Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook
CCA's new Alumni/Student Mentorship Program connects students with alumni for a semester of one-on-one mentoring sessions. The alumni draw on their own experiences and expertise to provide the students with professional advice, encouragement, inspiration, and realistic critiques.
The pilot session began in spring 2010, with 10 fine arts alumni matched with 10 third-year and fourth-year students in fine arts programs. It was so successful that the program has doubled its numbers in spring 2011, matching 20 alumni with 20 students.
The program begins with a kickoff training session for all participants. Mentors and students receive guidance on how to shape their future sessions to best meet their needs and time constraints. Three one-on-one meetings follow over the course of the term, consisting of studio or business tours, job shadowing, mock interviews, portfolio reviews, brainstorming sessions, gallery visits, resume reviews, or anything else the duo chooses.
The semester ends with a group wrap-up session and celebration.
Alumni are invited to volunteer as mentors! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
To participate, you must have majored in the fine arts and/or work in a fine arts field, have had a positive experience during your years at CCA, and be currently working in an art-related career or studio practice. Students are nominated by CCA faculty, and then invited to submit an application to the program. Final pairings are made by the Career Services and Alumni Relations offices.
A few comments from student and mentor participants thus far:
Mentor Iris Charabi-Berggren: "We did a meaningful critique of my student's work and restructured her résumé. We attended gallery openings and had substantive discussions about art in general and art as a profession. I also shared many of my resources, such as lists of residencies."
Mentor Kevin Clarke: "The student demonstrated a devotion to her craft and a grasp of theory that makes me want to work with her on future projects. Our relationship will almost certainly continue after the formal mentorship program ends."
Mentor Michele Pred: "I was able to schedule an art critic to come and see my student's senior show. I really connected with her artwork, and we very much enjoyed working together. It was a great fit!"
Student Nichelle Lee: "It was a very valuable learning experience. I toured my mentor's studio and explored their methods of working and material acquisition. I showed my own work and talked about my current process, and I was guided to consider materials and resources I hadn't previously."
Student Kelly Puleio: "My mentor was amazing and so helpful! This is one of the most fundamental programs I have participated in during my time at CCA. I would be more then happy to be a mentor after graduation."