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What if a VIP doesn’t speak English?

We are gearing up for the opening at ART YARD Gallery at PS 6 in Jersey City. Which means a week of busy work -- signage, name tags, finding a nice tall vase for flowers, shopping for hardware, making last minute adjustments to the installation, and all that is leading up to Docent Training!

I have taught graduate level courses in Art and Art Education, and with that in mind I must tell you that our standards for docent training are as stringent as I expected from those college classes.

Today twelve 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from both mainstream and special needs classes met in the gallery with me and Dennis to train to be a professional level docent. We start the day with reading comprehension as all Docents are asked to read, process and comprehend the labels for each project.

Then the Public Speaking begins. I dig into my theatrical roots to train students to project and enunciate. We all help each other delving deeper into content as students add pertinent information on projects they worked on themselves. Dennis is spectacular at asking questions that elicit deeper thought and meaningful answers. We try and think of all of the possible scenarios, greetings and farewells are also important as we plan to give tours to the school community, families, community members and VIP’s.

At the end of the session we debrief and critique our work. One student raised his hand with a furrowed brow to ask: “What if a VIP, like my grandmother, does not speak English?”. Well, rest assured between the docents we counted a minimum of five languages spoken!

We hope to see you at ART YARD Gallery at PS 6 in Jersey City next Friday June 7, from noon – 2pm for the opening reception.

I promise you will not be disappointed!

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