Behind the Art: The DMA Family Experiences Staff

Our inspiration for today’s blog comes from the TV show Behind the Music! Ever wonder just who is behind all the programs the Museum offers for children and families? Well this is your chance to get a glimpse of us, both then and now.


Maria Teresa G. Pedroche

Job Title: Head of Family Experiences & Community Engagement
# of Years at the DMA: Eleven
Favorite thing to do as a kid: Paint, play the piano, and create sandcastles with my grandmother Esther at South Padre Island every Sunday afternoon
Favorite childhood toy/game:  Storytelling and designing clothes for my dolls. When I was four years old, I painted my Barbie’s hair brown so she could resemble me.
How would your parents describe you as a child: Creative and giving
Favorite work of art at the DMA:  Spanish Colonial Cabinet, 1680-1700. The immense cabinet created in the Portuguese colony of Gôa in India is made of thousands of elaborately cut pieces of mother-of-pearl and tortoise shell. The cabinet doors conceal shelves, drawers, and assorted compartments that were used to store small sculptures or collections of precious objects. I am intrigued by the provenance of this piece and would have liked to have interviewed everyone who owned this work or art. If the compartments could talk, they would share fascinating stories. 


JC Bigornia

Job Title: Coordinator of Family Experiences
# of Years at the DMA: Twelve
Favorite thing to do as a kid: I’ve always been pretty quiet and a bit of an outsider, so I tended to retreat into my imagination pretty frequently. So I think that the idea of “pretending” has always been something that’s been very influential on the things I’ve done artistically and kind of my outlook on things in general.
Favorite childhood toy/game: Legos had to be top 3, for sure. I had three big cardboard boxes full of them that I would dump out onto the floor and just build for hours with. I also remember very fondly making my own superhero action figures from cardstock and paper fasteners.
How would your parents describe you as a child: shy, thoughtful, creative, amusing
Favorite work of art at the DMA: I love Tom Friedman’s Untitled (big/small figure). It’s like walking into this wonderfully comic yet poignant moment where you’re confronted with the scale of your own world, both its smallness in the context of a greater universe and its limitlessness in terms of your own potential. It’s one of those works of art that always makes me smile when I see it. But really, there are so many pieces in the collection that I love—my favorites change from day to day.


Amanda Blake

Job Title: Manager of Family Experiences and Access Programs
# of Years at the DMA: Four and a half
Favorite thing to do as a kid: As a child I enjoyed reading, painting, making paper dolls, putting on plays, and playing dress-up.
Favorite childhood toy/game: I loved arranging all of my beloved stuffed animals, but one of my favorite games was a sandbox game that I invented with my two imaginary friends, Gaa Gaa and Dawn. We would make all kinds of food out of sand, and then serve it to traveling settlers coming through on their covered wagons. This was done, of course, in full prairie attire. I also loved the Smurfs.
How would your parents describe you as a child: inquisitive, happy, strong-willed, energetic, helpful, creative, very firm in my likes and dislikes, and that I loved animals (and still do!)
Favorite work of art at the DMA: Reginald Marsh, Mink and Mannequin, 1940. Reginald Marsh is one of my favorite artists; I love his storefront images. There is so much going on in this crowded street scene – I love the three different window displays and all of the women wrapped up in fancy coats. I have only seen this work on display at the Museum once, but I love the way that Marsh uses watercolor and the feeling that he gave to 1940s window shopping in New York City.


Leah Hanson (on the right)

Job Title: Manager of Early Learning Programs
# of Years at the DMA: 2 and a half
Favorite thing to do as a kid: I was (and still am) a major bookworm. I always had a book in hand, and when we went on family vacations, took along an entire bag full of books—I couldn’t stand the thought of running out of things to read. I also loved playing the piano; my mom hardly ever had to bribe me to practice.
Favorite childhood toy/game: I loved making up stories and imagining. I was often the instigator in playing school, house, grocery store, library, office, restaurant, airplane, and detective agency. (Now that I think about it, I was often “in charge” when we played, telling my brother and sister what to do. Must be my oldest child nature showing through). I also loved my Cabbage Patch Dolls and Strawberry Shortcake.
How would your parents describe you as a child: joyful, shy, sensitive
Favorite work of art at the DMA: I really love Henri Matisse’s cut-paper collage Ivy in Flower. I’ve only caught a glimpse of it in storage, so I can’t wait for it to be on display this summer. To me, it is happiness in visual form. The colors and shapes and glimpse through a window to another world feel “just right” to me. I also love that this type of artwork represents the resiliency and need to create in the artist during his later years. When Matisse could no longer paint, he simply found a new way to create art by “cutting into color.”


Jackie Lincoln

Job Title: McDermott Education Intern for Family Experiences
# of Years at the DMA: 7 months
Favorite thing to do as a kid: drawing and reading
Favorite childhood toy/game: playing with my panda bear collection (it reached around 40 at its height)
How would your parents describe you as a child: energetic, naturally curious, considerate
Favorite work of art at the DMA: Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower (1953)– Matisse has always been one of my favorite artists, and I love the bold colors and patterning!

Posted by: Leah


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