Archive for the 'Education' Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Classical Coiffeurs

Janet Stephens with her classic hair models

Janet Stephens with her classic hair models

The snow last Thursday didn’t keep us from hosting hairstylist and amateur archaeologist Janet Stephens as part of our Boshell Family Lecture Series on World Art and Archaeology. Stephens began researching ancient hairstyles after being inspired by several Greek and Roman busts at the Walters Art Museum in her native Baltimore.

Stephens recreates these elaborate looks on stage using only what would have been available – double sided combs, bone needles, and wool thread – just like the ancients. Prep work on the models, who braved the winter weather, began only a few hours before we opened the doors to the public. Stephens set a few preliminary styling steps in place, like multiple braids, in order to maximize time on stage.

She brought three classic styles to life on the Horchow stage Thursday evening for The Art of Ancient Hairdressing complete with period inspired costumes for our DMA volunteers.

 

If you missed this lecture, don’t worry, you can still get your fashion fix this spring at the DMA with these programs.

Liz Menz is the Manager of Adult Programming

Forget Fashion Week—It’s Fashion Season at the DMA

If you can’t make it to New York or Paris for Fashion Week, don’t worry, the DMA spring collection of fashion events has arrived! Join us for talks exploring fashion—from ancient hairstyles this Thursday, March 5, to what our modern-day fashion choices symbolize about us on Tuesday, June 9.

Figure of a woman, Roman Empire, A.D. 2nd century, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

Figure of a woman, Roman Empire, 2nd century A.D., marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

Boshell Lecture: The Art of Ancient Hairdressing
Thursday, March 5, 7:00 p.m.
See ancient sculptures in a whole new way through the eyes of hairdressing archaeologist Janet Stephens as she explores how the ancient Greeks and Romans created complex hairstyles.

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

Fashioning Jane Austen
Friday, March 20, 7:00 p.m.
Explore the elegant and extreme styles of Jane Austen’s time with costume designer and fashion historian David James Cole.

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Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI
Thursday, April 30, 7:00 p.m.
Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell presents her newest book, Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI, an engrossing chronicle of one of the most exciting, controversial, and extravagant periods in the history of fashion: the reign of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

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Fashioning Our Identities
Tuesday, June 9, 7:30 p.m.
The editors of the visually compelling book Women in Clothes, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton, will have a spirited conversation about what informs and motivates women in their daily clothing choices and what those fashion choices symbolize and reflect about our lives. Over 600 surveys of women across races, creeds, religions, and ages reveal that there are myriad responses to the question “what does style mean to you?” Fashion designer Lela Rose will share insights into her creative process and how artists have inspired some of her designs.

A (Warm) Winter Wonderland: Autism Awareness Family Celebration

This past Saturday, we had the first Autism Awareness Family Celebration of the year. Our theme was snowy weather, which was a fun contradiction to the sunny Texas forecast that we had for the day. Families who attend every Autism Awareness Family Celebration joined first-time families for a fun morning in the Center for Creative Connections making pom-pom snowflake paintings in the studio, relaxing in the TWU sensory room, sketching from works of art in the galleries, and gathering resources from Autism Speaks. Check out all of the DMA’s access programs online at DMA.org.

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


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