Meet Kelly Martin! A dedicated volunteer, she is one of the many wonderful people who allow the Mattress Factory to thrive. Read on to learn more about her involvement with the museum.
How did you get into volunteering at MF?
I owe it all to my best friend, Ally Thomas. She started out as a MF volunteer during our senior year at Pitt, and then because of her art history and education background (and also because she is wonderful) she eventually landed a job in the education department. The first few times I visited, she was my knowledgeable tour guide and planted the seeds of my love for this museum. I volunteered alongside her at a few events, and I was hooked -- the Garden Parties were unlike anything I'd ever seen, not to mention the fantastic and welcoming staff that makes it all happen. I'm now on the monthly call list, and even though Ally has since left Pittsburgh, volunteering here is still fun for me.
What do you like to do when you're not volunteering?
In my free time I enjoy exploring Pittsburgh, dancing to live music, playing water polo, seeking out new places and experiences with my loved ones and finding things on the internet to read / listen to / make "later."
Helping out as a volunteer gives you an insider perspective that the typical visitor doesn't have. What's your favorite or most interesting thing you've discovered about the museum while volunteering here?
I think I now better appreciate the way that the Mattress Factory balances different goals. There is of course the emphasis on bringing unique, thought-provoking contemporary art and artists to Pittsburgh, but there is this community strengthening element of the museum that provides so much motivation and inspiration. The Mexican War Streets neighborhood has always felt so energized during any events that I've been a part of. And while gallery attending I get the chance to speak with visitors -- students, tourists, lifelong Pittsburgh residents, etc -- which has helped me to understand the scope of the impact this museum has on its city.
Favorite city to travel to?
That's tough! Are we talking about a city I've already been to and know that it's a favorite? If so, I'd be thrilled to get back out to Denver. The abundant sunshine was unreal, and I loved the clean, happy vibe of the city. Current favorite dream city to travel to would be Delhi, or really anywhere in India.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring with you?
I would bring a fully loaded iPod, a fully loaded Kindle, some sort of solar-powered charging system, a big hat and goggles. Some basics like matches and tools would probably be smart. Oh, and I'm gonna need a hammock.
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.