Category Archives: Center for Creative Connections

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

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

Friday Photo

Families sketching in the galleries.

Last weekend was a bit chilly, but families braved the cold to attend the Autism Awareness Family Celebration at the Museum.  Children with Autism and their family members had the C3 studios all to themselves last Saturday before the Museum opened its doors.  Visitors were able to sketch in the galleries, explore various textured objects in a sensory room designed by Texas Women’s University students, create sculptures using scented play dough, paint masterpieces that were both pleasant to the eyes and the nose (created with scented paint), and sing and dance along with Diane, the DMA’s resident Music Therapist.  Keep an eye out early next year for the next Autism Awareness Family Celebration!

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Filed under Access, Center for Creative Connections, DMA Programs, Uncategorized

Make it Yourself: Custom Skate Decks

Custom skateboard deck by Anton.

On Sunday, teens embarked on a custom skateboard deck design workshop with our special guest artist, Mark Gutting. Mark, who teaches art in Mesquite ISD, has taught summer camps at the DMA for the last several years and has led some dynamite classes focused on design. This weekend he lent his expertise to our monthly Urban Armor class, where participants had the opportunity to gain inspiration from the exhibition Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s-Present and design boards using screen printing techniques, markers, and paint.

Mark Gutting demonstrating screen printing techniques using his custom jig.

You can make your own deck at home using the same materials. Blank decks are easy to find and are relatively cheap (we bought ours from the Rec Shop in Dallas; Metallic sharpies and paint markers work well, as will acrylic or enamel paint; spray paint would be ideal. To get a nice, clean graphic, use painters tape to mask off the edges off your image before you paint it. Or, cut out a stencil to use–this is a great technique when using spray paint, especially if you want to repeat the same image throughout your design.

Max using a combination of stenciling and painting techniques on his deck.

If you want to get really fancy, try screen printing your deck. You’ll need a screen, screen printing ink, and a squeegee (all available at Michaels and Asel Art Supply, among others). To make things easier, I would use a cut paper stencil design to use with your screen but you can also transfer an image to it using emulsion fluid, etc. For the DIY enthusiast, there are several sites that have instructions for making your own tabletop jig for screen printing skate decks (YouTube is a great resource for that). This set up will not only make screen printing the board’s surface much simpler, but allow you to print multiple decks.

Printing Max’s design using Mark’s handmade jig.

After you finish, let your design dry thoroughly before using it; you’ll also probably want to give it a coat of clear finish if you’re going to be skating on it. If you don’t want to ding up your masterpiece, you could turn it into a wall art display by mounting it in your room or even add some functionality by making it into a cool shelf!

Urban Armor is a monthly program for teens. Go to for more information.

Posted by: JC

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Art Projects, Center for Creative Connections, DMA Programs, Just for Fun, Teens, Uncategorized

Friday Photo

The theme of September’s Late Night event was iMuseum, where friends of the DMA were encouraged to make the museum their own, personal space.  In the Center for Creative Connections, families owned the space by turning it into a yoga studio! Here are some yoginis practicing their warrior pose–and look, Arturo even joined in!

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Filed under Center for Creative Connections, DMA Programs, Just for Fun, Late Night

Friday Photo








This week’s Friday photo showcases the beautiful and functional art made during DMA’s [we]ekends Studio Creations.  These artists used a little aluminum foil and a lot of imagination to create this beautiful crown and heroic shield (which he promised to only use when fighting dragons!)

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Filed under Art Projects, Center for Creative Connections, Children’s art, DMA Programs

Letters from Camp: An Insider’s Perspective

Each year, the Family Experiences staff has the privilege of working with a wonderful and extremely talented group of summer camp interns. These dynamic individuals truly make up the heart and soul of our camps and are responsible not only for the day-to-day operation of the program but for also helping to make the connection between our campers and works of art something that is both enjoyable and transformative. We could not run our camps without them! This is the fourth in a four-part series written by our summer camp interns and reflecting on their experiences at the Museum.–JC

What the Kids Taught Me

Throughout the summer, we have been teaching young artist from ages 4-12 about art. Portraiture, landscape, abstract art, print making, and color, were just a few of the topics that we explored. While the teachers and interns were busy teaching the children the basics of art, the kids in fact were teaching us about creativity and life. Here are a few things that I have learned from the students:

1)      It’s okay to color outside the lines sometimes.

One of the first rules that children learn when they do art is to color inside the lines. While this may work to be more appeasing for the adult’s trained eye, it also stifles the child’s ability to think in their own unique way. The training to follow the instructions the lines with the rest of the class, changes the child’s creativity from free flowing to uniform. This standardization is then realized in adulthood when adults are then told that they need to “think outside the box” or in more artistic terms, color outside the lines. We should skip the middle phase and allow the creativity to flow no matter what stage of life we may be in. I have seen that the kids have it right from the start – be fearless in creativity and do not always conform to the lines determined for you.

2)      Don’t let ability limit creativity

As most can see, four- year olds do not have the greatest finesse with their art. However, it has never stopped them from creating! After a certain age, people are discouraged from doing things that they are not particularly skilled in which tends to put a lid on some children’s inventiveness and curiosity. What I have seen from the young children is that even when they can’t draw a perfect shape or choose the most realistic colors for their self – portrait, there is still a beauty in the individuality that cannot be replicated. I have learned to appreciate that unique beauty in their art as well as mine and, even further, in life.

3)      Look at things from a new angle

One project that a 9-12 year old class did was to create still life paintings from the objects that were set on their table. When the project was announced, the students immediately got to work knowing automatically how they would create their masterpiece – except for one student. This one student, Antonio, looked at his still life alligator piece from several angles then asked the teacher, “Can I do my still life from a bird’s eye view?” This was a strange and exciting because I had never thought of doing a still life painting from another angle other than straight on.  But when I saw his painting, I found it to be brilliant, unique, and added a new perspective to the alligator piece that I had never really considered. Since then I have begun to look at pieces from different views, noticing the small wonders from weird angles that would normally be ignored. Antonio taught me to never see things strictly as they are and to use different ideas and points of view to make art and life more fascinating.

4)      Abstract art is from the heart

The very first week of camp, I worked with a group of 4 and 5 year olds. While discussing what the class would say for their exhibition on Friday, one child raised their hand and said “Abstract art is from the heart.” This phrase has been my source of inspiration, motivation, and understanding this summer. Art is a blank slate for any concept, feeling, sensation, memory to become realized. With the stresses of everyday life, I forget that I always have art to turn to for relief and rejuvenation. Another reason why I love this phrase so much is because when I don’t understand a piece of contemporary art, I think about this phrase and imagine the emotions that the artist went through while creating the work and I gain a better appreciation for the piece and the artist. This awesome saying has truly transformed the way that I interact with art by giving me more revere and love for free flowing creativity.

In conclusion, these wonderful young artists have taught me that creativity should never stop in the classroom. Art and imagination go hand in hand and are in every aspect of life. I should never stop creating, never stop wondering, and never stop coloring.

Posted by: Lily Ngaruiya

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Art Projects, Center for Creative Connections, Children’s art, DMA Programs