Roll Up Your Sleeves & Get Involved: Reflections of a Recent Volunteer
As a recent volunteer at Artbox London I’ve spent each Saturday afternoon for the past few months immersed in gel pens, collage, paint and Plasticine, and to be honest with you, I am loving it! Spending my working week surrounded by computers, spread sheets and meeting rooms I was desperate for something a little bit different and had heard from a friend about the amazing work that Artbox does working with adults and young adults with learning disabilities and autism.
Initially I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but coming to the studio and meeting Madeline – and the wonderful group of artists – I was immediately struck with the great sense of warmth and creativity that filled the space. I was partnered with Toyin – ‘the gel pen Queen’ – who took me under her wing and showed me her unique approach to gel pen watercolour painting. The next three hours flew past in conversation, jokes and gentle guidance under my tutor’s eager eye (despite my best efforts, I’m still yet to master this delicate technique!). I came away buzzing, looking forward to the next weekend.
For most of us our last experience of actually making art comes at school or college, but volunteering has reminded me of the great fun that you have when you’re making art. And this sense of enjoyment is felt in equal measure for the artists and the volunteers alike.
So for anybody longing for a change – something outside of the 9-5 – I really couldn’t recommend volunteering with Artbox enough. It’s not necessarily about ‘giving back’ but rather learning (or re-learning) the importance of art, and its ability to allow us to see life through a different – and at times glittery - lens. If you’re interested, why not roll up your sleeves and give it a go. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!