Young creatives now have the chance to be a part of a completely non-profit initiative that aims to bring together the stifled youth of the GCC in order to learn from established artists from every discipline. Mentors 4 Fine Arts began as a small-scale program by the Saudi International Artist & Art Teacher and the manager and part owner of Al Baylasan for Fine Arts Centre, Sameera H. Ismail and freelance American Photographer Jay Hess. Samera’s passion for supporting the arts and creatives is evident in her extensive support for art programs, exhibitions and events.
Sameera has been managing Al Baylasan since it’s establishment in 2009. “I decided I wanted to add more to the center, I kept realizing that I need to do more,” she explained. The Idea came about in September of 2010, at the international art show Real Colors – organized and managed by Samera – where artists from around the world contributed and showcased their knowledge, expertise and love of art. And thus Mentors 4 Fine Arts was born when a friend of Samera suggested utilizing all the foreign artists contacts she has and providing that pool of knowledge to the creative youth in Saudi. “That’s how I thought of a mentoring program, for artist to support young artists who are willing and eager to learn about their respective mediums,” she added.
The very first batches of mentorships for the program were completely sponsored by Samera herself. She began by announcing the initiative on Facebook where she gained much popularity from artists all over the world. Sadly, Samera was extremely disappointed on the lack of receptiveness of local artists in Saudi that fit the criteria set for the mentors. “Our criteria was that for an artist to mentor he or she must have 10 years of experience or more,” She explained.
Mentors 4 Fine Arts hosts a variety of activities to enrich these young minds with imagination and inspiration by hosting private art classes, art meetings, and creating after school art projects. Other activities include School Speakers where they apply the importance of creativity and the arts in schools by sending artists to speak at the schools, hosting talks and workshops to discuss the importance of art in our community, and Make A Difference where artists explain how they can make a difference through art.
WORDS: BADRIYA AL-MAHMEED