On October 17, 2015, the Nasher hosted 40 high school and college students from schools around North Texas to be part of an interactive learning experience in Chalet Dallas. Students were invited to read about the project, then meet in the space to discuss with other students and create art with artists. We asked four participants to share their take on the day.
What were you expecting the Chalet Dallas to be like?
Cat: Wowee, when it comes to expectations, mine were much different than what I saw and experienced. I was not expecting these intimate alcoves where each different space provided some new, strange perspective in the room not only aurally, but visually as well. I was pleasantly surprised!
Chandler: While we knew going into the event generally the structure and purpose of it, we also knew that part of the beauty of the Chalet is that you aren’t supposed to know 100% what it was going to be like or what would happen when you got there. The experience was to be whatever you made of it, so I can say that is definitely exceeded my expectations in terms of the uniqueness of the art and social experience combination.
Did your perspective of the space change after visiting and or hearing from others?
Lindsay: While we were in the space and every group was discussing what articles they read and what their view on the space was, I heard a lot more variations in perspectives that I ever thought I would. I enjoyed hearing how people tied personal experiences in with the chalet experience. While in the space, my perspective changed with the size, lighting and sound. I was also intrigued by how we had to move around in the space and navigate around the objects.
Cat: The moment I stepped into the space, my senses were all engaged. The environment itself was visually absolutely beautiful, and as we all shuffled in, shoes scuffing against the smooth, cork floor, the slightly awkward silence was adorned with the happy bubbling of the fish tank. I sat in awe as the small room began to fill with art lovers, and I realized that there is no way I could ever experience the room properly through pictures in articles, the room itself lends itself to a sort of sacred duty of socialization that I greatly wished my school classrooms had.
Emma: At the start of the day, we interacted with others in a large group, showing the ability of the space to accommodate large groups of people. However, going back to the Chalet twice more later on in the day, in smaller groups, exposed a more playful side of the Chalet, seeing as people were more willing to move around the space quickly as they made new discoveries. Overall, I think this really solidified my understanding of the Chalet’s purpose in inspiring conversation and building a community; the art served as a catalyst for insightful, meaningful conversations.
Was there anything that surprised you during your visit?
Emma: I was a part of a group that [worked with an artist to make] a scale model of another space that served a similar purpose as the Chalet. Before building, our group went back into the Chalet to explore once more. Much to my surprise, the artist himself was there. I got to introduce myself and talk to him very briefly. He then listened in on some of our group’s conversation. That was really mind-blowing to me to watch an artist listen to the responses to his work.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.