Archive for the 'Education' Category

FAST Times at the DMA

With each new exhibition at the Museum comes a jolt of excitement for our FAST (Family, Access, School, and Teaching programs at the DMA) team. Education programs at the DMA involve both the permanent collection and any special exhibitions, and a new exhibition means opportunities for exciting new lessons. Though our programming won’t focus on the newly opened exhibition Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes until the fall, we can’t help but brainstorm some experiences we might create around the fantastic content inside. Here’s a look at some of the ideas we’ve got flying between our ears:

Family Programs
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For our littlest learners, from babies to our homeschool kids, we often begin our gallery portion of the program with story time connected to the lesson’s theme. To get thinking about camelids and their importance in Inca life, we’re eyeing one of Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama books and will then explore objects like the llama-form vessel or llama-head whistle. The focus of the lesson could also be one of the exhibition’s remarkable tunics. We would follow the journey of camelid fibers, which we have on hand for tactile exploration, from their origins on a llama to their ultimate use, being woven into a wonderful piece of clothing. Our youngest visitors will then try their hand at a weaving project in the Museum’s Art Studio.

Access Programs
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For visitors with special needs, our class might focus on jobs in Inca society. Through an object like the tunic with checkerboard pattern and stepped yoke, we can connect the idea of the Inca soldiers who wore the tunic and the weaving specialists who made it to what we know of modern occupations or memories of jobs our participants had in the past. Different art projects would be appropriate for the two groups: with our visitors with intellectual and developmental disabilities, we might choose our Inca dream job and make wearable tunics for it using materials in the Museum’s Art Studio, and for participants with Alzheimer’s, we might take our time with a weaving project. We like to have a hands-on experience all participants can enjoy.

Go van Gogh
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Our Go van Gogh community outreach program involves a staff member and volunteers leading programs in classrooms throughout DISD. For an Inca-based program, we would pick 3–4 works to explore around a theme such as “what we wear,” which could include items like the sleeved tunic, poncho with central medallion and double-headed-birds, or four-cornered hat. For a related art project, the students may design their own tunics using some of the geometric patterns or animal imagery we discussed. We always have amazing works of creativity come out of our Go van Gogh groups!

School Tours
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Most teachers who sign up for school tours want their students to see as much as possible, so our wonderful docents choose highlights from all over the DMA’s expansive collection. Inca might only be one stop on a tour of five or six destinations in the Museum. Docents typically let the interests of the students lead the discussion: are they drawn to textiles or ceramics, ideas of Inca soldiers or animal imagery? Whichever it is, docents would be sure to show contextual images such as a map of the Tahuantinsuyu empire or an illustration of a ruler wearing a tunic. Though the stop is brief, the goal is to teach the students a little bit about another culture, while whetting their appetite so they return for more!

Make sure you take the opportunity to explore Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes before it closes in November. In the meantime, the FAST team will be counting the days until we can explore the exhibition with our many audiences!

Liz Bola is the McDermott Graduate Education Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching and Jennifer Sheppard is the McDermott Education Intern for Family and Access Teaching 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.

We’re Turning Five

This Saturday, April 25, we are celebrating the 5th anniversary of the DMA Autism Awareness Family Celebration. The first program took place in April 2010, tied to Autism Awareness Month, with research beginning in the summer of 2009. A frequent DMA visitor with a son on the autism spectrum sparked my interest in creating an event in which families with children on the spectrum felt welcomed and comfortable at the DMA. I found there weren’t many museums that offered programming for this audience. After discussions with special education parent groups, I discovered that very few families had ever visited the DMA with their children on the spectrum due to the uncertainty of how their child might behave when here. It became apparent that the key element for hosting a program for this audience should include the following: an event that was private for families who had kids with autism, working with an autism specialist to plan activities to meet the specific needs of children on the spectrum, and providing resources to parents about the DMA.

For our pilot program in April 2010, I worked with an autism specialist to schedule the morning’s events, connected with a music therapist specializing in working with children with autism for a performance, and created a social story so that parents registered for the event could review and plan in advance with their child. The response for the first event was overwhelming! It was important to keep the attendance relatively low, so as not to overwhelm the children—and the waiting list grew to be just as long as the list of attendees. We received supportive affirmations from grateful parents both during and after the event.

Five years later, these events are still robust and constantly adjusting to accommodate community needs. When we piloted this program, the prevalence of autism was 1 in 110 children. Since 2009, the frequency of autism has increased to 1 in 88, and more recently 1 in 68. The DMA program has evolved over the years to include themes for each event, the creation of a quiet-sensory space with the help of the School of Occupational Therapy at Texas Women’s University, and tours for teens on the spectrum.

We have learned a great deal from visitors over the years at our Autism Awareness Family Celebrations, including how important the experience is for the siblings. Annie, age 11, told us that she “like[s] coming here because no one stares at my brother.” It’s feedback like this that helps us improve the program, and we love hearing the impact the event has on our participants:

Angie and her son during an Autism Awareness Family Celebration

“Our family has a 6-year-old nonverbal son with autism, and a 3-year-old son that is typically developing. We are an active family that loves to enjoy what DFW has to offer. We’ve been going to the DMA Autism Awareness Family Celebration events for the last few years, and we absolutely love them! Having been to many other family events and museums in the area, we have never found anything like what the DMA offers. It is exciting and refreshing that the Museum provides a safe and fun sensory-friendly event for kids on the spectrum, as well as for siblings. It is good for my youngest to see other families similar to ours. We struggle with finding activities that both of my boys can enjoy. From the interactive music program to art activities and sensory toys, the DMA has thought of everything. We love watching them play and interact together! Thank you!” —Angie G.

