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Agency Spotlight: T.C. Steele State Historic Site

Get in Touch with Your Artistic Side

By: Mercedez McDowell

Ever been to a Paint-Out? Ever heard of a Paint-Out? The T.C. Steele State Historic Site hosts a Paint Out each year, inviting all types of artists to express their talent on-site while competing for prizes. If that sounds interesting, you should check out other T.C. Steele programs like the Portrait Drawing Workshops, Miss Potter's Tea Party, and Wildflower Foray!

TC Steele - Christine Atkinson Volunteer Coordinator Christine Atkinson gets into the role at the T.C. Steele Sundays at Home eventPurdue graduate Christine Atkinson became T.C. Steele's Art Program Developer less than one year ago, and has already created a diverse selection of programs and special events for the year-round enjoyment of those interested in art, gardening, or just plain old fun. In fact, T.C. Steele hosts the hit event "Sunday at Home", which invites people to play old-time games and listen to music, while dressed-up in old-fashioned clothing.

Those interested in more involvement in T.C. Steele activities can volunteer as tour guides, office assistants, gardeners, school group assistants, and special events assistants. "There's something for everyone at our site," Atkinson says. Prospective volunteers are nearly guaranteed a position. As Atkinson puts it, "We have never turned anyone down!" Also, since T.C. Steele is outside of Bloomington, Atkinson even helps arrange car-pools for volunteers who want to make the trip to their Nashville area location in an environmentally sustainable way.

TC Steele Garden Volunteers Volunteers at work in the gardens at T.C. Steele State Historic SiteFor convenience sake, T.C. Steele has an overnight guest cottage for visiting artists in residence. Artists prearrange to stay there during the year, while giving workshops and watching art demonstrations. In July, Atkinson coordinates Camp Steele for people interested in "walking a day in the life of T.C. Steele." Steele and his wife Selma were nature lovers. During camp, guests participate in hiking and nature-inspired art projects. "The guests enjoy a lot of the gardens on our grounds as well," Atkinson explains, "because Selma liked to garden."

If you're interested in a place with a variety of ways to be creative, allow T.C. Steele a chance to diversify your volunteer experience. Atkinson puts it this way, "Whether you're an art lover, a nature lover, or you just like to explore new places, you'll find something to enjoy at T.C. Steele!"

Some advice for fellow volunteer coordinators:

Atkinson believes in making volunteers understand that she knows their time is valuable. In fact, T.C. Steele hosts the "Annual Friends Meeting" to recognize volunteers. "Recruiting never stops," Atkinson says, "and volunteer appreciation is the key to a successful program."

Some advice for prospective volunteers:

Volunteers should remember that their time is a donation to help the organization. "Be flexible when it comes to the types of rules and job you're willing to take on," Atkinson tells volunteers, "because you're volunteering to better assist the organization." Volunteers are also encouraged to make some level of commitment to the organization they've chosen to donate their time to. Atkinson says as a coordinator, she "always hopes for volunteers to come back."