Volunteer Profile: Sylvia McKenzie

Sylvia McKenzie’s long association with the gallery began with the formation of the Friends of Aigantighe in 1976. Sylvia’s late husband Evan was the first President of the new organisation,and Sylvia served along side him on the committee of the Friends for many years. 

Over that time,she was involved in decisions to purchase artworks for the Aigantighe’s permanent collection, includingthe sculpture titled Study from Life by Francis Shurrock, a personal favourite of Sylvia’s.

During Meg Parkin’s timeas Director of the Aigantighe, when there were only two full-time staff members,the need a rose for more help in the Gallery so the call was made for volunteers. Sylvia was among the first volunteers to give her time at reception during open hours. Volunteers have been a vital part of the Aigantighe team ever since, as the first point of contact for visitors to the gallery. 

That was over 20 years ago and Sylvia is still a reliable presence behind the reception desk each week. She enjoys the social element of the role - she likes to see people and have a chat. In her words: “Visitors are just as important to the volunteers as the volunteers are to the visitors.”