Friday, February 24, 2012

Spring comes early to the Dixon!

The garden staff works diligently each fall/winter to plant as many bulbs as possible to guarantee a glorious spring showing of flowers and blooms throughout the Dixon property. Our garden staff are some of the hardest working people in Memphis and they control a lot of what you love about the Dixon!

Something the garden staff cannot control, however, is Mother Nature! She has a mind of her own! This year's weather has been unpredictable and the Dixon gardens are sporting blooms sooner than we would have hoped.

So, spring has come a bit early this year, same as it did last year, but we aren't fighting it! We are enjoying it! We want you to enjoy it too!

Daffodils, cabbages(yep, you read that right), and many more blooms have popped up around the Dixon, and we want you to see all of their spring glory - even if it isn't quite spring!

Join us every Saturday morning and walk the gardens for free until noon. Tuesday is pay what you can day  - pay a donation and visit the gardens every Tuesday! Allow plenty of time to see the exhibitions too! Then mark your calendars for these upcoming garden events!

Reserve your spot at the Rose Seminar on March 10. Munch and learn with Michael Shadrack as he discusses Eight English Gardens at noon, March 14. Join us for Art After Dark March 15 as we Toast the Daffodils! Sign up for the Watercolor Workshop to paint "en plein" air in the gardens on March 16 and 17!

See our garden calendar for more garden events and come by to have an early taste of Spring!

Flower photos were taken Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rembrandt to Rubens Family Day was "Golden"!

Saturday's Family Day, inspired by our exhibition - Rembrandt, Rubens and the Golden Age of Painting, was loads of fun. From the art activities to the games and contests, there was no better place to be Saturday morning than the Dixon. 

Smiling faces and concentrating stares could be found in every gallery during our scavenger hunt and activities.


An exciting juggling show and a fantastic band were set up in the auditorium and captured the amazement and entertained both young and younger......

along with a very intense "King Cake Walk" earlier in the day where winners walked away feeling like champions.

If the excitement was too much, you could always take a seat and read in our cozy reading nook, or take a stroll through the galleries to check out the exhibitions.

Our collaborative art activity was a huge hit with everyone who participated and to the amusement of those who didn't(you can see the finished product during Made in Dixon which opens on March 11).........

and the Golden Age photo op transformed each boy and girl to knights, princesses and whatever one's heart desired.

We had very special guests in the galleries....

and even more special (and slimy) guests in the garden activity room. Our cup of worms was a hit and the tulip making cup activity was the icing on the worm filled cake

Don't miss our next Garden Family Day, June never know what surprises may be waiting!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Make the most of Family Day!

The Dixon is having one of our most beloved events tomorrow! Family Day - a favorite among our members and first time visitors alike - will feature games such as the King Cake Walk, activities inspired by art and horticulture, live music by the Jeff Hulett One Man Band, fun contests for a variety of age groups, and much much more! Most events are scheduled to take place indoors, we will move activities outdoors if the weather cooperates! 

Here is a detailed schedule of events!

Ongoing (10:00 - 2:00): Scavenger Hunt, Rain or Shine Garden Hunt, Reading Racket, Face Painting, Garden Activity, Art Activities, and Art Demo
10:00 - 1:00: Sign up for Dixon Games
10:30 -11:00: King Cake Walk
11:00 - 11:30: Juggling Show
11:00 - 1:00: Refreshments served
11:00 - 1:00: Showagon Theater Memphis
12:00 - 2:00: Live Music
2:00: Family Day ends
5:00: The Dixon closes

We hope that you will join us for Family Day tomorrow, February 18, 10:00 - 2:00!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Reflections Through Art: Promoting Healthy Aging Through Creative Expression

Over the past decade, science is beginning to prove what artists and creative types have known inherently for years, that engaging in artistic endeavors brings about profound benefits for the whole individual: physically, mentally, and emotionally. This promotion of healthy living becomes increasingly more important as these individuals age. As a result, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens has been working on a program specifically designed for older adults called Reflections Through Art.

