Meet Carla Sinclair, our Manager of Volunteer and Community Development

Today we sat down with Carla Sinclair, the RMG’s Manager of Volunteer and Community Development to find out more about her role and what she gets up to each day. You probably recognize Carla as your host of RMG Fridays – say hello next time you see her in the RMG Shop.

The RMG: What’s a typical day like for you?

Carla Sinclair: My day looks very different day to day depending on which part of my role I am working on. I manage our volunteer program, plan RMG Fridays, the gallery’s monthly community event as well as manage our gallery shop.

Between internal staff meetings, volunteer interviews, community engagement, consignment artist acquisitions and a number of cultural advisory committees/professional development associations, meetings can often fill up many of my days. Some days are quieter allowing me to spend hours on my computer sending emails, doing research, paperwork, and planning. If I am hosting an RMG Fridays or representing the RMG at a cultural event, I get to be social and interact with the community. The flexibility of my job caters to my multi-faceted personality. I love the diversity in my role!

The volunteer umbrella involves responding to volunteer requests, booking interviews, meeting with and assessing which department best suits new recruits, managing and posting new volunteer opportunities and keeping track of hours worked. As a member of multiple volunteer associations, I attend monthly meetings that provide professional development opportunities in the industry of volunteer administration. Thinking of new ways to incorporate the many skills that walk through the doors here at the RMG is always a priority.

RMG Fridays

RMG Fridays: Wonder Women

Planning RMG Fridays involves looking at curatorial schedules and building an event around exhibitions set to open or tour each month. I often choose a theme and try to connect all of the activities that are going on during an RMG Fridays: Live music, short films, exhibition tours, studio activity, community partners, food vendors. I love to add cultural elements that engage our audience by bringing in local theatre groups to perform a teaser of their show, a dance company, spoken word poet – just about anything that showcases the incredible local talent we have here in Durham and beyond! Booking musicians is typically the first element, and when possible this happens 4-6 months in advance. Sometimes artists reach out to me, other times I get suggestions from community members. I also try to find talent by attending local music venues, open mics and cultural events.

Short films for our Friday Film Features screening room at RMG Fridays get submitted through our website. These are viewed internally and 1 or 2 films are chosen to screen every 15 minutes throughout the evening. For food vendors, they are local, independent restaurants or caterers who put together a table of delicious eats to sell in the lobby, giving local entrepreneurs a chance to engage with the community and showcase their business. I typically contact them individually but encourage anyone interested to reach out to me as well.

carla

Carla at RMG Exposed 2015

Community partners come from a variety of sources, some send requests, others are contacted based on the mandate of their organization and how it ties in to our event theme. After the details are nailed down, the next task is submitting the information to our Marketing Manager for promotional print materials and booking volunteers to help run all of the components of the evening. We typically have 8-15 volunteers behind the scenes making RMG Fridays happen, in tandem with our incredible audio engineer, DJ Lynz and dedicated RMG staff. When the big day comes, I spend the afternoon and early evening setting up tables, chairs, AV equipment, signage, printing schedules, shopping for supplies, greeting performers and partners. I then hold a meeting with our event volunteers at 6:30pm before doors open. The rest of the night involves hosting the event on stage. I, along with my colleague and co-host welcome guests, introduce the musicians, performers, and partners while sharing all of the awesome things happening in the building that evening!

The gallery shop is another component of my role including retail management, volunteer management (our friendly sales associates are all volunteers!), merchandising and researching consignment artists. Over the past year we’ve shifted the shop vision to include primarily Canadian consignment artists. This means I have to find talented artists whose work suits our local market. Some artists approach me, others I research, or find by planning volunteer outings with shop associates to canvas art shows/studios for promising candidates. Within the shop role is a lot of paperwork; Daily sales sheets, monthly shop deposits, quarterly consignment inventory and payouts as well as general correspondence. I host a monthly shop volunteer meeting to update our associates on new product, hear customer feedback and to build community amongst our volunteers.

voluteers

RMG Shop Volunteer Trip

RMG: How did you get into this field?

CS: Having worked at the Nelson and District Arts Council, in on-air broadcast radio, teaching film programs and as a partner at Empty Cup Media, I’ve always invested my career in the arts and culture. One of these roles was producing video projects for The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, where I came to know the inspired team of staff that run this incredible space. The sense of community fostered here compelled me to be a voice in Oshawa’s expanding creative culture.

RMG: What skills or training do you need for your job?

