St. Louis ArtWorks Announces Fall 2017 Apprentice Program

ST. LOUIS – After a busy Summer season, St. Louis ArtWorks is looking ahead to the Fall, and is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2017 Apprentice Program. More than 50 paid apprenticeships in the Arts will be offered to young creatives between the ages of 14 and 18 who live in the St. Louis region. The program runs September 16 through December 9, with a public celebration and Holiday Sale on Saturday, December 9th.

Long-time Teaching Artist and St. Louis ArtWorks staple, Byron Rogers, is settling into his new full-time role as Program Manager. Since 2004, Byron has offered Apprentices instruction in drawing, painting, and other visual arts. An art educator with decades of professional experience, Byron holds a Masters in Education from the University of Missouri- St. Louis and a Masters of Art from Fontbonne University. A 2005 graduate of the Regional Arts Commission’s Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute, Byron continues St. Louis ArtWorks’ tradition of featuring CAT Fellows on the admin team, joining Assistant Director Susan TeStroete who is also a CAT Alum. Byron is excited to take on the challenge of his new position. “I’m looking forward to incorporating more programming that will continue to develop strong apprentices for the future,” Byron explains. “I want to help each of our youth embody the spirit of an artist- seeing themselves as a unique creation. I hope to continue to inspire our young creatives to do their best and be their best.”

This Fall, St. Louis ArtWorks will be offering apprenticeships in three disciplines: Robotics, Batik/Textiles, and Spoken Word Poetry/Media. The Robotics Apprentices will work Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and will be led by Byron Rogers (mentioned above) and Robert Powell, a science educator. Powell is the Education Director for the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis which provides simulated space missions, science education, and teambuilding programs at their facility in Ferguson, MO. With more than 20 years of experience in science education, Powell considers himself a lifelong learner and loves sharing his passion for science and math with others. Powell holds a BS in Mathematics from North Carolina Central University. Rogers and Powell will collaborate to teach the Apprentices about how science and art intersect as they construct robots. Funding for the Robotics program is provided in part by Mastercard.

Teaching Artists Kelsey Viola Wiskirchen and Stajah Curry will lead the Batik/Textiles discipline which will also take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Wiskirchen holds a BFA in Studio Art and Fibers from Truman State University and an MFA from the Herberger Institute for Design & the Arts at Arizona State University. She returns to St. Louis ArtWorks after teaching silkscreening and murals in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Curry started her professional career as an ArtWorks Apprentice in 2008, and later graduated with a BA in Fine Art from The Art Institute of St. Louis. She now leads the youth in painting and other visual art disciplines. Wiskirchen and Curry will teach the youth how to create textiles using the Batik method of applying wax and hand-dyeing the fabric to create colorful designs.

On Saturdays, Apprentices in the Spoken Word Poetry/Media discipline called “Voices” will learn from Teaching Artists Mark Clark and Treasure Shields Redmond. A poet, educator, and advocate for social justice, Shields Redmond holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Memphis. She has published poetry in such notable anthologies as Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam and Breaking Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cane Canem’s First Decade. Her recent published work, chop: a collection of kwansabas for fannie lou hamer, was co-winner of the Winged City Chapbooks RA/AM chapbook contest. As an award-winning educator with St. Louis Public Schools and the resident digital media guru at St. Louis ArtWorks, Clark will collaborate in this discipline, helping Apprentices turn their poems into digital works of art. The Voices program is funded in part by the Roblee Foundation.

The 2017 Fall Apprentice Program will conclude with a celebration and Holiday Sale on Saturday, December 9, 2017 from 11:00am-2:00pm at St. Louis ArtWorks on 5959 Delmar Blvd. in the Loop East. Friends, family, and the general public are invited to attend the event to view the incredible work the Apprentices have created throughout the Fall Program and to purchase individual works of art including holiday greeting cards that feature apprentice-designed typography.

For those looking to apply for the Fall Apprentice Program, the application is available online at Applicants are required to provide a letter of recommendation from a non-family member. In-person interviews will be conducted on Saturday, August 26.

St. Louis ArtWorks was founded in 1995 as a collaborative partnership with Grand Center Inc., the City of St. Louis, and the Regional Arts Commission. Since that time, ArtWorks has provided opportunities for thousands of young people, successfully helping to prepare them for future education and employment opportunities. ArtWorks bridges economic, racial and social divisions by providing underserved youth with arts education, workforce development training, and 21st century life skills, including fiscal literacy and professional communication. St. Louis ArtWorks is funded in part by the Arts and Education Council with support from the Regional Arts Commission and Artmart. Funding for the Fall Program has been provided in part by Mastercard, the Roblee Foundation, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis County Children’s Fund, The Trio Foundation, Wells Fargo Advisors, Emerson, Centene, Commerce Bank, Missouri Arts Council, the Clark-Fox Family Foundation, and the St. Louis Community Development Association.

For more information on St. Louis ArtWorks and its community partners, please visit ArtWorks online at Facebook and Twitter. #MakeArtWorkSTL