Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Vole, that 'running force' behind it all

A short posting from me - a Vole who's just done a 12 hour shift at work, and is missing the first days of the setting up of Banalarama because of the joys of work.

The casual 'stumbler-upon-ner' might not know that the Surface Gallery is run wholly by volunteers, also know as Voles.
That's right - no paid workers, no full-time staff, just people who have lives, commitments and jobs outside the Gallery.

We don't get expenses paid - our reward is getting things done, seeing things progress and seeing other people enjoy what we have done, meeting people, talking to them, spreading the word that art is accessible and enjoyable to all.

That's where it gets interesting.
Fitting in the Gallery with 'the other life' can be a bit tricky at times. You snatch an hour here, and hour there, invigilate for half a day then rush off to the bank to pay bills.
Study, work, spend time with the friends, family, loved ones. Go shopping for food, relax, do stuff at the Gallery - it all has to fit in there somewhere in the 24 hours.
When you are involved in something like the Gallery, the satisfaction comes from every little hole filled with polyfiller, every wall painted, every day invigilated.
But it also brings with in hands-on experience in how to deal with a business and put up an exhibition, a chance to speak to artists and art students, visitors to the Gallery.
At the moment three Voles (myself including) have started working towards NVQs in various areas of business, all linked with the Gallery. Undoubtably they will be beneficial in the future - so it is not all about the more 'abstract' satisfaction that you get from being a Vole!

But ultimately, when being asked 'why do we do it', I am sure I can speak on the behalf of my fellow Voles when I say 'because it's great'!
(And because we really love polyfiller ;-).)


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