Category Archives: PreK

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

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

Cool School

Ever wish you could go to school at the Dallas Museum of Art? Perhaps that thought hasn’t even crossed your mind, but since I have the privilege of walking the DMA halls here every day, I’m convinced that this would be the coolest school ever. Imagine studying Greek mythology next to this:

Orpheus Taming Wild Animals, A.D. 194
Eastern Roman Empire, near Edessa
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley vis the Alconda-Owsley Foundation, and two anonymous donors, in honor of Nancy B. Hamon

Or practicing your geometry in front of this:

Place de la Concorde, 1938-1943
Piet Mondrian
Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Although we don’t technically run a “regular” school here at the museum, we do encourage preschool groups to book the Arturo’s Preschool class for their 3-5 year old classrooms. This tour program is designed especially with young learners in mind, and is a great way to extend their world beyond the walls of their classroom with hands-on, minds-on learning. In the Museum galleries, we take an up-close look at a work of art, read a featured picture book, and try out games and movement activities.

A preschool group imagines throwing a dinner party in the Reves collection dining room

The gallery visit is followed by an art-making project in the Art Studio, where children can explore their ideas through a variety of materials and techniques and take home their unique creations.

Working on a still life in the studio

Program themes and projects change each month, so there is always something new to do!

As the Arturo’s Preschool teacher, I especially enjoy working with preschool groups that come multiple times throughout the year. I see the children becoming more and more comfortable in the museum, and by the time May or June rolls around, they are the ones telling their grown-ups “don’t touch!” They come to realize that their observations, questions, and thoughts about the art are valuable and that their natural desire to create and experiment with materials puts them in good company with many of the world’s most renowned artists. No matter how many times I hear it, I love it when a solemn four year old declares, “I’m an artist!” Of course you are! And we’d love for any budding artists (and their teachers) in the DFW area to take advantage of the Arturo’s Preschool program.

For the 2012-2013 school year, our themes are as follows:

Month Theme Art/Learning Focus
September 2012 Legends & Heroes Art of ancient Mexico
October 2012 A Nose for Art Using our senses
November 2012 Art, Naturally Art in Nature and Nature in Art
December 2012 Bonjour, Paris Toulouse-Lautrec and print-making
January 2013 Crumple, Twist, and Pour Contemporary art and materials
February 2013 A Morning with Monet Impressionism
March 2013 Dreams of Color Marc Chagall
April 2013 Once Upon a Time Portraits and storytelling
May 2013 Looking at Landscapes Landscape painting


This program is free, but registration is required at least three weeks in advance.  Group size is limited to 30 children per program, and we ask that you bring at least one adult chaperone for every ten students. To register, call 214-922-1312.

Hope to see you soon at our “cool school!”

Posted by: Leah

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Friday Photo

Sneak peek at the fun pencil toppers you can make at next week’s First Tuesday on September 4th

Let the DMA be your school room and celebrate Back to School at the September 4 First Tuesday! No need to see the principal—we have your schedule all mapped out. Families can challenge their creativity in Art Class by turning school supplies into a work of art in the studio, build a tower with Legos during Math Class in the Tech Lab, or run an obstacle course outdoors in our version of PE. In the afternoon, learn about the science of butterflies in a presentation by the Dallas Arboretum, take a family tour of the museum’s collection, and enjoy story time with the Dallas Public of Library. For a complete schedule, click here.

Posted by: Leah

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Filed under Art Projects, DMA Programs, PreK

A Peek at Our Book Shelves

When I was in 5th grade, I wanted to be a children’s librarian when I grew up. The library was one of my favorite places to visit, and I couldn’t imagine a better job—being surrounded by books all day! I’m not sure exactly when I changed my mind and decided I wanted to be a teacher instead, but I still feel like I have a librarian’s heart hidden inside me. So it should probably be no surprise that I look for any opportunity I can to use children’s books as I teach art classes here at the museum. Young children (and let’s face it—us “older children” as well) love a good story, and books are a great way to spark their imaginations and begin conversations in front of a work of art.

Here are of some of the newest additions to our book shelves along with works of art here at the museum that makes a good pair.

“Bed,” Crawford Riddell, c. 1844, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation

The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson

Henrik the prince wants to fall in love and get married. But all the real princesses he meets are much too sensitive—so sensitive that they can feel a single pea underneath twenty mattresses! So Henrik devises a plan to find a different sort of princess. He hides an entire bag of frozen peas underneath one thin mattress and a sleeping bag. Will he find true love?

This playful take on a fairy tale classic is a perfect story to read in front of the Gothic bed on Level 4. Although this bed was made for a would-be president and not a princess, you can still imagine with your child what it might feel like to sleep on this bed.

“Persian Letters,” Rene Magritte, 1958, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J. B. Adoue, III

Magritte’s Marvelous Hat by D.B. Johnson

Magritte the painter sees a marvelous hat one day in a store window, but when he tries it on, the hat pops off his head and floats above him in the air! This suits the painter just fine, and he discovers that this marvelous hat seems to make his paintbrush jump to life. When the hat blows away one day, Magritte fears that he will never be able to paint his wonderful paintings again. Johnson’s illustrations are not to be missed—Magritte is imagined as a serious dog and small details scattered through the pictures wryly allude to some of the artist’s best-known works.

This would be the perfect storytime companion for the painting Persian Letters by René Magritte which you can find in the European Painting and Sculpture galleries on Level 2.  This book is also a great introduction for young children to the idea of surrealism. As you look at both the picture book and the painting, search for more ordinary objects in unusual circumstances.

