Posts Tagged 'new docents'

Hitting the Highlight Reel: 2013-2014 School Year in Review

As our tours wind down and we make our final school trip in the Go van Gogh van, it’s time to look back at all we’ve done this school year (and be pretty proud of ourselves). If we could have looked into the future last September, we would have seen a year of change waiting for us. 2013-2014 has been action-packed, full of happy surprises and new initiatives and programs. Instead of looking at this school year by the numbers, we’re going to hit the highlight reel and showcase just a few of many great moments.

2013-14 New Docent Class

From left to right: Felix Landau, Flo Lockett-Miles, Debi Waltz, Annette Culwell, Charlie Kuzmic, Stephanie Avery, Sandi Edgar, Art Weinberg, Evan Simmons, and David Caldwell.

New Docent Class of 2013-2014

We are excited to introduce our New Docent Class of 2013-2014! In order to “graduate” from the program, our new docents attend over thirty weeks of training, give ten (or more) tours, and read almost all of Marilyn Stokstad’s Art History. These new docents have put in countless hours prepping for tours and learning different touring strategies and activity ideas. We are excited to welcome such an enthusiastic, creative, and dedicated group to our DMA Docent Program. Look for them on your DMA tours this fall!

Booker T. Washington Learning Lab Partnership

This was another fantastic year for the Learning Lab partnership with the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Students met artists Jim Hodges and Stephen Lapthisophon, learning first-hand about their respective special exhibitions and their process as artists. Students then put their own creative talent on display, re-imagining a DMA artwork using Instagram as their artistic medium. They went on behind-the-scenes tours of the Museum’s art storage areas and object conservation space, and got some career advice from a variety of Museum staff during a DMA career panel.  Most exciting of all, we will soon see the first class from the Learning Lab partnership graduate—congratulations class of 2014!

Go van Gogh Color My World Program for Special Education Classrooms

We were excited to unveil a new Go van Gogh experience this year. Designed to fill a growing need for Special Education outreach, the Color My World program incorporates multi-sensory activities in a color-filled classroom adventure inspired by paintings in the Museum’s collection. With the support of our enthusiastic Go van Gogh volunteers, we’ve been able to lead many Color My World programs this spring. And with the help of two very smart colleagues (thank you, Danielle and Hayley!), we’ve spent those sessions learning how the program works best, experimenting and modifying our way to what is now an inclusive experience for children with a range of abilities.

South Dallas Cultural Center Second Sundays

Sometimes the best learning experiences happen when the school day ends and we’re with our friends and family.  This year also brought the beginning of what we hope is a long-term partnership with families from the South Dallas Cultural Center. One Sunday a month, we have South Dallas “Second Sundays,” where a group of families spends two hours together at the Museum exploring and making art. Families have sketched and painted like Edward Hopper, designed chairs like Frank Gehry, and have spent many a Sunday using the Museum as both a resource and a source of artistic inspiration. While we haven’t wrapped up this program just yet (families, if you’re reading this, our June Sunday is not-to-miss!), this out-of-school, school year partnership is one that has defined 2013-14 for me, in a wonderful way.

To all the docents, Go van Gogh volunteers, hard-working Education colleagues (past and present), and our amazing McDermott Intern who have all helped make this school year so successful and fun-filled–thank you!  We hope you have a great summer, and we can’t wait to see you right back here in the fall!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Getting to Know the New Docents

The desire to communicate the power of art to others is the main requirement to become a docent at the Dallas Museum of Art.  This year, we have twelve candidates in our New Docent class, and they begin their training next Monday.  The next nine months will be jam-packed with training sessions that will help them prepare for giving tours to visitors of all ages.  We’ll spend a lot of time talking about how to teach in the galleries, and a majority of their time will be spent getting to know the over 23,000 works of art in the DMA’s collection (not an easy feat).

The members of the new docent class of 2011-2012 come from a variety of backgrounds: we have artists, retired teachers, lawyers, and bankers.  One thing they all have in common is a passion for art and enriching students’ lives.  I asked all of them why they want to become a docent at the DMA and what they hope to gain from the experience.  Below are responses from some of the new docents in their own words.

Students on a docent-guided tour of the DMA

  • “As a student of the arts my entire life, I would love nothing more than to share this love and understanding with others of all ages and knowledge levels.  I think it’s fascinating to see art through the eyes of a child; they often point out things that I have never noticed; fresh eyes are essential to keeping artworks alive.  I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than a child’s face lighting up as they explore a new piece, learn something new, and go home with excitement about art.” —Suzie Curnes
  • “I would like to help young people understand that to fully appreciate a work of art, you have to know its history, you have to look at it very carefully and, ideally, even sketch it.  You also need to think about how it makes you feel.  Then you have formed a relationship with it, and you won’t ever forget it.” —Sanlyn Kent
  • “I enjoy standing in front of a group of people, young or old, and explaining the topic, asking them questions, helping the group get involved in the discussion…There is nothing more exciting and fun than talking about and teaching about something that you love.” —Cynthia Camuel
  • “I have a strong emotional connection to the DMA.  After the Museum moved downtown, I would frequently go to the DMA and walk through the galleries during my lunch hour.  Spending time at the Dallas Museum of Art gave me a great education.  Being a docent will give me an opportunity to make a modest payment for those great experiences.” —Bill Bounds
  • “As a native Dallasite, I have enjoyed the DMA for many years, and have always seen the Museum as a vibrant learning environment.  As a docent, I believe I can expand my experiences, while passing on my knowledge to others.  I’m truly excited about the possibility!” —Harriet Stoneham

This will be my first year to train a new group of docents, and I’m also excited about all of the possibilities we will discover together.  The new docents will begin touring in early 2012, so you and your students may just have a chance to meet them when you visit the DMA during the coming year!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching


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