Volunteer Program

Become a part of art changing lives.

  • Photograph by Sam Andrews, 2011


Each year, hundreds of Frist Center volunteers from across the Nashville area inspire people to look at their world in new ways. Not only is the Frist Center’s volunteer program a great way to support the arts in our community, but it’s the perfect way to meet interesting people just like you.

The Frist Center is extremely proud to have received the second round of the Excellence in Volunteer Engagement(EVE) certification, an initiative developed by the Metropolitan Nashville Mayor's Office to recognize high-quality volunteer management by nonprofits and to help increase the number of volunteers in Davidson County. It is the first such certification effort in the nation.

Won’t you consider becoming part of our team? CLICK HERE to learn more about our program.



Susan M. Williams
Occupation: Retired from psychophysiology at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development at Vanderbilt University, Susan currently is an English tutor for immigrants through the Nashville Adult Literacy Council.
Volunteer Hours:  Over 880 hours of service as of October 2014

1. Why did you want to volunteer at the Frist?
Easy! Art fills my heart. Learning about cultural responses to our varied life experiences connects me to people, places, and times I wouldn't otherwise have the privilege of sharing.

2. Which exhibition has stuck with you the most?
Our Monet to Dali exhibit brings back so many good memories. My docent class buddies and I officially began touring with this show and when you combine our camaraderie with the honor of sharing a painting by my favorite artist of all time (Vincent van Gogh), nothing compares.

3. What is your favorite moment as a docent?
Honestly, there are too many favorite moments from which to choose. There are the moments when school children realized they were looking at "an actual mummy?!"

There was the hugely popular tour of Couture gowns and lingerie that inspired one husband to thank his wife "for all of the effort (she) expends to look beautiful." Consequently, he garnered a few comical reactions from her and the rest of the group.

And, more poignantly, there were the moments of touring the Vishnu exhibit when visitors and this docent alike enjoyed quiet moments of reflection and spirited conversations about religion.  I could list more!

4. What does volunteering at the Frist mean to you?
Volunteering at the Frist means enrichment, lots of smiling, and having the chance to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life to share with someone else the wonder of art.

Thanks to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts for an amazingly gifted staff and the continued gift of exquisite exhibits.


Keith McLusky
Occupation: Before retiring, I worked in various consumer goods industries around the world, in roles varying from marketing to general management.
Volunteer Hours: Over 771 hours of service as of October 2014

1. Why did you want to volunteer at the Frist?
My wife and daughters are trained artists, whereas I am an advocate for “stick people”! I felt a need to understand better both the art and the motivation behind the artwork. With its revolving exhibits, the Frist is an ideal location for learning and experiencing a variety of recognized artists’ work from around the world. Soon, I hope also to be able to share my new learning with other visitors to the Frist as a Frist Docent.

2. Which exhibition has stuck with you the most?
I find something of fascination in all the exhibits, so I appreciate the selection. Probably, the one which remains currently most vivid in my mind is the “Rembrandt and the Dutch Masters”

3. What is your favorite moment as a docent?
Seeing the audience response upon entering the galleries. For all ages, there is a “wow” moment. For young children, there is also the excitement and sparkle in their eyes, as they scamper up the stairs to create their own artwork.

4. What does volunteering at the Frist mean to you?
An opportunity to share with people from all backgrounds – both local and foreign – the “out of world” experience which results from immersion into the realm of art and artistic creativity.


Carlos Antonio Alfaro
School: The Academy at Hickory Hollow
Grade: 12th
Volunteer Hours: 61 hours as of October 2014

1. Why did you want to volunteer at the Frist?
Well I love art and the Frist allows us to express ourselves in unique ways and allows us to experience new forms of art which we can't get anywhere else.  

2. Which exhibition has stuck with you the most?
Chihuly at the Frist has stuck with me the most because of the amazing work he’s created with glass to create such a unique and wonderful experience. 

3.  What is your favorite moment as a volunteer?
I can't decide what my favorite moment is because every time I volunteer I create new experiences with the guests and I love every single moment there. 
4.  What does volunteering at the Frist mean to you?
Volunteering at the Frist means to me being able to help a community that appreciates the arts and wants to experience more from it.

Bertha Brown
Occupation: Retired Educator for Metro Public Schools
Volunteer Hours: 104 hours of service as of November 2014

1. Why did you become a volunteer for the Frist Center?
I became a volunteer because I wanted to make a contribution to Art Education in Nashville. It is an opportunity to establish social contacts with other volunteers. The flexible schedule allows  me work when I am available. The Frist Center recognizes and rewards volunteers with special activities during the year.

2. Which exhibition has stuck with you the most since you’ve been a volunteer and why?
My favorite exhibition was the Cars during the summer of 2013 when I became a Frist volunteer. I enjoyed discussing the craftsmanship and detail of each car with visitors. The cars were in excellent condition and provided  interesting history.

3. What is your favorite moment as a volunteer?
My favorite moments are every time I arrive at the Frist Center. I enjoy meeting adults and children from Nashville and other states who want to learn more about art. I am able to tell them about the architecture of this historic building and the new exhibitions.

4. What does volunteering at the Frist Center mean to you?
Volunteering at the Frist creates an atmosphere of continued learning experiences. It allows me to do something positive and rewarding with my spare time. I look forward to being a volunteer at the Frist Center and working with the wonderful staff for many years.


Since before we opened our doors in 2001, volunteers from throughout the Nashville community have been in an important part of helping us to fulfill the Frist Center’s mission and vision.

In a typical year, nearly 400 volunteers provide more than 25,000 hours of service to the Frist Center. Docents lead more than 15,000 visitors on tours, visitor services volunteers welcome over 200,000 visitors into our exhibition galleries, and ArtQuest volunteers assist over 110,000 children and families in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery.

And that’s not all – from promoting membership to assisting with sales in the gift shop, from evaluation to office assistance, volunteers can be found throughout the Frist Center every single day.

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