A letter from Jorge Rojas, Director of Education and Engagement
I want to take this opportunity to say how happy I am to be working with you. I've enjoyed beginning to get to know you and appreciate you making me feel welcome at our museum.
I also want to thank those of you that have taken the time to share your stories and experiences working as docents, either in our offices, at the luncheon, or via email. I'd like to share one such email from Janice Quiel, who has generously permitted me to do so. Her words are inspiring and get to the heart of the important and valuable work we all do:
"I am currently a docent at the UMFA and attended training for "Our America" this morning. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your insightful comments. Asking us to acknowledge that this wonderful exhibit may not be about our personal experience was eloquent and powerful. A few years ago, I was honored to lead a group of Native American high school students through the "Splendid Heritage" exhibit, which highlighted American Indian Art; this was their history, their culture and one of the most fulfilling tours of my 8-year tenure at the museum. Empowering them to teach me, to share their insights with me, was equally as valuable as the knowledge and appreciation of their culture I shared with them. In many cases, I think "Our America" will allow this kind of exchange with our students and patrons of Latino heritage. I regret that I do not speak Spanish, but this is perhaps another opportunity to ask our students for assistance. All of us have experienced a student's joy at recognizing a piece of art that reflects their culture, religion, or family. I learned everything I will ever need to know about Buddha through the eyes of a nine-year old girl. I look forward to teaching and learning this new exhibit. Thanks again for your comments." ~ Janice Quiel
Thank you, Janice, and thank you docents for your commitment and service to the museum and for all the ways you contribute to the community in the field of art education. I look forward to teaching and learning together.
Joseph Rodríguez, Carlos, from the series Spanish Harlem, 1987, chromogenic print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of the artist. © 1987, Joseph Rodríguez.
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annie | assistant curator of education
virginia | curator of education
iris | campus outreach coordinator
laura | coordinator of Educator Programs
kate | public school outreach assistant
katie | volunteer and tour program coordinator