As an art instructor at the University of Minnesota for over 20 years I enjoyed working with many students and particularly enjoyed working one on one with students on senior projects, and then as a graduate mentor at the College of Art & Design. I felt very fortunate to work with a student/artist at the beginning or midway in their career or studies.
As a working artist I am aware of the multiple injections of information that are tossed out, sometimes well meaning and sometimes off hand. This information can be confusing but also exhilarating. My job as a mentor is to assist the protégée in sorting through and finding what is relevant to their work. There will be changes in the work and the working process. Guiding them toward a personal vision and voice, I encourage exploration and challenge them to explore new and relevant directions, materials, and content in their work.
There are many things that need to be addressed that often are not just in the studio. Writing statements that define the work and working process is necessary to connect with the world, such as applying for jobs, grants, shows, and being able to articulate and speak about their specific approach. This is a practice that I continue to emphasis when critiquing and discussing the progress of the work.
My experiences as an artist having shown my work in many venues, and as a curator who has put together works of other artists, as a panelist and juror, I can be very helpful to the protégé in structuring and arranging works for exhibition and critique.
These past four years as a mentor for the WARM program have been very rewarding.
I am amazed at the energy and thoughtfulness of the protégée and I am always in her corner, there to assist in technical, directional, and in any way that helps them to attain goals both short term and long term.