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Mentor program pairs emerging artists with established professionals

Becoming a professional artist takes more than talent. Building a portfolio and resume, making connections with other artists, developing a business plan—it's a necessary part of the industry that may not always come naturally to new artists.

But at the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, there’s help.

The annual MARN mentor program links professional artists up with emerging ones.

"A lot of emerging artists are very good at what they do, their medium," said Jody Alexander, program coordinator for MARNmentors. "But the professional development part is where they may struggle."

To get started, emerging artists begin by filling out an application. Once selected, they get one-on-one mentorship with a local, working artist.

Together they work on their craft over a one year period.

"We help them develop their professional aspect of their career, as well as helping them with their technique," Alexander said.
The program is open to artists of all kinds, from painting to photography, spoken work to sculpture.

Sculpture and painting is what Melissa Dorn Richards does.

She’s a professional artist and is one of the mentors in the MARN program. She graduated from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 1996 and has been working professionally since.

"As an emerging artist, you can go to a ton of workshops, you can do a lot of research online, but this really gets to be more personal," Dorn Richards said. "You have this one-on-one connection, which is what I am looking for as well."
Dorn Richards said the mentor-mentee relationship becomes symbiotic, elevating the work on both sides. This year will be her second with the program, and with her last mentee, she checked in regularly, forming a real connection.

"We did some critiquing, but it wasn't as much about that.  It was more about 'where do you really want your art career to go?'," Dorn Richards said
MARN is accepting applications for the mentor program until April 6.

To fill out an application, just go to MARN's website.

MARNmentors is supported with major support from the Brico Fund.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee