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CMA Docent Corps Brings Art to Life

May 9, 2015

The Docent Corps at the CMA is currently comprised of 61 dedicated volunteers who are essential to making the museum an engaging and accessible cultural hub of the Midlands. Through continuing education and volunteer service to the CMA, docents provide the vital educational link with children and adults that enriches the museum experience and instills and supports a lifelong appreciation of art. The CMA would like to thank them for all their enthusiasm and dedication.

“The museum’s educational mission is carried out most weekdays when school groups are scheduled,” says Docent board Vice President Susan James. “Often there are six or more docents working together with students in the galleries and studios and this is a busy, busy place!

Perhaps less well known is that CMA docents also give tours on the weekends. Informal discussions give the community an overview of the museum’s collection. Other tours provide background and insight into the visiting exhibitions such as Charles Courtney Curran: Seeking the Ideal. It is always a pleasure for us to share with the public the interesting things we have learned over the years as members of the Docent Corps.”

Our docents come from a diversity of backgrounds, not just in art and art education, and anyone who wishes to join brings a new depth of service to the community. Docents give in-depth tours that create an interactive space in the galleries. However, they do so much more than tours—docents help in our studios, in outreach programs that bring arts into the community, and in our award-winning educational programs. CMA docents have the opportunity to serve in a capacity that best suits them.

“The Docent Corps is a great and growing mix of interesting people who are willing to give their time generously,” says Nan Briggs, who is a studio volunteer and was named the 2014 CMA Docent of the Year. “When I heard that there would be training for new docents, I thought, ‘I’ll try that.’ I have been having great fun for years, and although I have never led even one tour, I enjoy encouraging students in a ‘hands-on’ application of art that re-enforces the terms that were presented on their tour. I always hope that every student will have a really good and positive experience for an hour in a studio at the CMA, in an outreach location, or summer camp. I hope they feel that the museum could be a part of their life—that they want to come again and again and share their art knowledge and favorite art works with their family.”
Docent corps members receive all of the benefits of membership, plus have the opportunity to attend special luncheons, participate in trips to other cultural institutions, and are eligible to attend many educational lectures and gallery talks free of charge. As programming continues to grow, so does the need for enthusiastic and dedicated docents in all areas of the museum. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a docent, the CMA opens the application process this spring followed by training in the fall. It is a great way to help the museum be an exciting place for everyone.

The Spirit of the CMA,  an exhibition of work by our talented docents, will be on view in the Wells Fargo Education Gallery in the fall of 2015.

To become a docent and learn more information about the CMA Docent Corps, its services, and benefits, call 803-343-2186.