Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Trust

Why Give Time to the Arts? 6 Questions for Getty Volunteer Stephen Thorne

Because art inspires!

Stephen Thorne has been part of the arts since he started volunteering at the Getty 16 years ago—twice that long if you count the first of his many visits to the Getty Villa, back in 1980.

With no background in art history, yet an ever-blossoming interest in art and culture awakened by childhood visits to museums and historic sites, Stephen invests two weekends a month (his “Getty weekends”) to be a volunteer. Getty volunteers offer a welcoming face to visitors from around the world—handing out maps, explaining the multimedia players, or answering the perennial visitor question, “Where do I start?” Say Guten Tag, and you might even get ein bisschen German from him.

My favorite place to welcome visitors is the Tram Arrival Plaza at the Getty Center. You never know who will get off that tram. People who come here are always so wide-eyed and excited to be here.

I started volunteering because getting to come to a place where I could smile and be nice to people wasn’t work, it was a vacation!

After a long day of looking at art, visitors look like they’ve just eaten an incredibly satisfying meal.

Art can change lives because it motivates people to expand beyond their boundaries. You may work an average 9-to-5 job, but then come here and feel inspired—see something you’ve never seen before, something that helps you think outside the box.

If the world didn’t have art it would just be boring. Can you imagine? What would you look at? What would you aspire to? I don’t think we could appreciate anything if we didn’t have art.

Want to swap stories (or German) with Stephen? You can find him on Saturday mornings at the Getty Villa and on Sunday afternoons at the Getty Center every other week. His next shift is this weekend, November 16 and 17.  And to join Stephen as a Getty volunteer, you can also apply here by December 31, 2013. No special art knowledge required, just a way with people.

Tagged , , , , Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Tumblr

    • photo from Tumblr

      It’s been 125 years since Van Gogh’s death, today we celebrate his life’s work.


      5 Ways to See Van Gogh’s Irises

      Through observations, visitor conversations, and some sneaky eavesdropping, we’ve compiled the top 5 ways people enjoy this painting.

      1. In a Crowd
        One of the most obvious ways that people see the painting is in a crowd. The gallery is almost always filled, and you might have to wait before you can get up close. The anticipation builds as you start in the back row, and slowly move until you are close enough to see the brushstrokes of Van Gogh’s thick paint.

      2. Online
        David from Colorado said that this was his first visit, but he had already seen the painting online. In addition to being available through the Getty’s Open Content program, the painting is often seen on social media. Just search #irises on Instagram for a taste of the painting’s popularity. 

      3. Alone
        If you arrive right at 10 a.m. when the museum opens, the quiet gallery provides a perfect backdrop to really examine the painting. Solitude and seclusion gives the gallery a sense of intimacy. 

      4. Multiple Times
        Repeat visits can give rise to multiple interpretations. Is it a melancholy or joyous painting? Expressive or depressive? 

      5. Internationally
        Visitors from all across the world viewed this famous Van Gogh. In just one hour you can hear multiple languages—French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German, and more. Irises seems to rise above cultural boundaries—a Dutch painting inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints—to strike an emotional resonance amongst all viewers. 

      What is your favorite lens to view Van Gogh’s work through? 

      07/29/15

  • Flickr