The Dallas Museum of Art’s Center for Creative Connections Presents Experiments on Public Space

Installation of Ongoing Project Explores the Implication of What It Means to Be a Public Museum

Dallas, TX—April 15, 2015—The Dallas Museum of Art presents in its Center for Creative Connections the project results of the ongoing Experiments on Public Space. Beginning Friday, April 17, and extending through May 15, 2015, the installation of Experiments on Public Space aims to exemplify and animate what it means to be a public museum in the 21st century. Launched during the February Late Night, the project has continued on subsequent DMA Late Nights over the past three months, and this installation offers the results of the three projects taking the form of interventions, performances, and workshops. Visitors, through their participation, facilitated the collection of data aiming to collaboratively measure the publicness of the environment in which the institution acts.

“The Center for Creative Connections is an experimental learning environment that provides interactive encounters with works of art and artists. Sharing our space with the public is central to creating experiences that foster a sense of community. Experiments on Public Space is our most recent artist initiative that engages visitors with the Museum in a dialogue that is important to all of us,” states Susan Diachisin, The Kelli and Allen Questrom Director of the Center for Creative Connections.

The installation of Experiments on Public Space in the Museum’s Center for Creative Connections will highlight the previous projects while collecting additional data and responses from visitors throughout the monthlong exhibition. The February launch was Gesture — Tribute to Tania Bruguera, an unannounced performance that placed Museum visitors in crowd control situations that involved more than a thousand visitors during a period of an hour. The second experiment, Alternative Signage, was the result of a collaboration with the DMA/Perot Museum of Nature and Science Teen Advisory Council (T.A.C.), in which T.A.C. intervened in Museum spaces by installing alternative signs. The signs reworked and reimagined the ways text, symbols, and signage can influence participation and experiences, and therefore overall publicness.

The third project, I Am a Monument, was implemented through four free workshops, led by guest artist Giovanni Valderas, over two weekends beginning at the end of March 2015. Museum visitors worked collaboratively to build a temporary monument, which will be unveiled during the April Late Night on Friday, April 17, recognizing and celebrating the Latino community of Dallas. The monument, which will take the shape of an arch, will symbolize a passageway that represents the desire for mutual understanding and welcoming of the Latin American community.

The five-month project will come to a close during the May Late Night on Friday, May 15, during a panel discussion, When “public” becomes a verb, with speakers exploring the “publicness” of the Museum. Confirmed presenters will include Janeil Engelstad, Director of Make Art with Purpose; representatives from the DMA/Perot Museum of Nature and Science Teen Advisory Council; and the DMA’s Susan Diachisin, The Kelli and Allen Questrom Director of the Center for Creative Connections.

Experiments on Public Space was developed and implemented by Eliel Jones, McDermott Education Intern for Visitor Engagement at the DMA. “The decision to focus on the issue of publicness is responsive not only to the field of art and culture but also to a globalized context in which our notion of democracy and democratic space is constantly being tainted and distorted,” noted Jones. “The project is a result of my past research, and my interest and belief in performance art and participatory projects having the ability to provide social, political, and/or personal experiences.”

About the Dallas Museum of Art
Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is among the 10 largest art museums in the country and is distinguished by its commitment to research, innovation, and public engagement. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 23,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Located in the nation’s largest arts district, the Museum welcomes over 650,000 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 events, and dramatic and dance presentations. In January 2013, the DMA returned to a free general admission policy and launched DMA Friends, the first free museum membership program in the country, which currently has over 95,000 members. For more information, visit DMA.org.

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