Local Current Blog

Lend your ear and your time: music and art venues for volunteering in the Twin Cities

The Cedar Cultural Center is one of the most volunteer-friendly venues in the Twin Cities. Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt for MPR

In the Twin Cities, music fans are devoted. We attend countless local concerts and fill our shopping carts (both physical and electronic) with all the local music we can find. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many venues in the area offer opportunities for fans to not only spend time at shows as fans but also as direct support.

The Cedar Cultural Center is one of many music venues it’s possible to volunteer for. Alana Horton, The Cedar’s marketing and communications manager, said that their volunteers are indispensable. “We literally couldn’t do what we do without our community of volunteers.” She said. “Volunteerism is completely baked into our identity.”

As for the experience of volunteering at the Cedar, Horton said: “I think that you can sense the energy of our volunteer community as soon as you come through the Cedar’s doors. It’s clear you’re surrounded by music lovers who are passionate about dedicating their time back to the community.”

Horton explained that their volunteers come from all kinds of backgrounds. “The one quality they all share was a desire to get involved with the Cedar. I hear a lot from volunteers that what keeps them coming back is how important they are to the work — they are really part of the community and identity we’ve created here.”

If you are looking to pitch in this holiday season, be it at the Cedar, another music venue, or even a theater, here is a compilation of some of the venues in the Twin Cities who accept volunteers. Know of any other opportunities? Comment below.

The Cedar Cultural Center
According to the Cedar Cultural Center’s website, as many as 20 volunteers contribute per show. This includes set-up, ticket sales, working the merchandise table and post-performance cleanup. For every eight shift hours, you can earn a free pass for a future show — and even while you work, volunteerism at the Cedar allows for an engaging experience, as most of the positions allow you to watch some (if not all) of the show.

Minnesota Orchestra Hall
If your heart lies with classical music, The Minnesota Orchestra Hall has a long list of volunteer positions available from coffee host to the Symphony Ball (their annual gala fundraiser).

The Fitzgerald Theater
If you listen to The Current, then you are already a fan of Minnesota Public Radio. You can further this support by volunteering at The Fitzgerald Theater, a Minnesota Public Radio-owned theater space. Best known for its live performances of “The Show with Chris Thile,” this building (which is the oldest surviving theater in St. Paul), provides audiences with the unique experience of live radio. Currently, they are looking for volunteers to be ushers.

The Dakota Jazz Club
Help spread the word about the Dakota Jazz Club by joining their Street Team. Staffed by volunteers, the Street Team works with the Dakota’s marketing team to promote the venue around downtown Minneapolis and the rest of the Twin Cities area. Tasks include flyering, brand-repping and other projects.

First Avenue
Additionally, there are Street Team positions available at First Avenue in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Institute of Art
There is no shortage of variety when it comes to chipping in at the Minneapolis Insitute of Arts. Volunteers work directly with guests as well as the art itself, allowing them to become quite knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the museum. These positions offer the chance to work with both children and adults.

Walker Art Center
The Walker posts events in which they require help from volunteers on their website. Regardless of the circumstance, volunteers perform a wide range of tasks. They work with hands-on with activities for guests, act as ushers and informational resources as well as assisting with setup and cleaning.

The Guthrie Theater
Volunteers at the Guthrie spend most of their time in the auditorium helping theatergoers and working with staff members. The Guthrie utilizes more than 400 volunteers! Perks include discounted and sometimes free tickets to Guthrie events.

Hennepin Theatre Trust
If you frequent the State, Pantages or Orpheum theaters, consider aiding in their success by becoming an administrative, event, in-theater or outreach volunteer for them. There is something for everyone, from interacting with theater patrons to working on large-scale projects.

Minnesota Public Radio
You can lend much more than just your listening ear to the Minnesota Public Radio community. Minnesota Public Radio offers multiple facets for volunteers, depending on the area of interest. The Current, Classical Minnesota Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio News all benefit from members of the community helping out at various events and concerts around the Twin Cities area, along with the occasional opportunity to spend time on-location at our St. Paul headquarters.