Gail Davitt Named DMA League Director of Education

Gail Davitt, an accomplished and nationally recognized museum educator, has been appointed as The Dallas Museum of Art League Director of Education, it was announced today by John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. Davitt’s appointment is effective immediately.

As Director of Education, Davitt, who was named the 2004 National Museum Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association, will provide leadership and direction for the education department and be responsible for developing, directing, and implementing interpretive programs for the public related to the permanent collection and traveling exhibitions. In addition, she will oversee school and youth programs, family programs, public programs, community outreach, interpretive programs, educational technology, the docent program, and other education activities that complement special exhibitions.

Currently, Davitt is developing and implementing several projects including a special exhibition that focuses on various ways artists capture a sense of motion in their work, and programs aimed at young family audiences. Each of the projects is designed with the goal of connecting people with art.

The Capturing Motion exhibition, which opens in the spring, is experience driven, allowing for visitors’ interactions in the galleries that provide opportunities to explore concepts regarding motion that have intrigued artists. Programs for young family audiences include new interactive stops on the DMA’s family audio tour and a new family website designed for children and parents to learn together. The website includes activities for use prior to visiting the Museum and follow-up activities that parents and children can do together to continue the learning experience.

The family programs are funded through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Davitt has worked at the Dallas Museum of Art in the education department for almost 20 years. In her most recent position as Senior Educator, Gallery Interpretation and School Programs, Davitt oversaw the development of an audio tour for the permanent collection as well as multi-generational family audio tours to encourage interaction among family members while viewing the Museum’s permanent collection. She also works with curators to develop labels for special exhibitions and the permanent collection that focus on engaging visitors with the art. In addition, Davitt is working on an in-depth research study on visitors’ preferred ways of connecting with works of art.

“Gail’s contribution to the Dallas Museum of Art and the North Texas community is immeasurable,” Lane said. “The number of students and teachers that she has inspired through art education programs during the last 20 years is truly remarkable.”

“The Dallas Museum of Art has been such a big part of my life the last 20 years,” Davitt said. “And it’s such an exciting time to be at the Museum. We have a vibrant exhibition schedule, which gives us the opportunity to develop dynamic programming and events, and put an emphasis on experimenting with new ways to connect people with art.”

In addition to being named Museum Educator of the Year, Davitt received the 2000 Bronze Muse Award from the American Association of Museums for The Art of Looking, an interactive computer program for classroom use that introduces students to learning in an art museum. She was also honored by the School of Arts & Humanities at The University of Texas at Dallas as a Distinguished Alumna. She has given numerous presentations and written several articles on museum education. Davitt is a member of the American Association of Museums and the National Art Education Association, and she currently serves on the Advisory board for the School of Arts and Humanities at The University of Texas at Dallas

Davitt earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bucknell University, Lewisberg, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Arts from Purdue University. She has completed coursework for a doctorate in arts and humanities with a focus on art history at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Last year, more than 250,000 people participated in education and public programs at the Dallas Museum of Art, including more than 60,000 teachers who took part in workshops, in-services and special programs, and more than 50,000 area students who visited the Museum through school tours.

About the Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 23,000 works, spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media, with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.

The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and, in all its vitality, serves as a cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, dramatic and dance presentations, and a full spectrum of programs designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.

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.