Mentors Inspiring Apprentices

The renewed MAP program will educate and inspire our youth to live and create in central Illinois.
by Shannon Cox, Peoria Art Guild
Peoria Art Guild 2005
Peoria Art Guild MAP students, 2005. The Guild’s Mentor Apprentice Program is being revived in 2019 after years of dormancy.

Founded in 1878, the Peoria Art Guild presents a diverse array of art to our community. We strive to inspire and educate all levels of art enthusiasts through the Peoria Fine Art Fair and various exhibitions, outreach and collaborative art initiatives. This year, we are reimplementing our Mentor Apprentice Program (MAP).

Hands-on Artistic Training
The Mentor Apprentice Program (MAP) is designed to give high school-age participants hands-on training with professionals in the visual arts. For 16 weeks, apprentices work directly with established local artists to gain skills to help jumpstart their artistic careers. They are exposed to a variety of mediums, including painting, small metals, ceramics, photography, sculpture, fiber and printmaking. The Peoria Art Guild has several classrooms in which to teach these classes, including a large ceramic studio with pottery wheels and kilns, a complete metalworks shop, and two multipurpose instructional spaces. 

The MAP program, originally implemented in the 1990s, has had a lasting impact in our community. There are artists in the Peoria area today who were once MAP students and are successfully living off their artwork as their career choice. We hope to continue educating and inspiring young artists to live and create in central Illinois. 

In the fall of 2019, the Peoria Art Guild will be reaching out to 130 high schools in Peoria, Tazewell, Mason, Fulton, Knox, Henry, Stark, Marshall, Woodford and McLean counties to recruit students for the MAP program. We will review the applications and select 12 students, recommended by their art teachers, to participate. We will also have scholarship opportunities available for those who may not be able to afford the tuition. 

Envisioning the Future
We are excited to collaborate with other arts organizations and artists to best use our community resources for this program. Part of that effort will include taking students on trips to local artist studios and exhibition spaces. We will also be sending them to “The Business of Art” conference offered by ArtsPartners in the spring.

The students will experience a well-rounded program that prepares them to be professional artists, while supporting the local artists who will teach them. At the end of the program, they will immerse themselves in the medium of their choice, spending a week creating art using the skills they have learned. Their work will then be exhibited in our gallery, giving them some gallery experience. We will also teach the students to write an artist statement and profile of themselves. We plan to follow our students as they attend college and advance their careers, hoping they stay and work in central Illinois. 

We are very excited to bring MAP back to the Peoria community! We have already held one successful fundraiser—The Greg & Dan “Find” Art Show, which secured $2,300 for the program. We also use money from the Fine Art Fair to fund our educational programs, and we plan to have more fundraisers to help with program costs. Email us at info@peoriaartguild.org to learn how you can donate to or sponsor the MAP program. PM

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