Several months ago, organizers of the Give for Greatness campaign recruited six “Master Mentors” from the local arts scene to share their knowledge and experiences with eleven area high school students. With the understanding that not every school in the area offers art programs to its students, the organization wanted to give more young people in our community the opportunity to become an integral part of Buffalo’s thriving arts and cultural scene.
“Our initial goal was to connect high school students with acclaimed artists in the area, and to show these young people what their passion for the arts could eventually culminate to,” said Megan Callahan, executive director of Give For Greatness.
In addition to providing unique, hands-on learning opportunities, this program also offers students the chance to build experience that they can later add to their resumes and applications to college art programs. Students who previously could not take classes in dance, theater or photography now have the chance to explore their passion and develop skills that may lead them to a future profession in the arts.
“I was ecstatic when I was notified of my acceptance into G4G’s program and I love that I have the opportunity to work with a digital photographer [Jill Greenberg] who is sharing her real world experiences with me,” said local home-schooled student Ellen Marszalkowski. “Her knowledge and insight has gotten me even more excited about pursuing a career in this field and I can’t wait to have my own photos displayed at the festival.”
Now, with the program well underway, it’s time to showcase the work of these students and their talented mentors. On March 20, G4G will be hosting its Students for the Arts Festival from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Mary Seaton room at Kleinhans Music Hall. In addition to exhibiting the work of their eleven student apprentices, the evening will also feature the work of the six “Master Mentors”: Marcus Wise, digital photographer and owner of 464 Gallery on Amherst Street; Cassondra Argeros, glass artist; Patrick Moltane, actor; Jill Greenberg, photographer; Jim Bush, photographer; and Jennifer Fitzery, Senior Education Associate for Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
While the primary goal is to showcase local talent and raise awareness and funding for the G4G campaign, the family-centered festival will also feature 13 organizations in the Buffalo-Niagara region that currently offer arts education opportunities to area youth, including: Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Sugar City, Torn Space Theatre, Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Squeaky Wheel, Musicians United for Superior Education, Configuration Dance, Hull Family Home & Farmstead, Peace of the City, Buffalo Arts Studio, Springville Center for the Arts, Carrousel Society of Niagara Frontier, and Young Audiences of Western New York. Guests at the festival will have the chance to learn more about getting involved with these programs.
The event will be open to the public and all proceeds will go toward the Give for Greatness and the local arts and cultural programs that benefit from its fundraising. Tickets and information can be obtained at www.giveforgreatness.org.