300: Blanton Museum gallery teacher shares passion for educating others about art

Katie Walsh

Editor’s note: In 300 words or less, this series spotlights people in our community whose stories typically go untold.

Every time Sarah Abare visited her grandfather as a kid, she ran straight to the 1,000-page art history textbook on his bookshelf. Twenty years later, the textbook sits on her desk in the Blanton Museum of Art.

Abare, the administrative director of the museum’s education department, said she is the glue that holds together all the areas of her section. Her job includes managing the department’s budget, supervising interns and leading tours through the galleries. Making art feel important to others — especially those who aren’t already familiar with it — is her favorite part of the job.

“When you give other people the confidence to connect artwork with their own lives and make it meaningful to them — that’s the best feeling,” Abare said.

Once a week, Abare leads a tour through the gallery, following a lesson plan she created from scratch. She said she has led well over 100 tours of all types of people, from reserved university students to groups of preschoolers who scurry around, boldly offering their opinions.

Abare said she especially enjoys taking kids through the museum because they speak freely about what they see in the art, an ability that often goes away with age.

“[Kids] so easily make the artwork about themselves, which is totally the point,” Abare said. “Hopefully you don’t ever lose that.”

When she’s off the clock, Abare strolls through art museums with friends who don’t know much about art and likes hearing how the displays interest them. Abare finds the human connection made through leading tours and educating others about art the most rewarding part of her job.

“There are days when you finish talking in a group and you’re just like, ‘Wow, we are doing good things,’ and it makes you happy,” Abare said.