Thursdays are for Training

Alexis Kiesel
Community Outreach Intern

DOMAInsider_Mugshots     As the semester winds down, I have been reflecting on the appreciation and knowledge I have gained from the docent training program at DOMA. In addition to being involved in all activities relating to community outreach, I have had the opportunity as an intern to attend weekly docent training meetings on Thursday afternoons at 3:30 p.m.

These meetings have given me a new insight into museums. Docents are volunteers who lead tours through the museum. These people amaze and inspire me each time I interact with them. They range in age from college students to early eighties. These docents are students, teachers, and retired community members who love art and want to share their knowledge. According to Barbara Alvarez Bohanon, “The Docent Learning Program at DOMA has greatly expanded my horizons through knowledge and appreciation of art.  I enjoy using that knowledge to help museum visitors grow as they find their own connections to art and the world beyond.”

Fall 2016 Docents

Cathy Bretz, DOMA’s Education Program Coordinator, with the help of Tania Said, Director of Education, works diligently to prepare for the docent training meetings each week. Cathy also deftly arranges tours and recruits trained docents to lead these tours. In addition to this, she creates the tour plans for most guided tours.

When asked about the program, Cathy said, “The best part of my job is working with and getting to know our volunteers. Through their efforts, we’re able to engage visitors of all ages and I’m grateful for their continued dedication to DOMA. We simply couldn’t do it without them.”

MVI_0228.MOV.00_00_00_22.Still001.jpgSierra Trowbridge, the current DOMA education assistant, past DOMA education intern, and docent of 2 ½ years made the comment: “As a public history major, being a docent is a constant learning experience, both with art and people. I’ve met many fantastic people and made many connections that would not have happened otherwise. The knowledge that I have gained about interacting with art and helping others appreciate art is absolutely priceless.”

Throughout my time in the program, I have not only been privileged to meet these docents, but I also had the opportunity to learn from experts in different areas of art. I have been educated on Pre-Columbian, Native American, African, Chinese and Japanese, mvi_7212-mov-00_00_42_05-still001Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese, and Pacific art. Not only have I been exposed to extensive new knowledge on these works of art and the cultures that made them, I have been able to look at works in DOMA that correspond with each type of art and given an explanation of these objects by experts. Questions were welcomed by the art historians, historians, and artists. This conveyed what they thought valuable for docents to know about their respective specialties.

The opportunity to be involved in the docent training program has been one of the most notable I have had while interning at the museum. I would suggest the program to anyone interested in working in a museum, education, art or related subjects. The next informational meeting is Thursday, January 12, at 3:30 pm in AR 223 at the David Owsley Museum of Art in the Fine Arts Building of Ball State University. To become involved in the docent training program, please contact Cathy Bretz at

Jackson Pollock’s wife? You mean Lee Krasner

Katie Ronzio
Public Relations Intern

“I happened to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock and that’s a mouthful. I was a woman, Jewish, a widow, a damn good painter, thank you, and a little too independent.”            
 -Lee Krasner

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You may have heard of Jackson Pollock, but what about Lee Krasner? Probably not.

Lee Krasner’s giant abstract expressionist painting Right Bird Left hangs in the Ball Brothers Foundation part of the museum. It catches your eye because of the scale and color, but it receives even more attention
because she’s Jackson Pollock’s wife. Pollock is the crowned painter of abstract expressionism, a post-World War II artistic movement full of movement, uncertainty, and masculinity. Krasner, however, was so much more than a famous artist’s spouse, and her artistic identity deserves to be credited.

IMG_3450.JPGKrasner’s Right Bird Left (1965) is massive in size and scope. Characterized by spontaneous and subconscious artistic movements, intentional strokes disguised as unintentional strokes define abstract expressionism. Krasner’s painting includes bright colors with large, gestural strokes that look like they could be large flowers.

A religious Jewish woman, Krasner painted right to left, which is the direction of Hebrew script, as a way to connect to her subconscious. Because of this, Right Bird Left appears heavier on the right side.

To this day, Krasner inspires women and artists to break and challenge gender roles; she proved the world wrong when society told her women couldn’t paint. Not only could she paint just as well as any man, she maintained her artistic identity throughout the Abstract Expressionist movement, which is seen in her floral motifs compared to other popular Abstract Expressionist art that favored post-war masculinity.

For a further look into the art at the David Owsley Museum of Art, follow @domaatbsu.

Shaffer, J. (2016). Lee Krasner.

An Intern’s Perspective on Final Friday

Alexis Kiesel
Community Outreach Intern


Feel-good music fills the hall as people of all ages socialize and admire the artists that surround them. Food and drink line the tables of the Sculpture Court as local art enthusiasts discuss what they anticipate from the presenters that will follow the opening reception. Local poets write poetry-on-demand for an event attendee. The room is filled with anticipation. Final Friday is here!

