Saturday High student Kari Davis
How can a good mentor change the way a young artist sees the world—and herself? Just ask Kari Davis. The 12th grader and Saturday High student was recently paired with film instructor and Art Center alumnus Chris Gehl as part of Art Center’s Public Programs Mentoring Program, which helps teens hone their personal creative vision and learn about opportunities for college and jobs in the arts.
“Having Chris as a mentor is like having an art-focused sensei master giving you his undivided attention and support,” she says. “Every meeting is a field trip and a lesson. I feel like everyone at Saturday High is cheering me on and cares about my success not only as a filmmaker, but also as a person.”
A recent grant from the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund is helping to bring Art Center’s Saturday High and Art Center for Kids classes to students with creative prowess and financial need. Additionally, the grant is funding mentorship opportunities between Saturday High students and Public Programs faculty. The Fund is providing support for student scholarships and stipends for mentors. It is also the first non-College group to fund such activities as field trips to Art Center’s Hillside Campus and the publication of Voices, Public Programs’ annual collection of original Mentoring Program student work.
According to C.C. Ybarra, outreach program manager for Art Center’s Public Programs, “The Dwight Stuart Youth Fund’s grant will enable Public Programs to better reach an untapped community of kids who are creative and resourceful. These are kids who may already spend their days doing things like fixing broken bicycles in creative ways or using their artwork to barter with friends. But they may not realize that there’s an education system that highly values their talents, or that the art world and design industries value it.”