The Importance of Volunteerism

Pastel Artists Canada is a wonderful organization dedicated to the promotion of the pastel medium across Canada. As an approximate 250-member strong association, our membership ranges from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans. This cross-country membership comes with some unique challenges; how to serve the members in different areas, staging exhibitions and workshops that benefit all members and communicating information of interest and relevance to the pastel medium. To do that, we need willing volunteers from across this great country.

PAC has been extremely fortunate to have been able to host our ICAN conference in 2018. The biggest reason for the success of this event has been the countless volunteer hours put in, primarily by Ruth Rodgers and Philip Allanson. Without theirs and others, dedication to PAC, this event would not have taken place. And it wasn’t just ICAN, our 27th Annual Purely Pastel exhibition was a great success primarily due to the efforts of Heather Laws.

After years of volunteering for PAC activities, these three people have, will be or want to step back from their roles. They have all done excellent work for our group, but it is time for them to pass on the torch to new volunteers. With new volunteers come new ideas on how best to serve our members in the years to come. This is a great time to volunteer and help direct the future path of PAC.

One of the bigger challenges was replacing our treasurer of 11 years, Philip Allanson. We are extremely fortunate that Sharon Stewart stepped forward to take on the challenge. Sharon has an accounting background but having been retired from it for several years was a bit uncertain if she could fulfill the role. However, she saw a need and volunteered to take it on. We will work with her to get her up to speed and assist her in any way she needs.

As of this writing, there are still many positions that need to be filled by new volunteers. There are two director and executive roles, Secretary and Vice President. We also need to fill the West Workshop coordinator role, which Roberta Combs and myself are taking on temporarily. There is also a need additional people to help out with both our exhibitions and workshop on both sides of the country. As they are such large roles, we are trying to build East and West exhibition and workshop teams to help spread the load over several people. We try to switch coasts every year for our exhibitions and workshops, so the time commitment is spread out over a longer time period.

PAC needs help from all its members to be sustainable and to grow. We, as artists, join associations like PAC for many reasons; networking, exhibition opportunities, mentorship and growth. My belief is that you get out what you put in. By putting in time and volunteering for an organization you get more out of the experience than what you end up putting into it. We all want a vibrant and growing organization that will provide opportunities like workshops, exhibitions and ICAN but for that to happen, we need everyone to pitch in and help where they think they can. We need new ideas and visions, and we new hands to make those visions a reality.

With the many volunteer spots available, please consider volunteering for one of them. The time commitment isn’t that onerous and the benefits to you and PAC are worth it. Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions and are interested in joining the PAC team.

PAC President – Kathy Hildebrandt