On a recent Wednesday night, 35 musicians, artists, actors, and dancers gathered in our colorful Midtown office. The occasion? National Volunteer Week, the perfect opportunity to celebrate the generous Volunteer Artists at the heart of Sing for Hope ™s programming. Limited as we were to our modestly-sized office, we couldn ™t invite all of the 3,000+ artists who have volunteered with Sing for Hope over the past ten years – so we brought together the most senior members of our current roster with the very newest, those who had their first volunteer experience in 2015. As I watched our veteran volunteers share anecdotes with enthusiastic newcomers, we reflected on just how much our volunteer force has grown and diversified over the past few years.  Volunteer Artists gather for a National Volunteer Week celebration at the Sing for Hope office.

While our organizational roots are in music, today Sing for Hope ™s Volunteer Roster features artists from the full spectrum of creative disciplines, enabling us to create a greater range of programming to fit the needs of the communities we serve. Our Volunteer Artists are the heartbeat of our organization, and it is the passion they bring – for their art, their community, and the philosophy of ,Art for All – that makes each and every hospital visit and youth workshop a meaningful experience. To capture the deep generosity, passion, and creativity that drive our volunteers, we talked to a few Volunteer Artists about what sharing their art means to them.

From heartwarming to funny, their anecdotes and musings inspired and uplifted us, and we hope you will feel the same. If you are curious about volunteering with Sing for Hope, have been thinking about signing up for a performance or teaching opportunity, or just want to see how creativity and passion can transform lives, listen to what our Volunteer Artists have to say about spreading the joy of the arts in New York City.

,This is the place to share your passion.

Between a new business and her performance schedule, singer, actor, and social entrepreneur Caroline Selia stays busy. But finding the time to perform at healthcare facilities and run musical theatre workshops with youth is a core part of her identity as an artist. ,All I want is to make a positive impact [with my art], she says, adding that ,if you’re not doing that, you’re kind of missing the point of art! Watch below to hear more from Caroline on why making it possible for everyone to access the arts is essential to her creative process.

Sparking creativity in others

Painting a Sing for Hope Piano is no small commitment. Yet Nick Stavrides is one of several Pianos Artists returning to create their second or even third instrument. What keeps them coming back? For Nick, the interaction inspired by his first Pianos creation fuels the creative process this time around. Seeing how children were drawn to the instruments during the 2013 exhibit, he says he ,want[s] this piano to encourage interaction…so even if you can ™t play the piano, you can play with the piano. Catch a preview glimpse of Nick ™s 2015 Piano below and hear more about how he uses his talent to get others involved in the artistic process.

As we chatted with the artists in attendance at our Volunteer Week soirĂ©e, we were struck by the rich diversity of skills they brought to the table and the range of experiences they had in volunteering with us. One common theme, however, emerged from all of the conversations: while their generosity brings joy and inspiration to countless people, our Volunteer Artists all spoke of how the experience of sharing their art with underserved communities brings just as much joy and inspiration to them. Singer Jannet Kim, who has volunteered with both our Healing Arts and Youth Arts programs, expresses the sentiment well, saying that ,bringing music to the people who need it most can be even more rewarding than performing for huge audiences all over the world.

If you or someone you know has creative talent to share, I hope the voices of our amazing Volunteer Artists have inspired you. WE WELCOME ALL TYPES OF ARTISTS, and always have a CALENDAR FULL OF OPPORTUNITIES to make a positive impact. Still need a nudge? Here are Jannet ™s words of advice (borrowed from Winston Churchill) for anyone thinking of volunteering with Sing for Hope:

,Why not? We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.