Volunteer Spotlight: The Fine Art of Volunteering at AVA Gallery

Thetford — As a collage artist and an experimental film enthusiast, Rich Fedorchak always had an interest in the visual arts.

So when the Thetford resident moved to the Upper Valley from New Jersey in 1990, he naturally gravitated toward the Hood Museum of Art in Hanover and AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon. But it wasn’t until he retired from a decades-long career as a registered nurse 1 1/2 years ago that he was able to take on some substantial volunteer responsibilities at AVA.

From showing up for regular Thursday and Saturday shifts as a gallery attendant to helping with group exhibits to selecting movies for an upcoming October film series, Fedorchak said,“AVA is the kind of place where you can really grow as a volunteer.”

Recently, Fedorchak’s interest in film and the needs of the gallery came together in a seemingly perfect match as he took on the task of working with a committee to curate films for AVA’s upcoming “Focus on Film — As Art, On Art,” a series of movies scheduled to be screened each Thursday evening in October.

Fedorchak’s input was especially welcome as he prepared for an evening of short experimental films that he will present on Halloween night. “I had a lot of films in mind, because I have been studying experimental film since the 1970s,” Fedorchak said.

While Fedorchak has seen his own work exhibited for juried shows at the gallery, he stressed that AVA volunteers do not necessarily have to possess extensive knowledge in the arts in order to significantly assist at the center. Just being a warm and inviting presence as a gallery sitter, he said, “is really doing the gallery a big service.”

Serving refreshments at an opening reception or processing sales for AVA’s annual silent auction aren’t tasks that either require a long-term time commitment or demand a keen aesthetic sensibility.

But Fedorchak encouraged people to think about lending a hand in those types of volunteer capacities. “If (people) have any interest or curiosity about visual art,” he said, “AVA is a great place to expand your horizon.”

Editor’s note: For information about volunteering at AVA Gallery and Art Center, visit www.avagallery.org or call 603-448-3117. Diane Taylor can be reached at 603-727-3221 or dtaylor@vnews.com.