Q&A with Our Volunteers

Posted November 19, 2014 in Blog

Among the many reasons to celebrate this month, we will be honoring HCCC volunteers during the Asher Holiday Soiree on November 20. Our volunteers are the people that keep us running–providing administrative support, pouring drinks, leading tours, and filling a wide variety of other needs. We asked several of our volunteers to tell us why they donate their time for HCCC.

Jon Emmanual

Jon Emmanual volunteers regularly at Hands-on Houston events. Photo by HCCC.

Houston offers many options for volunteers to donate their time. What are some of the reasons you decided to volunteer with HCCC?

Marjorie Lofthouse: I decided to volunteer at the HCCC because I enjoyed the general “feel” of the place the first time I visited.  The staff seemed very friendly and knowledgeable.  I like the casual attitude.

Carol Brownstein: I believe in the work of HCCC, both for the community at large and for the arts and artists.

Sarah Hazel: Years ago, because we share a love of gardening, Marion Sullivan recruited me to help tend HCCC’s garden. This put me on the volunteer list. One day, there was an e-mail asking for a volunteer to sit in the gallery, saying “be sure to bring a sweater!” Interacting with the visitors to the gallery was such a delight, so much so that, when another call came, asking me to be a bartender for an opening reception, I jumped at the chance. Tending bar for exhibit openings has turned out to be my favorite volunteering at HCCC, because I love connecting with and serving the community, the guests are friendly and curious, and the staff is gracious and helpful–all winning combinations.

Marjorie Lofthouse-Pat Powell

Marjorie Lofthouse (left) and Pat Powell (right) bartending at an opening reception. Photo by Roswitha Vogler.

Can you recall a specific time you felt the work you were doing was positively impacting the community?  Tell us more about this.

Pat Powell: When I led the beadwork program inspired by Zulu Message Beads, it provided me with the opportunity to provide actual samples of the messages, as well as informational materials for the guests to examine. This gave the guests an opportunity to learn something of other cultures while participating in an activity.

Jon Emmanual: Every time I attend HANDS-ON HOUSTON, I feel my work is positively impacting the community. HOH draws such a big crowd, and it is always such a privilege to interact with kids and adults and demonstrate new activities. It is especially rewarding to inform visitors about HCCC events and exhibits, as well as discuss other arts and cultural events in the community.

Carol Brownstein: When groups come through HCCC and express interest, excitement and curiosity about the exhibits and programs, I feel grateful that my work behind the scenes helps make that possible.

Sarah Hazel

Sarah Hazel bartending at an opening reception. Photo by Roswitha Vogler.

What do you find is the most rewarding part of being a volunteer?

Pat Powell: Seeing the look of pride of accomplishment on the faces of those who participate in the activities, regardless of age.

Jon Emmanual: I find it most rewarding when I can get adults to join in with their kids in making crafts and when I can reveal to visitors that the artwork they are enjoying was created by an HCCC artist.  I think these moments help show what a local craft museum should be all about: helping people of all ages find their creative side and showcasing local artists.

Carol Brownstein: The warm way I am greeted by staff, artists-in-residence and other regular volunteers really makes me feel like part of the team! Being included in events does the same, especially my 80th birthday recognition!

Carol Brownstein (center)

Carol Brownstein (center) with Jason Kishell and Julie Farr. Photo by HCCC.

Is there an event or activity that you look forward to the most? Why?

Pat Powell: The monthly HANDS-ON HOUSTON is my favorite. The majority of attendees look forward to it and enjoy it. It doesn’t get any better than that. 

Jon Emmanual: I really enjoy the HOH Family Festival and gallery openings.  Family Festival brings arts and crafts to families, and gallery openings bring out the art critic in all of us.  It is fun to see the very different sides of the craft museum, and each side brings a very different appreciation of craft.

Marjorie Lofthouse: I look forward to the Family Festival and also the Guilds celebration [on Museum Experience Day]. The Family Festival is an expanded grand HOH, which allows participants to experience more than one craft, and I also love the food trucks. The Guilds celebration is fun because of the variety of skills on display.