BY BARBARA M. TOBIAS –
Why should anyone volunteer? The reasons are probably as numerous as the people who contribute their time and expertise—I can only tell you my reasons.
I happen to choose to volunteer primarily with the Mena Art Gallery because of a long-standing interest in art, but the rewards to me are many. I get to see artists’ work made available to people in our city who might otherwise not have access to it; I have the fun of working with other people instead of spending my time alone; I can choose from a variety of tasks. Some of these tasks take skills that I acquired during my years as a wage earner, and some of them I have the opportunity of learning “on the job.”
The variety of opportunities for volunteers is probably greater with a non-profit organization like the gallery because they do not have funding to pay for much of the work that must be done to keep any organization functioning. These are some of the committees that make the gallery possible, all staffed by volunteers:
Exhibits—schedules what shows will run and helps to find the volunteers (there’s that word again!) to make each one happen, from the children’s show to the Art of the Heartland, working with professional artists nationwide as well as local artists.
Building and Maintenance—I’m sure you know how many little things need to be done to keep an old building working!
Marketing and Promotion—like any business, we need to tell the world what we’re doing.
Fundraising—it takes a multitude of skills to find the ways to support a non-profit organization, all the way from baking cookies, to creating a budget, to soliciting funds, and a variety of things in between.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the time to assist organizations like the gallery, but if you are one of those lucky few, why not give it a try? If art has no appeal for you, what about the local library, hospital, schools, churches, and the many other organizations that make Mena such a wonderful place to live?