Teen Apprentice Program Inspires Future Artists

By Keisi Hasani ‘15 

Art shows, cityscapes, and charcoal drawings are some of the wonderful opportunities offered by the Teen Apprenticeship Program (TAP), Tuesdays and Thursdays in room 304.

The list doesn’t end there. TAP offers advanced art classes, trips to art shows, museum visits, teaching lessons, and a summer internship. Both classes and internships are not only free, but the students also get paid.

Alberto Teco ’14 said, “I think it’s a great thing for college applications. You get school credits as a class, get payed, and also get a summer job. We have a lot of talented people here and its fun interacting with others and knowing we all have a common interest.”

Lillian Bayer, teaching artist for Studio in a School, is one of the three instructors who teach around 70 to 80 students. She runs the classes for the Brooklyn students.

“The students come in with various degrees of experience in art,” she said. “The best part of teaching them is seeing different levels of experience being applied and advancement throughout the course. By the time the internships begin, they’re not art counselors; they’re art teachers.”

Dina Elfaham ’14 said, “I’ve been drawing since I was seven years old. I want to go to Pratt Institute for architecture. I love to draw and, being a senior with very few classes, this is something to put my time into and time well spent.”

Students have to be nominated by their own teachers to join the program. They’re then interviewed and the selection process begins. For the first part of the program, which started in the beginning of March, members of TAP do art themselves. On the second part, they do student teaching and learn lessons that they’ll be teaching children at camps over the summer.

Jalissa Villafane ’15, from McKinney High School, said, “I want to go to Pratt Institute, like many others in this program. I like TAP for the experience it offers, for the help on my portfolio, and for giving me the opportunity of a qualifying summer job.”

Bayer said, “Some don’t have much experience in art and they’re here to learn. However, by the end of the program, they’re amazingly confident art teachers.”

Brians Louissaint ’16 said, “I draw for fun; it’s my hobby. However, I joined TAP because I’m the type of person that  like to help others to reach their goals when they don’t know how to do something.”

Bayer added, “TAP teaches qualities such as showing up on time, being responsible and collecting paychecks; all those things you don’t think about until you have to do them.”

Members do museum visits, go to different art shows, and also attend a lecture by a child psychologist, who teaches them about child development. Members are offered a much defined studio approach to teaching an art lesson.

“We’re currently working on a cityscape and taking to a larger scale using a grid drawing,” said Bayer.

Tahiya Hossain ’14 said, “It’s a good experience to teach the kids and also we get to meet new people, because not everyone is from Midwood. We work on cool projects, meet artists, visit art shows and museums and have a lot of trips.”

Members are supported by mentors, which consist of people who are in the program and college students or graduates. One is Chaniece Frank, assistant for the Brooklyn classes and student at The New School University.

Frank said, “It’s one of the most fulfilling parts of my day. It’s so much fun coming here and doing art with everyone.”

Frank has been a mentor for TAP for almost three years, and she helps students to complete their digital portfolio by the end of the program, which will help with their college applications.

“I’ve had a lot of great mentors in my life,” she said. “So, I want to pass all the knowledge they gave to me to someone else as well. I give the students guidance, and answer any questions they might have.”

Bayer said, “It’s a very hard program to get into, so it looks good on the resume for college. It also requires a lot of commitment and time dedicated, as its two school days per week.”

Zac-va Lareche ’15 said she attended Saturday classes, where she worked on charcoal drawings. “It’s similar to another art program I attended,” she said. “I took part in Dice at Pratt Institute.”

The program is run by the nonprofit organization, Studio in a School, with director Julie Applebaum. Studio has been teaching visual arts in public schools, community-based organizations, and daycare centers for 36 years. They offer different programs for Pre-K through college, including internships for high school and college students.

Hossain ‘14 said, “I’ve been drawing since elementary school and I love art. I want to be a fashion designer and art is a great part of it.”

According to their website at http://www.studioinaschool.org, Studio offers classes in Manhattan, Mondays and Wednesdays, from 4:30-7pm, and in Brooklyn, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3:30-6:00pm. The program consists of 60 hours of training, which result in a payment of $150 per student and an opportunity for a summer job. Also, the website informs that “Interns will be placed at summer camps around NYC, will work about 25 hours per week, and will earn a minimum hourly wage of $8.00 for the summer internship.”

“It counts as a class, you’re learning a lot, and you’re getting payed for it,” said Hossain ’14 , with a chuckle. “What more could we want?”

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