Posts Tagged 'docent'

Looking Back and Thinking Ahead

It’s hard to believe that the 2009-2010 school year is already over.  We will have our last Museum visits and Go van Gogh trips tomorrow, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the highlights of the year with you.

Go van Gogh Classroom Outreach
Volunteers are at the core of our programs, and without their invaluable assistance, we would not be able to reach the number of students we do each year.  A great big thanks to:

  • all of our Dallas volunteers.  We visited 406 1st-6th grade classrooms in Dallas, seeing over 8,330 students.  
  •  all of our volunteers outside Dallas.  We presented a total of over 240 programs to 4,800 students in schools outside Dallas city limits.  These are especially impressive numbers as each and every program that takes place outside Dallas is scheduled, coordinated, taught, and otherwise made possible by volunteers. 

Go van Gogh volunteers work with local artist Ann Marie Newman

The year also brought new initiatives for the Go van Gogh program:

Go van Gogh volunteers work with local artist Ann Marie Newman

All in all, it was a great year.  Go van Gogh volunteers, we appreciate your hard work and dedication to bringing fun and meaningful art experiences to North Texas students.  Teachers, we thank you for bringing Go van Gogh into your classrooms.

Museum Visits

Our schedule has been jam-packed with Museum visits all year.  Thank you to the students and teachers who visited the Museum, and thank you to our docents who make all of these tours possible. 

Docent Denise Ford welcomes her group to the DMA.

We had many highlights during the year, including:

  • providing docent-guided and self-guided Museum visits for 51,821 K-12 and higher education students.
  • sharing several wonderful exhibitions with students.  We were able to make works of art come alive in All the World’s a Stage, and we transported students to 19th century Normandy in The Lens of Impressionism
  • continuing relationships with several school districts.  This was the third year of our partnership with Dallas ISD where every 4th grader comes to the Museum for a docent-guided visit.  We welcomed 11,535 DISD 4th graders for A Looking Journey tours this year, and we can’t wait to see DISD’s 4th graders again next year.

4th grade students examine the Pair of Lokapalas


So there you have it, the highlights of thirty-two weeks of programs for the 2009-2010 school year.  The 2010-2011 school year will be here before we know it, so we encourage you to start thinking about your DMA and Go van Gogh visits now.  Be on the lookout for our postcard this summer, reminding you to visit our Web site on August 1st to schedule your programs.  Have a wonderful summer!

Amy Copeland and Shannon Karol
Coordinators of Go van Gogh Outreach and Museum Visits

Mesquite Week Visits

For the past two weeks, we have been welcoming 5th graders from Mesquite ISD for docent-guided visits.  This isn’t a new program, though.  For the past twenty-five years, students from Mesquite ISD have been coming to the DMA for docent-guided visits of our collection.  When this partnership began in 1985, each 5th and 6th grade student received a tour that aligned with their classroom curriculum.  Over 2,100 Mesquite students toured the DMA that first year.  Since then, this partnership (and the district) have continued to grow.

Today, we see every 5th and 6th grade student, as well as every 7th and 8th grade art student, for a docent-guided visit that aligns with their curriculum.  For the 2009-2010 school year, that totals almost 6,800 students!  This partnership is affectionately known as Mesquite Week because in 1985 the visits did only last for one week.  It now takes five weeks for the Museum to be able to tour that many students. 

DMA Docent Susan Cuellar talks about The Icebergs with 5th graders from J.H. Florence Elementary

Mesquite ISD has a wonderful Fine Arts Coordinator, Debi Waltz, who makes these visits a success year after year.  Debi schedules each school’s visit, orders the buses, and works with us to decide which works of art students will see while they’re at the Museum.  She’s one of the most organized people I have ever met, and I don’t think Mesquite Week could happen without her. 

I recently learned that it was one of our docents, Susan Cuellar, who took on the task of coordinating Mesquite Week visits in 1985.  The district wanted students to have the same types of experiences with art that they were having with music, and they decided that they wanted their students to visit the DMA each year.  Susan wrote the tour outlines for that first year, and she continues to give Mesquite Week tours today.  She says that starting the Mesquite Week program is “one of the most exciting things I have ever done.”  We’re excited that this program is still going strong twenty-five years later.

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator

Get to Know a DMA Docent

If you have scheduled a docent-guided visit to the DMA, you already know how wonderful our docents are.  We have a corps of over one hundred volunteer docents who lead tours for K-12 and higher education students, as well as our adult visitors.  I recently talked with Lisa Jacquemetton to learn more about her experience as a DMA docent.


