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BIG ARTS seeking volunteers

October 19, 2016
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Fifteen years ago, Irene Nolan was asked by friends to help with a BIG ARTS art reception, which turned into a love of volunteering for the organization.

"We have such a good time. People that are showing their work are so appreciative," she said of volunteering, as well as meeting the artists. "I have a group of ladies and they really enjoy it and are helpful."

Nolan, along with 22 other women spend time putting together the visual arts reception at Phillips Gallery once a month. She said they put together six receptions.

Article Photos

(back row) BIG ARTS volunteers JoAnn Reece, Shirley Frank, Carol Zell, Irene Nolan, Marge Leiblein and Linda Tedeschi (front row) Barbara Broadhurst, Lisa Franks and Darlene Rizzo.


"I can send an email out to 22 people and they respond right away," Nolan said of everyone pitching in and getting what's needed for the reception. "It's amazing what people can put together."

She said some of the volunteers will run to Sam's, or Costco to pick up food. One of her volunteers will also make a floral arrangement for a center piece.

In addition to heading the art receptions as a volunteer, she also ushers at the BIG ARTS Strauss Theater. Nolan said she enjoys ushering because she sees her neighbors and friends.

"There is always someone there you know," she said.

Nolan said the BIG ARTS staff always makes her feel appreciated, which is an added bonus.

"BIG ARTS volunteers, whether board members, program committee advisors, or our wonderful volunteers who do everything from parking cars to writing articles and a million things in between, are the heart of BIG ARTS. They are the voice of our community and their generous gift of time and belief in BIG ARTS mission is deeply appreciated," BIG ARTS Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder said. "They are a great, fun group of people and a joy to work with. Right now, we could use more of them in our pre-season volunteer recruitment campaign, so come one, come all!"

There is a big need to fill many of the volunteering positions, which range from backstage to administration.

Those interested in becoming a volunteer for BIG ARTS are encouraged to call (239) 395-0900,or email The BIG ARTS 2016-2017 calendar of events can be viewed at

"BIG ARTS has so much to offer and it's so nice," Nolan said of the volunteering opportunities.

She said volunteering has afforded her the opportunity to create many friendships with people from all over the United States.



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