Friday, 6 July 2012

Arts and culture volunteering. Why is it important?

Arts and culture organisations-
It is National Volunteer Week. From 1st- 7th June, organisations around the country are celebrating the contribution of millions of volunteers across the UK. Here at The Art-tree Foundation, our workforce solely consists of volunteers, so we recognise the need to support and push the option of volunteering to the wider community.

As an arts organisation working overseas, we are in a small margin of organisations and charities. Not many organisations working overseas concentrate on the arts and culture, we are one of few. However, we recognise that this is our niche, what sets us apart from the rest. We love the arts, we love talent, and we love the effects it has on communities, both large and small.

Participation in the arts promotes personal growth, enhances confidence and improves social contacts. It can also contribute to networking and provide benefits in other areas such as environmental renewal and health promotion. However, due to the limited amount of arts organisations focusing their work overseas, there is a reduced number of volunteers in this sector. Nonprofit organisations generally function on limited resources in terms of labour, funding, space, venue and time. When money is scarce and funding is difficult, nonprofit organizations must rely on the generosity of individuals who can afford to give their precious time at no cost, thereby providing stability in an unstable time. We want to emphasise the mutual benefits of volunteering for arts and cultural organisations.


For the individual volunteer, working in the arts can lead to enhanced confidence, skill-building and educational developments. Volunteering is also a way to learn new things and develop new skills, and to gain valuable life experience. In regard to future careers, volunteering has an unmistakable positive impact, with over 73 % of employers choosing to recruit candidates with volunteering experience, rather than without. In relation to arts volunteering, certain creative activities promote growth and positive social skills, including self- confidence, self-control, conflict resolution, collaboration, empathy and social tolerance.

For those the organisation seeks to help, volunteering in the arts can help nurture creativity. In a society where children are arguably educated out of creativity, arts organisations can provide invaluable support and artistic development.

We must continue to advocate for high-quality arts experience for young people, to engage them in decisions that affect them, and to reflect and value young people’s own cultural expression and creative freedom. The only way to do this is through the time people willingly give, through their relentless energy, and through their creative passion.