We Couldn’t Do It Without You: Volunteer Stories

We’ve got a lot on our plates here at Franconia Sculpture Park. Eight of the next twelve Saturdays are booked with exciting events, from Kids Make Sculpture workshops to the Music @ Franconia concert series to the Community Collaboration Iron Pour to our 2014 Art and Artists Celebration. This summer we’re supporting 41 emerging and mid-career artists from around the world through our artist residency program and installing just as many sculptures. Full disclosure: we simply couldn’t accomplish this without the help of a dedicated core of volunteers.

Enter Tom Foss, Jane Meyer, Toni Rad, and Andrew Fernandez. These wonderful individuals have volunteered with Franconia in the past year and each one brings something valuable to the table. And, true to the nature of our Volunteer Program, each one has become involved with the park beyond their duties as a volunteer. They are Hot Metal Artists, Intern Artists, and most importantly, friends and life-long members of the Franconia community.


Tom Foss assisting 2014 Intern Artist Richelle Soper with her sculpture.

Where are you from? 

Tom Foss: I am from the beautiful town of Saint Croix Falls, Wisconsin.

Jane Meyer: Bloomington, MN (I always tell people I was born in the Mall of America and am really good at navigating grueling mall parking.)

Toni Rad: I’m from Taylors Falls, MN.

Andrew Fernàndez: I’m from New York, by way of Miami.


Toni Rad flashing smiles and cutting flowers for our Information Booth during the 2013 Art and Artists Celebration.

How did you find out about Franconia?

TF: I have known about Franconia for as long as I can remember; going there as a child was always an outing and a half. However, I first heard about volunteer oppportunities during an Artist Talk event about a year ago.

JM: I found Franconia online when I was researching sculpture opportunities. I also knew a past intern.

TR: I visited Franconia with sons many years ago and enjoyed the creative atmosphere.

AF: First from friends, then I started assisting a past Franconia Fellowship Artist, now it seems like everyone I talk to has something great to say about the sculpture park.


Andrew Fernàndez volunteering as a Teaching Artist during our June Kids Make Sculpture.

Why do you like volunteering at Franconia?

TF: I love volunteering at Franconia because it’s always a party. Interacting with those crazy cool people is never boring and it seems I’m always making new friends. The free brats are also a nice touch.

JM: The people are solid, creative and fun. The projects are ambitious and wonderfully collaborative. Franconia wakes up your adrenaline and makes you know that you really can do anything.

TR: I like volunteering there because I want to support the arts in the community.


AF: Franconia allows me to try out new things that I haven’t been familiar with in the past, whether its assisting younger kids build a sculpture, putting on great events, or even just making me feel welcome and appreciated.


Jane Meyer manning the Face Painting station and enjoying some of the food truck fare at our 2013 Art and Artists Celebration.
Best Franconia memory?

TF: My favorite Franconia memory is when Claire and Carissa crowned me Volunteer of the Year for my rock-star parking lot monitoring skills.

JM: Staying up to the wee hours while chasing cast pieces from the iron pour. The energy was insane and everyone was right up there getting dirty and having a blast.

TR: Our visits with my grandson is a memory I’ll always treasure.

AF: My best and perhaps first Franconia memory was the 2014 Valentines Day Pour. It snowed a lot that day and was pretty wet and cold. However there was an intense, exhilarating feeling in the air, perhaps due to the conditions everyone had to be on top of their tasks and everyone worked  well together.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering at Franconia?

TF: When I am not volunteering at Franconia (and not in school) I enjoy pestering my mom, making art myself, and reading books.

JM: Currently, I am printmaking at Highpoint Center for Printmaking and working on some paintings. To pay the rent, I work for Two Betty’s Green Cleaning Service in Minneapolis.

TR: I’m moving to Jamaica!

AF: I currently work on my small scale sculptures, printmaking, and as of recently smaller metalworking.

Unfortunately, we’re losing Toni and Tom to their world travels this summer. Toni just moved to Jamaica, but has already offered her services to us as Jamaica-on-a-shoestring tour guide. By mid-August, Tom Foss, all-time record holder for tips collected while directing parking, will be leaving us to study abroad in Colombia. Bon voyage Tommy and Toni, you will be greatly missed! Fortunately, Andrew and Jane are joining us as artists this summer. In a few short weeks, Andrew will begin his Hot Metal Artist Residency as part of our Community Collaboration Iron Pour and Jane will arrive at the park this August to be an Intern Artist.

Sound fun? Join this enthusiastic group of volunteers and connect with a cause you care about.

Volunteers support community program such as Kids Make Sculpture, Music @ Franconia  Concert Series, Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour, and the fall Art and Artists Celebration. Volunteers greet visitors at Franconia events, assist with art-making activities, and provide administrative support. We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds and skills, including high school and college students. To learn more about current volunteer opportunities at Franconia, please call 651-257-6668 or email volunteers@franconia.org.







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