Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Art & volunteers

The Thinker
Pen & Ink, coloured pencil 8 x 10
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I have worked for most of my professional life with volunteers and for volunteers. I also am a volunteer myself in the art world. I worked on the board of directors of my local art association and am a volunteer teacher/moderator on an online art forum and have done for the last two years.

For those who don't work in the non profit industry - or the art industry for that matter - volunteering is a foreign and often dirty word to them. 'Why would you work for nothing?' I hear over and over again. 'What? A meeting at night?'

Volunteers are simply staff that aren't paid for what they do. I treat them the same way I do staff and as a volunteer, I expect to be treated equally well. And I also expect that the effort that I put into volunteering does not cause undue stress or that I am used or abused in that position.

In the world of art online, people expect a lot from an art forum. They never consider that what they are getting is some of the finest instruction from experienced artists for free. And often they come to expect - or demand - it and more without fully realizing the work that behind the scenes to make the finished product come to them or the fact that these individuals also have jobs and lives besides their volunteer roles.

So try to understand what volunteers do in your community; the impact they make; the work that is carried out by them and the dollars that are saved by local and federal governments through the work of volunteers.


Kaly said...

Lovely gorila.

Jo Castillo said...

Great drawing and thought provoking post. Thanks.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Kaly - its supposed to be a chimp, but probably difficult to see the difference in a drawing like this.

Hi Jo, thanks.

Kaly said...

ooops sorry LOL normaly I always mix the names of the poor monkeys...for me they are all sweet monkeys :)

Robyn said...

I do love your Thinker, beautiful composition and treatment, Jeanette.

The generosity of volunteers never ceases to humble me and certainly I've benefited hugely from the fantastic voluntary work on WetCanvas. Thank you.

I've just noticed your blog roll has little images - I got a shock to see one of mine, how lovely. Now I'm off to try to work out how you do that. I may be back for help if Blogger doesn't explain all in simple terms ;)