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Docent Spotlight: They’re Cousins…

January 24, 2012

It has been a while since we have featured an interview with one of our docents on the Educator Blog.  Today, I’m turning the spotlight on not one, but three of our fabulous docents.  Why three docents?  Because they’re cousins (I have the Patty Duke Show theme song running through my head as I write this) who have turned the DMA docent program into a family affair.

Meet Genie Bentley, Linda Rayes, and Harriet Stoneham.  Genie and Linda have been docents for many years, but Harriet is a member of our New Docent class this year.  Below, they share their thoughts and memories of being a DMA docent.

Genie Bentley, Harriet Stoneham, and Linda Rayes--DMA Docents and Cousins

How long have you been a DMA docent?
Genie: I have been a docent since Fall 1988 (We trained for two years at that point).
Linda: I have been leading school tours for seventeen years.
Harriet: I am a docent-in-training.

Why did you become a docent?
Genie: My sons were leaving the nest and I wanted to do something that was really hard–I found it!
Linda: A friend and former docent suggested that I might enjoy the program.
Harriet: I have wanted to become a docent for a very long time and finally gave myself permission to apply.

Tell me about your experience in the docent program.
Genie: It is my favorite activity with my favorite people–the best part of my life.
Linda: Most of my tours have been some of the most fun and rewarding hours of my life.  Interacting with young students often challenges me to come up with analogies from pop culture to help them relate to unfamiliar objects.  I love hearing about the children’s lives, their families, and even their pets!  Young viewers are always more uninhibited, and therefore, more fun to interact with.
Harriet: I have thoroughly enjoyed every training session thus far.  The lectures are wonderful and getting to meet so many people that share my interest in art has been very satisfying.

What is your favorite work of art in the DMA collection?
Genie: My favorite work of art is the one that I am talking about on a tour.  I could not limit myself to one piece–I have learned to LOVE so many cultures and styles.
Linda: It’s a toss up between the Lokapalas and the Vlaminck in the Reves collection.
Harriet: I love learning about all the art that I have been exposed to thus far.

Share your best tour experience.
Genie: The best tours are ones that kids exclaim “Is it already over? I thought this would be boring, but it was fun.”
Linda: That would be the next tour!
Harriet: I have loved observing both Genie’s and Linda’s tours.  I am so impressed with the number of docents who have been involved with the program for many, many years. [Author's note: Harriet has not yet given a tour, but has observed many A Looking Journey tours as part of her training.]

Docents Genie Bentley (in white) and Linda Rayes (holding a doll) even went to school together when they were younger

Genie, Linda, and Harriet have all said that being a part of the docent program is one of their favorite activities, and reading their responses affirms their passion for art and their commitment to the DMA and our docent program.*  I feel very fortunate that I know these three docents, and hopefully you have had the pleasure of spending time with them in the galleries.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

*If you have a passion for art and would like to learn more about volunteering at the DMA, visit our Web site.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicole Stutzman permalink*
    January 25, 2012 5:49 pm

    DMA docents are fantastic! Without docents, we could not impact the lives of nearly as many children as we do here. They give countless hours to share their love and passion for art, sparking the interests of many a boy and girl along the way. Thank you DMA docents for your time and commitment!

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  1. What to Expect on a Docent-Guided Tour « Dallas Museum of Art Educator Blog

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