging their children to try something new and to not let sticky fingers hold them back. As we’ve conducted fun painting experiments in the studio over the past few months, I’ve watched children gaze at their moms in wonder as they strip off their shoes and socks, push up their sleeves, and dive into some serious action painting.

Mothers Day 2

Sometimes you just need to shout! We hope that every child finds his or her own unique voice, and through our family classes, we do our best to give children opportunities to share those voices. Museum Moms value what their children think and wonder about art, and often let them lead the way in talking about what they see. In a recent Art Babies class, caregivers pulled their little ones across the floor on colorful fabric to mimic the sensation of paint gliding across a canvas. Amidst the giggles and smiles, one baby accidentally discovered the wonderful echo she could make in the galleries. A comical shrieking match quickly broke out as other babies realized they could make their own echoes too, and the gallery was soon filled with high-pitched, delighted squeals. Rather than frantically shushing their children, these wise moms simply reveled in the display of spontaneous joy that came from children making discoveries in an inspiring place (and took advantage of the fact that there were no other visitors in the gallery).

Mothers Day 3

Being present is the best present. We’re all about family togetherness here at the DMA, so when we’re sketching in the galleries or posing like a statue, more often than not, the grown-ups are right alongside their child, busily engaged in a class activity. Museum Moms know that their children watch everything they do, and that the best way to raise a creative child is for children to see you nurturing your own creativity. In a preschool class several years ago, I asked a group of three and four year olds who some of their heroes were. Lili piped up immediately and said, “My mom is my art hero because she watches while I paint.” When we’re busy creating in the Art Studio, I always have at least one or two children who inform me that their masterpieces are “for my mom.” Museum Moms are some of the very best at creating lasting memories for their families and giving the gift of their presence.

To all the moms out there, thank you for all you do! Happy Mother’s Day!

Leah Hanson is the Manager of Early Learning Programs at the DMA.

Experiments on Public Space

As part of my time as a McDermott Intern in Education at the DMA, I was given the opportunity to carry out an independent project. Experiments on Public Space (EPS)started with the aim of evaluating and measuring “publicness” through a research approach that is grounded in artistic practice. From the beginning, the project hoped to contribute to the Museum by initiating an active reclaiming of publicness of the institution through the creation of opportunities for thought, transformatory participation, and active discussion. By doing this, the project’s ambition for the DMA was, and is, to exemplify and animate what it means to be a public museum in the 21st century.

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The decision to focus on the issue of publicness is responsive not only to the field of art and culture but also to a globalized context in which our notion of democracy and democratic space is constantly being tainted and distorted. The project is a result of my past research, and my belief that performance art and participatory projects have the ability to provide social, political, and/or personal experiences.

The project launched during the February Late Night with Gesture—Tribute to Tania Bruguera, an unannounced performance that placed Museum visitors in crowd control situations. The piece was the first attempt at creating a space in which to ask participants to explicitly consider the differences between public and private, control and freedom, access and limitations.

The second experiment, Alternative Signage, took place during the March Late Night. This program, which was the result of a collaboration with the DMA/Perot Museum of History and Science Teen Advisory Council (T.A.C.), was also a performance piece where I and a group from the T.A.C. intervened in Museum spaces by installing alternative signs that were conceptualized and designed over a period of three months. The signs reworked and reimagined the ways text, symbols, and signage can influence participation and experiences, and therefore overall publicness.

I Am a Monument… is the third of four experiments that constitute EPS. The program involves a series of workshops that were held during the Museum’s Studio Creations program with guest artist Giovanni Valderas; visitors worked collaboratively to build a temporary monument recognizing and celebrating the Latino community of Dallas. The workshop itself becomes a gesture of coming together to celebrate and participate in this building of relationships between communities. The unveiling of the monument, in the shape of an arch, will create a passageway that represents the desire for mutual understanding and the welcoming of the Latin American community. See it revealed on the Ross Avenue Plaza during this month’s Late Night on Friday, April 17!

Experiments on Public Space will come to a close with a fourth and final program, a panel discussion titled when “public” becomes a verb…, which will bring together four speakers to present a series of visual statements produced in collaboration with the DMA and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science Teen Advisory Council (T.A.C.). The panel discussion will take place during the May Late Night on Friday, May 15, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Creative Connections Theater.

Poster 1 of 4 - Example

For EPS, each program was conceived as a way of collecting “data on publicness” of the Museum. The results of these “experiments” will be on display at the Center for Creative Connections beginning on April 17. Visitors will become evaluators of this data, providing their thoughts and comments and an overall measurement of the individual issues of publicness explored in this project through a series of interactive activities in the space.

Eliel Jones, McDermott Education Intern for Visitor and Community Engagement at the DMA.


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