I began my training as a Docent at Storm King Arts Center today. What a trip. It was a basic introductory session. We were presented with an overview of the Docent program and of the art center, and then we did an "around the room". People were there for all sorts of reasons - retirees looking for productive ways to spend their time, art-lovers, horticulture enthusiasts, teachers - all with a passion for the arts and with some emotional connection to Storm King. One person had never been there but felt drawn to be there now, while another had been a regular visitor for forty years.
The first time I went there was with my friend Laini with whom I worked at the Koenig Art Emporium, an art supply and framing shop in the Nanuet Mall when I was in High School. I was 17. That was 21 years ago. Oh, my. I've been there only once or twice since, but pass by it frequently on the New York State Thruway between exits 16 and 17. I always try to crane my neck to see something new or to see Andy Goldsworthy's Storm King Wall (pictured - and thieved from Storm King's facebook page, so go there now and become a fan) for just a little longer (while driving very carefully, of course).
The session was led by four knowledgeable and wonderfully accessible experts in their fields: David Collens - Director and Curator, Ron Romary - Director of Education, Helen Hydos - Education Coordinator and Lisa Stern - Trustee. Each presented themselves as extremely knowledgeable about art, art history and the art center, while remaining friendly, pleasant and clearly in love with Storm King. I hope to be able to emulate their enthusiasm and confidence while helping to make the art and the experience enjoyable for my "students". The initial training lasts for nine weeks and will be followed by a self-directed portion with study and observation, all leading to composing my own tour, hopefully by early to mid summer.
Founded in 1960, 2010 represents Storm King's 50th year. I am excited about all the events surrounding this occasion and look forward to becoming a part of the landscape.