Meet the Volunteer: Jennie Smillie

volunteer helping an artist at Project Ability

Our next volunteer highlight is the wonderful Jennie Smillie! Find out a little more about Jennie and her interest in Project Ability below!

Are you a graduate or undergraduate artist? Can you tell us what course you are on, or a little about your art practice?

I graduated from the Environmental Art Department at GSA 1998 and have been teaching since then. Last summer I dropped one of my 2 part-time jobs and so have had more time to do useful things – like volunteering at Project Ability. My own work has involved a variety of media and techniques usually in pubic paces and I’m only just getting back into ways of ‘making’ again. I’ve been going back to basics recently and simply drawing

In what workshop do you volunteer?

I volunteer in the Re-Connect Workshop

volunteer at table helping artists at Project Ability

Why did you apply to volunteer at Project Ability?

I wanted to do something useful. For me, art has always been a way of sharing with other people and of getting involved. I first came across Project Ability when I delivered a three day workshop there with a couple of classmates at art school. I remember being impressed with the commitment of artists who took part and the talent, but particularly by the supportive environment.

Did your experience live up to your expectations?

Being at Project Ability has certainly lived up to my expectations, and more.

What have you learned from your experience with us?

I’ve learnt loads from the artists there, from painting techniques to creating glass works. I’ve had an opportunity to try some new techniques too. It has also been a very humbling experience, in a good way.

volunteer putting up artists work at Project ability

Do you have a favourite Project Ability artist or art work that has stood out for you?

Everyone has made me feel so welcome it would be difficult to say – but Jan has made me very welcome in the glass workshop. The artists are there to work and many work really hard in and out of the studio, but it is such a friendly group. I feel honoured to have been able to be a part of this.

Sarah is applying to go back to college and finish a HN Art course. That’s a big step and I’m impressed by her bravery – having been out of college for some years. I’m really pleased for her too and hope her application is successful.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us?

Yes, they’ll learn loads, see some fabulous work and meet great people!

Any other comments?

I’ve been coming along for some weeks now and I’m planning a short workshop. I’m looking forward to doing something with everyone together!


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