Thursday, March 27, 2014

Volunteering You Can Get Into: Meet Our Volunteers!

Meet Karen Forney! She's one of our longtime volunteers who is involved with the MF community in many ways - as an educator, former intern, and part-time event staff. And, she still makes time to volunteer. Read on to learn more about her long relationship with the museum.

How long have you been a volunteer? 
Since 2007, when I graduated from college.

What do you do when you're not volunteering? 
Gosh! I work part time at an online educational institution, and also as a Museum Educator here at the Mattress Factory. I perform regularly as a comedy improviser.

Favorite Artists? 
Rodin and Michelangelo. At the MF, I love James Turrell, Mark Garry, David Ellis. I love Rolf Julius' sound pieces.

What do you wish people knew about the MF, but maybe don't? 
I think when people think of museums, they think of rules and etiquette and behavior that goes along with being in a fancy place. But at the Mattress Factory, it's open-ended, self-directed in some ways, and relaxing, at least for me. I don't have to worry about a docent telling me I'm too close to the artwork - because I'm part of it. That's what makes the MF so different from other art museums.

So, you also work part-time for us and have other commitments, yet, you volunteer. Why do it still? What does it mean to you, and how has that changed over the years?
When I first started volunteering, it was right after college. I was burnt out from art and didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew deep down that I needed to stay connected to art. Volunteering was my only social outlet for the first few years after college that I did on my own - it was Karen Time. The staff were so nice and laid back that I always felt happy being here; I have always been grateful for that. I also feel like I learned how to be OK meeting new people. Because of my enthusiasm, the MF gave me the opportunity to take on more roles and make me a part of their community. It's my museum family, so even though I work more, I can't give up on volunteering!!

Volunteers at the Mattress Factory provide support to the museum at every level. Our programs, exhibitions and events would not have the reach and impact they do without the help of our faithful volunteers. For more information about the MF Volunteer Program or to apply for a position, please visit our Volunteers page.

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