Recently, as mentioned above, multiple research studies and health professionals  are beginning to examine the positive relationship between engaging in the arts and healthy aging. Dr. James Aw, the medical director for a leading private health clinic in Toronto, speaks to his own experience with patients, saying it is clear “a relationship exists between culture and good health . . . the most vital and vigorous octogenarians in my practice tend to be ardent aficionados of the arts.” 

Dr. Aw backs up his advice asking his patients to visit their local art museum with a Swedish study that followed 4,000 people over the course of 14 years. The research found a positive relationship between longevity and the people who most visited the cinema, concerts, museums, or art exhibitions. Individuals’ increased participation in cultural activities corresponded with good health, life-satisfaction, decreased anxiety and decreased amounts of depression.

In a related study, Dr. Gene Cohen, a leader in the field of creativity and healthy aging, investigated how professionally conducted cultural programs impacted older adults. He found that individuals who participated in regular community art groups:
• used less medication,
• reported fewer doctor visits,
• experienced elevated mood,
• showed an increase in independence, as well as
• a decrease in reports of depression and loneliness
when compared to individuals who did not participate in these artistic activities.

With all of this in mind, it seems our society is beginning to redefine the aging process, and it is doing so through the vocabulary of art. As a result, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens is working to promote healthy aging throughout the Memphis community with its program Reflections Through Art. Inspired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the program consists of two parts: Individuals can sign up for specialized gallery tours, designed to promote mental stimulation through intellectual discussion or they can also participate in hands-on art making sessions, where they can strengthen their minds and express themselves through the acquisition new artistic skills and techniques.

As Dr. Gene Cohen said, “Art is chocolate for the brain,” so the Dixon Gallery and Gardens invites you to eat up!

*Reflections Through Art: Gallery tours will be held on the following dates.

February 20th 2:00pm
May 21st 2:00pm
August 20th 2:00pm
November 19th 2:00pm

$5 per/participant

*Reflections Through Art: Art making sessions are offered the 1st and 3rd Monday afternoon of every month.

$10 per/participant
Supplies Included

Call today to reserve!

- Catherine M Harris, ATR-BC
Art Therapist and Artist


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Living in a DIGITAL world

Let me say this before I say anything: digital drawing will never replace my love of traditional drawing and painting. However, there are some things that traditional painting and drawing can’t do that an iphone or ipad can. It is immediately accessible. It might interest you to know that when most artists see something beautiful and interesting, they don’t run to their studio to grab their easels, pallets, water cup, bundles of brushes, viewfinders, and-who knows what else- only to rush back to that spot to see that the interesting or beautiful sight has passed. We all pull out our phones to snap a picture to be analyzed and reproduced later. Or some will sketch a very quick drawing on a blank piece of paper provided by an app on our digital device.

This is what David Hockney did every day after he bought his first smart phone. If you research images of his show in Paris called Fresh Flowers, you will see the immediacy in his drawings. The light outside of the window hits a vase just so, a sun is setting, or a curtain is slightly flowing from an open window. All of these images were captured because he was always near his phone. The drawings are unique in their own right. The patterns and lines are beautifully applied and create textures that aren’t easily replicated in traditional drawing.
At first, I was skeptical when I heard of the digital drawings. I didn’t think they could be that interesting to look at. But after some exploration, I found myself somewhat addicted to digital sketching. 

The apps I use are very user friendly and intuitive, so fumbling around with technology never interferes with my drawings. Most of what I draw is on my daughter’s daily life. Some things are so fleeting that they can only be captured in digital form, even though my studio is just one room over. Smart phones and tablets are very pricey, and this drawing phenomenon is still avant garde and not widely used. But it is safe to say that among my artist peers, working digital, in some form or another, is a part of the basic art-making process. Now is the time to learn it. With technology quickly becoming the norm in many aspects of life, artists should get familiar with the digital creative process before it is too late. Sign up for the Digital Drawing Workshop now!
- Erica McCarrens, Artist and Children's Program Coordinator