Partners Artist Mentoring

Partners Artist Mentoring is a professional development program for emerging artists who have been historically excluded from traditional arts education opportunities.

Program Founded in 1994 

The Partners Artist Mentoring program matches emerging artists with disabilities, or artists from other marginalized communities, with professional artist mentors for individualized, hands-on, and innovative professional development. Apprentice artists develop and practice their artistic techniques and skills, expand their educational and professional experiences, learn about the business side of being a working artist, make vital connections to the local arts community, and explore and/or prepare for potential careers as professional artists. 

Because of complicated physical, mental, or cognitive restrictions and other environmental barriers, these emerging artists often do not have access to traditional forms of arts education and/or professional development in the arts. Because of Art Access' 35 year history of working with artists fro marginalized communities, our organization understands that these artists may learn, process information, communicate, refine their artistic skills, and make professional connections in unique ways. Therefore, we also recognize that their artistic training needs to be individualized, hands-on, and take place in an inclusive and accessible environment.

We select professional artist mentors carefully in order to allow both individuals involved to collaborate on ways in which the apprentice will best learn the skills of a specific artistic trade. Gaining access to artistic and professional discipline, improved technique, innovative mediums, professional networks, and personal marketing and public relations skills help prepare apprentice artists for the realities of professions in the arts.

Upon completion of a minimum of 25-hours of mentoring, including attending partnership-development events and assessing their experiences in a journal, apprentices and their mentors celebrate their work in a side-by-side culminating exhibit in the Art Access Gallery each January. In addition, apprentice artists are encouraged to attend any of our adult art workshops tuition-free in order to further develop their artistic skills.

INTERESTED in Partners Artist Mentoring? The 2019 application period ended on January 7th, 2019. The 2020 application will open in Fall 2019. Check back here for the link to apply.

To learn more about the program, or how to participate, and to make sure you are notified when the application opens, contact


2019 Apprentice & Mentor Artists (respectively):

Zubaidah Al-Lami (apprentice) & Mary Lambert (mentor) in metalsmithing and jewelry making
Tyler Pierce (apprentice) & Elisabeth Bunker (mentor) in mixed media and painting
Josie White ( apprentice) & Clinton Whiting (mentor) in drawing and painting

What some participants have said about their experiences in the program:
"[Partners] really fills a void for emerging artists. It provides an impetus and the needed encouragement that is often missing in other art environments." - Mentoring Artist

"Tamara Escamilla and I took an approach to the program that made it exactly what the name implies; the program allowed us to create a true partnership where we shared styles, techniques, knowledge, and experiences as peers Through the program, we have learned a great deal from each other and developed a lasting friendship." - Veronica Perez, Mentoring Artist

"I was excited when I was asked to work with Abby Tohinaka in the Partners Artist Mentoring program because the mission was in line with my belief that creativity is essential to one's well being. Abby seems to recognize this as well and has taken to painting many hours each day, indicating that it is therapeutic and brings her great joy." - Anne Becker, Mentoring Artist

"Jimmy taught me to think outside the box and to expand my horizons. Mostly, he taught me not to give up on my passion for being an artist. I've had a passion for art most of my life, and likely always will. With the added inspiration and tools I have gained by being in this program, my career as an artist will keep moving forward." - Robert Smuin, Apprentice Artist

"Sadie Hoagland is the most intelligent, inspiring mentor I could have hoped to work with. Strangers at first, we have made a bond through words and time, projects and creativity. I admire her strong use of language, her intriguing subject matter and, most importantly, all that she has to teach me. She's helped me grow, has nurtured my writing and helped it to evolve. Being her partner has opened many literary doors; I'm grateful for her hard work as much on her own words as on mine." - Brooks Oscarson, Apprentice Artist


We wish to thank the Utah Department of Arts and Museums, the Geogre S and Dolores Dore Ecless Foundation, and the Marion C. and Maxine D. Hanks Foundation for their contributions to this program. 


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