Superpowers Unite!

Have you heard our big, exciting news? In a nutshell: the Dallas Museum of Art is returning to free admission in January! You can read more about the announcement here.

In the Family Experiences department, we are thrilled with the increased access this will give to families of all shapes and sizes. We hope that you will visit the museum even more, dropping in for a quick visit after the kids get out of school, bringing your mommy playgroup for a morning of play in Arturo’s Nest, making a stop at the DMA when friends are in town, and whenever else it strikes your fancy. Starting January 21st, anytime you come, the museum will be FREE!

The DMA staff have been working behind the scenes now for several months in anticipation of this announcement, coming up with fresh new ideas for activities and programs that families, teachers, and students can use anytime they visit the museum. And in doing so, we realized that we needed to unite our “superpowers.” Iron Man is pretty amazing on his own, but pair him up with the rest of the Avengers and you’ve got an unbeatable team–each with their own abilities working together to make the world better. No, we don’t have flying suits, incredible strength, or a mighty hammer, but we DO have a team of thoughtful, fun, hardworking educators who work both with teachers and school groups and families. And starting today, we are combining our “super” blog forces.

The We Art Family blog and the DMA Educator’s Blog have now merged to become Canvas–a blog for families, students, classroom teachers, museum educators and anyone who loves learning more about the art here at the DMA. To learn more about our vision for Canvas, check out this post. And be sure to make changes in your Favorites bar or Google Reader so that you won’t miss out on our new posts moving forward. All archived posts from 2009 – 2012 will remain here at We Art Family. All future posts about families and children at the DMA will be at: dmaeducatorblog.wordpress.com.

Posted by: Leah

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Holiday Shopping List 2012

With Thanksgiving a delicious, but increasingly distant memory, the holidays are now upon us! One of my {many} favorite holiday childhood memories is of watching the holiday TV specials—Frosty the Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and of course Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Do you remember Hermey, the elf who runs away from the North Pole because he wants to be a dentist? I like to think that perhaps he isn’t the only one and that there are elves working for Santa who dream of being firefighters, teachers, accountants, and even artists. So with Cyber Monday upon us, I’m stepping into my role as an art-loving elf and sharing some of my gift ideas for 2012.

For the littles (ages 2-4):

It’s nearly impossible to choose just one thing from the Mama May I shop, because everything is so beautiful, simple and well-made. The toys are open-ended, colorful, and inviting. Pair these counting acorns with the color sorting bowls for dramatic play, color recognition, sorting, and counting.

This Charley Harper take on the classic children’s puzzle not only introduces young children to the work of an American modern artist but also spans the breadth of the living world—mammals, insects, fish, amphibian and even a mollusk!

For the big kids (ages 5-8):

Painting has never smelled so good! GLOB’s natural paint set uses fruits, vegetables and spices to add color and scent to your child’s masterpieces.

When a Kiwi Crate arrives in the mail, you’ll be guaranteed hours of fun and exploration. Themed crates are filled with art materials, creativity sparks, science experiments and more. And with a monthly subscription, this is the gift that will keep on giving!

For the biggest kids (ages 9-12):

This isn’t your grandfather’s duct tape! With bright, modern prints and your child’s imagination, the possibilities are endless for what you can make with this Kid Made Modern Duct Tape Kit. I gave this to my nephew for his birthday, and he immediately tore into it with all kinds of ideas for things that suddenly needed tape. (And in a pinch, you can probably borrow a bit to tape up those boxes for the post office).

“Don’t worry about mistakes. Making things out of mistakes, that’s creativity.” Peter Max’s words set the tone for what Make Art Mistakes is all about—doodling, playing, imagining, creating. Quotations from artists mix with sketching and writing prompts, art concepts and mini-art lessons in this creativity sketchbook for budding artists. Pair this with a set of colored pencils and you have a great gift for the kid on the go.

Happy gift-giving!

Posted by: Leah

**All recommendations are purely my own!**

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Babies & Toddlers, PreK

Friday Photo

Arturo’s Pre-School

This week’s Friday Photo is celebrating Fall!  It is a time for the leaves to change, to bring scarves and boots out of the closet, and of course, to celebrate family, friends and food during Thanksgiving!  November’s Auturo’s Pre-School classes celebrated fall through creating magical and realistic forest creatures with felt leaves and acorns.  A great project to do as a family over the holiday!

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Filed under Art Projects, Arturo, Children’s art, DMA Programs, Just for Fun

Friday Photo

DMA’s resident storyteller, Ann Marie Newman.

Bonjour mes amis! Tonight is Late Night at the DMA, and we’re all getting into a French state of mind in celebration of the Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries exhibition.  Our resident storyteller, Ann Marie Newman, is dressed and ready for this evening’s Arturo’s Bedtime Stories.  Stop by the C3 Theatre at 7:30pm tonight to sing songs and share interactive stories about French celebrities, le Chat Noir, and much, much more! Click here for a complete schedule of tonight’s French-inspired events and activities. Adieu!