“Waffle server,” c. 1880, Gorham Manufacturing Company, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Dale Bennett

Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Spoon has a very large family—from the exotic Chopsticks to the black sheep Spork, everyone seems to have it better than Spoon. Knife gets to cut and spread; Fork goes practically everywhere. Spoon’s mother tries to cheer him up by pointing out all the things he can do that the others can’t, until finally he feels better. My favorite thing about this book is the characters—the illustrator takes ordinary utensils and transforms them into an unbelievably darling family with hilarious facial expressions.

Take a copy of Spoon along with you on a visit to see the museum’s amazing silver collection on Level 4. You’ll find all manner of unusual utensils—ice cream knives, sardine forks, a waffle server—that can easily be turned into a new story about this “family” at the museum. Or, talk with your child about what it would be like to eat a fancy dinner with all these utensils.

“Orange, Red and Red,” Mark Rothko, , 1962, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Perfect Square by Michael Hall

Square is feeling just fine with its four straight sides and four sharp corners, until one day, it gets cut into pieces and poked full of holes. Suddenly it isn’t perfect anymore! Luckily, Square bounces back and transforms its new self of scattered pieces and lots of holes into a fountain. Each successive day, something new happens—Square is torn, snipped, wrinkled, shredded. And each time, it finds a way to become something new. I’ve used this book multiple times as a way to talk about creativity—how one idea can be transformed into all sorts of new ideas.

In the galleries, Perfect Square pairs nicely with Mark Rothko’s Orange, Red and Red. Ask your child which part of the story this painting reminds them of and what kind of feeling the painting gives them. Is it happy, sad, lonely, calm? What different feelings did Square have in the story?

I’m always on the look-out for good books to have here at the DMA. If you have a great art/book combination, please share it with us in the comments!

Posted by: Leah

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Filed under In the galleries, Just for Fun, Parents, PreK

Letters From Camp: An Insider’s Perspective

Professional storyteller and educator Ann Marie Newman directs a gallery experience for summer art camp students.

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 first in a four-part series written by our summer camp interns and reflecting on their experiences at the Museum.–JC

During my first week of camp, I worked with the 4-5 year olds in a camp called Art Lab. It was a camp in which science and art were used side by side to show how they related to each other. This is a pretty big idea for 4-5 year old to understand; however, I should never have underestimated their young minds.

There was one student in the class who was continually causing distractions or refusing to follow the rules. He loved ninjas and was very energetic and imaginative. He would continually talk while the teacher was talking or interrupt her to ask questions. He would run around and play fight with the other boys in the class, distracting them from their own work. He could never stay still in the galleries, and wanted to touch every single piece of art.

Eventually he needed to hold someone’s hand every time we went to the galleries, so I and the other intern would switch off holding his hand. He was such a ball of energy that by the time we would get back from the gallery our arms would be sore from all the spinning kicks and lunging punches he had been doing. He was always full of questions about what we were doing and why we had to be so quiet and still, and why he couldn’t pick the art that he wanted to see instead of looking at the art that the teacher wanted him to.

“Vishnu as Varaha”, 10th century, India: Madhya Pradesh, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation and the Alconda-Owsley Foundation, E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Wendover Fund and gift of Alta Brenner in memory of her daughter Andrea Bernice Brenner-McMullen

One gallery visit we went up to see a statue of the god Vishnu. He enjoyed ninjas, warriors, and super heroes and was enthralled when listening to the teacher explaining the story of Vishnu saving his lover, Bhu Devi from the depths of the sea. He could picture himself as Vishnu, the brave and noble hero. This related directly to what made him tick, and it sparked his imagination. He asked questions about the symbols that Vishnu held (the chakra, the mace, and the conch shell) wondering about their purposes and how they could be used to give Vishnu “super powers”.

When we got back to the classroom the children were asked to create a sculpture using different wooden shapes and there was no requirement that their sculpture relate to the gallery visit. He was ready. He grabbed an assortment of shapes and went to work. He seemed more focused than in the other projects, talking to his classmates less, and hadn’t gotten up once to practice his ninja moves on the other boys in the class. I asked him what he was making and he explained to me that he was building Vishnu.

I was surprised and a bit confused because to me his sculpture looked nothing like the statue we had seen in the galleries. He began to point out where the chakra was, his mace, his 4 arms, the conch shell he had even found a wooden piece to represent Bhu Devi! I was amazed. He had made his own interpretation of the statue with the limited materials he had been given. All the major parts had been incorporated, and he had put a lot of thought into choosing which wooden pieces would work the best. I was in awe, all week this child had been a handful, distracting the rest of the class and refusing to follow rules or listen to instructions. All he had needed was something that engaged him and sparked his imagination.

I want to see this kind of engagement and focus in all the students. He was one of the only students to relate the gallery experience directly to what he was creating in the classroom. How can educators engage their students directly as individuals, so that they are learning and retaining the information that they are given? And how can they work with the students individually when there is a large group of students that they are teaching? How can educators learn to pinpoint a student’s interest and help them grow and expand in that direction? How can student’s behavior be controlled, not through discipline or punishment, but by creating an environment in which they are so engaged that there are no opportunities for them to act out I haven’t uncovered the answers to my questions yet, but I am interested in reflecting more on these ideas as I continue to intern at the DMA this summer.

Posted by: Karen Parrish

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Center for Creative Connections, Children’s art, DMA Programs, In the galleries, Parents, PreK

Friday Photo: Rock & Roll Dance Party!

Yellow, red, green, and blue – we’ll lift the parachute and you can run right through!

We had a fun afternoon of moving to the music in the Fleischner Courtyard during our May First Tuesday!

Posted by: Mary

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