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Volunteer Spotlight: Rebecca Baldwin

Volunteer Rebecca Baldwin

Career Information
I am an educator, facilitator, and artist. I guide transformation of behaviors, beliefs, and identities through authentic reflection, healthy self-expression, and explorations of ambiguity. I have had the opportunity to do this work with children and adults in art, health, and personal development settings. My most recent work was in art education at a public charter school.

Hobbies
I am blessed to serve as mentor and soul-family to an extraordinary young person—a former student with whom I still meet weekly—and I lead two monthly women’s reflection/meditation groups. I am a big-hearted, deep-listening, art-making transformation agent, committed to loving my community and supporting all of us to evolve
this human experience together. I dance with or without partners or music—sometimes in my living room, sometimes on city streets, sometimes barefoot in fields—and yes, I have a dream of dancing through the museum galleries, not unlike Executive Director Rod Bigelow in the Crystal Bridges 2016 holiday video. I also enjoy hiking,
cycling, and tennis with my husband, and I am ridiculously in love with a feline named Dexter.

Favorite artwork or space at the museum
My “favorite” art at the museum is a shifting designation, a temporary state birthed by the uniqueness of any given moment. A recent favorite is still and again Maman; I do adore that spider! On my Avant Gardener rooftop shift this week, I caught a new angle and was awed all over again, seeing only her uppermost knees and body above the roofline. I am so grateful for this sculpture and its courtyard home, which always seems absolutely made for her. I had actually dreamed for years of going to the Guggenheim Bilbao to see their marvelous spider; I could hardly believe Maman came to me! Crystal Bridges is a gift, as is Louise Bourgeois’s metaphor for the Feminine: for weaving, repairing, healing wounds, and building community.

How did you learn about the museum and what prompted you to get involved?
Crystal Bridges opened not long before my husband’s career brought us to Northwest Arkansas, so it was on our radar from the very beginning. I was just starting to seriously study art and was seeking more ways to get involved in my new community, so volunteering was an obvious win-win.

In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the museum thus far?
Most of my time has been in education, public events, and culinary, but I’ve recently started exploring avant gardening for fun, too.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
I most enjoy feeling like my finger is on the pulse, like I get to understand and forward a bit of the museum’s good work, instead of just reaping its benefits.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer?
Even with significant hiatuses from consistent volunteering, I’ve been returning to the museum as a member and volunteer for nearly five years simply because it is a place I want to be—complete with art, architecture, positive people, and Mother Nature. Once while hiking in the desert of southern Utah—the home of my heart—my partner commented on how open spaces offer people a dignity unrealized in the closer quarters of suburban and urban dwelling. Crystal Bridges gives me some version of that. The spaciousness of its galleries, the opportunity to span both water and sky, and even the art itself—particularly some contemporary works—offer negative space that gives my soul breathing room. The museum has always felt like a place made especially for me, and I know if I get that magical sense, then others must feel it too. I think it is a very special space indeed that can do that for people, and it really speaks to the intention of the work being done here.

What have you learned or how have you been personally affected by your experience with the museum?
Volunteering has made me much more engaged with the museum’s calendar and its broad range of events and classes. I have volunteered for many worthwhile events and my increased involvement has inspired me to take advantage of more art experiences as a member, too. It both broadens and deepens my experience of the art and my community.

Do you have a funny or inspirational story you can briefly tell about your volunteer experience?
Due to an unexpected need, I recently did a volunteer shift for a public event I had specifically opted not to sign up for. It turned out to be a real delight. I was reminded that managing young children playing superheroes while completing an obstacle course is not only within my comfort zone but is also within my joy!

Anything else you would like to share?
My own artwork and the humble but beautiful beginnings of a blog can be found on my website: www.agileartists.org.

Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Crystal Bridges?
Remember that whether you have a lot of time you can give or you only volunteer infrequently, your contribution will be appreciated and remembered. It always takes a village, and when everyone gives a little, we discover that a little goes a very long way indeed. Thank you all and always for the opportunity!

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