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An illustrated guide to Art Buddies

For the past 20 years, Art Buddies has been empowering children from low-income families through the joy of art and meaningful one-on-one relationships. Since 1994 thousands of students ages eight through eleven have been paired with adult mentors who are dedicated to helping them realize their creativity, confidence, and dreams for the future. 

Once a week for about an hour and a half, adult volunteers from a variety of creative fields meet one-on-one with a student after-school in a large group setting to collaborate on a special art project. The program runs for seven to ten weeks, with one session in the fall and one in the spring. Project themes vary from session to session, but always center around helping students boost their self-confidence and recognize their creative potential in a fun, safe, and supportive atmosphere. 

For the majority of sessions students work on crafting their own unique costume, which they later wear for professional photographs and an end of session parade. I’ve been volunteering with the Art Buddies program for a year now, and have seen first-hand the incredible transformation children can undergo in just a few short months. Watching my Buddies learn to believe in themselves and expand their vision of who they can become as they explore their creativity and make some seriously brilliant art has been an extremely rewarding experience. The concept of the Art Buddies program is simple, but the number of ways it can positively influence a child’s life makes it one of the most wonderful programs in Minneapolis.

Art Buddies is seeking creative mentors for the 2014 winter-spring session. Apply now. Why not? Deadline to apply is February 17. Share your creativity with a kid, apply here! Or learn more information about being an Art Buddies mentor here.

Taylor Baldry is a brainstormer, artist-designer and large-nosed person. He lives in Minneapolis with his house plants.

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