Docents in Motion

The DMA has over 100 docents who lead tours for visitors of all ages. Our docents are here every Monday for training from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Their training sessions are led by the DMA’s curators as well as outside speakers, and topics include both our permanent collection and special exhibitions. Some of our docents have been part of the docent family for 43 years, while others have been with us for only three months.

I have the pleasure of spending every Monday afternoon with our fifteen funny, smart, and dedicated new docents. Since September, the new docents have been learning how to teach with works of art. Each week, we immerse ourselves in the DMA collection with experiences ranging from how to look at a painting to imagining a text message exchange between two portraits.

This week, the new docents had their first introduction to our American galleries. I divided the docents into 3 groups and each group was assigned to a landscape painting. Their task was to recreate the painting using only their bodies. My ambitious group went one better–they created sound and movements, too!  I couldn’t resist sharing the videos I filmed of their performances.

Annette, Charlie, Debi, Evan, and Lauren did an interpretive dance for Georgia O’Keeffe’s Gray Blue & Black-Pink Circle.

Barbara, David, Devika, and Felix animated Marsden Hartley’s Mountains, no. 19.

Ali, Art, Flo, and Stephanie re-interpreted Frederic Church’s The Icebergs.

The next time you’re in the DMA galleries, try to create your own tableau vivant for one of our masterpieces.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs


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