Docents gain ‘unique experience’

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    By Michael Laverty

    A little known group of students and public volunteers are finding the BYU Museum of Art docent program to be a valuable experience and worthwhile use of time.

    “I can”t think of anything I would rather do with my free time,” said Edie Zambrano, a graduate of BYU and docent of eight years. “I”m passionate about art, and with this program I can serve people at the same time.”

    The museum has 45 docents – people who give explanatory tours to those who want to learn more about the current displays.

    “I like to call them ”members of the society for the prevention of blindness in the visual arts,” said Cheryl May, director of public programs and education and instructor of the Visual Arts 380 class all docents are required to take.

    Holly Grierson, 21, a senior from Salt Lake City, majoring in art history, said she has found many benefits associated with being a museum docent.

    “You get hands on experience here,” she said. “Anyone going into teaching or museum-related fields will gain valuable experience with guiding groups through the exhibits.”

    Docents must participate in the Visual Arts 380 art education class before becoming a docent, and they say the class, although time consuming, is well worth the time investment.

    “It”s a unique experience,” Grierson said. “We receive lectures from curators on art, artists lives, opening exhibitions … and if you enjoy teaching and a museum environment than this is a great class to take.”

    Aside from experience, docents say the program creates friendships

    “The museum connects people because people from all over the world can relate to art,” Zambrano said. “You realize you have common beliefs when you talk about art.”

    Although only humanities and art education majors can receive credit for participating, all are welcome to be involved in the docent program.

    “We”re always in need of more docents,” said Jessica Weiss, 22, a senior from Sugar Land, Texas., majoring in art history who is manager of the docent program. “The experience is life changing.”

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