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Art Ready

A Professional Artist Mentorship Program for High School Students

We are now accepting applications for Art Ready 2019-2020!

Deadline: Thursday, October 3rd

It was interesting to learn about different artists, their work, and the processes behind it. It gave me new ideas and clear direction of where I wanted to go in the future. The mentorships were rich experiences too; I learned skills from the artists which I could later apply to my own artworks.

— Former Art Ready Participant 

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About Art Ready

Smack Mellon’s Art Ready program brings high school aged artists in 10th to 12th grades into the studios of New York City’s most innovative and inspiring cultural makers. The program is open to students attending New York City public high schools.

Art Ready operates during the school year and includes a series of studio visits with emerging and established artists; a series of field trips to museums and galleries; a portfolio prep workshops; and a four-month arts mentorship. Art Ready connects up to twenty-one high school students with seven diverse artists, to gain practical experience working with professionals in a variety of artistic disciplines. There is no fee to participate, and all expenses, including museum admissions, transportation and food, are paid.

Art Ready engages young people in a way no other arts education program does. It pairs students directly with working artists; the students learn firsthand over the course of a school year what it is to be an artist in the artist’s studio. Working as mentors, the artists provide professional and creative guidance as the students make decisions about their futures in the arts. Mentor/teaching artists tutor the students in their creative process, introduce them to new ways of working, and engage them in continuous critical reflection.

The Program

Art Ready meetings take place Wednesday afternoons from 4:00-6:30pm, October 30, 2019 through May 13, 2020. From November-December 2019, students visit professional artists’ studios. Art Ready visits artists in the fields of public art, film, painting, sculpture, jewelry design, shoe design, architecture, installation art, video, and photography.

After the group has visited all the artists, each student chooses an Artist Mentor to work with from late January to May 2020. Students work on average 2.5 hours/week and attend their mentorships in small groups. During the mentorship period, students continue to meet as a group for gallery and museum trips.

Please contact Becky Sellinger at 718.834.8761 or


Art Ready is led by Becky Sellinger, Smack Mellon’s Programs Manager. Ms. Sellinger is a multidisciplinary conceptual artist, community organizer, and educator living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to Smack Mellon she was the Studio Manager and Exhibitions Coordinator at Abrons Art Center, where she organized an exhibition of over 1000 student works from District 1 Public Schools. Becky has taught at Pratt Institute, SUNY Purchase, Virginia Commonwealth University, Haverford College, and Georgia Southern University.  She has also worked with LeAp as a teaching artist in under-served NYC public schools, using puppetry as means of engaging students in healthy forms of expression.  She serves on an alumni board for Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, organizing programs and creating opportunities for past participants. She was a Fellow at Fine Arts Work Center in 2017 where she taught collaborative printmaking and quilting to local youth as an artist in residence. Becky received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in sculpture from SUNY Purchase in 2011 and her Masters of Fine Arts from VCU Sculpture in 2015.

Art Ready mentors are a varied group of professionals selected with three criteria in mind: an interest in sharing their knowledge, experience, and skills with students; diversity in both ethnicity and media;  and success in their field. The majority of our mentors are former exhibiting or resident artists at Smack Mellon, and have substantial mentoring and teaching experience. In keeping with Smack Mellon’s mission, a majority of the mentors are women.

Selection Process

Applicants are required to complete an online application form, answer essay questions about why they are interested in the program, and submit two samples of past work. 

Finalists will be interviewed and up to 21 students will be selected with these criteria in mind: their interest in pursuing a career in the arts, their ability to attend every session on Wednesday afternoons from 4:00-6:30pm, October 30, 2019 through May 13, 2020 to complete a 4-month mentorship, and the quality of their application.


Please contact Becky Sellinger at 718.834.8761 or

Smack Mellon’s Education Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, New York City Council Member Stephen Levin, and with support from Select Equity Group Foundation, Exploring The Arts and Smack Mellon’s Members.

Smack Mellon’s programs are also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor M. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, and with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of The New York Community Trust, The Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Inc., Iorio Charitable Foundation, and Smack Mellon’s Members.

Space for Smack Mellon’s programs is generously provided by the Walentas Family and Two Trees Management.

In-kind donations are provided by Artist & Craftsman Supply, Costco, Fairway, Trader Joe’s, and by Materials for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs/NYC Department of Sanitation/NYC Department of Education. Special thanks to Downtown Community Television.


Past Years