Volunteers – The Heart Beat of Gualala Arts!

This year’s annual members meeting was an Online! Zoom event, which began Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 3 pm. The Annual Membership Meeting provides an opportunity for Gualala Arts members to meet nominees for the 2021 Gualala Arts Board of Directors and vote for the proposed slated of Gualala Arts Officers.

We also honored a few of the  volunteers that have repeatedly gone above and beyond the call of duty and take this opportunity to appreciate our volunteers and present Volunteer of the Year and Heart Beat Awards.

Volunteer of the Decade

This year we created a special award for an individual who over the past 10 years 2010 -2020: volunteered more hours, set up more chairs, went to more events, handed out more programs, served more dinners, mopped more floors, helped more artists set up, came to the most weekly Tuesdays Crew days, answered the call “Can you come in today? We really need you!” and he always showed up with a smile and appreciation for the ALL the arts, it is with great pleasure to announce this renaissance man of art appreciation and service our first volunteer of the decade:

PD Serratoni

Volunteers of the Year

2020 certainly was an interesting year to say the least.  We decided this year that 2 individuals really stood out and stepped up!  Barry Weiss had the great pleasure of being the president of Gualala Arts when the pandemic struck us all.  Barry’s steadfast leadership in this time was inspiring to say the least.  He led the board of directors into uncharted territory to keep Gualala Arts long history going. Barry called on his faithfully dedicated board and staff to re-imagine how we are to bring our programing to the community and keep our hard working staff employed.  When hearing Barry call to action, Joan Wood stepped up and presenting her ideas of bring our galleries to the Online! world.  Not only did Joan have the vision but she also possessed the know how and dedicated long nights and early mornings to achieve the goals of carrying on the 59th annual Art in the Redwoods Online! With help from staff, volunteers and other board members such as Bob Mitchell a team was developed to flush out the idea and bring the vision to a preferred device near you.  It was maneuvering through this 2020 storm with leadership, vision, dedication and follow through that we are honered to present the volunteer of the year to:

Barry Weiss & Joan Wood

Heartbeat Awards

The Heat Beat awards go out to volunteers who step up and rise to the call to service the arts.  Every volunteer deserves a heart beat award, but we single out a few every year and highlight their stories to inspire us all.  It is with much gratitude, love and appreciation to these wonderful 2020 heartbeats.

JoAnn Aiken – Who stepped up and baked up a winter storm under the name “Mrs Claus” for our volunteer bakers who were sheltered and unable to cook from home and donate backed goods to sell at the Festival of Trees. Thanks Mrs Claus! I think we all gained 10 pounds on your fudge alone! Not only did Joann cook up a storm she is a decorating maven! She was part of a small crew that transformed the Arts Center into a Winter Wonderland!

Paula Haymond – Helped rehab our new Dolphin Gallery Space in the Uptown Gallery District in Cypress Village.  Paula showed up with power tools, painting tarps, paint pads and the know how to use them all.  Paula dedicated many hours in transforming our new space into a fresh new home for our Dolphin Artists and Volunteers.

Jane Head received many calls this years and did not turn down one of them!  She and Randy received a last minute call to help move out of the old Dolphin.  We had 2 weeks remaining when the pandemic took hold and everything shut down, except our need to vacate the space. Jane and Randy showed up with a truck and trailer and lots of smiles and laughs to make things happen. Jane also used her creative scary talents to decorate the grounds for our first ever drive through Halloween trick or treat.

Sheri Kirby also heard those jingle bells ringing and answered with a “Happy to help! It will be fun!” and fired up our new Hobart mixer and cranked our dozens and dozens for cookies for lots of good boys and girls.  She also use “R2Doughtoo” our affectionate  name for this wonderful mixer to make the coasts most favorite pie crusts!  Thanks Mrs Claus x2!

