Day in the Life of a NMWA Volunteer
This is Jam. She is one of our friendly Junior League of Washington volunteers at National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA). The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the achievements of women artists. JLW has been involved with NMWA since 1982.
Our volunteers serve in numerous capacities at the museum, including assisting with events and concerts; today, Jam is at the museum’s information desk.
At the information desk, our volunteers are the first impression of the museum, providing visitors with information on new exhibitions, current works on display, and other information.
Here, Jam is showing a visitor what is on each floor in the museum. The museum is home to many wonderful pieces by Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, Amy Sherald, and many other women artists.
Here, Jam poses for a photo with her favorite piece in the collection, Untitled #781 by Petah Coyne, located on the third floor of the museum. This untitled work is part of a series of white-and-pink wax sculptures that resemble rococo chandeliers, voluminous skirts, or dresses. After forming the underlying wire structure, Coyne tied satin ribbons to the wire and poured layers of wax over the surface.
Of her volunteer experience, Jam says, “I’m passionate about volunteering at NMWA because I’ve always been captivated by stories of real-life experiences and art created by women is an extension of that. These women artists were some of the first female entrepreneurs on record in a male-dominated field, all while (in some instances) being a mother, wife, and, of course, skilled at their craft. I didn’t expect to learn that when I first became a volunteer at NMWA. My goal is to make art more accessible to the public by spreading cultural literacy through sharing the stories of women artists.”
Our volunteers receive extensive training on the collection and the museum; those new to the committee for the 2016-2017 year (pictured below) are learning about Sarah Bernhardt’s After the Storm (ca. 1876).
Come visit Jam and our NMWA Committee volunteers and see the museum’s newest exhibition, NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, which showcases works by 37 emerging and established women artists who range in age from 31 to 87, hail from 16 countries, and work in various media, but together strive to challenge viewers’ perceptions of the female form and traditional definitions of artistic process. NO MAN’S LAND is an exhibition aptly named, for many of these artists have ventured into a world in which traditional rules are ignored, boundaries are pushed, and imagination becomes reality. The exhibit is on display through January 8, 2016, and you can visit for free on one of NMWA’s Community Days: November 6 and December 4.