National Volunteer Week

Supporting BNG

National Volunteer Week, which takes place from April 18-24, was established in 1974 to recognize and reflect upon the incredible impact of those who volunteer their time and services to the community. We’d like to take this opportunity to extend a big thank you to each and every one of our volunteers who play a vital role in sustaining the Bermuda National Gallery. ⠀⠀

Currently, BNG has 40 active volunteers who work across various sectors of the gallery – from welcoming visitors at the front desk, to assisting with exhibitions and events, to sitting on committees and advising at board level. Between them they donate close to 2,000 pro bono hours per year, the equivalent to a financial donation of $40,000.

Volunteers are integral to the growth and ongoing work of the Bermuda National Gallery. They bring skills and knowledge that complement and supplement those of the staff — their passion and insight enhance the work we do in every way. BNG wouldn’t be such a dynamic arts and culture institution without their support.

We caught up with two of volunteers, Christine Larrivee  and Charles Webbe, to thank them for their time and find out what volunteering at BNG means to them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Christine Larrivee

BNG: How long have you been volunteering at BNG? 

CL: I’m very much the new face at the gallery having just started to volunteer with BNG this year. I’ve really been enjoying it so far! I’ve engaged with the gallery a number of ways in the past, and now that I’m not working full-time I have the time to volunteer, which is a completely different and fantastic experience.

BNG: What do you do in your capacity as a volunteer? 

CL: During my short time volunteering, I’ve assisted with an event, two installations, mail outs, front desk and some behind the scenes work in the back spaces of the gallery. I absolutely love how I can experience so many different facets of BNG through volunteering and see how the institution functions and serves its community. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some lovely people during my time there!

BNG: You recently assisted with the installation of both Illusion & Abstraction: Capturing the Landscape and I Am Because You Are by Gherdai Hassell. Did your involvement influence your understanding of the artwork in any way? 

CL: Assisting with the recent installations most certainly influenced my understanding of and relationship with the artwork, particularly with Gherdai Hassell’s I Am Because You Are.  Helping to map out, install, problem solve, and work directly with the artist made the art so much more of an immersive experience for me. It was a privilege to have that relationship with the exhibition!

Seeing Gherdai work through any challenges that presented themselves during installation and hearing her personally explain the art as it went up was an unparalleled window into the work I’ve never experienced before. It’s one thing to walk into a gallery and see such a stunning display, but to have assisted with many aspects of getting it on the wall and seeing it come to fruition made me feel like a small part of it and helped me better find my own meaning and viewpoint in the art itself.

BNG: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience? 

CL: I’ve enjoyed every aspect of volunteering with BNG and there have been personal benefits at every step. I love getting out of the house and into the gallery, no matter what we’re doing that particular day. It’s spectacular getting the behind-the-scenes experience of the gallery and interacting with the collections currently on exhibit.

Learning how an institution such as the Bermuda National Gallery operates is so eye-opening and educational. Meeting all the different people who come through the doors is also great fun! The events are so lovely and such a pleasure to be a part of. Most of all, the deeper connection to the artwork has changed the way I experience the pieces and installations in this gallery. I’m looking forward to continuing to volunteer with BNG and can’t wait to see what’s next! 

Charles Webbe

BNG: How long have you been volunteering at BNG? 

CW:  I asked to be considered as a volunteer at the Gallery after being inspired by the late Michael Daniels. Both of us had roots in the hospitality industry and I was moved to see how after retirement he had taken on a new life through volunteering. His were big shoes to fill in that regard, but some two years ago I was taken on and what a joy it has been and continues to be.

BNG: What do you do in your capacity as a volunteer?   

CW: During my three-hour stint every week, I welcome visitors and in some cases show them around and field telephone calls. It may seem dull but being surrounded by art tends to brighten the day.

BNG: What is your background and how are your skills able to benefit the gallery?

CW: I do not have a background in art and I cannot claim to be capable of using a brush and canvas with any degree of skill; I do, however, consider myself a collector (a modest collector), having purchased my first piece of art by a Japanese artist at the age of 18. I still have it. My most treasured piece is Storm in a Teacup by Charles Lloyd Tucker, which has been exhibited at BNG and at my and my wife’s demise will be donated to the Gallery.

Today, I enjoy what could be regarded as an eclectic collection and since I could not afford to add a wing to my house to accommodate purchases, I have farmed out many pieces to a family member and put a halt to further acquisitions.

With a background in hospitality, tourism and journalism I believe I bring skills to the Gallery that can be favourably utilized if and when needed.

BNG: Why is it important to you to support the BNG? 

CW: It is important to me (or anyone else for that matter) to support the Bermuda National Galley, as it is an enhancement to the island’s culture through its repository of local and international art.

BNG: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience as a volunteer? 

CW: One of the most enjoyable parts of my experience as a volunteer is observing the children who come into the Gallery, whether with parents, or as an escorted school group. What an ideal opportunity for them to learn at an early age to appreciate art in all its forms.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery please contact Lara Hetzel, Volunteer and Operations Officer, at