It’s such a mixed bag, but I’d say…

  • Excellent written and communication skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Computer proficiency
  • Eye for merchandising and attention to detail
  • Organizational skills
  • Ability to recognize individual talents and abilities
  • Public speaking
  • Event management
  • Ability to teach and explain tasks well
  • Excellent social skills
  • Avid interest in being active in the cultural community
  • Strategic planning
group of people

Culture Meet Up

RMG: What’s your favourite part of your job?

CS: RMG Fridays! If you haven’t already been out to this awesome monthly event, I encourage you to come to the next one. Bands, artist talks and local partnerships create an atmosphere unlike any other you will find in Oshawa. I love the crowd it attracts and see it as an accessible, creative hub for entertainment, education and networking.

RMG: What are 5 things you couldn’t live without in your job?

CS: My top 5 are:

  1. Charity Republic – Volunteer database software
  2. Post it notes
  3. Google
  4. Coffee
  5. Amazing Volunteers
two women

RMG Fridays: HipHOpera

RMG: What do you get up to outside of the RMG?

CS: Outside of work at the gallery, I make films with Empty Cup Media. Our team has been working on a web series over the past couple years which means I’m heading to South Africa in October 2016 to film one of the latest episodes! I also spend time with my squishy faced pug Gryffin, have joined an adult ballet class after recently retiring from 5 years of roller derby, and love checking out local live music at Oshawa’s Memorial Park or The Moustache Club.

Volunteer and Membership Event

 

Jessica Moffitt, RMG Communications Intern, spent her winter semester at Durham College working alongside Sam Mogelonsky, Manager of Marketing and Communications. Over the duration of her placement, Jessica learned about social media management, writing and marketing, but really found her niche in event management. Assisting our Manager of Community and Volunteer Development, Carla Sinclair, Jessica helped plan and orchestrate The RMG’s annual volunteer appreciation event. On April 17, the RMG celebrated our volunteers and members and Jess was there helping out and capturing the event during her Volunteer Week Instagram takeover.

elsy and member

Volunteers. They are the backbone of almost any non-profit organization and add so much heart and soul wherever they donate their time and talents. The volunteers at the RMG are a prime example of the dedication it takes to make an organization and community thrive, which is why we take the time every year to thank them with the RMG Volunteer Appreciation Lunch and Membership event.

volunteer

This year’s event featured a delicious spread of spring themed salads and sandwiches from Pilar’s catering in Oshawa, along with thank you gifts from the RMG and an recognition scroll from Oshawa’s MP Colin Carrie. Volunteers of all ages and interests mingled as they enjoyed their lunch at Arthur’s on the 4th which was gleaming with the warm spring sunshine.

guitarist

After lunch and speeches from Carla Sinclair, Manager of Community and Volunteer Development and Donna Raetsen-Kemp, CEO, guests headed down to the Isabel McLaughlin Gallery for the Membership Event featuring a presentation from Charlotte Hale, Toronto gallery owner and fine art photography collector. Introduced by Oshawa Mayor John Henry, Hale guided the audience through the art of purchasing and collecting fine art photography from a beginner’s perspective. The talk concluded with a spread of desserts, coffee, tea and a live acoustic guitar performance by Elijah Mabana.

presentation

The RMG is humbled by the energy and commitment our volunteers extend to the gallery each and everyday. We look forward to celebrating their involvement in the cultural community for years to come.

lobby with people

Interview with Volunteer Meg Cox

For National Volunteer Week Canada, we sat down with RMG volunteer Meg Cox to learn more about what she loves most about the RMG.

The RMG: Why did you choose to volunteer at the RMG? 

Meg Cox: I had just moved to Oshawa and knew that galleries draw interesting, creative people- I was looking to get involved in an active community, and with volunteering at the RMG- I found one!

RMG: What’s your favourite part of the gallery?

MC: It’s a tie between the Isabel McLaughlin Gallery, housing the permanent collection, and the RMG shop. The gallery space is stunning, serene and peaceful- it encourages viewers to linger. The RMG Shop is an incredible resource for locally sourced and crafted gifts. It is the perfect place to shop for birthdays and holiday – always something unique to find!

RMG: What work of art is your favourite/has had an impact on your and why?

MC: I’m crushing on Holly King’s installation: Edging Towards the Mysterious. Her work it exciting and makes you want to slow down, unravel the pieces and puzzle them together.

RMG: What do you enjoy most about leading yoga at the RMG?

