Marcela Moreno is a new(ish) resident of Asheville, and urban planner. She moved to Asheville from Atlanta in November 2018 and is thoroughly enjoying life in Western North Carolina. She works for the City of Asheville as a transit projects coordinator where she does short-term and long-range planning for the Transit Division.
What made you want to become a volunteer?
I wanted to become a volunteer, specifically a docent, to share my passion for art with others. Sometimes arts can come off as inaccessible or intimidating to people, but I think it’s important to always remember that art can take many forms. Art is a way to celebrate your culture, to express yourself politically and emotionally. I think that once you can make the connection that art isn’t just Eurocentric landscapes that popular culture or the media often hones in on, you can see yourself and relate to it more. Art, I believe, is a way to experience the world, even if you aren’t jet-setting on a plane. You get exposed to different ideas and emotions from the artist, and that’s beautiful. I was in the Brooklyn Museum in their feminist art exhibit, and really enjoyed that they included flyers promoting protests as art, they had the Dinner Party [by Judy Chicago] on exhibit, album covers—and that really drove the point home that art is more than what people traditionally consider as art that’s “worthy” of being in a museum. So, in sum, I want to open people’s eyes to art and the value that it can bring into their lives, and make it more approachable!
Share a memorable experience you’ve had at the Museum.
One of my first dates with my boyfriend was at the Museum! I was excited to show him around (I believe it was after we had gotten trained on the Appalachia Now! exhibition from the fall). After we looked at art for… ever… we talked on the rooftop of the Museum for hours about ourselves and what art we enjoyed. The rooftop has been a place of amazing conversations with friends, fellow docents… it’s the perfect place to sit and share your experience with friends.
What do you like most about being a volunteer?
I have really enjoyed the conversations with other volunteers, and being able to learn so much about the artwork in the Museum. As someone new to the region, I think it has been especially helpful to learn about the history of Western North Carolina through the arts and crafts that the Museum has on display.
Are there particular artworks, exhibitions, or galleries that are special to you?
Yes! I think the Appalachia Now! exhibition. For the reasons I talked about before—it was formative in my education about the place that I now call home. Also when we first entered the Museum for docent training, I remember seeing the sparkle from the paper-crane installation [Clarissa Sligh‘s Blessing of the Men] through the glass doors and remember being impatient to see it completely.
Quick! What’s one word you think of when you hear “Asheville Art Museum”?
Refuge—art is an escape for me, to put myself in someone else’s shoes and try and understand them.