ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It is show and tell time for students in an on-the-job summer arts education program.
A long-time Twin Cities arts education organization called COMPAS is offering a variety of apprentice opportunities this summer in a program called ArtsWork. Copper fabrication, urban textile design and theater groups have been working for weeks on a variety of art projects.
In the urban textile design class, Daniel Sanner's current assignment is to create a t-shirt for the theme.
"Women of empowerment," Daniel said, explaining the project that has him putting a print of Queen Nefertiti on a screen for printing shirts.
It is an assignment that is designed to empower Daniel and the other artists in this summer jobs program.
"They're learning how to make apparel," mentor artist Roger Cummings said.
This summer ArtsWwork has matched young want-to-be apparel creators with professionals like Cummings for a hands-on look at screen printing. Students work through the entire design process from sketch pad to finished product.
"From the time you describe what you want your artwork to be, to the time the work is done, there are like 28 steps," said Jessyca Macklin of Elpis Enterprises, a non-profit group helping the textile students.
"I had the skill to draw and they simply broke everything else down and taught us," Sanner said.
With help from ArtsWork mentors, young adults like Sanner are learning a craft, earning a paycheck and getting valuable lessons about what it takes to be successful in business.
"It's really good for them not just to learn the creative part, but to learn things like showing up on time, working with other people," ArtsWork Program Manager Betsy Mowry said.
"To be a creative problem solver," Cummings added. "They're learning how to refine their design and concept, so a client could propose an idea and they could give them two or three different examples."
"I guess we all like it our way; my way or the highway," Sanner said about some of the incoming attitudes of artists. He says the class is teaching them that to be successful urban textile designers their art must appeal to a wide audience
"It's really impressive to see these guys working after two weeks with quality, with thoroughness," Mowry said.
It's impressive to see how completing a few weeks of assignments under the watchful eyes of a mentor can turn an apprentice into an artist.
The shirts and canvas bags created in the urban textile design group will be on display at the College of Visual Arts Gallery through Friday, July 30th. Pieces created in the copper art fabrication class are also at the gallery at 173 Western Avenue North in St. Paul.
The COMPAS website has more information about the ArtsWork program.
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