City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

The Art of Learning

The Dallas Museum of Art’s chief learning officer, Stacey Lizotte, aims to connect the community with creativity.

Stacey Lizotte wants the Dallas Museum of Art to be a place where community, art, and learning collide. The museum’s new chief learning officer is passionate about putting education at the forefront of the museumgoer’s experience. And as someone who has worked for the DMA for 19 years, Lizotte is particularly attuned to what speaks to the community.

Last year, she was promoted to The Allen and Kelli Questrom Center for Creative Connections Education Director, a position she retains along with her new title of CLO. “They definitely work in tandem,” Lizotte says of her two roles. “The important part is ensuring that our education team has the support they need, as well as having that voice and connection to senior leadership to make sure our input and feedback is really considered at that high level.”

In her CLO position, Lizotte aspires to reinforce the connection between the community and art, and to ensure that the DMA is a place where everyone feels welcome to pursue their own journey with art. Her focus is on “deepening partnerships within the community, coming up with creative ways to welcome visitors, and making sure that the museum itself isn’t a barrier for connecting the community with our great collection.”

Almost two decades ago, Lizotte first experienced the DMA through the lens of an intern. She started her career there in public programs, working on gallery talks and performances. She then worked as manager of family programs and manager of adult programs, overseeing late-night programs, concerts, performances, and community partnerships with different performing groups. From there, she became the head of adult programs and multimedia services and shepherded the adult programming team into its current state. After taking on the education director role in an interim capacity, she stepped into it full time. All of her former roles at the DMA have culminated in making her a thoughtful and visionary leader as chief learning officer now.

“It really, for me, is ensuring that we’re a welcoming place,” Lizotte says. “And that what we do here is making a difference in people’s lives and that we really kind of enrich the Dallas community as a whole. We are the Dallas Museum of Art, and we don’t take that lightly that we are our community’s largest museum.”

In her first year as CLO, Lizotte and her team are evaluating what they offer and what’s working and what could be improved, particularly since the pandemic. She’s testing some programs to see if they still resonate with visitors and are helping make good connections.

“We’re evaluating, we’re getting feedback—what does the community want from us now?” she asks. “Their priorities have shifted over the last few years, so we don’t want to keep offering the same thing just because we always did. We’re still in that learning phase and still in that evaluation phase to really make sure when we do offer something new, it’s what the community wants.”

When visitors walk inside the DMA, they can expect to see art from around the globe representing different cultures and different time periods, Lizotte says. The museum’s sheer size, with four gallery levels, may seem initially overwhelming to families with little kids, but the museum’s free, downloadable family guides—ranging from Flower Power to Music Maestro to Top Dog—help break down a visit into bite-sized, thematic tours that can provide structure to a day at the DMA. Lizotte also encourages visitors and families to pick one theme or area per visit and come back several times to get the full experience. “There’s something new to see each time, so I really just want them to get excited and get a spark of curiosity about art and human creativity,” she says.

Throughout the year, families can plan for and attend classes, workshops, and festivals at the DMA. There are baby and toddler classes, and there’s even a teen program for teenagers looking to get more involved at the museum.

One of the best things about the DMA though, Lizotte says, is not found within its walls. It’s that the museum is well-located downtown next to the Nasher Sculpture Center and by Klyde Warren Park, where parents and kids can enjoy food trucks, playgrounds, and simply being outside. “I think it’s great,” she says, “that families can have a little variety when they come to see us.”

Making a museum visit into a full day of experiences means that the learning can continue far beyond the art.

“I think it’s great that families can have a little variety when they come to see us.”

  • Stacey Lizotte