MC: The community we’ve created- the ability to connect art and yoga in a beautiful space- encouraging wellness in downtown Oshawa, the list goes on! We practice in the Isabel McLaughlin Gallery, where the theme of the permanent collection’s theme is movement – there is no better place to unwind after a day than in shavasana, surrounded by art.

yoga instructor

RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary – What a Night!

Samantha Pender is a second year Public Relations student at Durham College and is completing her first communications placement at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery this winter. 

 

Now that RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary has come and gone and all the excitement has wound down for the week, I can finally look back at the awesome night we had.

With so much going on, from musicians to dancers to Museum Hack, just to name a few, it’s hard to pick my favourite moment. So instead of choosing just one amazing moment from the night that stood out, I’m going to reminisce about a few of my favourite parts from the RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary.

RMG Fridays

RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary. Photo by Linda Ryde.

The two musicians, Annie Sumi and Jamie Drake, captivated almost everyone in the gallery. The gallery was packed with so many people; I couldn’t even squeeze in to get pictures. To see everyone enjoying the music and back up dancers from O’Neill was so amazing.

Speaking of the dancers, the O’Neill Senior Dance Ensemble nailed their performance as they kicked off the night. Everyone was mesmerized and it was so awesome to see that level of synchronization and talent. I was pleasantly surprised to see different members of the ensemble dancing in place throughout the gallery, as I had forgotten about their stand still performances throughout the night. It was such a cool experience to see these different expressions of dance right here in Oshawa.

dancers

RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary. Photo by Mat Calverley.

The Living Room supplied the studio activity for the night, and it really turned up the party vibe. I saw so many people from kids to adults sporting handmade party hats throughout the night, and it really added a fun element to the whole party. To add to the party theme of the night, there were amazingly delicious and colourful cupcakes. What’s a party without cake? The cupcakes might actually have secretly been my favourite part of the night.

Museum hack Tour

RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary. Photo by Mat Calverley.

Some of the other events I didn’t quite get to see, like Museum Hack’s awesome and innovative tour of the galleries and the Friday Film Features screening of “Thank you for supporting the arts” from Eastdale C.V.I. and “7 Deadly Sins” from Sinclair Secondary Dancers, were packed with eager attendees as well. Art & Technique Academy of Hairstyling and Aesthetics mixed up their creativity on our faces too! I had a purple 5 on my face to celebrate the 5th Anniversary, and I saw other happily painted faces too!

Living Room

RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary. Photo by Bronwen Green.

The finished painting from JR Hunter was phenomenal. I was astounded at the end of the night, seeing how he encompassed every aspect of the event into his magnificent painting. It really captured the essence of the night.

RMG Fridays

Photo by Linda Ryde.

All in all, the RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary was an amazing night with so many awesome things happening. And as hard as it is to pick my favourite moment, I think the few I shared sums up what a wonderful time everyone including myself had. Happy five years, RMG Fridays!

Dancer

RMG Fridays 5th Anniversary. Photo by Linda Ryde.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer at the RMG

Are you interested in art? Do you love helping with events? Do you have a passion for education? Then volunteering at the RMG is the place for you!

With countless opportunities to choose from, there are positions available for any age, skill set or interest. These are our top 5 reasons to volunteer, what are yours?

OPG Sundays

1. Give Back

Sure, volunteering at the RMG helps you to build a repertoire of skills. It also has a huge impact on our community. Did you attend art classes during March Break? Have you had a memorable RMG Fridays out with friends? Those experiences would not have been possible without our stellar volunteer team!

 

female volunteers

2. Be Creative

There is nothing better than leaving work and feeling inspired. The RMG offers a creative, relaxed and inspiring atmosphere where you can learn and grow. Sam Mogelonsky, Manager of Marketing and Communications, says “having volunteers is critical to keep our voice fresh. I love working with creative young minds who want to learn and bring their skills to the table.”

Carla Sinclair, Manager of Community and Volunteer Development, sums it up to a tee, saying that she “loves meeting new volunteers and hearing their interests, skills and talents to see how they can work with our team of staff. Volunteers have the ability to use their strengths, gain new skills and develop an array of contacts while donating their time to the gallery. Our staff has so much gratitude for all of the amazing energy volunteers give to this vibrant, cultural space called the RMG.”

 

RMG Exposed volunteers

Photo by Grant Cole.

