Meet the Co-Chairs

Pati ChasnoffPati Chasnoff
I have been a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for 14 years. Becoming a docent is the best thing I have done for myself as an adult. I became a DIT (docent in training, our term of endearment) not because I loved art but because I loved ongoing learning, and this training was 3 years, twice a week with the same group of DITs. The outcome, of course, was great friends, and a true love and appreciation of art. I am fascinated by how the many different artists express themselves. Each piece reflects the individual artist, and the culture they come from and the time in which they are painting. And, there is always something new to learn and to share with our visitors. How Wonderful! How Exciting!

My Connection with NDS
I attended my first Symposium in 2013. I loved meeting docents from so many other places. Learning how their programs were similar and different, sharing our joys and challenges. After the 2015 Symposium, we at the Nelson began to consider hosting a symposium. And in 2017 we were selected for 2021 (now 2022). I have appreciated all the learning, advise, and consultation from Council members, and from former chairs of the Symposium. I know I speak for all of us – We are eager to welcome you to KC and to share our city and our museum with you. The Nelson is eager to host NDS2022.

Carol CowdenCarol Cowden

I have been a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City for 9 years. With degrees in education and many years in the non-profit community, I love using my experience and training to help children and adults engage with art. What a joy it is to see the eager smiles and bright eyes of students who are seeing art in new ways! Working with Denise, Pati and the docents of the Nelson to create a warm welcome and valuable learning opportunity at NDS 2022 is a great privilege.

My Connection with the NDSC
Being brand new to the NDSC, I look forward to being part of the important work of symposium planning and docent enrichment. As the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art prepares to host in 2022, council members have made an extraordinary effort to be helpful to us in every way. They have been friendly and gracious in every way, and I look forward to serving with such a dedicated group.

julie haasJulie Haas
For almost 30 years, I worked in higher education, overseeing my college’s marketing communication efforts for admissions and recruitment, continuing education, a performing arts series, a contemporary art museum, and event management. After retirement, I was drawn to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I was once a history major, so I am always drawn to historical and cultural aspects of diverse regions. I’m a relatively new docent (my class graduated in spring 2020, in the midst of the pandemic), so I’ve learned to balance in-person with virtual touring experiences.

My Connection to NDS
I have stepped into the co-chair role for the symposium to fill a vacancy and am grateful for the solid foundation that’s been built. I appreciate the support of the council and of my co-chairs and am looking forward to my first symposium! 

Denise Saper
Denise Saper, Co-Chair Emeritus
After a career in outside sales including pharmaceuticals and finance, I was fortunate to retire early. My husband and I have traveled extensively and it is through these travels and visiting museums around the world that I found a great love of art and the joy of sharing observations/opinions with others. This brought me to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 2008 and the best volunteer “job” for me! Being able to interact with all kinds of people, children and adults, and learning skills to facilitate these conversations have enriched my life. I am one of the Co-Chairs for the 2021 NDS, represent NDS on our Docent Committee and have previously served on the training committee for new Docents at the Nelson-Atkins.

My Connection to NDS
When the opportunity to host NDS was presented to the Nelson-Atkins docent body and we were asked to vote to determine if we would host I immediately said YES! I was thrilled to say yes to the request to assist in Co-Chairing the event. Meeting all of the dedicated NDS Council members in Montreal and participating in my first Symposium both excited me to learn from Docents from so many different museums and then challenged me to help meet or exceed the expectations of the many dedicated docents who attend NDS when we host in 2021!





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