Docent Alex Adam leads school students on an exhibition tour at Surrey Art Gallery. (submitted photo)

Needed at Surrey gallery, docents ‘inspire kids through art’

‘There is always something new to explore and you are constantly learning,’ says one volunteer

Surrey Art Gallery is looking for a few people to “inspire kids through art.”

Volunteer docents are needed to lead weekday school group tours of the gallery’s contemporary art exhibitions, at Bear Creek Park.

“Docents play an incredible role,” Chris Dawson-Murphy, volunteer program co-ordinator at Surrey Art Gallery, said in an appeal for help. “They encourage elementary school students to engage with art from a young age, helping them make connections between art and ideas.”

Docents interact with school students and help them explore a variety of art mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, video, sound art and mixed-media works.

For the volunteer work at Surrey Art Gallery, experience is not required.

For the current intake, the application deadline is Jan. 13, and docent training begins Jan. 31.

“All applicants with a desire to learn and contribute to the community, and who enjoy art and working with children, will be considered,” the appeal says. “New docents receive training and accompany senior docents on tours for the first three months. Ongoing training orients docents to new exhibits through lectures and workshops taught by curators, artists, and educators.”

• RELATED STORY, from Nov. 14: Filipino-Canadian artists featured in new ‘Green’ exhibit in Surrey.

Shelley Wilcox, a volunteer docent for three years and chair of the gallery’s docent committee, says lasting friendships are made among the volunteers.

“There is always something new to explore and you are constantly learning,” Wilcox said. “I look forward to new exhibitions and to our discussions at docent meetings. I really enjoy working with the docents and challenging myself to learn more about the art we are displaying. I found contemporary art confusing at times, but now I have a better understanding of how to relate to it.”

For more details and to apply, visit surrey.ca/artgallery or contact Chris Dawson-Murphy at artsvolunteer@surrey.ca or 604-501-5198.

Surrey Art Gallery will be closed for the holidays from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1.

Opening Jan. 25, the gallery’s next feature exhibit is “Spindle Whorl,” a Vancouver Art Gallery-loaned showcase of 40 silkscreen prints and spindle whorls made by Musqueam artist Susan Point.

“While Point’s practice is informed by a profound respect for Coast Salish traditions,” says a post at surrey.ca, “she has pushed the boundaries of tradition in her desire to represent Salish culture in the contemporary world. When she embarked on her career, there were few precedents for an Indigenous woman carving or working with sculpture, as these were activities traditionally done by men. Nonetheless, as this exhibition shows, Point has continually pushed the traditional form of the spindle whorl in extraordinary new directions.”

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Also opening at the gallery on Jan. 25 is “Counting the Steps to the Sun,” a showcase of works by the late Don Li-Leger, a South Surrey-based artist and Surrey Civic Treasure award winner who died last May. The exhibit will offer patrons a chance to view some of Li-Leger’s paintings and video.

• RELATED STORY: South Surrey artist Don Li-Leger remembered as a ‘gentle genius’

Li-Leger had a five-decade long art practice “marked by a deep and enduring curiosity for nature,” says an event advisory. “Over his career, he explored flora, fauna, and landscapes through a variety of media. This exhibition brings together selections of late video works alongside a series of paintings the artist made in response to the 2017 ‘super bloom’ of wildflowers in Southern California and Arizona. Vivid colours and abstraction point to Li-Leger’s enduring ecological vision, rooted in life and light.”

Li-Leger was also a caretaker of the PLOT community sharing garden in Newton, on a field south of the arena there.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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