Archive for the 'Center for Creative Connections' Category

Artist Interview: xtine and Sabrina

This fall the Center for Creative Connections invited C3 Visiting Artists xtine burrough and Sabrina Starnaman to design in-gallery activities inspired by unattributed works of art in the DMA’s collection. Meet xtine and Sabrina here and learn more about their thoughtful installation and activities designed to engage a larger conversation about labor.

Tell us about yourselves.
We met in fall 2016 at the University of Texas at Dallas, where we discovered a shared passion for embodiment, literature, and workers’ rights. We became fast friends and quickly set forth to merge xtine’s interventions on crowdsourcing platforms with Sabrina’s expertise in literature, history, and labor.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
xtine delivered a talk about her project, Mechanical Olympics, in the C3 Theater during Fall 2015. While at the DMA, she saw that the Center provided a space for connecting the Dallas community with local artists who could leverage the educational team at the Museum to bring engaging art to diverse audiences through interactive media formats. This was a good fit for the type of exhibition that she and Starnaman wanted to create for The Laboring Self.

Tell us how the idea of your project originated.
The Laboring Self grew out of a pilot project, Digital Korl Woman, that we developed in Sabrina’s class “Studies in Women’s Literature: Rebels and Reformers” at the University of Texas at Dallas in spring 2017. Sabrina was teaching Rebecca Harding Davis’s 1861 novella Life in the Iron Mills in class, a book about unregulated labor in a steel mill, and we saw the potential for parallels between critical issues in labor across the centuries.

We initiated an exploratory collaboration in which we asked Sabrina’s students to create a participatory project much like the one we present in the C3 space. First, students hired virtual workers to interpret a section of Life in the Iron Mills by submitting selfies to reflect the feelings that the steel worker character expressed in a sculpture he made out of waste products from the industrial processes. These pictures were then used as inspiration for  a 3-D cardboard sculpture. Finally, the students chose parts of Davis’s book that they found important and layered them on the sculpture.

We were invited to share this project and the process at a number of academic conferences, and now an article about it is forthcoming in Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy.

The Laboring Self, which centers on reproductions of human hands—workers are “hired hands” after all—grew naturally from our classroom experience and continues to evolve in ways we find exciting and will be working on for some time. We document our ongoing projects on our website, Visible Women.

What do you hope visitors will take away from your project?
We hope that visitors will see a connection between the detrimental impacts of unregulated labor in the 19th and the 21st centuries. While contemporary digital and crowdsourced work seems different from the industrial labor that became common in the 19th century, there are many parallels. For instance, workers who enter evolving industries have few protections. Laborers in the 19th century were ultimately able to address some of the exploitative and dangerous conditions in their workplace, but today’s crowdsourced laborers have few mechanisms to voice their concerns.

It is important to us that visitors to C3 have a chance to reflect on their own work experiences and how it affects their bodies. Those who are, have, or will work are as much a part of the project as the digital laborers who provided their hands and thoughts for the installation. Through the interactive aspects of our project—all of which involve using hands and words—we ask visitors to create their own “hired hands.”

hands

What have you enjoyed most about this experience?
We love the process! It is an honor to be able to realize our vision in a space that includes participants from so many different communities. While we are excited to bring our families to the tables, trace our hands, our kids’ and spouse’s hands, and make rock-rubbings of the literary quotes on a Sunday afternoon, the journey is the most enjoyable part of the experience. From the day we sat together struggling with how much we would pay the workers on the Mechanical Turk website to the day we created and hung strands of hands on the wall of the C3 space, we learned a lot about ourselves and the world we live in, while making something that engages the community where we live and work.

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Visit the Center for Creative Connections through December to participate in activities and contribute your own responses to xtine and Sabrina’s The Laboring Self installation.

Join us for a reception in the Center for Creative Connections on October 26 and mingle with C3 Visiting Artists xtine burrough and Sabrina Starnaman in C3 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Kerry Butcher is the Center for Creative Connections Coordinator at the DMA.

Artist Interview: Lisa Huffaker

This summer the Center for Creative Connections invited C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker to design an in-gallery activity inspired by a work of art on view in C3. Meet Lisa here and learn more about her musically engaging activities designed for visitors of all ages.

Tell us about yourself. (In 50 words or less)
I am a classical singer by training, but have always created visual art and poetry as well. My latest project is White Rock Zine Machine, which offers tiny handmade books of art and writing through re-purposed vending machines. I am interested in the community we form through creative work.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?

