September 30, 2014

IU Art Museum: Interview with Courtney Veneri

Courtney Veneri, sophomore at Hutton Honors College Student Docent at IU Art Museum

Q: Why did you decide to become a student docent?
A: I’m interested in the IU Art Museum and I like taking tours so I thought it would be interesting to give tours of my own.

Q: Can you please give a quick run-down of the tour?
A: There are three pieces you look at on every floor. All of them are really diverse, sculptures, photos, etc., all from different times, all under Themester. Some are really practical, but they all go together.

Q: What do you think will be the favorite aspect of the people who go on this tour?
A: When you look at the art, you don’t really know what it is or what it was intended for. You don’t just get a lot of information and look at it. The tour guides lead you to guess for yourself what the artist intended.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being a student docent?
A: I liked getting more in-depth information about all of the pieces and sharing all of the pieces because I think it’s a really interesting tour.

Q: What’s your favorite piece in the tour?
A: There’s a woodblock print [of Americans baking bread] that’s my favorite because it’s Americans as seen by foreigners. We don’t usually get to see ourselves so it’s interesting to see how we were viewed back in the day.

Q: What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned thus far?
A: It’s interesting to see how much of society revolves around food. No matter what culture, so much of your daily life, daily routine revolves around eating and food.

Q: Has being a student docent had any influence on your life, besides the obvious time commitment?
A: It makes me think more about how food factors into my life, like what I eat and how I eat. It’s interesting to see how much of what you know about a different culture is based off of their food, like that’s the first thing you think of. A lot of our exposure to other cultures is their food.

Q: Can you give a further example?
A: We talked about how some pieces have been used in food festivals. You don’t think we have food festivals in America, but we have pumpkin carving and Thanksgiving which is almost completely centered around food.

Q: Why should people go on the tour?
A: Beyond it just being interesting, it forces you to analyze cultures and then your own culture. It will make you look at how your culture responds to food versus a historical or foreign reaction to food.

Q: When are the tours given?
A: It’s based on when classes want them. There is also the Honors College Mixer, when anybody can go on one. That’s on October 2nd, 6:30-8:30 pm. It’s free and open to the public.

Elizabeth Pekar
Themester 2014 Intern

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