Making connections and sharing knowledge
IN 1987, Margaret Martin began training a group of forty-five new tour guides for the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
One of those vibrant volunteers was Yvette Hiscock.
After 32 years of service, Ms Hiscock conducted her last tour of the permanent collection last week, with gallery director, Louise Tegart and curator, Julie McLaren in attendance.
Now in her eighties, Mrs Hiscock felt it was time to step down from her duties, which included taking visitors around the permanent collection, recently rehung in themed sections.
Having shared the gallery’s significant works and historical information over many years, with many more people, she said she’ll forever have a love of the arts and the gallery.
“I’ve absolutely adored it. I’ve never lost that passion and enthusiasm for the wonderful collection,” Mrs Hiscock said.
“I love the connection with people, and it’s lovely to be able to get what people feel about works. There’s no right or wrong, it’s how people interpret it.
“People appreciate it. They do say they’d never have picked up on some things unless they’d gone around with one of we guides, and they’re vitally interested about the stories and history.”
The gallery may have changed over the years, but Mrs Hiscock is thankful to all staff and her fellow guides for their expertise and support.
“The friendship part of guiding is always so important. The guides that I began with still remain wonderful friends,” she said.
“Every director has brought strength. With Louise, she’s looking at the hanging in a completely different way and it’s wonderful, putting us all on our toes.”
A piece Mrs Hiscock has always loved is Tom Roberts’s Summer Morning Tiff from 1886.
A painting of a woman in white amongst Box Hill’s indigenous stringy barks, the composition is “intimate” and captivating.
“There’s a lovely feeling of light in the work,” she said.
Reflecting on her training, Mrs Hiscock gained a wealth of artistic and cultural understanding.
“I was always interested in art and I did do some art related study at Melbourne Uni, but training with the guides, one ends up with the most wonderful knowledge. I really appreciate that,” she said.
“Just yesterday I was at the National Gallery, the Ian Potter Centre, and it’s wonderful because that knowledge comes shining through. That’s something I’ll never lose.
“As we retire, we take that with us, and it just gives us years of further enjoyment. It makes all the difference. It’s such a joy.”
Mrs Hiscock is excited to have more time in her garden, at home with husband, Peter, and continuous involvement with the gallery as an associate.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat currently has about 36 guides, with eight newcomers in training.