Posts Tagged 'the Center for Creative Connections'

Linear Perspectives: Creative Discovery with Lines

Some great new additions to the Center for Creative Connections have sparked new ways for visitors to think about and interact with artworks. In the Young Learners Gallery, the newly redesigned space has concentrated our visitors’ focus on lines. Visitors use the pegboards to create symbols, images, words, and phrases that are outlined by stretchy fabric pieces. We’ve been snapping some shots of our favorites we’ve seen so far:

Visit the Young Learners Gallery in the Center for Creative Connections and discover how you can use lines creatively!

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

Early Start: Young Learners Gallery

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Last week the redesigned Young Learners Gallery re-opened after a month of construction, and we are so proud of the new space. Along with a complete overhaul of the color scheme, furniture, and design elements, the new space incorporates bilingual signage, an art installation, and a variety of activities focused on the theme of Line.

 

Adrian Windmills and Von

Windmills, by El Paso–based artist Adrian Esparza, serves as inspiration for children ages 5–8 and their grown-ups as they explore line through the activities.

Julia in Reading Nook books2

These comfy cozy reading nooks are the perfect place to curl up with a good book about lines. Leah Hanson, resident children’s book guru and Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs, picked out a slew of amazing books for the reading area.

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Visitors to  the Young Learners Gallery can explore line through a variety of activities including building with lines, creating and transforming lines on our pegboard wall, transforming their body into a line in our distortion mirror, and exploring storylines using figures and works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection as inspiration.

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Stop by the Young Learners Gallery on your next visit to the Dallas Museum of Art!

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

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!

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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.

30 Minute Dash – Jessica Fuentes

Many visitors, especially those coming with families, often start their visit to the DMA in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), a great starting point because it is located on the first floor, in the heart of the museum, and displays works of art from across the Museum’s diverse collection. However, after starting in C3, visitors tend to ask, “What else should we see while we’re here?” Of course, there could be a multitude of answers to that question, but I think I’ve laid out a nice action plan, using one of my favorite artworks currently on view in C3 as a starting point.

2008_43_2_a_e, 11/18/08, 12:33 PM, 8C, 6000x8000 (0+0), 100%, Custom, 1/15 s, R92.9, G57.6, B60.4

In the main C3 Gallery, notice the similarities between The Minotaur by Marcel Dzama and Ram Mask with Feather Cape created by the Kom people of Cameroon. They both depict features of two beings, The Minotaur with the head of a bull and the body of a human, and Ram Mask with Feather Cape with a stylized mask representative of a ram and a cape made of chicken feathers. Taking this idea as a starting point for works to see throughout the Museum, exit C3 and turn right down the main concourse. Headdown the concourse and take the Red Elevator up to the 4th Floor. Upon exiting, turn left and walk through the Native American Art gallery, taking a left into American Art. Then stay to the right and walk to the back corner where the American Silver Gallery is located. In a small case in the center of this gallery you will encounter the beautifully intricate silver Vase (for the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York.

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Notice the serpentine handles culminating in bird heads and the etched patterns of scrolls and masks. Next, continue to walk around and through the American Gallery and take the small staircase that leads to the African Gallery. At the bottom of the staircase, walk to the far end of the gallery and take a right to find the Helmet mask (kifwebe) and costume.

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Kifwebe masks are “composite beings,” compiled of human and animal elements. The striated designs on them derive from the markings and patterns of wild or dangerous animals such as antelopes, zebras, and okapi. The central crest may represent that of an ape or rooster. When you view this work of art in the galleries, it is accompanied by a short video which shows the mask in use, truly bringing it to life. Finally, continue through the African Gallery and take a left into the Egyptian section. To your immediate left you will find a collection of small works including a slate remnants depicting Thoth, God of Learning and Patron of Scribes a human figure with the head of an ibis.
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Visit all of these works, for free, during your Thanksgiving break.

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

 

images: Marcel Dzama, The Minotaur, 2008, plaster, gauze, rope, fabric, chair, bucket, and paintbrushes, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund © Marcel Dzama 2008.43.2.A-E; Helmet mask with feather costume, Kom peoples, Cameroon, Africa, Early to mid-20th century, wood, fibers, and feathers, Dallas Museum of Art, African Collection Fund 2011.18.A-B; George Paulding Farnham, Tiffany and Company, Vase (for the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York), 1901, silver, enamel, citrines, and garnets, Dallas Museum of Art, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund 2009.40; Helmet mask (kifwebe) and costume, Songye or Luba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa, late 19th to early 20th century, wood, paint, fiber, cane, and gut, Dallas Museum of Art, The Gustave and Franyo Schindler Collection of African Sculpture, gift of the McDermott Foundation in honor of Eugene McDermott 1974.SC.42; Thoth, God of Learning and Patron of Scribes, Late Period, 663-525 B.C., Egypt, Africa, slate, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elsa von Seggern 1979.1

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.

The Name Game

In our Center for Creative Connections, we provide opportunities for visitors to respond to works of art through discussion, drawing, making, and writing.

Due to its history of multiple names, Arthur John Elsley’s Hard Pressed (Late for School/Any Port in a Storm) provides us with an opportunity to ask visitors to rename the painting.

Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan

Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan

When reading through the responses, we were surprised by how many were pop culture references. Check out some of our favorites.

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Next time you are in the Center for Creative Connections, add your contribution to the wall and maybe you will see it on Uncrated!

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


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