The Fralin community docents are trained in a variety of museum education techniques, including the inquiry method. After completion of the required Docent Training Course, they lead tours for school groups and community organizations and assist with the annual Writer's Eye competition and the Eyes on Art program for individuals with Alzheimer's.
After their initial training period, docents receive ongoing education from education staff, curators, and guest speakers on special exhibitions and the permanent collection. As a group, docents occasionally take field trips to other museums. Some docents also attend regional and national docent education conferences.
The museum accepts applications on a rolling basis from community members who wish to become docents, and interviews are conducted prior to the beginning of each Docent Training Course. For information about future docent training opportunities, visit the Community Docent Program page or email Docent Education.
Eyes on Art
Continued exposure to art and music can slow the decline of persons with Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders. Eyes on Art is an innovative program designed in partnership with the Arts Fusion Program of the Central and Western Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, to engage people with Alzheimer's
in meaningful discussions about art. Specially trained docents lead participants and their caregivers on small group tours when the Museum is closed to the public. Programs explore different exhibitions each month, and many incorporate music and a variety of hands-on projects.
To schedule a visit from a residential facility, contact tour coordinator Riley McCall by email > or by phone at 434.243.2050.
Programs for early stage participants and their caregivers are held on the third Thursday of each month, from 2:30–3:15 pm, and provide a supportive social environment for all.
To join the early stage group, contact Sharon Hughes by email > or by phone at 434.973.6122, ext. 123
Writer's Eye 2016
Now in it’s 30th year, Writer’s Eye, started by The Fralin’s docents in 1986, is an annual literary competition that challenges writers of all ages. Writers from 3rd grade through adults use visual art as inspiration for the creation of original poetry and prose. Compositions inspired by selected works on view in the Museum can be submitted in the categories of Prose or Poetry, for grades 3–5, 6–8, 9–12, and University/Adult. Winners are honored at an annual ceremony in the spring, and first-, second-, and third-place winning entries are published in the Writer's Eye anthology.
Entries are judged anonymously by area teachers and writing professionals. This year’s Distinguished Judges include authors Lisa Russ Spaar and Christopher Tilghman. Lisa Russ Spaar, the Distinguished Judge for Poetry, is the author/editor of over ten books of poetry and criticism, including the Monticello in Mind: 50 Contemporary Poems on Jefferson. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize Anthology, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. Christopher Tilghman, the Distinguished Judge for Prose, is the author of two short story collections, In a Father’s Place, and The Way People Run, and the novels, Mason’s Retreat and Roads of the Heart. His reviews and essays have appeared frequently in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere. Learn more about this year’s judges here.
Art selections for Writer’s Eye 2016 will be drawn from four new exhibitions: Andy Warhol: Icons, THE GREAT WAR: Printmakers of World War I from the VMFA, A Gift of Knowing: The Art of Dorothea Rockburne, and New Acquisitions: Photography, as well as from the museum’s permanent collections.
Docent-led Writer’s Eye tours begin on August 29th, 2016 and end November 22nd 2016. Schedule a tour for Writer’s Eye 2016.
WE 2016 tour booking form >
WE 2016 key dates and information >
WE 2016 competition guidelines and entry form >
WE 2016 visitation guidelines >
WE tips and hints >
Directions for unloading, parking, and loading buses >
Parking map for cars and small buses >
Evaluate your Writer's Eye tour here >
Writer's Eye 2015
Between September 8 and November 13, 2015, more than 3,800 students in grades 3-12 toured the Museum for Writer’s Eye, as well as more than 400 adults from the University and the community. We received 1,821 entries in all categories, an increase of nearly 8% over last year. We are pleased to announce the winners of Writer's Eye 2015: