Meet Crystal Bridges Volunteer Suzanne Jessup!
Early training from age 8 in a children’s theater in St. Louis encouraged an interest in the arts and a career as a teacher and theater producer/director. I taught and directed in four states in the US, Libya, Kuwait, and Switzerland. I retired in 2005 as a professor of special/gifted and talented education from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, AR.
My hobbies developed from easy walks to the St. Louis Art Museum growing up. I have traveled to more than 42 countries, visiting museums, archeological sites, and architecture. I enjoy getting to know diverse cultures and interesting people. I came to Arkansas in 1988 and have participated in many volunteer opportunities and presidential campaigns.
Favorite artwork or space at the museum?
As a self-described artistic sponge, I would say what stops me in my tracks at Crystal Bridges is Kerry James Marshall’s Our Town.
How did you learn about the museum and what prompted you to get involved?
Early news reports kept me walking to the overlook to watch the construction, and I have volunteered since the museum opened. With family in Kansas, Missouri, Boston, and Jakarta, Crystal Bridges has encouraged visits from my family here.
In what ways have you been involved as a volunteer with the museum thus far?
As I continue to explore emerging opportunities, I enjoy serving at public events, access programs, and in the library. Most commonly I choose to work as a Museum Guide in the main lobby, I always enjoy guests’ anticipation and comments.
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with the museum?
For this retiree, Crystal Bridges brings life to the adage “Art still has Truth; take refuge there.” I especially enjoy the collaborative spirit, the fact that the staff is always open to suggestions and experimentation, and the Arkansas-friendly atmosphere of many programs.
Do you have a funny or inspirational story you can briefly tell about your volunteer experience? Please share with us!
One of the first visitors I welcomed in January 2012 was a tall, older gentleman in a sweatshirt and bib overalls. He asked, “What is this place?” adding it was his first visit to an art museum. I was delighted that the museum’s ‘welcoming all’ mission was fulfilled, and provided the experience of art to those who visit out of curiosity. He commented “lots to see” on his way out.
Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Crystal Bridges?
Try it. Find a fun area that suits your interests. It is rest and recreation for most working or retired adults and excellent development for teens seeking career choices. There are many choices with ongoing training and a very supportive staff.
Learn more about becoming a Crystal Bridges Volunteer here!