When we hear the term “tour guide,” our minds immediately resort to the idea of a chipper student showing a prospective student around the campus that many of us know like the back of our hands. Yet, we tend to forget about the other tour guides on campus, such as the dedicated students who voluntarily showcase the von Auersperg Gallery upon visitor request during each of the year’s three openings.
These gallery student tour guides experience a long preparation period, ensuring that they are well-versed before giving any tours. Coordinator of Educational Programs in the Von Auersperg Gallery Mercedes Taylor starts by gathering any students who are interested in the position.
First, these students are required to attend the gallery’s opening. Lily Lin ’23 said, “It’s incredibly important to talk face to face with the artist themselves, to hear about their own raw perspective on the pieces, before we can even add our own thoughts.” Shortly after a gallery opening, Mrs. Taylor hosts a meeting to share basic preliminary information about each piece. This meeting also gives the students an opportunity to discuss what they learned from the opening, as well as the main points of each piece.
After an approximately week long process, Mrs. Taylor and the tour guides create a shared Google Doc with pre-prepared information about the gallery’s main pieces, adding personal student perspectives throughout. The students are then faced with the biggest task at hand, individually practicing memorization and analysis of each piece.
Later in the week, Mrs. Taylor assigns pairings within the tour guides to facilitate practice tours to exchange feedback. When the tour guides feel that they are ready, a Bulletin post and emails are sent out to notify the community that these students are ready to give tours.
“The art gallery is a place where we can form connections with new people with similar interest, whether it be students, teachers, or artists,” Charlotte Halpin ’23 said, “and being a tour guide strengthens that connection.”
Understanding the incredibly amount of effort our current gallery tour guides Maddie Lee ’20, Helen Mak ’20, Piper Day ’21, Talia Rajasekar ’21, Lily Lin ’23, and Charlotte Halpin ’23 have put in, we can appreciate their dedication towards their interest in art and ensuring that all visitors of the von Auersperg Galley can see, as Jennifer Niven said in her novel All the Bright Places, “…all the colors at once in full brightness.”