Value of Volunteering
There are some givens when discussing the value of volunteers. We know that volunteer involvement has a powerful impact on Canadian society, communities, organizations, and individuals. It is fundamental to a healthy and democratic society in Canada and it vital for strong, inclusive communities.
Here at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery we recognize and appreciate that volunteer involvement builds capacity by providing us with the skills, talents, and perspectives that are essential to our relevance, vitality, and sustainability. It increases our capacity to accomplish our goals through programs and services that respond to and are reflective of, the unique characteristics of the art community.
Volunteer involvement is personal; it promotes a sense of belonging and general well-being. At the Beaverbrook Art Gallery it provides the opportunity for individuals to engage according to their personal preferences and motivations. One national volunteer study suggested that 42 per cent of arts and culture volunteers stayed with the same organization for up to five years. Our successful Docent Program celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013 and two docents who started with the original group are still in service.
Volunteering at the Gallery is about building relationships - it connects people to the causes they care about such as supporting local and regional artists, preserving art history, or enriching the lives of children, students, adults and seniors through art education. It creates opportunities for the Gallery to accomplish our goals by engaging and involving volunteers, in roles that help with such things as special events, the governance of the institution and the delivery of programs that would not exist if it wasn’t for volunteers.
The Gallery’s Board of Governors and senior staff acknowledge, articulate, and support the vital role of volunteers in achieving our mission. It’s important to us that volunteer roles involve people in meaningful ways that reflect their skills, needs, interests, and backgrounds. We’d be pleased to welcome you as a valued and integral member of the Gallery team.
Check back here often to see the volunteer positions we are seeking to fill or call Adda Mihailescu, our Manager of Public Programs at (506) 458-2032 for more information about any of the positions listed.
Volunteer Positions at the Gallery
Become a docent
If you love art and love talking about it you may want to consider becoming a docent. Docents are volunteers specially trained by the Gallery's Education Department to guide groups on tours of the Gallery.
While docents can be seen helping at various special events such as the Nutcracker Tea and Lord Beaverbrook Day their primary function is to escort children or adults, who are part of a school, diplomat, or corporate convention tour. The number of school tours has increased recently with the establishment of the Gallery’s new Face2Face subsidy program supported by CN and CIBC which provides free admission to the Gallery for touring classes.
Role of the Docent
The interpretive or educational role of the docent is the most important and challenging aspect of this volunteer position. Docents are trained to actively involve visitors in the interpretation of art and to share the tools of visual literacy with them. They provide an understanding of the exhibition’s concepts, and a context for the collections the visitor is seeing, so the visitor may think for themselves about art. As well, a docent must be sensitive to visitors’ differences – learning style, cultural backgrounds, age level, and special needs.
On average a docent will research, prepare and conduct 25 to 30 tours annually. With approximately 12 new exhibitions a year docents assimilate a huge amount of information about the art and artists the Gallery features.
Docent training takes place on Monday mornings at the Gallery. Docents listen to guest speakers (artists, curators, historians, Gallery staff), conduct personal research and make presentations on topics of interest to themselves and the docent group, and watch videos and movies linked to current Gallery programming or its permanent collection. A Docent Manual is provided.
Qualifications & Personal Traits
- enjoy working with children
- excellent speaking skills in English/French
- comfortable speaking in front of groups
- desire to learn about art history
- reliable and punctual
- outgoing and enthusiastic
- able to work independently
For more information or to apply for a volunteer docent position call Adda Mihailescu at (506) 458-2032
Francophone docent program
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is looking for francophone docents to encourage and support cultural life in the francophone community. If you like art and interacting with the public, we would invite you to share your passion and generosity by volunteering.
- Free training offered by the Gallery (two meetings per month on Monday, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM)
- Meetings with artists and curators
- The first priority of volunteer docents is offering guided tours to school groups and groups of visitors.
Orientation session: September 18, 2014, at 6:00 PM
First training session: October 6, 2014, at 2:00 PM
For more information, please contact Roberte at email@example.com or by phone through our Front Desk at (506) 458-2028
General volunteer enquiries
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Adda Mihailescu at firstname.lastname@example.org.