At the core of Studio Institute’s expertise in visual arts education is its model of apprenticeship-based learning. Our internship and mentoring programs have provided hundreds of high school and college students interested in the arts to gain exposure to arts-related careers, acquire experience teaching art, and mentor teens participating in Studio arts programs.
In the Studio Arts Mentors program, undergraduates assist artist instructors to implement the Teen Apprenticeship Program (TAP), in which high school students learn how to teach visual art to children. In previous years, teens who completed the training were employed as art teachers at New York City summer camps. However, this year, due to school closings, mentors helped provide virtual training for the teens—who, in turn, presented live art lessons in collage, drawing, and painting to children via Zoom.
We’re pleased to share this profile of Studio Arts Mentor Rosanna Victorio, who recently earned her BFA in illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Rosanna was introduced to Studio in a School arts programs in kindergarten, when her school partnered with the organization to bring professional artists into her classroom. “I owe a lot to Studio programs,” she says. “That experience opened my eyes to the world of art; it helped shaped my art and abilities.”
Rosanna began her Studio apprenticeship in 2015 as a high school TAP participant employed at the Children’s Aid Society summer camp at P.S. 8. In 2019, she was selected to be a TAP mentor in the Studio Arts Mentors program. This past spring, Rosanna served as a studio assistant; in July, she began her second summer as a mentor, assisting lead artist and program manager Chris Williams and artist instructor Jamie Powell with two teams of TAP interns.
Thinking back to her own experience as a TAP student, Rosanna says that the bonds she formed with her mentors have lasted until today; she has continued to solicit their advice through high school and college. Asked what stands out when she reflects on her time as a mentor, she says it’s realizing how much she enjoys working with teenagers. “I love seeing how their brains work!”
Rosanna says that she was impressed to watch her students gain confidence and competence this summer as they adapted from the initial in-person component of the program to teaching art lessons online. “At first, they were shy and reserved,” she says, “but they stepped up and became teachers!”
With regard to her own art practice, Rosanna found herself inspired by the teens she mentored. “Being around the kids and seeing how expressive they are not only helped me tap into my ‘inner child,’ it sparked my own creativity.”
After the teen program ends this summer, Rosanna plans to spend time building her portfolio, with an eye towards working in the animation industry. When asked what words of advice she’d give to student interns and apprentices who are considering careers in the arts, she says: “Try everything. It’s so much easier to decide what you don’t want to do than what you want to do.”
Congratulations to Rosanna on her accomplishments! We look forward to watching her progress in her art career. Perhaps one day she’ll consider coming back to the Studio Institute family as an artist instructor.
Check out these art lesson videos created by young artists mentored by Studio Arts Mentors this summer.