Why I volunteer: A way to support the arts

Kathy O'Neal

Kathy O’Neal is a volunteer at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. The organization’s mission is to enrich, enlighten, educate and entertain through the performing arts.

How long have you been volunteering at Wortham, and what inspired you to do so? 

I joined the volunteer ushers in early 2017. My cousin who also ushers there suggested I might be interested when I first moved to Asheville. It seemed like a wonderful volunteer opportunity and way to support the arts community.

What have you learned about the individuals you serve?

Welcoming our regular patrons back to the Wortham each time they attend a performance, as well as meeting those who are joining us for the first time, is a truly delightful experience. It’s wonderful to be part of a team that works to make each person feel welcome and comfortable at a performance.

Ushers are the first “face” of the Wortham for guests attending performances, and we all work to create a positive experience from the time patrons step through our front doors with anticipation for a great show to when they leave knowing they’ve probably seen something unique, different, exceptional.

The staff of the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is dedicated to making the performing arts an enjoyable experience for all of our patrons. Managing Director Rae Geoffrey always puts together a season that presents a vast array of performers of the highest quality in their field. While not every artist may be on everyone’s radar, each performance is just about guaranteed to be wonderful to see and hear.

The entire Wortham staff brings a highly professional and inspiring positivity to the Wortham. It is indeed a joy to get to know and work with all of them.

What’s been the most rewarding experience to date? 

There are many rewards to being an usher at the Wortham Center, but if I have to name the greatest, it would be the opportunity to hear and see such a wonderful variety of performances.

What advice would you offer those thinking about volunteering?

I highly recommend ushering — it’s a way to support the arts in Asheville while enjoying the performances. It’s also a way to make new friends, both with those who work at the Wortham Center as well as with fellow ushers.


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