Janesville Performing Arts Center in need of volunteers

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Shelly Birkelo
Thursday, February 7, 2013

— Peggy Vechinsky is not an artist or performer, but she has always supported the arts.

The Janesville woman was the first volunteer for the Janesville Performing Arts Center before it opened its South Main Street facility in September 2004.

"I was a retiree with more time than money and wanted to get involved in more than my life's work as an RN (registered nurse) at Mercy (Hospital)," she said.

Vechinsky relishes the opportunities she's been given as a volunteer in JPAC's box office. The 73-year-old gets to meet lots of people, and the work helps keep her mind sharp, she said.

"Learning the new computer was a challenge," she said. "But we're doing well, and it's much more efficient (than the old computer system)."

In the beginning, Vechinsky volunteered five days a week. Now she works about four hours once a week.

"It's a good way to meet new people and interact with the public," she said. "It's kind of a (public relations) PR job."

The work isn't too difficult, and JPAC workers support the volunteers, Vechinsky said.

JPAC is in need of more volunteers in addition to the 170 it already has, said Elizabeth Horvath, executive director.

"We always need more, and mostly in the box office, for bartending and flyer distribution," she said.

JPAC also has volunteer ushers, docents and maintenance professionals.

The center operates without public funding, and its operations are supported through fundraising events, grants, foundations and the support of donors, Horvath said. JPAC has only a 2.5 person staff, which is why volunteers are so important to its mission, she said.

According to Horvath, volunteers saved JPAC $35,000 last year. That number is based on the premise of each volunteer making $10 an hour, something the budget can't allow for, she said.

Vechinsky agreed, saying the center "couldn't pay enough money to hire positions filled by volunteers."

And that's another reason she volunteers.

"It's a good way to give back to the community and be involved in something that interests you," Vechinsky said. "I can contribute to the nonprofits with my time, which I have more of than money."

To volunteer

Call JPAC Executive Director Elizabeth Horvath at 608-758-0297 or visit janesville



Box office staff assistants—One shift per week, flexible as necessary, from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Friday. Includes access to complimentary tickets for JPAC events. Volunteers perform customer service duties at the box office by answering phones, checking voice mails, filling ticket orders, maintaining the ticket database and running credit card charges. Volunteers should have basic computer knowledge and feel comfortable answering phones and providing customer service.

Bartenders—Volunteers work a flexible schedule based on an online sign up process. Hours include mostly nights and weekends and include the benefit of seeing shows free during slower events. Duties include arriving 75 minutes before performances, serving beer, wine and sometimes mixed drinks before the show and during intermission, plus cleaning up the bar after intermission. Individuals must be city of Janesville licensed bartenders, at least 21 years old and able to stand for about two hours. JPAC will pay all costs associated with becoming licensed. Bartenders keep tips.

High school poster and flyer distribution—Time commitment for this position is flexible and based on upcoming JPAC events. Volunteers have access to two complimentary tickets for each non-fundraiser performance. JPAC staff will contact volunteers when posters and flyers are ready to be picked up and distributed. JPAC staff will sign volunteer forms needed for graduation, class credit and/or internships. Volunteers must have to ability to act as JPAC ambassadors and have access to transportation.

Last updated: 8:13 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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