Landmark Docents host meet and greet on campus

Ashley Tsao

A small group of the Landmark Docents gathered Monday at an informal reception to discuss the benefits of increased attention toward UT landmarks.

UT is currently home to 38 pieces of public art, or landmarks, the oldest of which is a sculpture on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that was created in 1948, according to Catherine Zinser, education coordinator for the Landmarks Public Art Program. The landmarks are routinely featured during informative tours hosted by the Landmarks Docents, a group comprised of volunteers from UT and the surrounding community.

Created in 2008, the organization’s main intention is to increase awareness of the landmarks on the UT campus, Zinser said. The art’s primary purpose is to beautify the campus, according to Zinser.

“I hope that the influence of this art affects interdisciplinary majors, so that students learn how to utilize these works in the same way that they would use any other academic resource,” Zinser said.

Advertising graduate student Chien Yang said that as a potential docent, she hopes to bond with visitors to UT over the landmarks.

“It is a good way to meet new people around campus to talk about the common ground of public art,” Yang said. “I am interested in joining for my personal interest, even though it is irrelevant to my major.”

All members of the Landmark Docents meet once per month to tour each landmark on campus and learn about various interpretations of the art. While in training, docents focus on modern and contemporary art topics. After training, volunteers are able to give tours to various groups on campus. A tour open to the public is available once per month.

The docents volunteer with Landmarks because they want to share their interest in art with other people on campus, according to Zinser. German senior Shannon McDonald said anyone can appreciate art on campus, even if they have no formal art experience.

“I’m not sure if people notice what a big impact the art has on the everyday lives of students,” McDonald said. “Last winter, ‘Monochrome for Austin’ by Nancy Rubins was installed on the corner of 24th and Speedway. I watched people stare at this piece for the first time in total awe. I think that the landmarks at our University impact people more than they know.”