This week has just flown by! I decided that I wanted to spend a little time in reflection this week about my Junior Docents and their journey over the last few weeks at the Pizzuti Collection. The Junior Docents were placed here through a partnership between the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation (COWIC)’s S.O.A.R.hire program and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus.Over 6000 local Columbus youths applied for 400 available work positions available in this program. These work positions are opportunities for the kids to gain some employable skills, work experience, and career exploration during their summer. 6 of these positions are here at the Pizzuti Collection and they are my Junior Docents! They are a fantastic group of young adults and I am so glad that I get to continue to work with and get to know over the course of this program.
- The JDs have been participating in public speaking exercises to become more comfortable with speaking and presenting to groups of people.
- They have been researching and learning about the Collection, the artists, and the artworks that we have here currently as well as learning about the artists and pieces in our fall exhibition, Us Is Them.
- They have prepared and memorized “elevator speeches” to explain to guests who we are and what we do here at the Collection.
- They have been spending time in the galleries looking at the art and really learning how to connect themselves with the pieces and how to translate that to a tour group to encourage guests to connect with the works as well.
- The JDs have been learning about all the different roles that we play as a team here at the Collection, from operations, to registrar, to curating, and administrative positions to see the kinds of careers available in this field.
- Finally, we are continually working on building their Docent Binders, filling them with information about artists and pieces to help them prepare to assist on (and hopefully one day give full) tours of the galleries.
One of my favorite activities that we have done here is talk about the importance of art in the community. When asked what the importance of art is in the community, responses included:
“It’s visual: it doesn’t matter what language you speak”
“Gets everyone in the same space”
“Can draw attention to something to evoke change”
“Creates a common ground”
“Breaks down social barriers”
“Domino effect of positivity”
“Art can mirror society”
Now ,I certainly cannot take credit for these amazing answers. These are all responses from the kids.
We hear a lot in the nonprofit arts world “Well, what is the value of art?”, “Why do we need to fund art?” “Why does art matter?”. Here are your answers, straight from the mouths of those who directly benefit from art in their communities. This is why we need art in our communities, and the young adults in our community recognize that, but often, our elected officials and those in positions of power do not always realize this. It was exciting to hear yesterday that the Senate passed the ESEA initiative that kept arts and music as core subjects in our country’s definition of education…maybe they are starting to get it…
Anyway, I’ll leave my soap box for now. But I just wanted to take a moment and shout out the Junior Docents because they are absolutely flourishing! I could not be more proud of these kids this summer. They have worked so hard and it is definitely paying off for them.
Til next Time!