Q&A with Columbus Museum of Art Docent Carol Wolfenbarger

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From the August 2014 edition

Why do you volunteer as a docent? I enjoy talking with the students. It’s exciting to see their response to works of art in the museum, to have them notice something—kind of that “aha” moment. Or they can recognize some connection between their lives and what they notice in the work of art.

What do you want to teach them? I try to help student-age visitors recognize that they’re surrounded by art: the buildings and parks and designs of cars, and that the kids themselves wear art. My intent there is to get them to recognize the value of design and color and having things around you that you find pleasing to see. It all connects, it seems to me. We want the museum to be a very inviting place for visitors to come, and we try to diminish that perception that you have to be some particular kind of intellectual before you can walk in.

What’s your favorite piece in the museum? That’s like asking which child is your favorite. I can think of paintings that I think are stunning. We have a huge portrait by a man named Kehinde Wiley, living artist. It’s of a young African American man, and we commissioned that painting when he was known but not as well-known as he’s become.

Do you make art? I found out that I could do collage. It’s that sense of organization and knowing about color and shape. And I especially like old photographs. Not necessarily for the content of the photograph as much as the color.