Become a Docent

Being a volunteer docent at FCCA means you can:

  • Greet daily visitors and artists
  • Participate in daily gallery operation
    • A person who docents four hours per month shall qualify for a no-fee individual membership. A person who contributes six hours of docent services per month shall qualify for a no-fee family membership.
  • Attend annual “invitation only” docent luncheon
  • Be a part of the growing art community
  • Have exposure to National Juried Exhibits and artists
  • Network with local artists

Questions? Contact the Docent Coordinator

Volunteer Form

Oct-Nov 2014 Docent-In-Focus: Sheila Jones.

Sheila Jones first discovered the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts when she was out making the rounds on First Friday with her friends. Once she joined FCCA, she was off and running, by volunteering as a docent and joining the Art Education Committee, as well as entering her photographs in our shows. Believing that FCCA should be offering more classes, she was instrumental in setting up the very successful youth art programs we sponsored at Hazel Hill and Mayfield subdivisions this summer.

Sheila is a native of Spotsylvania County. She was an education major at Norfolk State University, but dropped out when she decided she didn’t have the patience to teach. Sheila later went into law enforcement and obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bluefield College, which has satellite classes at the Police Academy.

It was doing crime scene photography, while working as a supervisor in the detective division of the Fredericksburg Police Department, that got Sheila hooked on photography. She recently retired at the rank of lieutenant, but immediately started working for the Fredericksburg Sheriff’s Department as a part time deputy, giving her time to pursue her photography hobby more seriously. Sheila has begun exploring other forms of art by enrolling in an acrylic class taught by Ruth Ann Loving, which she enjoys, but claims she is not very good at. Medicorp named Sheila a “Community Hero of the Year” in 2013 for her work in the Police Department. We are honored to have her in our volunteer ranks.

June-July 2014 Docent-In-Focus: Darlene Wilkinson.

Early on, after getting an art degree, Darlene felt that tradional art was not her thing. She has always felt the need to think outside the box when producing her art. As a long time meditator the transition was easy to become an intuitive artist. Darlene likes to take found objects and create art from them. She never knows when she starts a project, how it will turn out in the end. Darlene started the Mixed Media Guild at FCCA ,which was active for about four years. (If there is renewed interest in reviving the Mixed Media Guild, be sure to let her know!)

Due to her husband’s employment Darlene has moved many times. She said she stopped counting after 27 moves. This has given her great opportunities to learn about other people, places and art. Lucky for us, she moved to Fredericksburg and was encouraged to join FCCA. She has been on the Board here as both the Membership and Art Education Chair in the past. She enjoyed her time at both of these jobs where she got to meet the members and teaching artists of our area.

Darlene became one of our docents about three years ago. What she loves about being a docent is the chance to see her artist friends, meeting visitors and new members of FCCA, and the chance to share the phenomenal art on our wall with our visitors. She says you never know what might happen on any given day. It could be very busy, with artists dropping off or picking up work, as well as visitors and art sales. Then again there are some slow days when she can brush up on her docent duties and create art while keeping the gallery open. All in all Darlene loves FCCA and hopes many more people passing through the gallery will learn about what we do, and become docents. It is very rewarding.

December-January 2014 Docent-In-Focus: Robert Hunter.

Since retiring from teaching art at Colonial Beach High School in 2012, I’ve become a docent at the FCCA and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience. I’ve gotten to meet several area artists who show their work at the FCCA and it has been nice to speak with artists whose work I’ve admired over the years.

I’m very impressed with the quality of work being exhibited at the FCCA and Carrol Morgan and Bob Worthy do an excellent job curating each show at the FCCA.

Over the last five years I’ve been to at least a dozen regional art centers on the east coast and the FCCA compares very favorably.

