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Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Welsh

Meet Crystal Bridges Volunteer, Kathy Welsh

Career Information:

I am an educator–an elementary teacher and now an elementary ESL teacher for students in kindergarten through 5th grade.

Hobbies/Activities/Interests:

I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling to see our children, exploring, reading, gardening, singing in our church choir, and going to the symphony and theater. I’ve been married to my husband Bob for over 30 years and we have lived all over and moved eight times, settling in NWA almost 15 years ago.

Favorite artwork or space at the museum:

I love walking the trail from the upper parking lot to the museum. No matter what season, I love the beauty, ever-changing flora, and wildlife on that trail.

My favorite artwork is Summertime by Mary Cassatt. The outdoors/water/coastal scenes are so peaceful. I also enjoy locating different tools in The Garden of Eden, the steel and bronze sculpture by the south entrance.

Jim Dine, "The Garden of Eden" (2003), stainless steel and painted bronze.

Jim Dine, “The Garden of Eden” (2003), stainless steel and painted bronze.

How did you learn about the museum and what prompted you to get involved?

My family and I would walk the trails during the building of the museum. We became museum members that first year. Wherever we travel, we explore museums–a must-do on our list!

Why volunteer? I was really looking for a challenge during my summer breaks from teaching–as our children are older and out of the house–so I applied to volunteer at Crystal Bridges. I first heard about volunteering from my good friend, who is a master gardener and volunteers. Moreover, our daughter had an internship during State of the Art and just truly enjoyed everyone she met and worked with and learned so much. So, I decided to take a chance and try it.

In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the museum thus far?

I volunteer as a museum guide in the main lobby and in the Museum Store. I also volunteer at the CB tent during First Fridays in Bentonville,talking to everyone, sharing the wonders of our museum, and helping with the crafts. I have helped make mice felt crafts for the Bentonville Holiday parade two years ago and walked in the parade,dressing up as a mouse for the Nutcracker-themed float – total fun! I also participated in the We The People art creation, and I feel very privileged when I walk by it. I have even put stickers on the trail maps during the construction. Such a variety of jobs to do!  There is something for everyone.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer?

I keep coming back because I have fun at the museum. What a joy to have this wonderful gem here in Northwest Arkansas. Everyone on staff and those who volunteer are so friendly, helpful, and a joy to work with. And, I enjoy meeting all who visit Crystal Bridges. Our guests are so happy and excited and just thrilled to be here and they appreciate everyone. Their smiles and questions keep bringing me back.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?

I enjoy helping others and seeing their smiles!

What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with the museum?

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to volunteer. I am coming home all the time with new information that I share, because I am learning new facts every day!  And, I am thankful for all of the museum guides and staff that I volunteer with who answer all of my questions. Every question I get from our guests is a good one and teaches me more so I can help others more effectively.  

Do you have a funny or inspirational story you can briefly tell about your volunteer experience?  Please share with us!

I’ve had a future artist–a 4-year old guest–bring all her artwork to show others and spread it all out on the floor in front of me to share it. So serious and sweet!

I also had a guest ask me why the restaurant is named “Eleven”.I thought for a moment and explained why, and she looked at me and said “you made that up”….”no, really…that’s why.” So funny…we both laughed at that!

Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Crystal Bridges?

Volunteering is a wonderful experience! You can do as much or as little as your schedule allows. You can try new areas and shadow an experienced volunteer. Try it…you will truly enjoy the experiences!

Learn more about becoming a Crystal Bridges Volunteer here

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