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Arturo, Center for Creative Connections, DMA Programs, Late Night, PreK, Uncategorized

Art in the Park

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Check out this fairy house on ActiveKidsClub.com 

This month during the Arturo’s Art and Me class, families focused on nature and were able to enjoy the newly opened Klyde Warren Park that is right across the street from the DMA. Danielle led children and their grown-ups on an imaginary journey into the world of fairy houses. Fairy houses have become quite popular in the past couple of years – many speciality garden and landscape stores now sell teeny-tiny plants and accessories just for fairy houses. Fairy houses, or fairy gardens, are small installations made completely from natural materials created with the idea that fairies and woodland creatures to visit, rest, and even inhabit.

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During the Arturo’s Art and Me classes, the children explored two landscape paintings and imagined all of the different types of creatures that could be lurking in the woods in these works of art. Danielle read Fairy House by Tracy Kane and taught the children all about respect nature.

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Using images of unicorns, skunks, trolls, squirrels, gnomes, fairies, and rabbits, the children had a discussion about which ones were real and which might be imaginary. Not all of the kids were convinced that unicorns were imaginary, but they were all glad that trolls were! Families used Model Magic to create their own creature – it could be anything, real or imaginary. There were several fairies, a couple of gnomes, many snakes, and even a puppy.

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After making our creatures, we determined that these new friends needed a place to call home and traveled over to the Park to find a suitible spot. At the Park, each family received a bag filled with twigs, leaves, pinecones, seashells, acorn tops, raffia, and rocks to construct a nature home for their creature. Families spread out in the Park to build their fairy houses.

ImageSome built their houses in the children’s area of the Park (including one fairy house built inside of a concrete tunnel!), others found a place for their house at the base of a tree trunk or in a bush, while a few families spead out on the lawn to build their constructions out in the open. When families were finished with their creation, they packed up their nature supplies so that they could reinstall their fairy house (or snake house, dog house, or bunny house) at home!

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Posted by Amanda

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Filed under Art Projects, Children’s art, DMA Programs

Friday Photo

Max posing with his fairy house made of natural materials.

November’s Arturo’s Art & Me class is focused on art inspired by nature.  In the galleries, families discussed the ways in which artists portray the natural world in their work.  We read the book, Fairy Houses, by Tracy Kane, and then moved outside to the Klyde Warren Park for the art-making portion of the class.  While enjoying the beautiful weather, families worked together to build their very own fairy houses using natural materials.

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Drawing with Light

If you stopped by the Center for Creative Connections during the October Late Night at the DMA, then perhaps you saw or experienced the wild creations in the Tech Lab.  Visitors of all ages were given 15 seconds to create a drawing with light.  Light Drawing has been around for nearly a century, and yet it remains a fresh, fun, exercise that many photographers experiment with today.  The influx of new light and camera technologies has made this concept more accessible.

First a word about how it works.  All cameras work by controlling light in two ways –through the aperture and the shutter speed.  The aperture or f-stop determines how much light is exposed in each shot. A smaller aperture, like f/2.8 results in more light being let through, while a larger aperture, like f/22 results in less light being let through:

The shutter speed controls how long the shutter is open.  If your shutter speed is 500, that means that the shutter is open for 1/500th of a second.  If your shutter speed is 15, that means your shutter is open for 1/15th of a second, therefore capturing more light (and action) over time:

For drawing with light, it’s best to have the shutter speed set for over 1 second.  When we took our visitors photos during Late Night, we set our shutter speed to 15 seconds.  You are probably best off setting your aperature to a medium setting like around f/8 or f/11.

So, how can you bring the magic of Drawing with Light into your home?  Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Gather materials: Digital Camera with adjustable shutter speed (all Digital SLRs are capable of this and some point and shoot cameras are as well); a tripod (or other way to stabilize your camera); a few light sources (laser pointers, cell phones, flashlights, Christmas lights, etc.)
  2. Set camera to a manual setting where you can control the shutter speed.
  3. Set the shutter speed to 15 seconds (or as slower if you want more time).
  4. Set the camera on the tripod and position it as desired.
  5. Turn off all the lights in the room.
  6. Hand the kids the flashlights, laser pointers, etc.  and press your shutter button.
  7. Now you have 15 seconds to make a drawing!

The great thing about using a digital camera to capture your Light Drawing is the instant feedback.  Take a few photos where your kids can just play with the lights, with no end product in mind.  After the picture is made, let them look at their creation.

You can keep it simple or get more complicated; work as a team, with one person posing while another draws around them; make words in the air; or dance with the lights and see what happens.  Above all, have fun!

Check out our slideshow for more inspiration.

Posted by: Jessica Fuentes

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Art Projects, Center for Creative Connections, Just for Fun, Late Night