Now that I work as a full time artist I have had the luxury of spending concentrated periods of time exploring image making through digital printmaking and book art. Both have their own allure but the craft necessary in book making has provided an opportunity to explore a totally new skill set. In addition an Artist Book creates an opportunity to extend digital ideas through a multiple image collection which is created to sustain the visual narrative of the book. One of my books will be in the “It’s Small” exhibition at the FCCA during this month. Also, as an artist, I’ve had more time to exhibit my work in additional venues outside the Fredericksburg area. In August I had a Mini Solo show at the Touchstone Gallery in Washington D.C. and in 2014 I will be exhibiting work at the 3rd Street Gallery in Philadelphia, Pa. Currently one of my prints is being displayed in the Boston Printmakers North American Biennial held at Boston University’s 808 Gallery.

I’m honored to have been asked to share something about myself as a docent at the FCCA and I’m looking forward to continuing to contribute to the many excellent opportunities that the FCCA provides the residents of Fredericksburg and surrounding areas.

October-November 2013 Docent-In-Focus: Phyllis Graudszus.

The FCCA would like to recognize Phyllis Graudszus for her dedication to the FCCA galleries and for serving as a long-time docent volunteer. Our docents are the face of the FCCA and it’s because of their generous donation of time each month that we can keep the gallery doors open 6 days a week. Phyllis has been a member since 2005 and a docent for the last 5 years, giving freely of her time every month on behalf of the FCCA. A very talented artist herself, Phyllis says she has been practicing art since she was old enough to pick up her first pencil. Her specialty is drawing, particularly ink on clayboard, and she exhibits her award-winning artworks regularly at the FCCA as well as at other local galleries. Her favorite thing about being a docent at the FCCA is meeting and getting to know other artists. She shared especially kind words about fellow member artist and volunteer, Liana Pivirotto, saying “Liana has been a wonderful mentor and friend to me. She’s a beautiful part of the FCCA.” Thank you, Phyllis, for being a beautiful part of the FCCA, too.

August-September 2013 Docent-In-Focus: Charlotte Richards.

Charlotte Richards became Spotsylvania’s first art teacher in 1966, and she and her husband Gary have lived in Fredericksburg ever since. She says, “I taught 39 years as a high school art teacher and loved every minute of it. But now that I’m retired it gives me time to concentrate on my own art.” Charlotte has been a volunteer docent at the FCCA galleries since first becoming a member two years ago. She exhibits her own work in FCCA exhibitions, and shared some insight as to her process as an artist, “I paint in series which helps me learn the subject area. I also like to paint large but I’m working on painting in a lot of different sizes now. I approach each painting with an open mind and a lot of experimentation. I take the painting up to a certain point, choosing to leave unfinished areas for the viewer’s imagination. By taking risks and breaking some of the rules, I choose to be innovative and original. I now choose to color outside the lines.”

Being a docent at the FCCA gives you a chance to experience the galleries as they come to life each day, not just by opening the doors and turning on the lights, but by engaging with artists, students and visitors, each with their own perspective on art, and then seeing something new through each other’s eyes. When asked about spending time as a docent, Charlotte shared, “I love being in the gallery with the artwork. It gives me time to leisurely study the selected pieces. I often docent with Kate Dervin, another artist and FCCA member, and she and I enjoy discussing each piece together. I have learned a lot about color combinations, framing, and even artist signatures. It’s always fun to come into the gallery and see how the show has been hung. The exhibition team does such a good job coordinating the colors from one painting to the next – They always put together an exciting show. There are so many things I like about the FCCA… the exciting openings each First Friday of the month, the camaraderie of the artists, and the organization itself is very impressive. I am proud to say that I am a member of FCCA.”

June-July 2013 Docent-In-Focus: Tom Smagala.

“My favorite thing about being a docent is talking art with fellow art lovers.” Tom Smagala has been a docent at the FCCA since first becoming a member three years ago. He volunteers as docent for the galleries a few times every month and is also an active member of the exhibit installation crew. As an artist and frequent exhibitor at the FCCA.

