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This week we are celebrating Voluntary Arts Week.  In today's blog we hear more from Volunteer Gallery Steward, Cara McCormick. 

Why did you choose to volunteer at Jerwood Gallery?

I had been thinking about volunteering at an arts organisation for a while to gain experience in the art world and an understanding of how a gallery is run. Jerwood Gallery particularly appealed to me because of its placement within Hastings, a fantastic town known for its community events and local arts scene.  

The gallery is a great place to be part of – its location is central to Hastings events, it contributes significantly to the community and I feel like there has been a lot of excitement and buzz around its development.  I had also heard about, and experienced first-hand, the friendliness of the staff, so it just seemed like a great team to be part of.

How have you found your experience so far? 

I have really enjoyed my experience so far.  Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming, I really feel like a valued member of staff.  It has been instantly rewarding, with lots of opportunities to take part and learn about the artists and their works, and I’m looking forward to future exhibitions and learning more.

Can you tell us something new you have learnt since you began volunteering?

Since starting at Jerwood Gallery, I have found out more about how the building itself is designed to reflect and integrate itself into the local community and area.  For example, the outside of the building features locally produced tiles which mirror the black tarred net huts and the inside draws inspiration from the wood, light open spaces, and the sea which surround it.  My favourite place is on the first floor, where there is a ceiling high window which brings the outside into the gallery, with the local fishing boats, the beach and changing weather displayed alongside the artworks.

I have also learnt that the gallery uses sustainable energy and water sources to reduce its impact on the area, which I think is really important for a modern building to do.

What do you enjoy most about gallery stewarding?

I love the building and its close proximity and relationship with the sea. It’s great to talk to people from Hastings and further afield who come to visit and see their positive reactions to the space and the work.  But mostly, I enjoy the serenity and peacefulness that is present even in a busy gallery.  I am able to spend long periods of time with the works, viewing them, evaluating them, and then re-evaluating them, constantly seeing new things that would have been missed in an hour or so visit.

Image © Pete Jones

12 May, 2016
Written by Cara McCormick