Working 50 hours a week can be a lot for most people. Doing it as a volunteer is a labor of love, especially for Sharon Owen, manager of Gallery at York Hall.
The Illinois native started in the position 19 years ago when the Celebrate Yorktown Committee wanted a gallery and information center to promote the area. At the same time the old court house became available.
Her day-to-day duties include scheduling other volunteers to help out and decorating the lobby. She also works with local artists who sell their artwork and does necessary paperwork.
“It is just like running a business,” Owen said.
She enjoys her work because of the visitors who come into the gallery.
“They come in from all over the country and the world. Most of the people who come from out of the country come from England, but we’ve had people who have come from China. We’ve had people from Australia who wanted to know where they could see squirrels. And people from Washington state who wanted to know the best place to see Cardinals,” she said.
“Mostly, they want to know where are the best places to eat and where are the gas stations. They also want to know about the Nelson House and where the cannon balls are located in it,” she added.
The visitors are not the only people Owen enjoys interacting with. The artists inspire her. There are 300 different artists who have works in the gallery.
“To see what they create is amazing. One artist took crushed glass and created a block quilt,” she said.
Kristi Olsen, Tourism Development Manager for York County said, “Sharon’s passion for art and the community is genuine and truly inspiring. The work of hundreds of artists has passed through her doors over the years and she has a real eye for identifying and supporting local talent—both aspiring artists and seasoned professionals alike.”
“Sharon is the glue that holds the Gallery at York Hall together and Yorktown is so lucky to have her,” Olsen added.
Volunteering is something the she has always done since elementary school, Owen said. Prior to volunteering with The Gallery at York Hall, she volunteered 15 years at the Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown.
“Volunteering at the gallery helps me grow as a person. It helps my mind stay active and helps my body. I am consistently learning new things and meeting new people,” she said.
It also helped her bond with her 18-year-old granddaughter who lives in Florida. She spent last summer volunteering with Owen and had a good time working with the art displays.
This article needs some proofreading!
Scott Acker says
Right you are. The article is improved now. Probably still flawed, but better. Thank you.
Sharon K Owen says
Thank you – volunteering has always been my pleasure and I have always had a great staff of volunteers helping me all of these years!
Amy Demetry says
Thank you for a great article highlighting all the valuable work Sharon Owen does on behalf of the Gallery at York Hall. Sharon’s devotion and dedication to the success of the gallery has been beneficial to artists, residents and tourists. The gallery and its staff is an integral part of historic Yorktown and is a real treasure.
Maria ST Clair says
I know Sharon, she is awesome! She is dedicated to her lovely Gallery