In appreciation of our docents

Jo Snyder, Education Programs Coordinator

Apr 24, 2020

A screen image from a Zoom meeting with Wexner Center for the Arts volunteer docents

We’re so excited to honor our volunteer docents for National Volunteer Week! Many of our docents have been with us for years, and a few have been working in our galleries for over a decade. A special shoutout to these dedicated docents: thank you Debbie V., Cindy P., Diane D., Gisela V., Monica D., Pat P., Sonia B., and Sue L.

Whether they are new or seasoned, they have all offered their invaluable services as gallery educators and representatives of the Wex, and we are so grateful for each of them. 

Many of our docents have devoted their professional and personal lives to education as instructors and as students, in addition to their service in the galleries. Their love of teaching and learning has shaped each of them into engaging, curious, and passionate people. Those of us in the Education Department are so grateful for our relationships with our docents; for every tour, conversation, coffee, for everything we have shared with you over the years—thank you.

Last week, we had a Zoom check-in with the docent corps. Even during this unusual time, we were able to share ideas, projects, and stories with one another. This was a connection many of us were craving. Please enjoy these smiling faces, and a few words from the docents themselves. 

Note: You can also hear from volunteers that help the Wex on the patron services side today on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds. 

Some thoughts from our docents

A Wexner Center volunteer docent leads a tour through the Cindy Sherman exhibition Imitation of Life

A volunteer docent leads patrons through a tour of Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life

“I know exactly when I became so enamored with the Wexner Center. The Julie Taymor exhibition in 1999. I was blown away and said that somehow I was going to be part of this institution. I applied to be a Docent and “wall- la,” never looked back and count my lucky blessings.”—Debbie V., docent since 2007

“I became a docent at the Wexner Center for the Arts when I knew it was time for me to immerse myself back in the contemporary art world. My experiences at the Wexner have been beyond anything I could have hoped for. Since becoming a docent I have decided to continue my education, and am now getting my master's degree in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University. I am so proud to be a docent!”—Jillian F., docent since 2015

“Following my retirement I knew I wanted to train to be a docent at the Wex. I've long loved galleries and museums and have found the Wex an enriching learning source for me, which I hope I've been able to share with the groups I've led through the galleries. I learn a lot from them as well. I miss you all and hope we can reconvene in the near future.”—Eugene O., docent since 2018

A Wexner Center volunteer docent leads patrons through an exhibition of paintings by Carmen Herrera

A docent leads patrons through the exhibition Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight

“A friend insisted that I would be good at facilitating contemporary art. Having been familiar with the Wex since it opened and enjoyed its exhibits, I took the challenge.”—Britta K., docent since 2016

“I wanted to become a Wex docent because I enjoy talking with people about art and I wanted to learn more about contemporary art. My favorite memories are when our visitors and I puzzle together over a work and their shared experiences give us all deeper insight.”—Carol C., docent since 2012

“I decided to look into becoming a docent at the Wex because I am a contemporary art lover. What convinced me to actually do it was that I did not have to be an expert to encourage people to talk about art with me.
This was a few years ago, and I don't remember the exhibition, but this particular moment is still fresh in my mind. I was leading a walk-in tour for a group of four adults. All of them, except one, shared their points of view as we looked at the works of art. The silent guest, an older woman, seemed to be distracted and lost in thought. Every time I looked at her I repeated to myself one of the biggest lessons that I had learned from the great [former Wex educator] Tracie McCambridge: "Do not make assumptions" (that she is not engaging does not necessarily mean that she is bored). At the end of the tour I asked the group to share any additional thoughts on their experience in the galleries. Suddenly, the eyes of the silent woman lit up. She proceeded to talk about different works of art and make connections between them. It. Was. A. Poem (figuratively speaking); the tour could not have been wrapped up in a better way. I still get goosebumps when I remember that day. :-)”—Sonia B.

“I enjoy connecting the art at the Wexner Center with our visitors. I am energized by the lively conversations that our exhibitions spark and I learn something from our visitors in every tour. Contemporary art at the Wex tells our stories and speaks to our times. 
I was touring Pain Thing with an engaged group of OSU Photo 1 students. While looking at the segment Hands, a student remarked that the imagery of handcuffs and dollars evokes the reverberation of debt in young people's lives. He commented, 'It's like they are trying to break free from crushing debt but can't.' The student's insightful observation reminded me of the power of contemporary art to tell all our stories.”—Carrie N., docent since 2019