'Rites of Passage' showcases student-mentor relationships, young artists

Felipa Santamaria stands in front of her "Relationships" photo series ; photo courtesy of the Durham Art Guild

Given the chance, many up-and-coming artists in the Triangle area would jump at the chance to attend workshops and work one-on-one with established artists in developing and creating an original piece of art for display.

Five Durham high schoolers had just that opportunity, and their pieces will be presented at “Rites of Passage,” an exhibition of artwork created by the participants of the Durham Art Guild and Student U 2015 Creative Mentorship Program. In it’s third year, the program allows participating students to spend 20 weeks working with an artist.

“The Creative Mentorship program is a unique collaborative partnership in multiple ways: between two Durham nonprofits (the Durham Art Guild and Student U), between each mentor and student, and between the Creative Mentorship Program and the broader Durham arts community,” said Laura Ritchie,  education and outreach coordinator at the Durham Art Guild.

“Each student comes up with the concept for and creates the body of work they choose to feature in the exhibit, learns to write an artist statement, prices their work, gives a public presentation about their work and curates and installs the show — all skills needed to succeed as a professional artist.”

The student-mentor pairs worked collaboratively on a multimedia group exhibition, as well as their own pieces for display, including:

  • Photography by Felipa Santamaria, grade 11 at Jordan High School, and artist Nsenga Knight
  • Fashion and skateboard design by Brian Ornelas, grade 9 at Southern High School, and artist Gabe Eng-Goetz
  • Photography by Rebeca Alba, grade 11 at Jordan High School, and artist Jim Lee
  • Sculpture and printmaking by Joel Rodriguez, grade 9 at Northern High School, and artist Debra Wuliger
  • Multimedia installation by Nicole Matute Villagrana, grade 9 at Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School, and artist Billy Dee

“Rites of Passage,” the third annual exhibition of the Creative Mentorship Program
Presented by the Durham Art Guild and Student U
ROOM 100 Gallery at Golden Belt June 2 to 26
Special public reception June 12, 6 to 9 p.m.
Third Friday Durham reception June 19, 6 to 9 p.m.


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