Welcome to part 8 of our series, Meeting the Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts Event Representatives. Last post we met Mark Raisher. Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts programs would be nearly impossible to run without the help of volunteers. After receiving specialized training through the Associates volunteer office, studio arts event representatives are poised and ready to assist both teachers and students in a variety of important ways. In return for their commitment which often spans eight weeks, volunteers have the option of actively participating in the class where they have been assigned. In this special series of interviews, we offer our readers an insider’s perspective on our hands-on art programs and share just a little bit about these special people who volunteer with Smithsonian Associates on a regular basis. We hope you enjoy meeting them.
Interview with Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts Event Representative, Mark Geiger.
How long have you been a volunteer?
I think it’s been about four years.
Why did you decide to become a Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts volunteer?
A colleague, who also volunteers at the Smithsonian, introduced me to the program and I’ve been volunteering since.
What is most rewarding for you about volunteering?
The most rewarding thing to me is supporting the artistic development of the students while improving my own knowledge and skills.
What is your favorite Smithsonian Museum? Why?
The National Museum of Natural History. I've had a life-long interest in the sciences. The geology exhibit gives insights into the cosmic development of planets and its reflection in earth’s formation and evolution through plate tectonics and mineralogy. I like the way the paleontology exhibit (now closed for renovation and update) describes the evolution of life on earth beginning in the primordial seas, through marine invertebrates, evolution of life onto land through dinosaurs and ice-age mammals, through early man.
Do you have an arts background?
Yes, I’ve been drawing and painting intermittently since childhood.
What classes have you participated in?
I’ve participated in a fairly wide range of Studio Arts courses including oil and watercolor painting, pastels, drawing and stained glass courses.
Do you have a favorite class?
It would have to be oil and watercolor painting, pastels, and drawing.
You get to talk to the students. Have you noticed any common obstacles they have had to overcome to take the class (ex: unsure of their art skill, etc)?
I’ve sometimes noticed an initial lack of confidence for those new to Studio Arts or those returning after a long hiatus.
If you’d like to consider becoming a Studio Arts Representative like Mark, contact Jenna Jones, CVA at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-633-8596.