by Sonya Poweska, Melissa Gobeil, and Katie Wilde
In their article, Volunteers and Donors in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2010 , Hill Strategies reports that in 2010, 764,000 volunteers contributed approximately 97 million hours of their time to support the work for arts and culture organizations. This amazing contribution of time not only allows organizations like Guelph Arts Council do our work, it also helps create a bridge between our organization and the community.
You may not know that our Board of Directors is made up entirely of volunteers who give their time and expertise to our organization. We also have volunteers helping the in the office with resources, and other arts admin, as well as renewing and revitalising underused space, and assisting us to run major events.
As in previous years, our recent crew of over 100 Doors Open Guelph volunteers were incredible! Welcoming locals and visitors from out of town, guiding them through the sites with tales of history, community, and creativity, they made this free community event happen, and we couldn’t have done it without them.
While I am not an active volunteer in this community at the moment, I have experienced the benefit of working closely with an amazing group of volunteers while working with the Guelph Arts Council (GAC).
In addition to our recent work with the incredible Doors Open Guelph volunteers, the steady and ongoing support of GAC’s volunteer Board of Directors is a constant reminder that spaces, projects and organizations are fueled by a shared passion, and given lift by the innate generosity of spirit seen amongst these volunteers. Volunteers lend their expertise, time and other precious resources to bring incredible feats to life and it feels about time for me to join their ranks again.
My own volunteerism took place in my twenties when I worked with children in Peru, India, and Ghana; and while I’ve had a long respite, it feels about time to kick something more local into gear. I’m not sure how it is going to look exactly, but I do look forward to finding a group whose work resonates and seeing what I can do to lend a helping hand
Although I was sad to have to give up my regular weekly volunteer shift at 10 Carden, I am pleased to still be involved helping the rotating community art program run while the original coordinator is on leave.
When I first moved to Guelph just over a year ago, I hardly knew a soul, and didn’t have a job besides my own work as an artist (not exactly lucrative enough to live on just yet). I needed to find out where the people were! Through the Volunteer Centre of Guelph Wellington, I came across the Host position at 10 Carden, whose motto is “Creating Space for Change”. I have met so many wonderful people through my volunteer work there, from the other volunteers, to the co-workers, event attendees, members, and staff.
It’s been an honour to assist the art program coordinator, and a pleasure to work with the artists who bring in new work each month. Volunteering is a great way to build skills and relationships, while building community.