January 2017 Volunteer Spotlight: Margaret Smith


Let’s start off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself:

I was a Registered Nurse for 20 years, and then went to graduate school and became an Adult and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner for the next 20 years. I have worked in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care, Intravascular Therapy, Home Care, Long-term care, Internal Medicine Outpatient Clinics, and a Pregnancy Clinic.  I also taught in both Associate (Montgomery College) and Baccaluareate  (University of Maryland) RN programs, as well as the Nurse Practitioner program at University of Maryland. I retired in 2013.

How many hours do you volunteer per week? How long have you been volunteering?

I volunteer 4 hours/week in the Kay Gallery as a docent and 2 hours/week at the Front Desk. I have been volunteering since April 2014 and have accumulated over 220 hours since.

Why did you want to volunteer at BlackRock?

I first heard about BlackRock when it first opened, but had never been here.  When looking for something to fill my hours after retirement, I didn’t want to do anything related to medicine. When I searched the Montgomery County website for volunteer opportunities, I found BlackRock. I decided to check it out as it presented opportunities that I felt I could do without a lot of physical exertion (I have difficulty standing for extended periods of time). The performance tickets were a plus because my husband and I enjoy a variety of music performances. When the opportunity to be a docent in the galleries became available, I was excited because I knew I could do this and learn about different forms of art in the process. (I grew up in a family of artists: my dad was a professional singer and my mom did decorative art. I played piano, organ, and flute/piccolo, and sang in choirs and small groups).  I also had the desire to meet people with a similar interest in the arts in order to make friends outside the medical profession.

Which exhibit or performance has stuck with you the most?

My favorite shows in the Kay Gallery have been the two Mid-Atlantic Watercolor Shows.  The various styles of watercolor have been an eye-opener for me. I had no idea that watercolor could be made to look like photographs. I love the typical pastels of watercolors, but am amazed at everything else that can be done with the medium.

What has been your favorite moment as a volunteer so far?

I really like being able to talk to people who come into the gallery to view an exhibit and share information that I have learned from the artist and from Anne Burton about the art on display.  I especially enjoy being thanked for my information when a patron is leaving because it gives me the feeling that I helped educate someone else about the art and that maybe they will return for another show in order to learn more.

What does volunteering at BlackRock mean to you?

I was raised to believe that art, in many forms, enhances our lives and that God created the original art of the world.  I believe that He blessed each of us with a talent for some sort of art, whether it be vocal, written, drawn/painted, or performed.  He also blessed each of us with the ability to appreciate art in all its forms, we just have to have exposure to it and learn about it.  BlackRock brings the artists and the appreciators together.  I am blessed to be able to share my appreciation of art, in various forms, with others, while volunteering at BlackRock.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

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