What is The Future Is Now?
The word itself has its origins in Greek Mythology, Mentor being the name of a friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus' son Telemachus. Like so many things that have weathered the passage of time, the concept of mentorship in contemporary society has taken on a variety of nuanced shadings, but the essential idea remains the same: for an older, more experienced individual to guide or instruct a person who has less experience.
But isn’t that a teacher? We seem to have a greater expectation now that a mentor also provides an example beyond formal instruction. A teacher in a classroom setting might be a mentor, but a mentor need not be teacher in a classroom.
The Future Is Now is a program that pairs aspiring young artists with an adult, working artist so that they might provide that example by working together on projects that will be exhibited at the end of the process. Born in the mind of Daniel Pfalzgraf, now Curator at the Carnegie Center for Art & History, and facilitated by LVA Director of Education and Outreach Jackie Pallesen, the program selects students through an application process each year. Pallesen gathers a pool of prospective mentors for the students to choose from - working artists whose work and/or studio practice will complement the young artist’s creative talents.
The program is executed in conjunction with Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University (KyCAD). Andrew Cozzens, KyCAD Assistant Professor and manager of the school’s 849 Gallery, was a mentor in the first year, and the experience motivated him to work with Pallesen to forge a formal collaboration on the program. Now many of the combined meetings, which began on May 30, take place in KyCAD studios, with all the efforts culminating in an exhibit that opens July 20 in the 849 Gallery.
Those meetings follow a structure designed to give shape to the creative dynamic and demand communications etiquette between everyone involved. “Things can get off track so easily if accountability to the members of the team is not emphasized,” states Pallesen, who facilitates the early stages of the process. “There is certainly structure, but at some point the relationship between mentor and mentee takes over.”
That relationship is given a foundation of introductions and icebreaking exercises, formal presentations by each artist of their work, and some attention to art history. A series of critiques led by KyCAD faculty allow each pair to present their respective projects to the group and receive feedback.
The Future Is Now looks for student artists who have substantial ambition to pursue art or design in their college choices. Most are thinking about fine art programs, but this year includes a fashion designer, Ballard High School student Nicole Scott, who Pallesen lined up with Jake Ford. “Nicole wanted a fashion professional, naturally enough, but I encouraged her to work with Jake, whose sculpture is so conceptual. I hoped it would help her develop the idea of concept and narrative in clothing and challenge her more.”
Eventually the pairings broke down this way:
Bobby Barbour, multi-media artist - Brittney Sharpe, Eastern High School
Deb Whistler, 2-D artist - Rashad Sullivan, Western High School
Dominic Guarneschelli, multi-media artist - Hannah Lyle, Ballard High School
Jake Ford, multi-media artist - Nicole Scott, Ballard High School
Lauren Hirsch, 2-D artist - Sunny Podbelsek, duPont Manual High School
Linda Erzinger, multi-media artist - Heavenly Tanner, Academy @ Shawnee
Brittney Sharp’s chosen mediums are colored pencil, markers, or acrylic paint. This year she won an honorable mention from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Last year she was a part of her schools Vans Custom Culture team and the team ending up winning in their region. The Eastern Vans team tied for 4th place after moving on to national voting.
Rashad Sullivan excels in the fine arts department and is an excellent draftsman. He free hands all of his artwork, which is often detailed drawings of animals and objects. He especially likes to use value in his artwork.
Hannah Lyle currently attends Ballard High School. They enjoy oil painting, and they are a member of NAHS (National Artist Honors Society) at their school.
Nicole Scott is busy developing her own website "uNique Styles" and her fashions have been featured in the local Sew Much Fun e-Newsletter. In October 2016, Nicole won second place in the University of Louisville Youth Pitch Fest.
Sunny Rae Podbelsek loves to draw and create comics and characters. She mostly uses pen, marker, and watercolor but also loves paint and printing. Podbelsek has won many awards, including a total of 4 regional Silver keys, 5 regional Gold keys, 8 regional honorable mentions, and 1 National Silver key in the Scholastic art and writing awards. She is a 2017 Governor’s Scholar.
Heavenly Tanner's chosen medium is drawing, which includes graphite pencil, sharpie pens, and markers. Her accomplishments include winning the Kentucky Derby Art Contest when she was in elementary school, she also received a scholarship to the University of Louisville for art by winning an art contest put on by the university.
Tomorrow, Part 2: Critiques and Results
This Feature article was written by Keith Waits.
In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, www.Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.
Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.