Docent Lisa Jacquemetton with Franz Kline's Slate Cross

How long have you been a DMA docent?
I am in the middle of my third year.

Why did you become a docent?
I had just finished my Masters in Liberal Arts at SMU and I loved that but I didn’t really want to take my formal education any further.  One of my friends was a docent, and she suggested that I contact Molly .  I became a docent primarily for the art history education, or so I thought.

Tell me about your experience in the docent program.
I’ve just loved it.  I have made all kinds of new friends with similar interests—fellow docents, educators, and even getting to know the curators has been fun.  I have learned much more than art history.  I’ve learned how to teach, I’ve learned a lot about comparative religion, science, world history– so much more than art history.  I’ve learned that I really love being around kids.  Who knew?

So what makes you love being around kids?
I think it’s seeing their reaction.  When you have a kid really get into a work of art, you see their faces light up, or at the end of the tour when they saw “aw, are we done” and you know that they want to keep going—it’s a high.

What is your favorite work of art in the DMA collection?
That’s like asking me what my favorite color is.  I’m partial to contemporary art and Abstract Expressionism.  My favorite, but it was just taken down, was The Eye by David Altmejd.  I also love Franz Kline’s Slate Cross—so dramatic, so powerful, and for me, so emotional.  I tend to react to art on an emotional level first, and that’s one of those pieces that makes me swoon.

Share your best tour experience.
The best tour experience I had was an Arts of the Americas tour last year.  First we headed to the elevators to go up to the 4th floor, and the reaction of these kids—they were so into it.  We went through the Ancient American galleries, looking at the Inca tunic first.  Then we looked at Xipe Totec, and I gave them the gory details, which they loved.  And then we ended at the Olafur Eliasson exhibition which was a huge hit. We ended up in the Room for One Color, and I gave them pieces of paper inside so they could decide what color it was.  One boy in my group was in a wheelchair and did not have fully formed foot, so he took off his sock and held his piece of paper between his toes.  (He wasn’t able to use his hands.)  When we came out, he was so into the whole experience.  And here’s the best part—the kids asked me for my autograph and I wrote it on their little pieces of colored paper.  I felt like a rock star.  It was the first and only time I’ve been asked for my autograph.  I practically flew home off my own energy that day.  When the kids react like that, that’s the best.

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator

Welcome Back, Students!

This past Tuesday, September 22nd, was our first day of school tours for the 2009-2010 school year.  I always look forward to the first day of tours—it’s my version of the first day of school.  Our first visitors were 4th graders from McKinney ISD, and they braved the rain and cooler temperatures to visit the DMA for an A Looking Journey tour.

Students waiting to enter the DMA

Students waiting to enter the DMA

 Our A Looking Journey tour allows students to travel the world without ever leaving the Dallas Museum of Art.  The teacher who scheduled this tour requested that all students see Frederic Edwin Church’s The Icebergs and Vincent van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat, two stars of our American and European collections respectively.  I also overheard one student asking her docent if they would have a chance to see the mummy.  She was excited to be at the Museum, and the mummy was at the top of her list of things to see while she was here.* 

It’s also great to have our docents back at the Museum, ready to tour.  I was talking with one of our docents on Tuesday who was giving her first tour after having been away last year.  She really missed being with students in the galleries, and couldn’t wait to take those 4th graders on their Looking Journey.  I’m giving an A Looking Journey tour myself today, and I am looking forward to hearing what insights my 4th graders will bring to our tour.  I always learn something new from students in the galleries, and that is why I love my job so much!  And yes, I will be including the mummy on my tour…

 Shannon Karol                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Tour Coordinator

*The mummy is on loan and currently on view in Crossroads: Where Cultures Connect.  Lent by Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

Gearing up for Tours

We’re definitely back in the swing of things here at the DMA, now that the new school year is well under way. Last Monday we had our first docent training of the semester, and we welcomed back almost 100 experienced docents as well as a class of 21 new docents.  Dr. Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art, led our training on the new exhibition All the World’s a Stage

Our docents are rigorously trained volunteers who attend training at the Museum every Monday during the school year from 9:45 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  These wonderful volunteers lead tours of our collection and special exhibitions for tens of thousands of K-12 students each year. We are all looking forward to these school tours starting again todocent trainingday!








Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs


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