As a thriving community art center, an important aspect of GCCA is its volunteer network. Volunteers at GCCA help with the day-to-day operations including providing customer and docent services at the front desk and in the galleries, assisting with events and programming, and offering much-needed support for a small staff. In honor of National Volunteer Week, we’ve highlighted one of GCCA’s volunteers, Suzanne Woolf, who donates her time and talent each Tuesday morning manning GCCA’s front desk, as well as assisting with a variety of special projects. Suzanne is a mixed media artist with a home studio in the West End. She also teaches collage and mixed media as one of GCCA’s workshop instructors.
Kara Bale, GCCA’s Operations Manager, had the pleasure of interviewing Suzanne to find out more about her background and volunteering at GCCA.
1. How and when did you first learn about GCCA?
When my husband and I first moved to Greenville I made an effort to stop in at some of the local galleries and the Metropolitan Art Council. I don’t recall who specifically directed me to GCCA but I’m sure it was one of those organizations.
2. What made you want to volunteer your time at GCCA?
I thought volunteering at an art center would be a great way to meet other artists and get to know the Greenville art community, and I was right.
3. Where are you from and how long have you been in Greenville?
I grew up in Minnesota but spent 25 years in and around Boston, which is where I met my husband. We moved to Greenville in 2015. We had grown tired of the winters and were ready for change. For me that meant leaving the corporate world so I could focus on my art full time and I haven’t looked back.
4. Tell me a little about your own art practice… What do you create and why do you like that medium?
My elevator pitch is “I am a mixed media and collage artist. I primarily use vintage papers and ephemera in the background. I then incorporate vintage photos as the focal point adding them using an image transfer technique with acrylic medium.” I like the idea of the story that vintage materials provide, taking the discarded and giving it a new life. Who was the person that wrote that letter or what is the story of the person in the photo. It’s nostalgic and mysterious.
5. When you aren’t making art or volunteering at GCCA, what do you like to do with your free time?
When I’m not creating art I love making altered books and teaching classes, at GCCA and other locations. I also enjoy reading, running, baking, and spending time with my husband.
6. Do you have a favorite artist? If yes, why?
This is a very difficult question as I love a broad spectrum of art but two come to mind. I think Joseph Cornell was a master at assemblage, which to me is like a 3-D collage. Robert Rauschenberg’s use of everyday materials shows how art can be created from the most mundane materials.
Volunteerism isn’t only a key factor in the success of GCCA and other non-profit organizations, but also provides positive health benefits to those who do it, as detailed in this article from Science Daily.
If you are interested in learning how you can get involved as a volunteer at GCCA, please email email@example.com.