Meet Crystal Bridges Volunteer, Jerry Furgione.
My career background is in Sales and Marketing. In 2006, I joined Philly Car Share and in 2009 ultimately became Executive Director and assumed control of operations. I also pioneered the Philadelphia Electric Vehicle Micro Community Project which received funding from the Pennsylvania State EPA for the purchase of 20 electric vehicle chargers for the city–one of the first public EV charger projects in the US.
I love the outdoors and enjoy camping, gardening, fishing (not always catching), pitching horseshoes, music (used to play the drums professionally), and hanging out at the beach. I’m a Jersey guy who can’t get the sand out of my shoes.
Favorite artwork or space at the museum
My favorite artwork is Shore Lunch on the Art Trail. My favorite activity is the Summer Forest Concert Series in the North Forest on Saturday nights in the summer.
In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the museum thus far?
I volunteer as an Avant Gardener and as a Gallery Guide.
What keeps you coming back to volunteer?
I love the way our volunteer efforts are appreciated by staff and the public. Visitors are constantly telling me how beautiful and well maintained the grounds are. They are amazed that both staff and volunteers work to maintain the grounds. I have been personally thanked through email for the work that I continue to do around Shore Lunch. As an Avant Gardener, I was asked to be a part of the hiring process for the new Avant Gardener Coordinator.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
As an Avant Gardener, I have been given the enjoyable responsibility of caring for the area Shore Lunch. I am able to schedule my own hours and plan my own activities. Tools and supplies magically show up at the site. The Zen- like atmosphere provides a time of physical labor and reflection that is both tiring and refreshing at the same time.
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with the museum?
Volunteering as an Avant Gardener, I have learned that sustainability is a huge part of our grounds mission. It is great that the museum is setting an example for our community and I am proud to be a part of this movement. I think the most intimidating experience that I have had was my Gallery Guide training. I did not have a background in art and felt that I almost did not make the cut off for inclusion in the program. The first day of training felt like learning to speak a foreign language! But I persevered, and it eventually sunk in, and it has become a wonderful and fulfilling experience.
Do you have a funny or inspirational story you can briefly tell about your volunteer experience?
As a Gallery Guide, when I assemble my group, I ask each person to tell me where they would take me if I visited their hometown. One of my tours had visitors from six states and one foreign country. Visitors to Crystal Bridges are leaving Arkansas with a very positive image of our state.