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Good Deeds: Love of the arts drives Wichita volunteer

Volunteer Toni Gates helps coordinate events for the Murdock Society at the Wichita Art Museum. (Nov. 7, 2014)
Volunteer Toni Gates helps coordinate events for the Murdock Society at the Wichita Art Museum. (Nov. 7, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

When Toni Gates retired, she didn’t want to stop having fun.

“I had a full-blown career and spent over 20 years with my own theater troupe, and we performed for the forgotten audience of 2- to 8-year-olds,” Gates said. “I loved every second of it.

“I love the arts. I loved providing a participatory experience for imagination and education.”

Gates, 69. is the events coordinator for the Murdock Society, which is affiliated with the Wichita Art Museum. She provides opportunities for patrons of the museum to attend events and social activities relating to art.

“Our membership is renewed on an annual basis and in order for them to feel like it is worthwhile to renew a membership, we try to provide interesting happenings,” Gates said. “My job is to create those special events.”

One of the last events was a tour of private collections of art called “Small Spaces and Big Art.”

“We visited three different homes,” Gates said. “None of the owners had big houses, but they did have passion for art. We got to see how people utilized art in special ways.

“It was inspirational for our patrons to get creative and not feel like you have to have a ton of floor footage to hang art.”

So why do this?

“This is a great community and welcoming,” Gates said. “I wanted to do something for the community.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

Know a volunteer?

Good Deeds is a feature recognizing volunteers for their service to the community. Do you know someone doing Good Deeds? E-mail us at volunteers@wichitaeagle.com.

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