The Volunteer Spotlight is a new series here on the JAM blog and I am a new blogger, so it’s a perfect match. You may be asking yourself what is the Volunteer Spotlight? Well, let me tell you. Each month we will pick one of the wonderful volunteers here at JAM and ask them many different questions about volunteering, their lives and any projects they’re excited about and want to share with us.
Ideally, I want to sit down face-to-face with my interviewee over a hot cup of tea, unfortunately for my first interview that wasn’t exactly how it went. Our busy schedules kept us apart, but email brought us together. Say hello to the wonderful artist and poet, Sara Bainter, whom I have the pleasure of volunteering with at JAM.
Here it goes…
Shanda: How long have you been a volunteer at JAM? And why did you get involved?
Sara: I officially started volunteering January 2017? I started getting involved because I knew it would be a great place to volunteer and give back to a community that I felt like had already given so much to me artistically and otherwise since I moved here in March 2016.
What is the best part for you about volunteering at JAM?
The best part is getting to see all of the people who are shocked at the low price of their craft or art supplies, and are going home to create! I also love watching people’s reactions as they leave Exposure Gallery. It’s just a great feeling to experience it first hand.
What do you do at JAM?
I goof off or doodle a huge percentage of the time, and sometimes I put donations out like I’m supposed to. I like to help with Weird Art Wednesdays when I can. I love watching people of all ages come in and use art supplies for free for two hours while we work on creating projects together!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at JAM?
You will be so appreciated and needed! Please help. (laughs out loud)
What is your art background?
I feel like that’s a very long story that maybe I should write. But it starts with me being very bored, isolated and lonely in Winner, South Dakota.
What project are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
Right now I’m in the middle of moving and turning my bedroom into an art installation to facilitate more dreaming and imagining.
You have a book coming out soon, tell us a little about that.
Campfire Poetry is the paraphrased journey of heartbreak, devastation and hope, which I illustrated with various mixed media. There is a guest illustration by Christopher Reistroffer! My intention is to give creative control of the lyrics to many different bands and see what comes out of those ideas and performances!
You have beautiful illustration in your book. What came first to you, the paintings or the words?
Thank you! The words definitely came first. It seems like suddenly poetry bled from every pore and I didn’t know when it would stop.
What emotions will be triggered while reading your book?
I’m hoping some people will feel empathy. Maybe others will feel like they are not the only ones with these experiences. I want hope to be a big part of the Campfire Poetry experience.
What was the most challenging part of writing this book? And what was the most rewarding part?
The challenging part of writing is in experiencing conflict worthy of inspiring others. I don’t think I have to talk specifically about what I went through, but I do have to talk about falling down and getting back up in the unique way that I did. I felt like I had no other choice than to write this book, and once it started coming together, I felt a deep responsibility to share it with others in hopes that it will help them.
How does it feel to finally have it done and in your hands?
I really only have had access to the only copy of the proof, and even though I had to change and fix a lot of things, it woke me up and I felt an even deeper responsibility to get the book into the hands of the right people.
Where and when can we buy your book?
The official book launch is October 30th. It will be available on Amazon.com. Just search Campfire Poetry or Sara Bainter… or stop me in the street and demand a copy because I will have some on me when they come out!
If you would like to volunteer at JAM our next hour-long training session will be Monday October 30th from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Must be 18 years old to volunteer alone, but under 18 can volunteer with a parent! You can find more info here.