3. Build that Resume!

Regardless of if you are completing your high-school community service hours, doing a post-secondary field placement or simply looking to give back to the community, we’ll have a spot for you! Volunteers work on everything from helping with events, to handling artworks to instructing young minds.

Are you interested in education? Help out with art camps or OPG Second Sundays and learn in our studio. Are you a social media whizz? Help us with marketing and communications and build our following. Do you live for music and live events? Get involved with RMG Fridays and help us bring new talent to Oshawa. Are you an artist or in a museum studies program? Our curatorial volunteers will get hands-on experience by helping with exhibition installations and archival research.

“No matter what the task, I always try to ensure that what a volunteer is working on will be helpful for their resume,” says Associate Curator, Sonya Jones. With multiple outlets for every skill-set, the RMG is the perfect place to lend your time and build your resume with relevant skills.

 

art gallery interior

4. Be Surrounded by Art

Beautiful, airy spaces full of art are only steps away! The stunning renovation by noted architect Arthur Erickson will to fill you with inspiration as you walk into the office everyday. We believe opportunities for teamwork, brainstorming and collaboration, so we have an open-door policy (or no doors at all!) We guarantee you’ll be showing up to work early just to browse the exhibitions.

 

RMG Fridays

Photo by Linda Ryde.

5. Create Contacts 

With multiple events, visiting artists, staff and volunteers, there is no shortage of contacts and networking opportunities at the RMG. With such a friendly environment, it’s easy to approach anyone for a casual chat. Stick around for RMG Friday and get to know people in the arts and Oshawa community and listen to great music with your new friends!

 

To apply now, click here and fill out our online application. For more information, please contact Carla Sinclair at [email protected], or call 905-576-3000. We look forward to meeting you!

 

Interview with Kevin Alexander Hache, Co-Op Student

Kevin Alexander Hache is a Clarington Central Secondary student in his senior year. Joining the RMG team as a co-op student in the Education department, he spent most of his time providing in-studio support. In addition to Kevin’s eager disposition and great energy with the kids, we found that Kevin also had an amazing aptitude for 3D design. Keep reading to see what he accomplished!

Last fall I found myself without a co-op placement. This dilemma was quickly solved by going home after school and searching for places that connected with my interests.  I decided to approach The Robert McLaughlin Gallery because I am an artist in the high skills major program for technology at school.  After connecting with Jennifer Treleaven in the Education department, I had finally found a suitable co-op placement! I learned how to focus, develop a work ethic, manage timelines and incorporate my technology skills.

Working with RMG staff as a co-op student is thrilling. I feel capable to express my creativity to everyone freely. One day the opportunity to create a digital 3D model of the RMG building surfaced. It’s been over one year since I started 3D modeling. Using a free software called Blender, I designed a replica (to scale) of the gallery for staff to use when designing and planning exhibitions. (If you have an interest in CG (computer graphics), check out Blender.com online. Voila! Your turn to learn.)

3D rendering

3D rendering of the RMG, Kevin Hache, 2016

The project was a very fun process overall and my skills developed as I worked on the piece. I needed to examine the entire gallery, measure every corner and develop techniques to make the job more efficient. My mind is like a matrix with this type of work. Creating things out of nothing is why I love art.  Like the architecture of this building, the creative process is so unique! I committed to the task never doubting my abilities and pulled off 4 models (meshes) of the space. I must say that this type of work makes me happy and provides a sense of accomplishment.

3D rendering

3D rendering of the RMG, Kevin Hache, 2016

Daily work at The Robert McLaughlin has really made me feel like I’m pointed in the right direction in life. The excitement of teaching kids how to paint or sculpt gave me a sense of leadership and responsibility.

3D rendering of the RMG, Kevin Hache, 2016

3D rendering of the RMG, Kevin Hache, 2016

I am grateful to Jennifer for letting me participate in this thriving community. I enjoy spending time with the team, and helping out with all the programs. I especially liked connecting with every one of the volunteers and employees, I see them all as great workers. I’m positive that other co-op students who have a creative mind will find the thrill and excitement in this placement.

– Kevin Alexander Hache, 2016

3D

3D rendering of the RMG, Kevin Hache, 2016

RMG Shop Volunteer Field Trip

Here at the RMG we have a beautiful boutique showcasing local artisans. A team of dedicated volunteers make sales and provide customer service, while Carla Sinclair, our Manager of Community and Volunteer Development buys new merchandise and contracts consignment work. Our vision moving into 2016 is to support even more Canadian handcrafted items while providing meaningful opportunities for our amazing volunteers.

