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DIA Volunteer
DIA Volunteer

Volunteer Award Winner:
Geri Risgin

Docent - 2002

Geri has a BA and a MA from the University of Michigan in English Language and Literature with studies in Fine Arts. She was also accepted in a PhD program in Art Architecture and American Studies. In addition to her DIA activities, Geri has been a docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Arts for a number of years. She enjoys the variety in both museums. Geri's community activities have included volunteer work at the Women's Crisis Center and as a docent at the former Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in Ann Arbor.

Her involvement with the DIA began as a young girl; being a Detroiter, she fondly remembers her visits with her father and his telling of his experience of watching Diego Rivera working on his murals. To Geri, the DIA was a wonderful place to visit, one that she felt comfortable in and very much at home. Six years ago she joined the Docent program and her enthusiasm and commitment has continued to grow! Besides the regular VTS school tours, she does Public and Spanish Tours and participates in the Special Tours trainings also, i.e. Africa, Asia and Modern are in preparation for the new Friday Nights' activities! Geri has been most generous with her tour time on all levels.

For the past three years, she has been actively involved in the DIA's Letter Writing Contest. This year, one of the winners was a class of orthopedic students; this was a real highlight for her to observe the obvious delight of the students as they became involved with art and the rapport that was established between the Docents and the young people. There is great difficulty for handicapped students to come to the DIA because of transportation rules. Geri would like to see more students with disabilities visit the DIA and hopes that partnership support, in some format, could help accomplish this goal! Furthermore, she has been a member of the American Art Department "dusting crew" and has now completed the Speakers Bureau training and will become an active member.

Being a Docent has benefited Geri personally; her self-growth has been substantial and she has thoroughly enjoyed learning about specific art pieces, galleries and special exhibitions. She has honed her research skills and can often be found in the library! Geri expresses excitement and amazement to see trends from diverse directions come together, i.e. Rivera at the DIA and Albert Kahn at UMMA.

In June the Volunteer to Volunteer Award was surprisingly and gratefully received. This award emphasizes the commitment and interaction of all DIA volunteers.

This year Geri is on the Docent Board as the liaison between the board and the tour docent liaisons. Best wishes for a wonderful year and again our congratulations on your being named DOCENT OF THE YEAR!

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