At the David Owsley Museum of Art, an event called Final Friday is held a twice a 2016-10-29_final_friday_19semester. This event includes artist demonstrations, short presentations on projects, ideas or research by creative locals, food, drink, music, and art in a museum environment. Attendees range in age, background, and art knowledge, and any and all are welcome to attend a Final Friday event.

As the Community Outreach Intern at the museum, I have been actively involved in the planning and preparation of these Final Friday events. I work weeks in advance on preparing contracts for presenters and artists involved in the event, creating process guides, outlines, and rundowns for DOMA staff, and gathering needed equipment and supplies for the event. My position allows me to help with the coordination of the event from beginning to end, including the follow-up feedback form I devise and send to staff members to constructively critique the event after everyone has gone home.

Being a part of the museum staff means ensuring the proper set-up hours prior to the event beginning. Tables and chairs are set and microphones are checked at this time. Caterers come in early and begin to prepare for the museum to be filled with hungry visitors. Artists arrive to set up their presentations or creative spaces as the DJ brings in sound equipment to set the tone for the event. Emcees arrive and direct the presenters for their PechaKucha talks.

2016-10-29_final_friday_25 The event begins, and guests appear to take in the atmosphere of the evening in the Sculpture Court where they may laugh, talk, eat, drink, and even have a portrait drawn or a poem written just for them depending on the artist involved in the event that month. Following this time filled with networking and fun, guests become engaged and entertained by impassioned presenters who share their work. Visitors leave enthused and impressed by what they witnessed.

After the event concludes, guards at the museum help the caterers and DJ clean up and shut down the museum one gallery at a time. The building is closed for the night, and the staff goes home around 9:30 p.m. When I return on Monday, I create a survey to those internally involved in the event for feedback. The results are gathered and compiled into a document for future use. A survey is also offered to guests during the event. I also sort through these and record the responses in order to improve our Final Friday events.

Not only is Final Friday an enjoyable event for attendees and presenters; it is perhaps more admirable after finding out how much work is put in to the planning and execution of it. Seeing the staff work on various pieces of the puzzle needed to make the event a success in the weeks leading up to it has given me an appreciation for the work done to execute one night of cool and creative conversation with community members.

Final Friday will continue next semester in March and April, so be on the lookout for upcoming event announcements on social media. Subscribe to our events on Facebook to receive notices of upcoming events at the David Owsley Museum of Art!

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Photos by Emma Rogers of the October 28th Final Friday

Making a Maquette

Emma Rogers
Media Intern

Within the museum’s current special exhibition, Continuum: The Art of Michael Dunbar in the Sculptural Tradition, guests are invited to create models similar to the process Michael Dunbar uses before constructing his sculptures. Styrofoam, cardboard cutouts, foam shapes, and more are assembled and then using mathematical tools such as protractors and compasses, tinkerers do a drawing to illustrate the components. The finished maquettes (small models of sculpture) are placed on display in the educational space of the exhibition. Visit the museum before December 22nd to make your own model!

Work of the Week: Beauty in Baroque

Katie Ronzio
Public Relations Intern


Maybe it’s the Italian blood that runs through my veins, but I am a sucker for Italian baroque art. Baroque art is characterized by extreme light and dark, exaggerated movement, and religious figures portrayed as the everyday person. The Roman Catholic Church typically commissioned baroque art to persuade viewers to convert back to Catholicism during the later part the Protestant Reformation.

In the heart of our West gallery hangs The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence (1625/30) by Massimo Stanzione. Saint Lawrence was a deacon of the Church of Rome and a victim of Emperor Valerian’s persecution of the Christians in the mid 200s CE. Saint Lawrence was believed to be roasted on a gridiron, which Stanizone portrays in this large oil on canvas.

The background is incredibly dark with an intense spotlight on Saint Lawrence. The workoftheweek_martyrdomofsaintlawrence_1movement is exquisite. He is surrounded by busy men preparing to burn him alive, the heavenly baby angel is flying toward him with a black cloth (note that Saint Lawrence is wearing white), and he is reaching up to the sky as he falls back on the gridiron, as if calling out to The Lord himself to take him. He doesn’t look at peace, though. He looks scared, and it’s this emotion that The Church used to persuade Romans to convert back to Catholicism.

It was incredibly taboo at the time to portray a higher being in such a raw way. How could Saint Lawrence be scared to die? Should I be scared to die, too? Thus was the persuasive reasoning used to convert Italians back to Catholicism.

Baroque isn’t just a movement; it’s a portrayal of humanity at its best and worst. It’s light and darkness. It’s good and evil. It’s common but uncommon. It’s artistic proof that the most creative people must see differently, and there’s beauty and truth in that.

For more artistic adventures, visit the David Owsley Museum of Art and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @domaatbsu and like us on Facebook.