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Become a volunteer

Join us and look through the eyes of Tom Lea. Make friends, gain valuable work experience, network, and enrich community life with us! Don't just take our word for it, The Tom Lea Institute is always on the lookout for bright, enthusiastic volunteers, with a passion for the institute's mission and the work of Tom Lea.

Read more about our current volunteers. Learn about who they are and what they do here at The Tom Lea Institute.


Gregg Mele moved to El Paso from Austin in 2021 after two and a half decades of teaching. He heard about the Tom Lea Institute from the Ciudad Juarez tour. "The tour impressed me because it focused on the deep community connections between El Paso and Juarez." Led by Adair Margo. "Her passion for Tom Lea and his remarkable life and work proved to be an excellent way for me to access the complex history of the people of this region." Mele wanted to experience more of what TLI had to offer, so he joined tours and read the curricula and outreach programs. Finally, this led him to a volunteer opportunity with TLI and the Boys and Girls Clubs of El Paso.


Lydia Almeida was born and raised in El Paso (Ysleta) Texas. She is a school administrator and has always been interested in local history. “Tom Lea’s artwork depicts the history and surrounding landscape of El Paso. He was a talented artist that loved the people of this region. His legacy continues to this day. I first heard of the Tom Lea Institute when I decided to take the “Mexican Revolution,” tour with Bernie Sargent. I was fascinated with the history of how much Pancho Villa’s planning, organizing and involvement took place here in the city of El Paso. Since that day I have actively participated in many of the tours and events that the Tom Lea Institute sponsors.”

Most recently, Almeida was asked to play the role of a “Soldadera/Adelita” in La Revolución Mexicana tour. “These women were strong, courageous and were instrumental to the “Mexican Revolution.” I am so glad to be involved with the Tom Lea Institute.”


Brian Holt is a future art educator who was introduced to the Tom Lea Institute and its involvement with the Boys and Girls Club of El Paso through fellow printmaker Susan Gonzalez.

“I thought it was great to see the kids gaining a historical background of Tom Lea’s print making application and the hands on experience of making prints with all of the volunteers. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the smiles on their faces after pulling a print.”


Elias Bujanda helps with the Tom Lea Institute events by taking photographs. The events give him a chance to hone his photographic skills. "Thanks to The Tom lea Institute I have grown as a person, meet new people, and improve my skills as a photographer." Elias has been a volunteer of the institute since 2020, helping with Tom Lea Month Events, workshops, and tours. 

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Paula Denton helps with the Tom Lea Digital Library and organizes our digital files. Paula is an excellent asset to the Tom Lea Institute. Paula also contributes much of her time assisting the institute with significant events. She helped with I Love El Paso with Crystal Long and the Paint & Ink event with Sam Donaldson. She is willing to do whatever is needed!  Paula’s assistance is greatly appreciated and much needed at the institute.

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Brandon Raab has been a volunteer since 2019 and has assisted with our Tom Lea archives, Tom Lea Month, and our I Love EP events. Brandon is a native El Pasoan and profoundly relates to Tom Lea and his regional art. Since he was a child, Brandon was introduced to Tom Lea by his family members, who are also very fond of him. We are fortunate to have a volunteer who relates to and loves Tom Lea as much as we do.  

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Jody Schwartz is an excellent asset to the Tom Lea Institute. Jody shares her camera and photography skills on Tom Lea trips; this includes Casas Grande and Mata Ortiz! Jody had the privilege of knowing Tom and Sarah Lea, and her parents were good friends with them.  Jody’s passion and dedication to being an outstanding volunteer for the Tom Lea Institute are contagious. We appreciate Jody so generously donating her time and talents to the Institute.

For more information on how to join our volunteer team: Susan

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