Nam June Paik, Music Box Based on Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954, 1994, Vintage TV cabinet, Panasonic 10 TV model 1050R, Panasonic mini video camera, incandescent light bulb and 144-note music box mechanism, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum 2015.48.113

While visiting the Museum, I saw Nam June Paik’s Music Box Based on a Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954. It’s an old television transformed to show a video of a music box, and it reminded me of my vending machines, which are also “communication boxes” with knobs, whimsically reinvented to give us new content. I loved the idea of exploring the relationship between these two objects, within the interactive space of the C3 Gallery, and inviting visitors to interact with and even contribute to the project.  I’m so grateful to the DMA for embracing my crazy vision!

Tell us about the process of creating your zine machine.

I found a retired baseball card vending machine on Craigslist, and transformed it.  I sanded it down to bare metal,  then used old player piano rolls as stencils to paint a pattern on the sides. I cut a hole in the front panel and covered it with glass, so we could see the zines inside. I attached Victorian-era music box disks to the machine,  including a sort of halo at the top. Then I added other objects — carved wood pieces, various metal oddities, a kalimba, gears and springs taken out of broken alarm clocks, and eight music box mechanisms, including one that plays original music composed by punching holes in a strip of paper.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
While creating the zine machine, I really enjoyed the contradiction between noisy power tools and delicate, beautiful mechanisms! But most of all I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore certain ideas — the overlap of music, memory, and machine — and invite others to interact with the project. It has been fascinating to see the drawings and writings created by visitors in response to the music I chose for the listening station in my installation.

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Visit the Center for Creative Connections through September to contribute drawings to Huffaker’s zines and to receive a zine from the machine.

Join C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker as she hosts a series of programs in September:

Tuesday, September 5, First Tuesday: Music with Ms. Lisa; 11:30 a.m. – Noon
Friday, September 15, Late Night Tour; 6:30 p.m.
Friday, September 15, Late Night Performance with Piano; 9:00 p.m.
Friday, September 22, Teen Homeschool; 1:00-4:00 p.m.

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

See What’s New in C3!

Stop by the Center for Creative Connections (C3) this summer to see the newly installed exhibition, Art of Communication. Bringing together works from the Museum’s decorative arts and design, American, contemporary, European, and Latin America art collections, this exhibition explores some of the ways visual art serves as a tool for communication. Explore objects arranged in three categories: Communication Through Portraiture, Communication Through Design, and Communication Through Narrative. Each section has a corresponding activity so you can take a moment to draw, create, or write inspired by the works of art on display. Here’s a peek at some of the works of art on view and visitor creations:

Communication Through Portraiture

Sit at the drawing horses and sketch the portraits on view, take a seat at the table and try your hand at drawing a self-portrait or a portrait of a friend, or take turns being the artist in the Photo Studio and pose a friend for a photo portrait.

Communication Through Design

Get inspired by these works of art designed for communication and create your own communication device. Fill out a label and display your device on the shelves at the C3 Art Spot.

Communication Through Narrative

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A Texas Dozen is a photographic portfolio by photographer, filmmaker, and journalist Geoff Winningham. From Dallas to Houston, Winningham captured the life and regional rituals of Texans in the early 1970s. These photographs tell a multitude of stories from events across the Lone Star State. Choose one photograph that catches your eye and write a story inspired by the characters and scene.

Remember, the Center for Creative Connections is open anytime the DMA is open and is always free! Stop in, enjoy the art, and get creative. All ages welcome!

Images: Eugene Speicher, The Farmer, c. 1923, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase; Debbie Fleming Caffery, Looking at Me (Polly), 1984, elatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Jackson, Walker, Winstead, Cantwell & Miller Fund 1998.186;Everett Spruce, Twins, 1939–1940, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dealey Prize, Eleventh Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1940 1940.21; Nam June Paik, Music Box Based on Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954, 1994, Vintage TV cabinet, Panasonic 10 TV model 1050R, Panasonic mini video camera, incandescent light bulb and 144-note music box mechanism, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum 2015.48.113; “Ericofon” pattern telephone, Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson, designed 1949–1954, plastic, metal, molded, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund 1995.118; “Bluebird” radio (Model 566), Designer: Walter Dorwin Teague, c. 1934, glass, chrome-plated metal, fabric, and painted wood, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Sonny Burt, Dallas 2014.60.4; Geoff Winningham, The Cronin Gallery, Tag Team Action, Wrestling, negative 1971, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.1; Geoff Winningham, The Cronin Gallery, Lamé Pants, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, negative 1972, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.13

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

Artist Interview: Christopher Blay

This spring in the Center for Creative Connections, we invited C3 Visiting Artist Christopher Blay to work with us on a new design for our in-gallery activities. We hope you agree that our time was very well spent. Meet Christopher here and learn more about these imaginative and reflective activities designed for visitors of all ages.

