This month, thousands of accomplished University of Texas at Austin students will graduate. And one of those dedicated and giving students is Blanton volunteer Elizabeth Salazar.
Elizabeth, a native of Irvine, Calif., will graduate with her Masters of Science in Information Studies from UT. After trying out everything from law librarianship to conservation to museum studies to paleography, she said she discovered an interest in computer programming. Elizabeth said she’s still deciding if she wants to accept a job at the start-up game development company she’s been working for in Austin, or try her luck in the job market in California.
We need volunteers, like Elizabeth, to support our staff and programs so we may remain innovative and engaging to people of all ages and interests. The Blanton is incredibly grateful for Elizabeth’s and all our volunteers’ service to the museum.
Below is a Q&A; with Elizabeth:
When did you start volunteering at The Blanton and what have you done during your time here?
I began volunteering at The Blanton in the fall of 2010 after deciding it would be a good way to see if I was interested in museum studies. I held a weekly shift at the information desk for a year and a half, as well as working at special events, but this past semester I’ve just been doing special events since I’ve been so busy with my final projects.
What inspired you to get involved with The Blanton?
I love volunteering at The Blanton because it’s laid-back, all the events are really fun, and I get to see all the exhibitions right away! I like meeting new people and chatting, and I really like being surrounded by beauty and intelligence.
How do you juggle volunteering with your other responsibilities (like classes)?
The last few semesters I made time to volunteer at The Blanton by going on Saturday afternoons, but this semester I have taken on two internships, plus a TA-ship, a freelance technical writing job, as well as teaching horseback riding lessons. I still try to volunteer at B Scene, and I definitely want to keep volunteering after I graduate if I stay in Austin. I love Martha and George and all the staff.
Any memorable experiences as a Blanton volunteer?
As far as memorable experiences go, I’ve definitely had some fun conversations, but one patron in particular stands out. She attended a Director’s Circle party and was dressed to the absolute nines. She was wearing a silver cowboy hat covered in rhinestones, a floor-length fur, and more jewelry than I even own. She was a lovely person, and chatted with us greeters for several minutes before making her entrance. She was also at least 80 years old, which made her eccentric attire even more fabulous. Several weeks later, I happened to see her at Costco wearing a similar outfit! Definitely an Austinite to the core.
Blanton volunteers — ranging from students to retirees—share a love of art and a desire to contribute to the community. Whether you’re an artist or a stay-at-home mom, The Blanton is an ideal place to learn more about nonprofits, the museum profession, and culture at large. No experience is necessary, and even if you don’t know a thing about art, you can make a difference! Visit our website for more information about The Blanton’s volunteer program or email firstname.lastname@example.org.