by Guest Writer
Ryan Evans volunteers on our Meet Me at Downham programme.
I found about Entelechy Arts through my MA course at Goldsmiths, it was on a list of ‘arts-focused’ organisations to look for placement opportunities. Volunteering with Entelechy Arts is a part of my course, so I am getting credit for it but volunteering at Entelechy Arts is a lot more than that for me, too. As an artist, Entelechy Arts’ body of work represents the kind of art that I want to see in the world that I wish every artist and arts organization supported, made, and created. That’s the real reason why I volunteer with Entelechy Arts.
In my time with Meet Me Downham and Ambient Jam, the main thing I experience is a meaningful connection with others. As a recent immigrant via a student visa, this has been so important to me. Within two weeks of arriving in a country I had never visited before, I was dropped into a fun, welcoming community of art-loving people because I got involved in Meet Me Downham.
I love working with artists, the bounds of what is expected and ‘normal’ are being constantly pushed by Entelechy Arts’ work and that’s so invigorating and eye-opening. Of course, I’m a bit biased because I’m an artist as well, but that’s part of why volunteering with Entelechy Arts has been so invigorating. A favourite moment was my first Ambient Jam session, I jammed with another artist and we spent 15 or so minutes playing with a piece of fabric between us. With my eyes closed and wrapped in supportive sound, that tactile and connection experience was artistically exhilarating.
My relationships with participants are wonderful. I get so much out of talking with and making art with them. I hear about life stories, children and grandchildren, their passions and interests and I share about my life, too. I have also gained inspiring insights through my relationships with participants, like the importance of slowing down, how to truly be present in a space and taking notice of people, their energies, and how I relate to them. I can’t say enough about the depth of knowledge and growth that has sprung from my relationships with participants.