Legal Issues and the Arts Volunteer.
It is fun to volunteer in arts, making stages, or selling tickets and admission to a performance. There can also be security volunteers and volunteers in refreshments. This too can be fun and educational. The performers too can be volunteers and the organisers can be volunteers. These performances can be used for fund raising, political protest, or purely for expression.
While arts require artists and such arts as music and theatre can involve volunteers working on a performance event, there are some aspects of arts volunteers that involve the law.
I have volunteered as event security in youth concerts with Youth Culture Promotions. In these duties I was responsible to stop fights that is violence and also to make sure there was no abuse of substances at the small rock shows.
I found that youth like to have a good time without drugs although they will drink beer if they can get away with it. And fighting can break out quite easily between both male and female participants. Keeping volunteers informed about responsibilities involved in security such as reporting to supervisors or police is an important and I found obvious function of being involved in arts security volunteering. By staying clean and sober myself at events I was also leading by example.
The parents of the youth would expect us to act as prudent parents would act. As I thought at the time, and the others involved thought, we know the kids are going to get in trouble but we should be responsible and also trouble should not be unaccounted and hopefully not happen at our events. In the sense of being the adults involved and allowing the other volunteers to also become responsible and concerned adults we did not permit breaking the law at the events. Although we did allow loud music. Also, we raised money for the Ottawa University Student Legal Aid Society at one concert.
Stage Hand Volunteering.
I have volunteered and worked to build stages in both theatre(Centrepoint Theatre Volunteer Company, The Great Canadian Theatre Company and Orpheus Musical Theatre Company) and again youth concerts and also Earth Day 92. In these duties I must make sure to provide a safe stage free of obstructions, as well, the stage must be fit for performance of the music. I learned a lot of the details of building stages this way. Although not a complete education, it has helped me to some degree with my working at a professional level in arts.
We must provide a safe environment for appreciation and entertainment for everyone of all ages. I feel these organisations in theatre do have safety in mind of both the volunteers and security of the audience and performers.
We must be sure we are not proved negligent in our actions in setting up the stage. I was always aware that criminal negligence was unethical for a worker.
I think that an arts organisation must network and share volunteers with other community groups. The point is to allow arts to flourish and youth to be given a voice. While this may be alternative to the dominant society, and clashes may occur between the law and youth, youth and youth, adults and youth, the larger legal reality, that is societies laws will still apply to everyone. I think the organisers are the ones responsible to the volunteers and audience and performers but that they will also be aided by all involved. And in building stages safety is a common enough topic that it is well looked after in the groups I have volunteered with in Ottawa and Nepean.
Copyright By Peter Timusk
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