How often have we heard that someone never followed a dream because it was out of reach? For a teenager, making the decision as to what school to attend is important. Getting into that school is even more important. In the end, are young people prepared for higher education? Or for life after that? In a lot of professions it can be hard to find mentors willing to help, so that young people can feel confident and prepared when it comes to the choices that they make. If you think that this is true in realm of business-oriented professions, then can you imagine what it’s like for artists and creative professions? So often the art world is not treated the same as the business world. The Albright-Knox hopes to change that perception.
A new program called AK Teens has been launched so that artistic-oriented teenagers will have a professional support group to steer them in the right direction. The Albright-Knox hopes that by instilling into our youth, the practical building blocks needed to launch successful art careers such as public speaking and other career skills, more young people will feel prepared when it comes to going down that artistic path. “We are very excited about this expansion in our programming for our region’s youth,” noted Karen Lee Spaulding, the Gallery’s Interim Director. “[Our sponsor] First Niagara has been an outstanding supporter from the first time we talked to them about this idea. We are delighted that they will be active partners in AK Teens, providing not only financial support for the program but also important expertise in helping our teens understand how to manage the practical aspects of their careers, such as budgeting and securing funding for their work. First Niagara’s support is deeply appreciated by everyone here at the museum.”
One of the ways that the Albright-Knox can be instrumental is its ability to provide instrumental programming for fledgling artists, which will then translate into exercises in portfolio building. The experiences will not only help to get teens into the colleges of their choosing, the programs will also demonstrate to protégés the real life “tricks of the trade” needed to succeed in job procurement and retention. “We are delighted to partner with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery,”said First Niagara Bank Senior Vice President Buford Sears. “To present and grow AK Teens. We thought this was a great idea when the Gallery brought it to us, and together we have developed a program that will provide a broader range of opportunities for our region’s teens to access this great museum right here in Western New York.”