Interning at the Gulfport Arts Center was quite a different experience from what I imagined. I’ve always had this stereotypical idea of volunteering for a nonprofit being akin to volunteering at a soup kitchen. In fact, I initially had intentions of volunteering for the Salvation Army; however, when I saw the ad for docents for the Gulfport Arts Center on USM’s Opportunities website, I took that chance.
I was a fish out of water choosing to intern at the Center; however, I never felt out of place. Every day when I arrived, I was warmly greeted and felt at ease, which is important to me because of my social anxiety. Everyone that I met was so friendly and informative about the operations of the organization, of the pieces on display as well as the members of the gallery… it really felt like a down-to-earth social club, filled to the brim with endless talent.
I am not a traditional physical artist: my talent in the arts lies mainly in poetry. I know only a handful of famous painters by name and even fewer famous artworks. I don’t know the chemical differences between oil paint and acrylic paint. But I do know this: the work that I did wasn’t simple idle work. It had a purpose for the Center, for me, and for the community.