Tell us about yourself in 50 words or less.
I am an artist, and I curate exhibitions at Tarrant County College. I also review art locally. I enjoy the process of making, and create installations that reflect a sense of place. I see value in art that meets both the artist and their audience where they live.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
I thought it would be an interesting way to share my ideas with audiences, outside of a curated exhibition. This was about creating a space for reflection, and saying the things left unsaid, in that moment of reflection.

Tell us about the activities you’ve created in C3.
I created three rounds of participatory activities under the project name Machines for Intangible Communications for the Visiting Artist Project (sketches above). They all revolved around the idea that some of the things we want to say can no longer be heard by the people we hope are listening. Part A presented visitors with a desk, a typewriter, some writing materials, and a mailbox. Part B had walkie-talkies and satellites to relay what was spoken. Part C is a phone booth and a Morse code machine for dialing and relaying messages into the void. In each iteration of this project, visitors could reach out and say the things they wish they’d said to themselves, or others. It was a way of expressing the thoughts and words we’ve always wanted to express.

Do you have any favorite visitor responses you’d like to share?
I do. There was a man from Turkey who lost his grandfather when he was about a year old. He told me that it was difficult to speak into the walkie-talkie because he was suddenly at a loss for words; however, when he did speak, he thanked his grandfather for the gift of life, and wished that he was present to see his current life. It was a beautiful moment that I was happy to share with a stranger.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
I enjoyed being able to make a gesture in a space for art that reflected real experiences. I was inspired to build these machines out of a sense of longing and personal loss, and from stories about loss. This is a human experience and one that I hope connects with visitors. I wanted to build an impossible bridge that maybe a whisper could cross.

Visitor responses from Machines for Intangible Communications Part A.

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Join C3 Visiting Artist Christopher Blay for the Teen Workshop Revolutionary Prints on Saturday, June 24, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The workshop is for ages 13-19; all materials are provided, and no prior experience is necessary. The cost is $8 for the public and $5 for DMA Members.

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

Nesting

This week, we open the new and improved Arturo’s Nest in our Center for Creative Connections (C3)! The old play areas and design were so well loved that it was time to refresh and re-imagine this beloved play-learning space for our youngest visitors. The Exhibitions team and I had the pleasure of collaborating with the Education Department to come up with a fresh design that harmonizes with the updated Young Learner’s Gallery just around the corner in C3.

Some of the changes we made include installing new carpet (with giant polka-dots) to help with ambient sound, and applying a brand-new landscape to the walls, courtesy of our Exhibitions Graphic Designer, Kevin Parmer. We’ve added a nightscape to a previously plain wall, which adds to the calming and enveloping charm of this space. For our design team, this project was a playful departure from the many ongoing exhibition design projects in the Museum galleries.

Material samples used in the Arturo’s Nest redesign

There will be a new “nest” structure (coming soon) that will also function as a reading nook, and the daytime landscape will be dotted with interactives that engage our youngest visitors’ budding aesthetic sensibilities. We invite you to explore Arturo’s Nest upon its reopening!

Arturo’s Nest space before

Arturo’s Nest space after

Skye Malish-Olson is the Exhibition Designer at the DMA.

Finding Yourself at the DMA

As an art museum educator, I live for the tales of visitors who have had meaningful, inspirational, life-changing experiences in museums—perhaps because it was exactly this kind of personal experience that propelled me down the career path I’ve taken. Working in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), a participatory educational space for visitors of all ages, I have the privilege of hearing these kinds of statements often; however, a few months back I was surprised to hear from a visitor who literally found herself in a photograph by Geoff Winningham currently on view in the C3.

Geoff Winningham (artist), The Cronin Gallery (publisher), U.T. Cheerleaders, negative 1972, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.6

During a Late Night event, Laura was walking through C3 with her husband when they both stopped dead in their tracks as they walked by the photograph. “I think that’s you,” her husband stated. “I know it’s me!” Laura exclaimed.

