In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, we are highlighting our Guest Artist, Mary-Kate Schellhardt, for her work with P.S. ARTS. Below is an update from our Volunteer Coordinator, Joella Still, including a conversation with Mary-Kate about why she loves volunteering for P.S. ARTS.
This year has been an interesting one to say the least, and with help from our dedicated volunteers, we were able to pivot quickly, while keeping the quality and integrity of our programming intact. Being forced to move to virtual programming, has allowed for some experimentation of various program models that we hadn’t previously explored.
One of these experiments was a new version of our Guest Artist series that took place once a month for four months, led by actress Mary-Kate Schellhardt. Starring in movies such as Free Willy and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape as a child, Mary-Kate was able to offer insight as a child actor and share her experience and expertise in the entertainment industry. Middle school students in our Inside Out Community Arts program were actively engaged in these workshops which covered voiceovers, preparation for auditions, and character development.
Students were able to ask questions about her personal experiences and any applicable skills and tools that they could start utilizing at their current ages, as well as get hands-on experience with the audition process, and techniques actors use to prepare for their roles.
When asked why she wanted to volunteer with P.S. ARTS she responded, “Jaime Reichner introduced me to Joella Still and ever since I’ve had an amazing time volunteering at P.S. ARTS. Everyone from Lui Sanchez to the teachers and students in the workshops were creative and kind. I wanted to volunteer because I love theatre and grew up in classes where I was taught by artists. It’s been a dream to now be creating workshops about the profession I chose.”
The hours Mary-Kate spent preparing the workshops each month are truly a testament to her dedication to our students. She showed up for each and every meeting, and really committed to our students. As a result, our Program Director, Lui Sanchez, has decided to replicate this program.
We at P.S. ARTS want to thank Mary-Kate for all of the time she devoted to collaborating with us to make this program successful!
An additional shout out to everyone who has helped us during this pandemic. So many volunteers have stepped up in various ways from helping us edit videos for our programs and helping older volunteers with Zoom technology, to putting together art kits for our students. We truly could not have done this without the efforts of our volunteers and we are so thankful to have you all be a part of the P.S. ARTS family!