The Other Side Of Light !

[Guided Tour @ Danforth on 01/23/2010 - With HRCA group]

Sometimes experience turns out to be a far better teacher than theoretical reading (books, journals, white papers, news or voluminous technical manuals). I learned sometime back that at Danforth Museum Of Art, new docents are encouraged to "shadow" few tours before venturing out to lead real tours at the museum. With no prior experience of so-called "shadowing", the term conjured up vivid visuals in my mind-images of high-school optics classes, physics experiments with light sources & concave/convex lenses, esoteric definitions of diffraction/dispersion/interference etc. and of course the Greek symbol λ. I loved filling in my U-CLIPS notebooks with Greek symbols in various forms-rotated 30°or 45° wrt horizontal plane, within ultra thin left hand margins, or inside hexagonal benzene rings! Unfortunately back then our physics teacher gave more importance to how quickly we could solve cool optics numericals than how nicely we could draw λ and thus my fondness with Greek symbols didn't last long :D

Back to present time, this "shadowing" exercise turned out to be yet another enriching learning experience for me. In short this is how it works:
  • Shadow Docents report to the Lead Docent around 30 mins prior to a tour.
  • Lead Docent explains the tour strategy / guidelines to the new docents.
  • A quick discussion on background of viewers is done prior to the tour.
  • Following a strict time-line before and during the tour is very essential.
  • Shadow Docent is supposed to pay close attention to tour, viewers' responses, touring style of lead docent and identify any specific areas of improvements (if any).
As I followed Doreen (Lead Docent) into the galleries, she gave a quick refresher on Jewish Culture and History, described evolution of art & religion in Jewish community across the globe. When I analyzed my notes this morning, I was amazed to learn that there are so many striking similarities between Jewish and Indian Cultures! Some common traits I found cool are: Utmost respect for elders, cohesive bonding with family, appreciation of Visual Arts & Music, logical interpretations for religious rituals and communal problem solving etc.

Our visitors from HRCA (Hebrew Rehabilitation Center For Aged) arrived at 13:30 hrs EST. After exchanging quick pleasantries with the group, Doreen took us all into David Aronson's Gallery and commenced the tour with Aronson's "Adam" & "Eve" artworks. Next we moved on to see "The Judges" and "The Paradox". Fast Forward 30 Doreen sailed our group towards the 8-foot tall ace masterpiece titled "Resurrection, 1944", all viewers seemed pleasantly engaged within moments of viewing this gigantic artwork. It was fascinating to see everyone in the group participating actively, asking specific questions, appreciating orange, blues & greens in the artwork, deriving quick analogies with biblical charcaters and finding figurative meanings etc.

[Guided Tour @ Danforth - Marriage at Cana by David Aronson]

Next we moved on to see Aronson's "Marriage at Cana" artwork and this time Doreen began the tour with our museum's VTS Style and connection with audience was almost immediate. Together with enthusiatic Doreen, all of us truly enjoyed hunting down interesting objects in the artwork. Impromptu doses of light humor by Janis & Ellie (fellow shadow docents) as we stood before this artwork made the exercise even more fun!During the last 30 mins of the tour, we walked through gallieries exhbits by Garry Bergstein and Morgan Bulkley.

Like all other good things, our tour ended around 1500 EST. As we bid good-bye to amazing team from HRCA, we thanked them for visiting Danforth and for being a group passionate in thinking and youthful at heart! We hope to see more people from HRCA at Danforth in the days to come.

If you like works by Boston Expressionists, check out this video by Metrowest featuring Katherine French, who talks about David Aronson's artworks.

"It takes a very long time to become young." Pablo Picasso


s k gupta said...

This is truly enlightening event.
Even the people who missed this guided tour can derive full pleasure & joy by simply going
through this remarkable summary emerging from innermost core of heart or the bottom of the ocean of true feelings.
We are amused to find the
" Shadow" marching ahead of "Light"..Wise professors from Harward must have enjoyed this unique experience.

Both the snaps speak for the event loudly.Experience and Energy form a powerful & winning combination.

This enlightened group set a great example by encouraging the youngster in his maiden tour as a Docent.
The happiness & the satisfaction on the face of visitors coupled with the pride on the face of smiling young Docent says it all.
A nice beginning..
ART really unites people..Art brings out best in people,Art injects Life in this monotonous world.Yes..ART Does Matter..

Aditya said...

Your posts have such a distinctive POSITIVE vibe! Keep sharing your excitement and make most of your time there in States -

TJ said...

Keep peeling the outer layers and you will soon realize that everything that emotes a feeling is "ART" !