Tom says, “I like exhibiting my work at FCCA whether it is at one of the national juried shows or the regional mixed media shows. I have enjoyed connecting with fellow local artists.” About his work he says, “I paint life’s happenings. I’ve been painting since I was 14. I taught art and photography in Hanover for 30 years, and have been painting in my studio and showing in local galleries since retiring in 2010.”

Tom and his wife have lived in Virginia for 35 years, calling Fredericksburg home for about 15 years. As a member and volunteer at the FCCA, he says, “One of my favorite moments was being a docent for a small group of special needs students from a local Fredericksburg school. I would like to encourage all FCCA members to do their part and volunteer as a docent at the Center. I would also like to thank Carrol Morgan and Bob Worthy for all of their hard work and encouragement.”

We’d like to thank you, Tom! Thank you for all you do for the FCCA… for sharing your experience, your perspective as an artist, for engaging gallery visitors, fellow members and artists, and for lending a hand whenever one is needed. Volunteers like you are the backbone of the FCCA!

April-May 2013 Docent-In-Focus:Lee Cochrane.

 The FCCA would like to recognize Lee Cochrane as the latest Docent-In-Focus. Thanks for all you do, Lee! Lee Cochrane has been a member of the FCCA for three years, and has been contributing in vital ways from the start. The FCCA has been able to open the galleries an extra day each week since Lee joined. She said, “When I signed up to be a docent, they were talking about trying to open on Wednesdays, so I told them I would schedule myself to work those days. I was looking for a way to get more active in the community, so volunteering weekly as a docent was a good fit for me.” The FCCA galleries are now only closed on Tuesdays, and it’s because of the generosity and hard work of our docents that we are open six days a week.

Lee helps out in many other great ways, too. She serves as the FCCA Hospitality Coordinator, being responsible for organizing First Friday receptions and ensuring guests receive a warm welcome. Lee saw a need in FCCA’s events, so she “volunteered to consolidate the First Friday planning; I do all the notifying, shopping and setup. Everyone is so great about contributing a variety of food and beverages, they make my job much easier!”

The FCCA relies on member volunteers to act as First Friday hosts, and we appreciate their service, greeting visitors, introducing exhibiting artists, and helping to make each opening night a success. Lee explained how she came to know the FCCA, having “always enjoyed dabbling in art, I got hooked on photography when I bought a Nikon D50 for a trip to Scotland and England in 2006. One of my cousins liked my photos and encouraged me to show my work, so I entered five pieces in the Fredericksburg Photography Show. To my surprise, I came home with a first and three honorable mentions! I joined the Fredericksburg Photography Club after that, and urged on by Norma Woodward, started entering my work in shows at the FCCA.”

“I hit the road every chance I get, and of course I bring my camera. I’ve been sailing most of my life, and it was through sailing that I met my husband. We crew together on a keelboat and race against each other in the summer.” Lee is anticipating an important race in August, and always looking out for the FCCA, she is seeking volunteers well in advance to handle reception setup for First Friday, Aug. 2nd. If you can help, please contact Lee at (540) 373-5646.

February-March 2013 Docent-in-Focus

Sue Sherman joined the FCCA in July 2011 and immediately became a docent and also started serving as Secretary to the Board of Trustees, and she maintains both of these roles today. Sue always steps up whenever there is a gap to be filled in the docent schedule, or when any other tasks need to be done. Volunteerism is at the heart of the FCCA, and Sue has a permanent place in right in the center.

A lifelong resident of Fredericksburg, Sue was born and raised just three blocks from the Sophia Street galleries. When asked why she is a docent, she said, “My favorite part of being a docent is when you can talk someone into becoming a member and then, when they bring in their very first entry for a show, it makes you feel like you helped give them that little ‘extra’ push to believe in themselves enough to put their work out there to be judged.”

We smiled when Sue shared, “Since joining the FCCA and becoming a docent, I’ve met some of the best people and have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at the galleries… it’s easy to smile here. I think that’s probably what people remember the most about me …that I’m always smiling here.” Thank you, Sue!