Girl Scouts get creative at Art Museum  

Photo of girl scouts learning at the art museum

By Ellen Buerk, Volunteer Docent

A home run was hit when the Girl Scouts of Ross and Talawanda school districts teamed up this past year with the volunteer docents of the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum (RCCAM) at Miami University to earn their Girl Scout Badges in painting, ceramics, and comic arts. 

More than 160 Girl Scouts, ranging between 2nd and 6th grades (6-12 years old), from Brownies through to Cadettes, were able to earn their badges and at the same time visit and learn about art on display at RCCAM during Spring and Fall 2023. They sparkled with excitement as they created paintings, learned about color, and did negative painting (which involves painting a dark background around lighter colors). The Girl Scouts had the opportunity to make pinch pots, clay hand puppets and clay masks to name a few projects. Miami University students studying ceramic arts also participated in the program and provided assistance. 

Billy Simms, artist and coordinator of the Western Center Program at Miami University, led two sessions on cartooning. Members of RCCAM’s volunteer docent program, many of whom are retired teachers and also artists, facilitated this impactful program. They include Ruth Overly, Sue Jones, Anne Bell, Rene Potter, Marcia Perry, Natalia Isaeva; Ellen Buerk also facilitated and developed the curriculum. The program would not have been possible without the support of Katie Wilson, volunteer Service Unit Coordinator of Talawanda and Oxford Girl Scouts.

The program was made possible through a grant from the Kiwanis Club of Oxford which helped RCCAM purchase supplies. We are especially grateful for the financial support from the Oxford Kiwanis organization which we received to fund this project. We are looking forward to more offerings going forward. 

Girl Scout troops interested in earning arts badges should email for more information about the program. Sessions are offered several times a year with sessions planned for February, April, and May 2024. To find out more about supporting RCCAM and volunteering with us, please visit RCCAM’s website.

Photos by Docent Marcia Perry used with permission of participants.


Above: Volunteer docent Sue Jones gets the Girl Scouts engaged in
color through Hans Hoffman’s Blue Spell in the Art History at Glance exhibit.
Photo: M. Perry. 

RCCAM Volunteer Docents (L-R) Marcia Perry, Sue Jones, Ellen Buerk, Anne Bell, Rene Potter 

A docent since 2019, retired physician Dr. Ellen Buerk has enjoyed getting to know her fellow docents while presenting through the Institute for Learning In Retirement (ILR) Art Museum “Up Close” course, coordinating the Girl Scouts program and learning all about the art exhibitions on view each semester. She was drawn to the museum’s volunteer program by the enthusiastic docent members and the notion that she could continue learning about art.

Please visit the Art Museum Giving Page and consider a donation to support RCCAM’s exhibitions, programs, and collections.