Jun 30

Opening Doors with the Apprenticeship Program

by: Laura Kochman

You might know that Mural Arts has an Art Education program, but have you heard of our summer Apprenticeship program? Over the course of six intensive weeks, students who have already completed art classes with us take part in a paid muralism training.

We asked Anthony and Serena, two students from our site partner AIC (Achieving Independence Center) who are moving into our Apprenticeship program this summer, what having art in their lives means to them:

Anthony: “Art really means expression. When I was a kid, I had this terrible stutter, so I’d draw pictures of what I wanted, and that carries out in everything I do. When you first hear about art helping you express yourself, you think, Oh, these hippies don’t know what they’re talking about. But when you get down to it, you’re like, wow, this actually does help…once you start looking at different materials and artists from other areas, you start to absorb those walks of life, and become more conscious of what’s going on around you. You can see out your front door and think that that’s it, but there’s so much more, and art really helps to open that door…art’s really good at making you feel more.”

Serena: “I’ve been making art since as long as I can remember. I grew up with chalk and an easel—I’d go in the backyard and throw some paint everywhere. As I got older I’ve gone through a lot of hardships, and art is definitely an intuitive craft, so with all those emotions, like Anthony said, it’s a new door opening to other things. It really helps a lot. I’ve gone to art therapy and I’ve helped other artists, and it’s all really helped me grow. Art is a whole new world! There’s just so much to explore.”

Anthony, an AIC student. Photo by Steve Weinik.

On the program at AIC:

Anthony: My favorite thing is getting to know the artists. When you start, you’re told about the basics, the old guys who did it before you, but with Mural Arts we learn about artists who are making stuff actively. That helps shape your vision because you can copy the Mona Lisa a thousand times, you can try to be the next Picasso, but at the end of the day you have to see the modern impact of your work. There was this guy who was doing body suits that would personify emotion—Nick Cave—so if someone was shy, their suit would have spikes over it to say no touching. I like being able to experiment more.

Serena: I do poetry, too—I’m in the Summit. Sometimes, I’ll start writing poetry on directly on the canvas. I did a splash painting recently, and there was a lot of white space left. I was really in my emotions, and I just started writing in the white space. It’s definitely therapeutic.

Serena, an AIC student. Photo by Steve Weinik.

On starting the Apprenticeship program:

Serena: “I want to work on murals! Really bad! I always see the murals in the city and think, they’re so gorgeous, but how do they do it? We’ll also get into the business aspect. I’m very excited about it—something new.”

Anthony: “It seems like a really great foot in the door, not only to Mural Arts but the arts in Philadelphia. The Mural Arts space attracts so many different people and opportunities. To not only spend my summer doing something I love, which is make art, but also get paid for it and network, it’s something you can’t beat. I’m excited about this program.”

Last updated: Jun 30, 2017

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