Blog: MCA DNA

Volunteer Week: Taking Time for the Arts

Featured image

blog intro

Our volunteers play a huge role in keeping our programs organized and fun. Because we know there are a lot of great volunteering opportunities in Chicago, for Volunteer Week we’re highlighting three of our star volunteers, who share why they choose to support the MCA.

Mary Strupeck

Volunteer since March 2009

image

Courtesy of Mary Strupeck

text

With so many volunteering opportunities throughout the city, what made the MCA stand out?

I think the culture and the community the MCA creates makes it stand out—from TCA to Tuesdays on the Terrace to Family Days, it’s a vibrant community of visitors who appreciate and even thrive in creativity. As a non-artist volunteer, I also appreciate that the creative process is at the heart of the museum's vision statement. And I love that the space seems intimate, yet open.

How has volunteering at the MCA impacted you?

On a smaller scale, every time I leave the MCA, I leave feeling more positive, energetic, and connected than when I came in. On a larger scale, because of those feelings, I made a switch in my career to pursue a job that was more closely aligned with my passions and skill set.

What’s a memorable experience you’ve had volunteering at the MCA?

I was sitting at the greeter's table, near the end of Family Day, when a little boy came by and gave me a stick figure drawing of a smiling person. He said, "Thank you! This is me, I'm happy!" and then walked away. His parent looked at me like "I don't know . . . I did not tell him to do that." I still have that drawing at my desk at work!

Also, seeing Neil Gaiman and the Guerrilla Girls in the theater probably go down as two of the top 10 moments in my personal history.

image

Courtesy of Mary Strupeck
 

Yang Gao

Volunteer since November 2011

image

Courtesy of Yang Gao

text

With so many volunteering opportunities throughout the city, what made the MCA stand out?

The highly engaging and interactive Family Day program, as well as the quality of contemporary art, allows more permissibility and appreciation from the general public.

How has volunteering at the MCA impacted you?

I am a tech design professional, and a strong advocate for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) education. It has always been in my top-list to volunteer at a museum with the purpose of engaging younger generations to be inspired through art-making and appreciation and being provided the space to be able to think about and view art from diverse perspectives. The MCA’s Family Day is why I decided to start volunteering here. Throughout the past 4 1/2 years, the fantastic and always-exciting Family Day volunteering experience has been an immersive learning environment for me personally and I have been truly amazed by the interactions, fueled by the tremendous imaginations from families—especially the little children—and touched by the true dedication of everyone who has helped design, plan, and execute the program. The experience alone has really made an endearing impact on my personal and professional life, particularly on understanding diversity in STEAM education. While the Scottish-American naturalist John Muir says, "the power of imagination makes us infinite," I would add that “diversified imaginations help us multiply our infinity.”

What’s a memorable experience you’ve had volunteering at the MCA?

Any theme related to space exploration and the delighted faces from those kids.

Image

Family Day activity for Chicago Works: Andrew Yang Courtesy of Yang Gao
 

Lana Osipczuk

Volunteer since November 2014

text

How has volunteering at the MCA impacted you?

Volunteering has impacted me in many ways. It's good to give back and it's the perfect place to do so. I've also been exposed to much more that I might have missed otherwise. I've promoted the museum and its events since I've been going there as well.

What’s a memorable experience you’ve had volunteering at the MCA?

I've had many great experiences volunteering here but my favorite so far has to be the Prime Time Prince event! What a fantastic tribute; so much fun as well. While I didn't volunteer for David Bowie Is, of all the exhibitions I've ever gone to, it’s my favorite.

image

Prime Time, May 2016 Photo © MCA Chicago
 

text

This year we would like to recognize two volunteers who reached milestones for service hours in 2016.

Tian Zhang, who started volunteering in March of last year, racked up 46 service hours.

Craig Passley has earned the most lifetime hours—91 service hours—since becoming a volunteer in November 2013.

Volunteers who reach the most service hours for the previous year or the most lifetime hours receive a free one-year membership to the MCA.