International Folk Art Alliance
March 4, 2011
I attended IFAM in Santa Fe almost every year with feel of joy and was looking forward for the incredibly colorful event every time to be amazed and amused by the endless creativity and skills of Folk Artists from many countries. In 2010 I decided to offer myself to be a volunteer as a translator (I speak Russian and Hungarian languages). It was simple to register online and close to the event I was invited for an orientation. i did not mind to drive from Albuquerque (altogether 6 times ) to join the crowd of volunteers to make the visit of participating artisans (many of them for the first time in the US) more comfortable. I was assigned to 2 young ladies from Kyrgyzstan along with 4 other Russian-speaking volunteers - i am sure we did our best in helping the Artists to communicate with the buyers during the 3 days of busy market. The Artists were very happy with the sales and expressed their hopes to be able to participate next year as well.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
organizing volunteers - being part of the sales and being a personal guide for the Artists.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
reduce the number of volunteers - 1600 are way too many to be efficient. I would organise groups of volunteers assigned to the each country, who should know each other before the event - it will help coordinate the work together. To make more clear the actual role of translators and use their skills more as escorts, not as sales assistants. They should be given flexibility to be together with the Artists during lunchtimes (to pay for it by themselves) and during special events.
Volunteer & Translating and interpreting for the Artists but my name tag was an "Artists Assistant".