Academy Gallery volunteer club fosters friendship

KEEN: Academy Gallery Volunteer Club president Georgie Parker, with volunteers Monica Hastings, Joanne Faulkner, Janet Bryan, Lewis Lagarto, Jo Pitchford and Renee Austin. Pictures: Piia Wirsu

KEEN: Academy Gallery Volunteer Club president Georgie Parker, with volunteers Monica Hastings, Joanne Faulkner, Janet Bryan, Lewis Lagarto, Jo Pitchford and Renee Austin. Pictures: Piia Wirsu

The sound of laughter bubbles out of the Academy Gallery volunteer club kitchen, as the workforce that keeps the gallery going catch up.

The club has been running since 2002 and is made of volunteers who help the running and curation of the Academy Gallery. 

President of the club Georgie Parker joined in 2004, and now she wouldn’t miss it for the world. 

Volunteers at work hanging in the academy gallery.

Volunteers at work hanging in the academy gallery.

As an artist herself, it gives her a glimpse into the other side of an exhibition, and she said for some volunteers it has even led to a career as an exhibition curator. 

“You learn more I’ve found just by being around and observing ... it’s like if you went to look at a house that you were interested in buying, but the real estate agent wasn’t there and you were trying to look through the windows, you just see tiny glimpses, but being a volunteer you get inside the house and you're in all the rooms and you get a broad picture of how it all functions,” she said. 

“When you’ve got particularly 3D work and you look at it and think, ‘How on earth are they going to hang that?’, but they always work it out it’s amazing, we’ve had an aeroplane hanging from the rafters and all sorts of things.”

Renee Austin working to level and hang art in the gallery.

Renee Austin working to level and hang art in the gallery.

The volunteers do everything from installations to painting to minding the gallery to helping with functions and exhibition opening nights. 

They come from a range of backgrounds, from artists to medical students, but the thing that keeps them all coming back are the friendships they have made.

“We enjoy each others company, we work very well together, really good friends,” Lewis Lagarto said. 

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