MMoCA Volunteer Uses Art Education to Give Back

Theodora “Teddy” Zehner, a volunteer at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, calls herself a “jack of all trades” willing to step in and assist wherever needed.

Since joining MMoCA, Zehner has been a member of the Board of Art League and Board of Trustees and helps organize events like the Art Fair on the Square, the Holiday Art Fair and Hair Affair: The Art of Hair. She currently serves as president of MMoCA Volunteers and president of the Board of Art League.

“It was a very natural fit for me to get involved with the museum,” Zehner says. “Art has always been a part of my life.”

Zehner taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and has two art degrees.

In 2006, Zahner started working at MMoCA as a docent before the museum reopened in the same location on State Street, but in a new structure shared with Overture Center. As a docent, she was able to learn more about the history of contemporary art in the 1960s and 1970s.

“I had this little family base [at MMoCA] early on and then, when the new museum opened, that happily coincided with the fact that I was able to devote more time,” she says.

Zehner says she did not want to volunteer with MMoCA until she knew she had the time to commit. She treats volunteerism like professionalism.

“Community involvement adds to the feeling of one big, happy family where you have a sense of commitment about the things that are important to you,” she says.

MMoCA also opens itself up to other performing arts by hosting lectures and film screenings. Zehner says these events attract Madison residents and UW–Madison faculty.

“We embrace the community,” Zehner says.

MMoCA streamlines the volunteering process by identifying opportunities available and seeking volunteers based on their skills and interests. Zehner says this makes it easier for people to see what opportunities are available in the limited time they have.

“Life has changed,” Zehner says. “We have hardworking couples who are raising families; some of them are holding two or three jobs. The demographics have changed completely.”

For more information about the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, visit

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