During her 25 years as a docent at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Katherine "Kay" Gwaltney Remick has learned a great deal about art history. A former librarian and proprietor of a children's bookstore, Kay is eager to help visitors learn to 'read' the works in the galleries.
"The paintings are like books on the wall," she explains. "Once you know a little bit about them, whole new worlds open up."
As much as she enjoys sharing her knowledge with museum patrons, Kay knows that personal connections are often the most powerful. Her experience leading tours for visitors with Alzheimer's disease and dementia provides dramatic examples.
"I was with a group to see Frederick Carl Frieseke's Blue Interior: Giverny (The Red Ribbon), which depicts a young woman in a blue and white dress adjusting her hair ribbon in front of a mirror," Kay recalls. "Looking at this painting prompted one participant—who had been completely withdrawn until then—to begin talking about what the color blue had meant throughout her life."
To ensure that the museum continues to inspire visitors long after she retires from her docent career, Kay named VMFA as the beneficiary of her IRA, with the proceeds benefiting education.
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