Q&A with a DMA Docent

We have a corps of over one hundred volunteer docents who lead tours for students K-12 as well as for our adult visitors. They play an important role at the DMA, introducing our collections to museum-goers and sharing their passion for the beauty and importance of art. We are proud of their hard work and dedication and would like to introduce you to several of them over the coming months.

First up, meet Tom Matthews. Who knows, you might even run into him the next time you’re in the galleries. Rumor has it that he and his fellow docents spend a lot of their free time enjoying the art.

Number of years as a docent at the DMA: 10

A little bit about me: When I was a boy, my father piqued my interest in art by taking me to the Art Institute of Chicago. Though not trained in art, my father – an attorney – had a keen eye and did much reading on his own. His comments about art and artists stirred a life-long fascination for me. In my adult years, this interest continued. On family vacations, we usually stopped – often despite the protest of our daughters – at museums. My understanding was deepened by a twenty-five-volume series the Met in New York did for the public on art history and appreciation. While I was serving as pastor of a church in the coal fields of western Pennsylvania, a highlight of the month would be the arrival of one of these volumes. My wife alerted me to the docent program by referring me to an article in the Dallas Morning News.

My favorite experience as a docent at the DMA: I feel I have succeeded as a docent when I have “opened” a piece of art for the viewer. What does it feel like to be a griever in Jacob Lawrence’s Visitors or to “walk” as one of the figures in Giacometti’s sculpture? Assisting others in engaging with a work of art brings me satisfaction.

My three favorite works of art to share with visitors at the DMA:


Shiva Nataraja, India, 11th century: The dancing figure, holding strange objects and surrounded by a ring of fire, mystifies and entices.


Oedipus at Colonus, Jean-Antoine-Theodore Giroust, 1788: The story of Oedipus always commands attention. Giroust captures the pathos of the final moments.


Genesis, the Gift of Life, Miguel Covarrubias, 1954: Viewers are fascinated by the colors, imagery, and technique of mosaic making.

If you would like more information on the docent program at the Dallas Museum of Art, click here.

1 Response to “Q&A with a DMA Docent”



  1. 1 Spotlight on Denise Ford, DMA Docent « Dallas Museum of Art Educator Blog Trackback on September 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm
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