Wex docents gather in front of Kerry James Marshall: Mastry
Tracie McCambridge is the Wexner Center’s Educator for Docent and Teacher programs. Below, she reflects on the recent docent trip to Chicago and the tremendous value of the docent corps as a learning community. The comments to follow are personal reflections from some of the docents and other Wex education staff members who participated in the trip.
I want the docent program to nurture lifelong learning and social connectivity just as much as I’d like it to support a strong, inquiry-based tour program. The trip to Chicago was an opportunity to thank our community docents for giving so much of their time and effort to the Wexner Center. Beyond that, though, I hoped that it would deepen friendships and the sense of community within the group, and give the docents a glimpse of Chicago that they might not have access to on their own. I had a fantastic time and enjoyed laughing and learning alongside each of the interesting, dynamic, and lovely individuals who teach in our galleries. My favorite highlights were seeing the amazing Kerry James Marshall: Mastry exhibition at the MCA and our family-style dinner out together. Other activities included viewing a performance at the recently-formed Physical Festival, studio visits with artists Sabina Ott and Doug Fogelson, a tour of Erik Peterson’s solo exhibition at Open House Contemporary led by the artist himself, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Arts Club of Chicago. Our Chicago adventure was one to remember!
I always tell friends that the Wexner Center treats its volunteers exceptionally well. The trip confirmed my opinion--OMG! I also enjoyed getting to know better my fellow docents and members of the Education Department, all thoughtful and fascinating people. – Caryn N.
The Chicago community docents’ trip was spectacular: so well-organized, congenial and prompt group, diverse range of activities and experiences, delicious food, abundant snacks, well-located hotel and plenty of free time. I’d travel anywhere with them. – Diane D.
Docents tour the Arts Club of Chicago's permanent collection
I had the best time! From the planning and organization to the tours and events, I appreciate everything you all have done. The weekend will be a treasured memory for years to come. – Suzanne C.
As a Chicago native, I was thrilled to find out about previously undiscovered treasures such as the Arts Club of Chicago and the numerous small galleries and artist studios spread around Chicagoland. What a great opportunity to learn so much more about the contemporary art scene. – Patti F.
The docent trip to Chicago was a wonderful experience filled with insider looks at some really interesting sites. We were able to combine informative museum, studio and gallery visits with some gems of entertainment, such as the Bag Lady production. A lot of planning by staff meant that everything went smoothly. I loved that I was able to fit in things like spending the evening at The Chicago Blues Festival in addition to the wonderfully orchestrated planned activities. – Mary B.
One of my favorite moments during the trip was a mini-marathon gallery tour around Chicago, including Threewalls, Aspect Ratio, Document, and more. Mary and Patti braved the adventure with me, discovering artist-run and small DIY gallery spaces--the afternoon even included Patti’s first Uber ride! – Marisa Espe, Education Asisstant
I loved the whimsy and joy of all of Sabina Ott's works. The terrain, Ott's "gallery," is my favorite piece because it prompts visitors to engage with the environment and have fun with contemporary art. The accessibility of the work challenged the notion that you need money to enjoy art. – Caryn N.
At Sabrina Ott's studio
At Terrain, Sabina Ott’s public exhibition space in her front yard
I’ll remember the Kerry James Marshall exhibition for a long time, and I enjoyed thinking about exhibitions in non-traditional places: someone’s front yard, an AirBNB... - Neil R.
When I last visited the Windy City, the Chicago History Museum had an entire exhibit devoted to gay and lesbian history. It was a tremendous shock to be portrayed like everyone else, to suddenly be visible, and to be the center. I cannot adequately describe the feeling. I saw the Kerry James Marshall exhibit in this light and I understand why he painted what he did. – Caryn N.
Viewing Kerry James Marshall: Mastry at the MCA
It was a marvelous trip. Most meaningful to me was spending time with the other docents and with the Wexner staff. What an interesting group with such diverse interests! Thanks for organizing the trip! I’ll be a better docent because of it. – Neil R.
Inside Open House Contemporary, a microhotel and gallery
I had a wonderful time getting to know our incredibly committed corps of docents during our explorations in Chicago. There’s nothing like sharing our common interests in the arts to get the creative exchange flowing! – Shelly Casto, Director of Education
Touring Doug Fogelson’s studio
For me, our Chicago trip was a bracing dip into contemporary art in its myriad of practices, philosophies, perspectives, and products. My brief immersion gave me glimpses of how artists creatively handle social issues and persuade and inform and collaborate with an audience. The art was often beautiful and playful and thought provoking. It made me want to see and hear more. The company, the planning, the food (and snacks) and the ride were as wonderful as the art. – Carol C.
Group photo at Open House Contemporary