Apr 21

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. The Art Gallery of Calgary

by Lisa Murphy-Lamb · 5 comments

Unfortunately not all my ventures out in our fabulous downtown are great.

A short time ago I got a call for volunteers for The Art Gallery of Calgary’s annual fundraiser AGCcooks, The Art of Cuisine.  They were looking for people to tend bar, hang coats, look after the judges and generally help out as five restaurants cooked using a secret ingredient while 200 Calgarians paid $250 a plate to support the gallery and eat fine food with well-selected wine and beer pairings.  I have vowed to volunteer more and this night spoke to two of my passions: art and food.  I signed up.

Told to dress in black, semi-formal wear I donned my high-heeled boots and black sheath dress and called upon the gallery at the appointed time for what I anticipated to be a mutually beneficial night.  I would give freely 7 hours of my time to help out with their fundraiser and in return I would be surrounded by happy, noshing people in a beautiful gallery space.

I was quite wrong.  Yes, the space was beautiful.  I have always loved the gallery  and the tables set up that night were especially pretty.  But I didn’t witness much smiling that night, at least not from the gallery staff.  Instead of being treated as a invaluable volunteer, appreciated for giving up her time , I was treated like a juvenile delinquent guilty of defacing the gallery’s art and sent against everyone’s will to pay back my dues.  It was a long night for me, full of hauling heavy crates of dirty dishes in my good dress, getting yelled at by gallery staff and then ultimately, after taking a moment to sit down without permission, being told to get up and start cleaning the oven and the stoves.

I did not honour my full seven hours.  Myself and another volunteer left leaving the gallery staff to clean their own ovens.

This is one downtown (volunteer) experience I do not recommend.

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