Become A Gallery Host!

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Peninsula Fine Arts Center is in need of Gallery Hosts to share their love of art with the public.  As the Education Director it’s my job to recruit and train Gallery Hosts so I’d like to share what that actually entails.  When I hear the word “docent” I picture the 92 year old woman who took my husband and I on a tour of a colonial home in North Carolina.  I knew she said the same speech, word for word, to every visitor who toured the home. But I assure you, this is not what we’re looking for at PFAC, we bring visitors to our Center and HOST them in our galleries as special guests. We want them to feel how excited we are about the art, maybe even that we’ve picked our favorite piece in the whole museum to show just to this guest! Being a Gallery Host at PFAC is fun, rewarding, and enlightening.

PFAC’s art collection isn’t permanent and changes every 2 1/2 months.  That means our Gallery Hosts learn a new exhibition with every show change. In 2017, we will have 4 exhibitions: To Walk in Beauty: Native American Art, Past & Present;  Soaring: Works from NASA Art Program, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of NASA; Dream House: remix  the 25th Anniversary/Revisiting of one of PFAC’s most popular exhibitions; and A Rembrandt show. I know that sounds daunting, but let me explain how our tours work.

We have 3 types of tours that we lead:

School Groups: Elementary, Middle and High school Students (multiple Gallery Hosts work, each covering one gallery as groups rotate through every 15 minutes)

Private Tours/Adult Group: Seniors, College students, Women’s groups, etc. (one Gallery Host leads a group through the each gallery on a tour lasting 45-60 minutes)

Interactive Gallery Hosts:  Free Weekends, Community Days, Art After Dark and Exhibition Openings (Gallery Hosts are stationed to represent 1-2 pieces of art with fun facts and “insider information” as individuals, families and small groups tour the galleries independently)

It’s Easy and Training is Provided!

As soon as an exhibition is installed, we provide a 2 hour training session for Gallery Hosts.  The curator provides the art history element of the exhibition.  Then I give a tour exactly like you would be giving it to a school group. Then our Marketing/Community Engagement Director gives a brief intro on livening up the experience and interacting with our guests.

Gallery hosts receive a “script” that they can use if they choose, or they can focus on pieces that are more meaningful to them.  We will provide you with everything you need to give a successful tour.  After the training session, a schedule is presented and gallery hosts sign up for the tours that they wish to perform.  We ask that each gallery host give a minimum of 2 tours per month (or 4-5 for the whole exhibition).

Gallery hosts don’t need a background in art history to be successful.  All you need is an interest in art, a few free hours to volunteer each month and the ability to speak in front of a small group.

Our next training session will be January 20, 9:30-11:30 for To Walk in Beauty: Native American Art, Past & Present.  We’d love for you to join us!  Please email me with questions or to reserve your spot at cdonne@pfac-va.org

I look forward to meeting you!

Camille Donne, PFAC Education Director

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