Dansie Little overheard at a board meeting that we were moving the Dolphin to a new space and said, “I actual use be an interior designer in a previous life.  I could draw up some plans if you like!”  and just like that we had a plan we had a professional design plan.  (Well, after many late night, and going through lots of erasers I am sure.) Thanks to Dansie we had a plan for the new space drawn out to our specific fixtures,  making the move from storage to the new space so much easier with the volunteer movers knowing exactly where to place the large heavy pieces.  If you like the new look and layout of the Dolphin, you can thank Dansie!

Sophia Mitchell is one of those volunteers that you may not have even known what she was doing but you love her contribution. Sophia took our neglected, stale, not being updated Instagram account and brought it up to hundreds of followers, liking, commenting and sharing the hot picture or story of the day! Stealthy behind the scenes she has really made a difference in this every growing field of social marketing and promotions. She truly made many hearts beat faster with her energetic and artistic posts!

Susy Pollard is our Matriarch of the Festival of Trees fundraisers at Gualala Arts. Susi has a way of transforming any space into magical experience.  With a life long career and several business in flower world, she has brought those talents to the coast and Gualala Arts.  She and Jan Harris invented the Festival of Trees and she really stepped up this year in transforming the arts center into our Winter Wonderland to bring so much joy to our community when we needed it the most.  Ho Ho Ho Susy we could not have been so merry without your support and creativity!

Business of the Year

Ferrellgas has really stepped up and helped our membership and Gualala Arts this year.  Not only do they sposnor Art in the Redwoods awards for the past few years, they give the Gualala Arts Center a wonderful discount on our propane.  Craig and Ferrellgas asked how they could help more and we asked if they would extend a discount to our members.  Craig being the community supporter that he is said “You bet!  Have your members give me a call and we will give them a great discounted price and make it real easy and affordable to switch over to us.”

Discounts for GA Members Contact: Craig Rodgers—707-409-4479 for Details

Group of the Year

Gualala Arts Staff really rose to the occassion in these uncertain times to ensure that Gualala Arts stayed true its mission of “promoting public interest and participation in the arts.” No easy task in the middle of pandemic especially the participation part.  When asked if they wanted to stay and help “re-imagine” our future of the arts, all respoded with enthusiasm, creativity, hard work and dedication. This award usually goes to a “volunteer” group of the year but the board of directors unanimously agreed that this year we should honor our office staff that pulled together to keep it together and further our mission in spite of a pandemic.  Hats off to Andrea Allen, Scott Chieffo, David Steffan, Kendra Stillman and  David Sus Susalla who managed to pull together and pull-off a pretty darn good 2020!

Without volunteers there would not be a Gualala Arts Center!

Community volunteers conceived the idea of an arts center many years ago. Volunteer efforts have brought that dream to fruition and continue to be the lifeblood of the facility today. Literally, hundreds of individuals share their time, talent and financial resources to maintain Gualala Arts.

The Tuesday Work Group keeps up the building, makes improvements such as landscaping, the Karel Metcalf Garden Terrace, the outdoor theater, the river trail, the Redwood Grove, DePrima Terrace and countless other projects.

A dedicated group handles the monthly mailing of Sketches. Volunteers serve on Gualala Arts’ board and committees.

Volunteers prepare receptions and serve their culinary offerings at them. Volunteers run the many performance art series – Chamber Music, LocalEyes, Global Harmony and Theater. Volunteers maintain the library and staff the Dolphin Gallery every day.

Carpenter or cook, gardener or organizer, artist or patron – whatever your talent, it will be put to good use at Gualala Arts. Not only will you be donating your time to a worthwhile cause, but also you will develop new friendships and become more intimately involved in our Redwood Coast Community. All are welcome.

(Pictured) Executive Director David “Sus” Susalla with 2016 Volunteer of the Year JoAnn Aiken and 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Rich Schimbor.

To become a volunteer or to learn more about what is offered, call 707-884-1138.

To become a member of Gualala Arts Click here