Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, and creativity is a great way to express yourself. So what happens when you combine the two? Well, you get the chance to make a difference for an organization while learning new skills and creating art. What’s not to love? Check out our list of creative volunteer opportunities in the GTA to learn more about how you can get creative and make a difference.
Volunteer at a theatre or film festival
What better way to get involved in local theatre than to volunteer at a festival? There are a variety of volunteer opportunities including selling tickets in the box office, being an usher or even sometimes playing a live role in a performance! This is a perfect opportunity if you’re hoping to pursue a career in the theatre industry, or simply love the stage. You could volunteer at The Toronto Fringe, or SummerWorks. There also might be smaller-scale theatre festivals in your community that look for local volunteers to get involved.
There are also several film festivals that offer the opportunity for you to volunteer. These include Hot Docs and The Toronto International Film Festival. Not only might you get a chance to catch a film or meet a celebrity, but you can also experience the exciting atmosphere of the festival and meet other volunteers who have similar interests.
Volunteer at an art gallery or museum
If visual arts and history are more your creative medium, there are also chances to volunteer at art galleries and museums in the GTA. More well-known spots include the AGO and the ROM, but there are also opportunities at smaller galleries where you can take on tasks like supporting special events, assisting with summer camps or even engaging with visitors and working with research and collections.
The Art Gallery of Burlington has volunteer opportunities for the roles of customer service and retail, gallery guide, gardener, special events, outreach and more. You can fill out a form on their website to sign up, or bring in a completed form in person.
Volunteer at an arts centre
The Burlington Performing Arts Centre offers volunteer opportunities. These include being an ambassador, ticket collector, usher, coat check attendant and merchandise attendant. Visit the Burlington Performing Arts Centre’s website to learn more. Similarly, the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga has volunteer opportunities including outreach ambassador, reception attendant, front of the house volunteer, youth volunteers, gallery attendant and more. More information is available through the Living Arts Centre’s website.
Volunteer at a literary festival
Similar to theatre and art galleries, check out literary festivals as a place to volunteer. The International Festival of Authors and Word on the Street are two great festivals that give you the opportunity to possibly meet new authors and get immersed in the literary scene. There are also spoken word festivals you can volunteer for, such as the Toronto Poetry Slam.
You can also check out the Toronto Public Library for volunteer opportunities relating to books and literature! Public libraries in Burlington and Mississauga also offer volunteer opportunities. Visit their website to learn more.
Volunteer your services as a photographer
Many organizations look for volunteers to help with things like digital marketing, social media and photography. Photographers Without Borders has a program which connects volunteer photographers to local NGOs, so you can get involved and use your creative skills for a good cause. You can also try advertising your photography services on social media, or on a website like Kijiji to try to find people looking for a volunteer photographer.
Alternatively, reach out to small businesses, nonprofits or community groups in your area and see if they could use a volunteer photographer. They might want new photos for their website, social media, print marketing materials or other projects — and they’ll appreciate your willingness to step up and volunteer your services!
Volunteer at an art-related nonprofit organization
Visual Arts Mississauga has an opportunity for high-school students to gain their 40 volunteer hours through working during the summer months and March Break to work with children in art camps, manage classrooms and help with drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture techniques. You can fill out their online application and visit Visual Arts Mississauga’s website to learn more.
Volunteer your DIY skills
Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga-Dufferin’s innovative ReVive Centre is an exclusive upcycling facility that allows us to maximize donations. We add a DIY touch to donated items so that we can sell them in our ReStores. We’re always looking for new volunteers to join our team and help us build new prototypes, construct new items and bring new ideas to life!
Whether you want to gain experience using tools, or paint and decorate items, we have a creative opportunity for you in the ReVive Centre. Visit our website to learn more, and sign up to volunteer for your first shift in under 30 minutes or less!
Volunteering has a range of positive benefits. For one thing, it allows you to gain new skills that might relate to your career path or future area of study. Volunteer experience can be a great addition to your resume because it shows that you care about taking the time to help others and better your local community through assisting at events or working with an organization.
Volunteering also gives you the chance to meet new people who have both similar interests and different skill sets from you. You can learn from the people you work with, and perhaps even meet a new friend for life!
The obvious benefit to volunteering is perhaps the strongest one — it gives you the chance to make a positive different in your community. Whether you’re helping out at an arts event or adding a DIY touch to items, when you volunteer in a creative way you make a real impact. Plus you get to express yourself creatively and learn new skills! So what are you waiting for? Sign up to volunteer in a creative opportunity today!
By Sherina Harris
Updated: July 5, 2021