We’re livening up the week with another Volunteer Spotlight!
This Spotlight features Briar Pelletier, FOA’s Secretary and an avid volunteer. Briar began as an intern with FOA for the Maine-Aomori Printmaking Society (MAPS) exhibition here in Portland, Maine, and continued to do so during her semester abroad at Hirosaki University in Aomori, Japan. She is a driving force here at FOA, so let’s learn some more about her:
Volunteer Spotlight: Briar Pelletier
Q: Tell us about yourself!
A: I am an Art History student from the University of Maine, but I currently live in Portland. If you REALLY want to get to know me, I have a cat, collect vinyl records, and I can’t pass up on a great vintage dress.
Q: How did you get involved with Friends of Aomori?
A: I answered an ad looking for an intern. The ad explained that a non-profit organization called “Friends of Aomori” was looking for an intern to help with various tasks that could pertain to their interests. I lived in Orono at the time and spoke with then-board members Patricia Parker and Thomas Bahun over the phone. I told them I was an art student studying cross-cultural perspectives in Japanese printmaking, and they were shocked to hear it: they then told me about the MAPS exhibition and what it was. It was kismet: I drove right down to Portland the next day to interview and they brought me on.
Q: What kind of volunteer work do you enjoy doing for Friends of Aomori?
A: When I signed on as an intern, I latched onto the MAPS project because I thought it was just this amazing concept. I helped design promotional materials and exhibition labeling and assisted with the show’s planning and installation at SPACE Gallery. After that, I left Maine to study and conduct research on cross-cultural artistic exchange in Aomori, Japan. When I came back, I joined the FOA Board and now help continue MAPS as a touring exhibition in Maine. I created the MAPS digital collection and also help with our website, social media, educational outreach, and recruitment. I love what we do!
Q: What has been your favorite moment from volunteering with Friends of Aomori?
A: Meeting some of the Aomori artists featured in MAPS, who visited Maine during our first MAPS reception, was really exciting and solidified the scope and consequent reach of the exchange for me.
Q: What makes volunteering important to you?
A: Volunteering for something you believe in is truly invigorating. I never see my volunteer work for the art exchange as a chore and being a part of something that brings my local community together with a global connection helps not only me, but those connected by it.