Docent Profiles

Raquel Sudit

Boca Raton resident Raquel Sudit loves two things: art, and sharing her knowledge with others. This is true of all the members of the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s docent program, but Raquel has a special knack for connecting with guests during her gallery tours and creating moments she calls “magic.” She is a wonderful example of someone whose spirit and creativity in teaching and sharing for passion are inspirational.

The Museum hosted more than 210 school tours last year, welcoming nearly 4,800 students into the galleries. Docents work with students to develop their visual literacy and critical thinking during a tour, and Raquel – who has been a docent since 2006 – delights in the sometimes unexpected answers she hears, like when students debate whether the circular part of Adolph Gottlieb’s Drift painting is a meteor or a meatball. “It’s marvelous how imaginative they are!” she says.

Raquel takes an imaginative approach to the tours herself – she’ll often spin students in circles to demonstrate the optical illusion-like qualities of Richard Anuskiewicz’ work, or ask them to move from side to side to watch the colors in Carlos Cruz-Diez’ Physichrome 571 seemingly disappear and reappear. “By doing these things, the museum becomes a place where you can have fun while you learn. That’s what I love,” she says.

Adding a little magic to a tour is not Raquel’s only specialty – she also conducts a scheduled tour in Spanish once a month, and will speak Español with guests upon request or when she sees they might be more comfortable speaking Spanish. She’s observed that many people come to take the Spanish tour not because it is their native language, but because they are learning to speak Spanish more conversationally.

Docent Raquel Sudit leads a gallery tour.

Linda Sandelman

Linda Sandelman first took the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s docent class in 1993 – almost 25 years ago – but traveled too much at the time to put her training to use. In the past few years she has been able to return to her love of art and people to volunteer as a docent regularly, calling it “the perfect retirement thing for me because of the great variety. It keeps me learning and social.” Linda is a great example of someone who’s found a tremendous value for herself in the service she gives to others.

While Linda has always appreciated art (she studied it in school and visited museums on nearly all of her travels), her true joy as a docent comes from learning about the perspectives of the guests who take her tours. Docents are provided background information on all of our exhibitions and galleries, which change frequently and provide a lot of new material for the volunteers to learn and keep up with. Linda delights in the learning, but she finds visitors’ interpretations of the artworks even more fascinating. “How unusual it is,” she says, “that five people can look at the same object and see five different things.”

One of her favorite examples of the difference that perspective makes is a memory of a gentleman firmly declaring that he hates abstract art. Rather than getting flustered, she stopped and asked why. “I grew up during the war, when a lot of this art was made” he told her. “The abstractness reminds me of the chaos of war.” Similarly, she has met guests who specifically request to see paintings of flowers because they grew up during the Depression, when flowers were a luxury no one could afford. “If you stop to ask why, you learn so much more,” Linda says. “Being a docent has given me such a different perspective not just on art, but on people.”

Docent Linda Sandelman.

Docent Raquel Sudit leads a gallery tour.

Docent Linda Sandelman.