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Volunteer Gallery Steward, Jennifer Baird, tells us why she chooses to volunteer at the gallery in this week's blog. 

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an artist and I’ve painted all my life. I’ve been back in England for two years after living for over thirty years on the little island of Tobago, just off of the coast of Venezuela. I chose to move to Hastings as it’s the most exciting, lively, real and arty, bohemian place to live in the UK!

Why did you choose to volunteer at the gallery?

When I first arrived in Hastings I didn’t know anyone at all, so I joined everything! Becoming a member of the gallery was one of the first things I did, along with Hastings Arts Forum. When the volunteering programme started, I immediately applied as I feel passionately that the gallery is a crown jewel of Hastings and I feel very proud of it.

How have you found the experience so far?

I love it! The internal space of the gallery has an almost mystical effect on me. I find it very meditative and clear, verging on luminous. The aesthetics are very pleasing. I also really enjoy getting to know the works in the collection and getting to know the lovely staff and other volunteers. I feel very glad to be part of the team.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

That’s really hard to hone down in to one answer but I’d say it’s the feeling of being involved in something that’s very beautiful, meaningful, interesting and inspiring.

Can you tell us something new that you have learnt since volunteering at the gallery?

I’m learning lots of new things all the time. I’ve learnt about the Jerwood Foundation and the paintings in the collection and about the artists who painted them. I’m also learning about human interaction with art in English culture.

What is your favourite painting in the Jerwood Collection?

Wilhelmina Barnes-Graham’s Winter Landscape 1952, 1952.

26 September, 2014
Written by Jennifer Baird