The Varley is where I established myself as a young arts professional. I started volunteering at the Varley in the summer of 2009 after my second year at Western University. I was studying visual arts, and I was home for a few months looking to get involved in the local arts community. I helped out with the art auction, school programs, and special events, and when I returned to school in the fall I knew I wanted to continue my involvement with the Varley Art Gallery because I wanted to learn more about everything that went on here.
In 2010, I completed an internship at the Varley, then the following two summers I worked as the Summer Camp Director. After I graduated, I took on positions in the exhibitions and programming departments, which complimented my academic background and expanded my interest in working in galleries and museums. I love being able to help create a positive public space that celebrates creativity in all forms, and my experiences at the Varley affirmed that this was the kind of work I wanted to be doing.
My favourite days at the Varley were Thursdays because they were often the busiest days. The Deacon Hall sometimes hosted 5 different events or programs over the course of a day. For me, Thursday at the Varley meant that during the day I worked in the office as a programming assistant, and when the workday was over, I got to experience the Varley as a student and a member of the community. I enrolled in numerous sessions of life drawing courses, and the outstanding instructors at the Varley reinvigorated my creativity and encouraged an active art practice, which I continue today as a creative entrepreneur.
As I became more involved in different aspects of the gallery and met more people, I saw the Varley not only as a place that celebrated creativity, but an artistic space that brought people together. I’m grateful for the time I got to spend at the Varley Art Gallery and for the people I’ve met. I’m looking forward to returning the next time I’m in Markham!