Kayla Gurganus
Curatorial Assistant Intern



Invocation, Variation #3 inspired docents during the forum.

On Thursday, June 18, docents gathered for the final summer meeting to learn how to incorporate writing activities into museum visits. Using writing to understand art is much more than just a way to entertain visitors. Writing activities can make art more accessible by facilitating diverse learning possibilities and engaging visitors in a conversation about the art they see. The meeting was led by the DOMA’s director of education, Tania Said. She introduced the docents to a handful of different writing activities and an instructional video from The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Coursera program. The activities included describing works of art in one’s own words, and testing memory by looking at a work of art for a minute before turning away from it and trying to jot down everything that was seen. The meeting was concluded with a handout with suggestions and examples for writing activities in the museum.

The focus of these activities was to emphasize the importance of interpretation in the galleries. People have different frames of reference through which they view and understand works of art. Group exercises centered on writing encourages a deeper analysis of both the art, and individual’s own ideas. Due to this focus, writing activities about art can easily complement school curriculums and visitors’ needs. Cathy Bretz, a docent and the Education Program Coordinator at the DOMA, states that the writing exercise “…demonstrated that writing about art can effectively encourage participation without the need to draft a lengthy essay.” To learn more about MoMA’s free, online program, please visit: https://www.coursera.org/moma.


“Golden Glow” was also used for inspiration during the meeting

Docent meetings will resume during Ball State University’s Fall 2015 semester. All interested parties are welcome to apply to the docent program. More information can be found at the museum’s website: http://cms.bsu.edu/web/museumofart/forstudents/experience/volunteering.