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Dallas Museum of Art's Center for Creative Connections Presents Encountering Space

On September 25, the Dallas Museum of Art presents Encountering Space, an exhibition exploring how artists shape and define space in their work, in its acclaimed Center for Creative Connections (C3). Featuring 11 key works drawn exclusively from the DMA’s encyclopedic collections—ranging from an ancient Peruvian clay vessel to Alberto Giacometti’s modern sculpture Three Men WalkingEncountering Space invites visitors of all ages to think about their own experiences in space and about how art defines space in both two and three dimensions. This experience can elicit strong physical and emotional reactions in the viewer.

Encountering Space is the second exhibition presented in the DMA’s Center for Creative Connections, an interactive and innovative learning environment at the heart of the Museum’s galleries where museum-goers can explore their own creativity and discover new ways of experiencing and connecting with art. The exhibition includes a complete reconfiguration of C3 to accommodate new design elements, video labels instead of printed text, and a rotating series of special interactive installations and activities, such as the Space Bar for art creation and the community partner response project, a special audio-visual installation that responds to human movement within the space.

To commemorate the exhibition opening, the DMA will host an admission-free Family Day on Saturday, September 25, with a full program of activities in both C3 and the galleries. The exhibition, which was conceived jointly by DMA educators and curators in conjunction with community leadership, will be on view through fall 2012.

“Since its opening in 2008, the Center for Creative Connections has become a national model for interactive arts education, and a hub within our institution. It is with great pride that I can say that one out of every three visitors to the Museum participates in the experiences offered within C3,” said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “As with the Center’s inaugural exhibition Materials & Meaning, Encountering Space showcases important works of art from our collections in an interactive environment, encouraging the visitor to respond and engage directly with works on view. Now, by incorporating new design and enhanced interpretation and by deepening our collaboration with the community, we have elevated the Center to an inspiring new level.”

The 11 works on view in Encountering Space each ask visitors to consider how space is used by artists to create depth, dimension, and meaning. Many of them will offer areas for visitor participation. For example, the painting Eiffel Tower by Robert Delaunay portrays a disorienting bird’s-eye view of the Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars. Installed on a platform next to the work of art is a metal three-and-a-half-foot model of the Eiffel Tower. A mirror is placed above it so museum-goers can experience the point of view that the artist gives in his painting.

Additional works of art include the painting Indian Summer, Vermont by Willard Leroy Metcalf; the sculptures Mercury’s Gift to the Mirror by Michelangelo Pistoletto and Untitled (35) by Lee Bontecou; a16th-century Benin wooden plaque from Nigeria; an ancient clay vessel from Peru’s Moche civilization, and a Japanese painted screen.

“A painting can depict a space in such a way that we feel as if we could actually enter into it. A sculpture can protrude into our space or draw us around it. We can physically enter the space of large-scale installations so that we are completely immersed within the works themselves and become part of it,” said Susan Diachisin, The Kelli and Allen Questrom Director of the Center for Creative Connections. “As you move through this exhibition and view works from varying physical distances and perspectives, you will be challenged to reconsider how space informs both art making and viewing. We hope that all visitors to C3 will be transformed from passive observers to active participants in the Museum experience.”

In addition to the exhibition, special programming for children, families and adults will be held in C3’s Art Studio, Tech Lab and Theater. A number of works and interactive areas will rotate every six months throughout the run of the exhibition, including:

  • Staff Pick: The painting High-Speed Gardening by Michael Bevilacqua was selected by Jeffrey Grove, The Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, for the first Staff Pick. He chose this “trippy, colorful work not only because it addresses the theme so well, but because the artist uses a humorous touch to comment on the confusion and cultural overload we encounter in our own everyday spaces.”
  • Space Bar: A tactile area for visitors to make art in a comfortable and social setting, the Space Bar is structured to give visitors a focus that relates to the exhibition theme, while still allowing for multiple creative outcomes.
  • Community Partnership Installations: Living Room is the result of the first of four community partnerships. Created in response to the themes of Encountering Space, the faculty and alumni of the Division of Art and the Center of Creative Computation of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University (SMU) developed this interactive installation that actively combines physical and perceptual experiences.
  • Monitor Wall: One of the Center’s walls will be installed with more than a dozen LED screens of varying sizes that broadcast a rotating series of images, from visitor-supplied photography to images of space as expressed in works in the DMA’s collections. The inaugural theme of the Monitor Wall will be “Texas Space.”

