Thursday 21 August 2008
We currently have 26 Docents (25 women and 1 man) who cover a wide range of life experiences and ages – ranging from 20+ through to 80+ - generally the age is older and the mix favours women." Christine Wildman, Education Assistant, Auckland Art Gallery
Being a docent at Auckland Art Gallery
by Elizabeth Buchanan
Many years ago an inspirational art teacher quoted “never has anything in your home that you do not believe to be beautiful or know to be useful” - I liked that. But as a docent, it’s often been a real challenge for me to revaluate how I personally think about objects and how I value them. Sometimes I really do not immediately relate well to some shows. I am constantly required to re-appraise my definition of “beauty” and look at more than just the skill displayed. What is the artist telling us, what is the truth here?
I love the regular docent meetings with the chance to hear curators describe their new exhibitions and share their excitement and knowledge. It’s then up to me to research independently. I am especially interested in understanding the historical and political background of shows.
Ultimately docents have the pleasure of talking to visitors, often from other countries, about the elements of the current shows. Visitors bring a different perspective too, which is often very interesting.
I especially enjoy helping the education staff in a practical way with the school groups who come to the gallery to view an exhibition. The children then create something for themselves influenced by what they have seen.
I count it as a real privilege to be a docent. Lucky me!"
Elizabeth Buchanan, 2008
p.s unfortunately Elizabeth Buchanan isn't in any of the photos!!!