These goals influenced Sinclair to initiate a field trip with her volunteers. A group of 8 ventured to Peterborough on the weekend for a day of art show hopping and lunch, guided by the RMG’s Leslie Menaugh. Leslie manages our Public Programs and ArtReach. She is connected with a large community of Artists in the Peterborough area and offered to helm the art tour, introducing our eager crew to some wonderfully talented folks!

“It’s so important that the volunteers know each other and bond. When Carla asked for location suggestions for the trip, two really exciting art shows came to mind. The Focus fair, downtown Peterborough and Eddy Creek. This is my personal stance but my sense is that the RMG wants to adopt an economic model that starts with community building. We do this with our volunteers in designing these kinds of programs. Bringing people together. Looking for work produced in Ontario has become very important in bringing awareness to how fruitful this area is in terms of creativity. “ – Leslie Menaugh, Manager of Public Programs, The RMG

Eddy Creek
Feedback from the volunteers was phenomenal.

“What a great outing to Peterborough we had! Not only did we get to give some input on shop merchandise we also got to meet the artisans. On top of that, as a new comer, I got to meet other shop volunteers and have lunch with them in a great little bistro. It’s really nice how courteous and respectful everyone is.” – Timothy Cadan, RMG Shop Volunteer

“I didn’t realize there were so many “local artists” that do such beautiful and innovative art right on our own doorstep. I especially enjoyed meeting and speaking with each artist. If they agree to consign their work in the RMG gift shop, we can honestly speak about the artist and promote their work. I do hope we can do this again. Speaking for myself, I feel more included and a part of the RMG team.” Pat Bayus, RMG Shop Volunteer

This is the kind of magic that happens when you have a dedicated group working towards a common goal. Visit the RMG shop to chat with a volunteer, view stunning Canadian made art and participate in the cultural community at the heart of Oshawa.

Volunteer Spotlight: Illianna Wotton

Illianna Wotton is a grade 11 student at O’Neill Collegiate in Oshawa.  She has been volunteering with the RMG for many years and is currently completing a co-op placement with our Manager of Community and Volunteer Development. Illianna’s trademark has become the creation of the beautiful and informative signage on display for our monthly community event, RMG Fridays. We sat down with her to learn more about her time at the RMG.

The RMG: How did you get involved with volunteering at the RMG?

Illianna: When our family first moved to Oshawa, we realized there was an art gallery really close by; and when we attended our first RMG Fridays, my parents wanted to volunteer and help with this amazing space. As I grew older, I began to fall into the same sort of path, and started to volunteer as well.

sign for event

The RMG: Why were you interested in volunteering in an art gallery?

Illianna: I’m generally an artsy person, and I like the vibe that galleries give off. Since they needed volunteers, I thought “hey, why not volunteer somewhere fun”. And when I discovered it was possible to have a co-op placement here, I jumped on the opportunity.

a volunteer working

The RMG: What have you been doing during your placement at the gallery?

Illianna: It’s been a whole lot, honestly- Everything from data entry, to working in the gift shop, to organizing the libraries, to helping kickstart a new program for the Youth of Oshawa here in the gallery. I know that whenever I come to work in the morning, I don’t know for sure what I’ll be doing because it’s such an eclectically organized job.

The RMG: What is one thing you want to share about the RMG?

Illianna: The fact that everything looks a lot easier than it is. The way that this staff pulls every event off so flawlessly is astounding, but behind the scenes, there are a million tiny little tasks that need to be done. And it’s done once a month for RMG Fridays, once a year for RMG Exposed – every event you see here took careful planning and immaculate execution to get it the way it is and it’s just really satisfying being a part of that and seeing it become something fantastic.

a volunteer working

The RMG: What is your favourite museum?

Illianna: I think my favourite museum is the MusĂ©e d’Art Contemporain de MontrĂ©al; I went to Montreal for a family trip on my sister’s birthday, and they had a beautiful installation outside of these spinning prisms with gels and lights and bells inside that made music when you spun them around. That got me hooked, and the museum itself was so cool. I’m a fan of more contemporary art so that was a fantastic place to be.

The RMG: What is your first memory of art?

Illianna: As a kid, when I lived in Toronto with a small television set, I remember watching a TV show called Art Attack and trying to drag yarn across my living room floor to make a picture like the guy on TV did. It didn’t turn out very well, but I remember having fun while I did it.

a volunteer working