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Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Young

Volunteer Sarah Young

Meet Crystal Bridges Volunteer Sarah Young!

Career Information

I worked at a commercial law and mediation practice for 35 years, primarily in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Initially attracted by the beauty of the area, we have now lived on Beaver Lake for 20 years.

Hobbies/Activities/Interests

World travel is an ongoing passion: 102 countries and counting! I love opportunities to understand and appreciate diverse cultures while acknowledging the similarities of all peoples. I have an insatiable curiosity and love to try new, creative projects including producing travel documentaries and exploring art forms such as pottery, fabric, precious metal clay, sumi-e, cooking, and gardening. My husband, Jim, is a studio potter, teacher, and art therapist, so our home revolves around art.

Favorite artwork or space at the museum?

I find this an impossible question. There are so many favorites and so many fascinating stories behind the works of art. My current favorites include the Hudson River School paintings especially Durand’s Kindred Spirits, Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus 27, Do Ho Suh’s Some/One, and Felrath Hines’ Untitled (Abstraction).

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

I first viewed the museum construction from the Compton Gardens overlook and just knew that this was to be an extraordinary venue. Jim and I are original members and during the opening, I met one of his former pottery students wearing an “Ask Me” button. I asked her how I could become involved as a guide and was fortunate enough to become part of the second Gallery Guide program. The rest is history.

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

I have the good fortune of being able to participate as a Gallery Guide, Architecture Guide and Sculpture Guide for the museum.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer? 

The museum is a welcoming and ever-changing experience with new acquisitions and phenomenal special exhibitions demonstrating the professionalism of the committed staff. The trainings provide a continuing appreciation not only of the art, but also the countless aspects of museum management. It is a privilege to be a part of this art, architecture, and nature.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?

Another impossible question. The volunteer staff makes volunteering easy. I enjoy the ability to schedule my time. I always feel appreciated. The opportunity to interact with guests and experience the museum through their eyes is an ongoing source of personal appreciation. For our out-of-town guests, I also enjoy my role as an “ambassador” for Northwest Arkansas and all that we have to offer.

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

My formal art education was non-existent before becoming involved with the museum. Our initial and ongoing trainings continue to broaden my horizons and I now find much of my travel centered around visiting museums and, of course, taking tours since I now know the value of those volunteer guides and their knowledge of their collections. I have become friends with some of these guides who, in turn, have organized visits to our museum.

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

I once had a group of students from Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany. Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter was on our tour and I was somewhat concerned about a reaction to Rosie’s literal stepping on Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the WWII subject matter in general. There was no problem. In fact, the students shared insightful comments about the war and the current nature of a progressive and freedom-loving Germany.

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

I would encourage anyone to get involved. The trainings and scheduling software make it easy. The volunteer staff is always available to answer questions and help in any way possible. The museum offers so many varied opportunities that I would think there something for anyone.

Learn more about becoming a Crystal Bridges Volunteer here!

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