Rachel's son attending Hands-On Summer Art Camp for Children with Autism at the DMA

Rachel’s son attending Hands-On Art Summer Camp for Children with Autism at the DMA

“Our family is so thankful for the DMA’s outreach to the autism community. From the beginning, the DMA educators have provided programming very thoughtfully organized with the input of autism specialists and parents. Programs such as the Autism Awareness Days and their Summer Camp have opened up a new avenue for families with special needs children to explore and learn in the art museum. My son has attended the Hands-On Art Summer Camp for the past four years, and I’ve been so impressed with the camp preparation, the camp curriculum, and the trained educators and volunteers who have connected children with autism to the DMA’s art collection. My son feels very welcome at the DMA and always wants to return, which is such a blessing in light of the lack of educational public programming designed for children on the autism spectrum. The DMA has found their niche offering high-quality educational opportunities for special needs populations.” —Rachel S.

As we continue to learn more about the needs of children with autism, the definition of best practices in museums programming for this audience will continue to evolve. Society’s awareness of autism is fast-growing and, hopefully, more and more public institutions will begin to offer specialized experiences for kids on the spectrum and their families. It is important that nonprofits work together to share resources and help families with children on the spectrum feel comfortable visiting museums. Whether it is offering a summer camp just for children with autism (check out this year’s Hands-On Art Summer Camp at the DMA), creating a quiet corner in a museum gallery, or making a sensory-focused guide of your institution, we want all kids to have opportunities to learn, play, and have cultural experiences with their families.

Autism_Awareness_Day_AG_06_12_2010_012

 

Learn more about all of the access programs the DMA offers at DMA.org.

 Amanda Blake is the Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences at the DMA.

Turning the Tables: Student Gallery Talks

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It has often been said that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. With this in mind, a group of students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts recently gave gallery talks on a work of art in the DMA’s collection that they selected and researched themselves.

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For several years, DMA Education staff have partnered with teachers at Booker T. Washington to work with two classes of Senior Visual Arts students throughout the school year. Among the many activities and concepts we explored over several months was to incorporate the students’ speech credit requirement by culminating the year with each of them giving a brief talk in the galleries.

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All of the students presented interesting and fun introductions to their selected works of art! The range of works they selected was expansive—from grandiose neoclassical history paintings to intimate cloisonné Japanese vessels. Many of them brought their own experiences and expertise to their presentations as well, such as their studio practices and the places they have traveled.

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It took four one-hour visits with three presentations running simultaneously for us to allow all forty students to present their ten-minute talks. On one of the days, we had some time left over, so a group of students explored the Concentrations 58: Chosil Kil exhibition. They had a great time walking between the balloons, letting their movements disrupt the balloons and push the copper sheets against the ground.

We wrapped up our year with these two classes on April 1 with a party and casual walkthrough of the Michaël Borremans: As sweet as it gets exhibition. Time to start planning for next year’s classes!

Josh Rose is the Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs at the DMA.

Mastering the Arts

For seventeen years Young Masters has showcased the amazing talent of area AP High School students. Come share our awe over the creative work produced by Advanced Placement® Studio Art, Art History, and Music Theory students from 10 North Texas High Schools through April 28.

 

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Austen Abounds

It all started last year when a colleague sent me a link to a portrait we have in our collection of Jane Austen, done by Austen’s sister Cassandra. This colleague knew I was an Austen fan and wanted to see if I was aware that we had this in our collection. I had no idea!

After Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen, n.d., engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

After Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen, n.d., engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

I shared this awesome news with other Austen fans on staff, which led us to think about how great it would be do a Jane Austen-themed Late Night. Around that time, we also heard that the Dallas Theater Center would be doing a spring production of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Voilà, an Austen Late Night was born.

DTC FY15 Sense 300w 150t 1

We brainstormed a lot of ideas, researched speakers who had talked at local and national meetings of The Jane Austen Society of North America, and met with staff from the Dallas Theater Center to talk about connections to their production.

After months of planning, we are excited to see the event take shape, and we invite you to join us for our Jane Austen Late Night on Friday, March 20, from 6:00 p.m. to midnight. You can hear music from the Romantic era, learn about the fashion world of Jane Austen, watch a Victorian fencing demonstration, listen to a dramatic reading by Dallas Theater Center actors, take quizzes to test your knowledge of all things Austen, watch films, including the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice staring Laurence Olivier, and learn how Kate Rorick helped modernize Austen for the digital age.

Secret Diary LB Cover

For those of you who like to bring the world of Austen to life, we invite you to come dressed as your favorite Jane Austen character or in a costume inspired by England’s Regency era for a chance to win great Austen-themed prizes, including a pair of tickets to the Dallas Theater Center’s production of Sense and Sensibility. Baronda Bradley, a specialist in Regency fashion, will judge the contest, starting at 8:30 p.m.

sense-and-sensibility-original (1)

Our March Late Night is also our annual Spring Block Party in the Arts District. There will be a lot to do that evening with the Nasher Sculpture Center and Crow Collection of Asian Art also staying open until midnight.

And, for anyone needing an Austen appetizer, there are still tickets available to see Jo Baker, author of Longbourn, at tomorrow night’s DMA Arts & Letters Live event.

I hope to see all my fellow Austenites on Friday!

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


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