Posted 20th April 2018
My Work as a Learning Volunteer
My good friend, Metta, is a long-time volunteer at Watts Gallery – Artists' Village, and it's thanks to her that I was introduced to the world of Watts. I was initially drawn to the Learning Department because of the staff members and their enthusiasm for their projects. When I read that no previous experience in education was needed to be a learning volunteer, I couldn't wait to join in.
I've experienced health difficulties from a young age, which at times have left me feeling socially isolated. There is a true sense of community at the Gallery; by becoming a volunteer I've met so many new people. It has opened up my world and given me hope and a renewed confidence.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the role is its variety. I've had the chance to gain office skills, assist artists and designers with their creative workshops, even sit as a model for the Gallery's Painting course. I love the rhythm of the year at Watts Gallery - Artists' Village, with each temporary exhibition providing fresh inspiration for the Learning programme.
The aspect of my role that has made the biggest impact has been helping with the administration for the annual Big Issues exhibition, part of the project that offers artist-led workshops to vulnerable and socially excluded people through the Gallery's Art for All community programme. Each artist submits a statement to be displayed with their work. To read such personal, often very moving testimonies is a humbling experience. Visiting the finished exhibition for the first time is a wonderful moment, when we see George and Mary's 'Art for all All' ethos brought to life in the 21st century.
Image credit: Tammy, Motion (Colourful Brusho), Big Issues Project