What Are Art Ambassadors?

Hi, my name is John Stitt. For the past semester, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) developing a tour around an area that holds interest to me. From the very first day, I had my idea of what a tour was totally redefined. I learned about how viewing art can become a whole-body experience, and I discovered ways to integrate the other senses into a tour that I hadn’t considered before. I also learned about how discussion-based tours are much more entertaining for those who are giving the tours AND those participating in them. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the museum and learn about all the different work that individuals at the museum do. Starting from a restoration standpoint, I learned about how they maintain and preserve the art that goes on display. Then, I got to work with others in small groups to refine my topic and find pieces of art that I thought I would be able to frame a conversation around in the context of the areas I am interested in discussing. Another great opportunity I had was the chance to be lectured by administrative staff and curators to have a better understanding of how museums work. Doing all of this informed me on how I could give an interesting and informative tour while still staying focused on the topic I am interested in. Being a part of the inaugural (!!!) class has been a great experience because I have been able to meet so many wonderful people from a wide variety of backgrounds — these included individuals ranging from University of Utah students to retirees who volunteer at the museum. Hearing their stories and perspectives and being able to experience a wider variety of conversations in the UMFA was something I really treasured. Seeing all the different viewpoints gave me the motivation to talk about something related to my Psychology major — I decided to give a tour revolving around how artists show and process their trauma through art. I hope that you’ll be able to join me on one of my tours or even book another art ambassador for their tour. Visit with a group of friends/people who are interested, could potentially get inspiration for classes, or want to come for really any reason. I know we’ve all put a lot of work into our tours!

Image credited to the UMFA