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Volunteers Play Vital Role at Thorne Art Gallery

KEENE, N.H. 2/22/02 - Volunteers play a vital role at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery where they provide the backbone for a variety of programs, the most visible of which are educational offerings that bring artwork to area classrooms and students to the art gallery.

These volunteers belong to a group called the Friends of the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, which for 35 years has hosted opening receptions for art exhibitions, helped staff the visitors’ desk in the art gallery lobby, and purchased gifts of artwork for the Thorne’s collection. Over the years the Friends of the Thorne has supported a program for children called Saturday Studio and has run a successful challenge campaign with the KSC Alumni Association raising funds for the gallery’s endowment. The Friends also have offered substantial financial support to the gallery from funding staff and student intern positions to providing the cash prize for the “People’s Choice” award for the annual KSC Art Students’ show and the Biennial Regional Juror’s Choice exhibition.

In addition to all these activities, The Friends supports a very successful educational program for students in kindergarten through high school. Last year over 2,000 students were served in the two-pronged educational program.

One part of this program is called Famous Artists Come to Schools (FACTS). Friends’ volunteers study a particular artist of their choice and visit area schools to make a presentation in the classroom sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for the artist with the children. The FACTS program is especially important to schools that do not have the resources to afford full-time art teachers for the children. The other half of the educational program brings K-12 students to the gallery to view an art exhibit. Throughout November 550 students and 115 adults from 12 schools toured the exhibit “Soon Come: The Art of Contemporary Jamaica,” during this year’s annual educational program. The Friends’ volunteers gave guided tours of the exhibit and demonstrated a related hands-on activity for the elementary-aged children to complete following the tour. For some of the children, this was the only time they had visited an art gallery or college campus. The educational program also involved 70 KSC students who toured the exhibit with the schools as part of their student teaching instruction.

In addition to acting as docents during the educational program, the Friends provide teacher preparation material and transportation money when needed so that all area schools are able to take advantage of this program.

Without the Friends’ volunteers, the educational program would not exist, nor would the gallery be able to staff the reception desk on a daily basis. The gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday, and noon to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, hours of which not all student workers are available to work. This is when the gallery relies on the Friends’ volunteers to fill in.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the Thorne gallery, please call 603-358-2720.

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