Encountering Space is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition is presented by MetLife Foundation. Air transportation provided by American Airlines. These donors enabled the Museum to launch the Center for Creative Connections: The Meadows Foundation; The Allen and Kelli Questrom Foundation; The Dedman Family/The Dedman Family Foundation; Active and Alumni Docents of the DMA; Anonymous; Anonymous in honor of Alex, Charlie, Grey, Jack and Rosey; Melanie and Tim Byrne; Nancy and Clint Carlson; Jennifer and John Eagle; Amy and Vernon Faulconer; Beverly and Donald S. Freeman; Ann and Lee Hobson; Marguerite Steed Hoffman; The Pollock Foundation; Catherine and Will Rose

The exhibition premiere on Saturday, September 25, coincides with Museum Day, a Smithsonian magazine–sponsored annual event. This year the Dallas Museum of Art is one of five U.S. museums to be featured. Activities on this free admission day in C3 and throughout the Museum galleries will include presentations by artists, art-making projects, performances in the galleries, gallery talks, storytelling, and appearances by Arturo, the Dallas Museum of Art’s lovable family mascot.

Program highlights include the following:

Join an Artist Workshop featuring Natalie Macellaio at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the C3 Art Studio, and learn about how paper can be transformed from a flat plane to a full installation that can extend into your space. Artist Sara Cardona will lead Artist Workshops at 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 p.m. where visitors will learn how to use ink and collage on layered papers to explore foreground and background imagery.

Even though the weekend is a break from school, encourage your family to stretch their minds and test their creativity with Creativity Challenges, led by artists from artlovemagic! These challenges will be on Saturday at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. in the Museum galleries. Sign up will begin at 1:00 p.m. Teams will compete against time and with limited materials to design unique creations inspired by artworks in the Museum’s collections.

Relax and enjoy performances throughout the day including an Improvisation Jam by dancers and musicians from Booker T. Washington High School at 11:30 a.m., Spoken Word Performances by artists Will Richey and Alejandro Perez, Jr. at 12:30 and 3:00 p.m., and Performances in the Galleries with members of Feel Good Dance at 2:00 p.m.

Experience one of the Thursday Night Live C3 adult programs, Tech Lab: Open Lab. These drop- in programs run on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with Brad Bell and University of Texas at Arlington architecture students and from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. with filmmaker Romie Faienza in the C3 Tech Lab.

Meet the SMU faculty and alumni who created the first of four Community Partner Response Installations in Encountering Space from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. and experience the sights and sounds of their interactive space, called Living Room.

About the Center for Creative Connections

The Center for Creative Connections (C3) is an innovative learning gallery designed to encourage visitors of all ages to have creative, educational experiences with works of art from the Museum’s collections. Centrally located on the Museum’s first floor, C3’s expansive 12,000-square-foot space includes an exhibition gallery and several distinct learning areas, including an Art Studio, an interactive learning space for children under the age of four called Arturo’s Nest, a Young Learners Gallery for children 5–8 and their families, a theater and a Tech Lab. In its inaugural year, C3 hosted more than 150,000 visitors and engaged approximately 30% of all Museum visitors in direct and hands-on learning experiences.

About the Dallas Museum of Art

Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs are its encyclopedic collections, which encompass more than 24,000 works and span 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Established in 1903, the Museum today welcomes more than 600,000 visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, and dramatic and dance presentations.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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