Partners Artist Mentoring

Program Founded in 1994 by Art Access

The Partners Program serves artists with disabilities and other adults with life circumstances that preclude them from fully participating in the arts community. Talented emerging artists with disabilities are matched with professional artists for one-on-one mentoring. Participating apprentice artists receive guidance on developing technique and make vital connections to the local arts community -- fostering growth and creating possibility for skillful and rewarding participation in the arts.

Because of complicated physical, mental, or cognitive restrictions, emerging artists with disabilities often do not have access to traditional forms of arts education and/or professional development in the arts. Because Art Access has worked with artists with disabilities for over 30 years, our organization understands that these artists may learn, process information, communicate, refine their artistic skills, and make professional connections in unique ways. Therefore, we also recognize that their artistic training needs to be individualized, hands-on, and take place in an inclusive and accessible environment.

We select professional artist mentors carefully in order to allow both individuals involved to collaborate on ways in which the apprentice will best learn the skills of a specific artistic trade. Gaining access to artistic and professional discipline, improved technique, innovative mediums, professional networks, and personal marketing and public relations skills help prepare apprentice artists for the realities of professions in the arts.

Partners focuses on assisting artists with disabilities develop and practice their artistic techniques and skills, expand their educational and professional experiences, learn about the business side of being a working artist, make vital connections to the local arts community, and prepare for potential careers as professional artists.

Upon completion of a minimum of 25-hours of mentoring, including attending partnership-development events and assessing their experiences in a journal, apprentices and their mentors celebrate their work in a side-by-side culminating exhibit in the Art Access Gallery each August. In addition, apprentice artists are encouraged to attend any of our Adult Workshops tuition free in order to further develop their artistic skills.

INTERESETED in Partners Artist Mentoring? To learn more about the program, or how to participate, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2014 Apprentice & Mentor Artists (respectively):

Sharyl Adamson & Sandy Brunvand in monotype printmaking
Marcee Blackerby & Josh Hanagarne in writing memoirs
Terry Jackson Mitchell & Liberty Blake in collage
John Pace & Sarinda Jones in fused glass
Darryl Wilkinson & Benny van der Wal in fine art photography

The 20th Annual Partners Exhibition, featuring the above artists, will be held in the Art Access Gallery from August 15 through September 12, 2014


What some participants have said about their experiences in the program:

"[Partners] really fills a void for emerging artists. It provides an impetus and the needed encouragement that is often missing in other art environments." - Mentoring Artist

"Tamara Escamilla and I took an approach to the program that made it exactly what the name implies; the program allowed us to create a true partnership where we shared styles, techniques, knowledge, and experiences as peers Through the program, we have learned a great deal from each other and developed a lasting friendship." - Veronica Perez, Mentoring Artist

"I was excited when I was asked to work with Abby Tohinaka in the Partners Artist Mentoring program, because the mission was in line with my belief that creativity is essential to one's well being. Abby seems to recognize this as well and has taken to painting many hours each day, indicating that it is therapeutic and brings her great joy." - Anne Becker, Mentoring Artist

"Jimmy taught me to think outside the box and to expand my horizons. Mostly, he taught me not to give up on my passion of being an artist. I've had a passion for art most of my life, and likely always will. With the added inspiration and tools I have gained by being in this program, my career as an artist will keep moving forward." - Robert Smuin, Apprentice Artist

"Sadie Hoagland is the most intelligent, inspiring mentor I could have hoped to work with. Strangers at first, we have made a bond through words and time, projects and creativity. I admire her strong use of language, her intriguing subject matter and, most importantly, all that she has to teach me. She's helped me grow, has nurtured my writing and helped it to evolve. Being her partner has opened many literary doors; I'm grateful for her hard work as much on her own words as on mine." - Brooks Oscarson, Apprentice Artist

Help Art Access provide inclusive arts programming for Utahns with disabilities and those with limited access to the arts.

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Our 300 Plates Fundraiser and Exhibition takes place the third Thursday in May each year.