Beaverbrook Art Gallery introduces new Volunteer Program

Beaverbrook Art GallerySeptember 16, 20140 Comments

Note to Editor: Time sensitive for September 18, 2014

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is expanding its art education and outreach program services with the inception of a new Volunteer Program that includes the establishment of a Francophone docent group and the development of new resources for docent training. Manulife has provided $55,000 in funding for the program through the Beaverbrook Campaign.

“Manulife has made a major commitment to supporting volunteerism in Canada, and their support for our Volunteer Program will help to strengthen our goal of delivering public value by providing programs and services that speak to diverse audiences in meaningful ways,” says Terry Graff, Director/CEO and Chief Curator of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

“We are pleased to offer new services such as the Francophone Docents Program/Guides Bénévoles Francophones to the people of New Brunswick and our visitors from across Canada and the world.  As a dynamic centre of art excellence, the Gallery brings people and art together and our volunteer docents help to make the art more accessible,” he added.

“Manulife is thrilled to support the development of Beaverbrook’s docent program as volunteerism is key to our community investment strategy,” says Sylvie Mainville, Director of Corporate Giving at Manulife. “Volunteers contribute to shaping the well-being of our communities.”

The Gallery has been recruiting volunteers from the Francophone community who are interested in art and recently will hold an orientation session on September 18th at 6 p.m. to familiarize volunteers with the role and their responsibilities.

“The addition of this exciting new training program for francophone docents means so much to our growing francophone community.  We hope the number of school tours will increase now that French language services will be available, and we are also planning new programming in French with the support of the francophone docents. ” says Adda Mihailescu, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s Art Educator and Manager of Public Programs.

Mihailescu says that the new Francophone docents will receive extensive training about the Gallery’s collections and travelling exhibitions. Training consists of listening to guest speakers (artists, curators, historians, Gallery staff), conducting personal research and making presentations on topics of interest to themselves and the docent group, and watching videos and movies linked to current Gallery programming or its permanent collection. A docent manual is provided.

Roberte Melanson, a retired art teacher and facilitator of Beaverbrook Art Gallery summer art camps has been hired to recruit, train and co-ordinate activities of the “guides bénévoles.” Melanson holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Education from the Université de Moncton and pursued her studies under the tutelage of Claude Roussel, and Herménégilde Chiasson , Francis Coutellier and Raymond LeBlanc. A member of the New Brunswick Teachers Association Elementary Council, she organized the visual arts component for many years in Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John.

Docents are trained to actively involve visitors in the interpretation of art and imparting the tools of visual literacy. They provide a broader understanding of the exhibition’s concepts, and a context for the collections the visitors are viewing. On average a docent will research, prepare and conduct 25 to 30 tours annually.  With approximately 12 new exhibitions a year docents assimilate a huge amount of information about the art and artists the Gallery features.

To assist docents with becoming more familiar with the Masterworks collection of 75 of the Gallery’s most valued works of art by renowned artists from the 15th to the 20th century, an audio visual resource is being created as a training piece.

Current volunteer positions that are available at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery are listed on its webpage at


For more information contact:
Adda Mihailescu,
Art Educator and Manager of Public Programs
Phone: 506-458-2032

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