I had so many questions for her. What was it like seeing yourself in a work of art in a museum? Did you know this photograph existed or that you were being photographed at the time? Can you recall the other cheerleaders in the photograph? Luckily, Laura was happy to meet up to discuss her experience.

As you might imagine, Laura was quite surprised to see a photo of her college-age self in the Museum. As a University of Texas cheerleader, she was aware they were photographed in action from time to time—once her image ended up as part of the opening montage of ABC’s Wide World of Sports for a full year—but she never imagined she would make it into a work of art in the DMA’s collection. Laura is uniquely well versed in the DMA collection, but until recently she had never seen this photograph before. Not only is Laura a DMA Member, but she was also part of the PM Docent class for five years, starting with the charter class under the leadership of Gail Davitt.

Both the University of Texas and the Dallas Museum of Art have loomed large in Laura’s life, but she never imagined that the two worlds would collide. In fact, UT Cheer isn’t just a distant memory as Laura regularly attends the Cheer Reunions and keeps in touch with fellow cheerleaders, including some of those captured alongside her in Winningham’s photograph. In the image below, the woman on the far right is the same woman on the far left of the UT Cheerleaders photograph by Winningham.

Now that Laura knows of the existence of this photograph, she comes back to visit it from time to time. She was also keen to meet the photographer, Geoff Winningham, and looked him up immediately to learn more about him and his work. Fortunately, Winningham was at the DMA in April to lead a Gallery Talk about the series this photograph is part of—A Texas Dozen.

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

Artist Interview: Janeil Engelstad

Last month, Janeil Engelstad, our first C3 Visiting Artist of 2017, embarked on a journey of exploring the collection and creating an in-gallery experience for our visitors. Meet Janeil and learn about her project, which will debut in March 2017.

janeil-edited2

Tell us about yourself.
The ocean and trees ground my Spirit. New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Sun Valley, and Bratislava—I carry the experiences of the places I have lived within and they continue to feed my work. My foundation is Gratitude. My practice is Kindness.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
Much of my professional practice is devoted to producing projects in collaboration through my organization Make Art with Purpose (MAP), teaching, writing or curating other people’s work into exhibitions. Currently, one of the projects that I’m working on is directing the website for the documentary film Angel Wagenstein: Art Is a Weapon, which premiered at the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. While all of this work is rewarding and expands my creativity, every once in a while I want to dip into a project or create a body of work that is completely my own. This residency is, for me, going back into “the studio.”

Geoff Winningham, publisher: The Cronin Gallery, Sunday, February 26, Birdhouse Vendor, Interstate 45, negative 1973, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank, 1981.36.8

Geoff Winningham, publisher: The Cronin Gallery, Sunday, February 26, Birdhouse Vendor, Interstate 45, negative 1973, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank, 1981.36.8

Tell us about the project you’re working on.
Inspired by Geoff Winningham’s photographs currently on view in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), I am developing a project that investigates and positions narratives that the viewer might not think of when looking at a work of art. For example, there is a photograph of birdhouses on a car. What can this tell us about housing or migration? How can either one of these topics then inform an investigation of another work of art in the DMA’s collection? And how can questions that I pose through a tour, or a set of postcards developed in response to these investigations, inspire the viewer to think more broadly about the world?

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
The process is enjoyable—moving from one idea to another, thinking about the material aspects of the project. Also, I literally looked at every work of art in the permanent collection that is currently on view. My knowledge expanded and my curiosity led me to research many different things. One time I was in the Museum’s library for an entire afternoon. That was a wonderful luxury, as I haven’t made time to be in a library for so many hours in several years. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in my school libraries and in our neighborhood library in Seattle. In college and in graduate school, I spent many hours in the various libraries on each campus. I love the quiet, vibrant energy of a library—all the wisdom and knowledge contained on those shelves. When I can, I will take that over researching on-line any day.

Learn about the upcoming programs that Janeil will be hosting in February and March:
Late Night Tour: More Than a PhotographFriday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.
C3 Visiting Artist Workshop: Mapping Your EnvironmentFriday, February 17, 8:00–10:00 p.m.
Teen Workshop: Telling Stories Through ArtSaturday, February 25, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
First Tuesday: StorytimeTuesday, March 7, 11:30 a.m.

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


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