Docents are trained, community members who serve on a volunteer basis and provide tours of the gallery’s collection and special exhibitions to visiting groups of all ages, ranging from youngsters to adults. Docents strive to effectively engage visitors in stimulating dialogue and conversations about Sandzén and the other artists that exhibit at the gallery.
The Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery docent program started in May, 1991, at the suggestion of Lucy Johnson, a board member from McPherson, Kansas. Mary Elving, a former docent at the Wichita Art Museum, was instrumental in organizing the docent class. Over the years, numerous community members have served as a docent.
Participation in the docent class requires a substantial commitment of time and energy on the part of volunteers but the experience is tremendously rewarding. The docents are a diverse, talented and interesting group of enthusiastic supporters of the arts. They have a common love for art, a desire to share their knowledge with others, but also have many additional interests.
In order to study and enhance their collective experiences, the docents have taken trips, known as larks, to museums and artists’ studios in places like Kansas City, Tulsa, Omaha, Lawrence, Manhattan, Winfield, Hays and Abilene. Althea Barclay coined the work “lark” for these merry adventures. In addition, two docents represent the gallery at the National Docent Symposium so new ideas can be brought back and implemented.
Articulate, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable docents are an integral part of the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery and important ambassadors inside and outside the gallery. Information regarding recruitment into the docent program can be obtained by calling the gallery at 785-227-2220.