Learning with Landmarks: Elizabeth Upenieks

31 July 2019

woman in front of painting

Landmarks interviewed Elizabeth Upenieks, who volunteered as a Landmarks docent for nearly three years. We discussed her favorite parts of the Landmarks collection and her experience as a docent, as well as how those experiences have informed her professional career. If you’re interested in volunteering with Landmarks, learn more on our volunteer page.

When were you involved with Landmarks as a docent?
I was involved with Landmarks from Fall 2013 to May 2016.

Where are you now?
I am currently living in the suburbs of Boston, working in Lincoln, MA at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, a contemporary art museum.

How has your experience with Landmarks informed your career?
Landmarks gave me the opportunity to share my enthusiasm and knowledge of contemporary art with the public. Through the docent program I became more comfortable in my own knowledge and with public speaking. Seeing how people responded to my tours with equal enthusiasm and joy helped me to realize that I wanted to pursue a career in contemporary art.

What did you like most about being a Landmarks docent?
I liked the feedback from tour visitors the most. They all seemed to really enjoy that the art on campus was so accessible and I was part of that reason! (The annual dog tours were also a favorite.)

What is your favorite Landmarks project and why?
My favorite Landmarks project is Michael Ray Charles’ (Forever Free) Ideas, Languages and Conversations. Seeing the piece from concept to installation to the opening made it an integral part of my experience as a docent. I also loved the endless meanings and interpretations that could be pulled out during tours and my own visits to the piece.

In your opinion, which Landmarks project is most at home on a university campus?
I think Nancy Rubins' Monochrome for Austin and Sol LeWitt's Circle with Towers. Both pieces encourage the public to look, sit, and engage with the piece and also blend into the campus environment seamlessly, making them a big part of my time at UT.