This year I met, worked, taught, and learned with many amazing children & their families, adults with special needs, staff educators, and guest artists who are all the bright shining stars of the Family Experiences programs. What a meaningful year! As I complete my McDermott Education Internship in Family Experiences and Access Programs this week, here’s a look at a few of the many DMA education experiences I hold close to my heart.
How is it that kids know just what to say?
Here’s a heart-warming keeper that I’ll cherish forever. A young buckaroo wearing a snappy new bandana he had just embellished in the Studio, sporting head-to-toe western flare for July Howdy Texas! First Tuesday, sauntered right up next to me that busy day. He tipped his hat and out of the blue exclaimed, “Happy trails, ma’am”! I loved it, and I didn’t even mind the “ma’am” part. I don’t remember what I said in response, but I’m absolutely sure it was said with a huge smile. How fitting that this young visitor’s two words would wrap up my internship adventure with endearing style the way Dale and Roy Rogers wrapped up their beloved shows in the 1950’s! And wouldn’t you know we were standing in front of the exhibition of works of art by George Grosz, who painted watercolors scenes of Dallas in 1952. Perhaps he would have approved of this bit of Americana!
The ARC of my heart
Our wonderful partnership group from the ARC of Dallas always showed me how to be in the moment, be a better listener, and to see more than I imagined. The March surrealist gallery program with a focus on the subconscious, began with a “random” poetry activity; it was more than we dreamed! Everyone really got into the intentional yet random action of tossing the paper strips of words in a gesture similar to action painting. They loved creating poems by connecting the words aloud after the words landed on the “canvas” placed on the floor. I had no idea that this expressive action poetry activity would result in so much clapping, laughing, fun, joking, and poetry magic! The activity was repeated during a wide variety of programs including homeschool classes and Meaningful Moments, the access program for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Each experience was very unique. I learned how to focus the experiences on the individual needs of visitors of all ages and abilities. I’m such a fan of the Surrealists now!
An especially Meaningful Moment
Individuals and caregivers challenged by the effects of Alzheimer’s are very dear to me. As we wheeled, shuffled, or held on to each other for support walking through the galleries, I got to know many people individually during monthly Meaningful Moments group visits. Our time together revealed snippets of amazing life stories of artists, world travelers, and those who helped support and even establish the DMA. Everyone is sweet, funny, and kept me on my toes! One especially meaningful visit was a personal group tour of the Reves Collection from a gentleman who actually worked with Wendy Reves to help secure the collection for the DMA! The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection is featured in a variety of programs and is always a favorite!
Miss Mary, Miss Mary!
Little did I know that I would receive such a fancy new name from the young museum visitors! Not only did they give me a cherished teacher name, but they helped me grow as a new educator and as an artist. I was inspired by all of the children, especially those who participated in the monthly Arturo’s Art & Me, homeschool, and HIPPY programs. We grew in confidence and curiosity together as we explored works of art in the galleries and created our own works of art in the Studio. The unencumbered creativity and fresh ideas of the young visitors who regularly attended Arturo’s Art & Me classes inspired me to look at works of art in new ways through themes of pets, neighborhoods, design, Japan, colors, America, music, and Dallas.
There are MANY more moments I could share! My special thanks to all of you for making this year so special.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again.
–Happy Trails by Dale Evans Rogers
Posted by: Mary Jordan