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JCPS Students Experience Life As Working Artists In 'The Future Is Now'


This summer, a select group of Jefferson County Public School students got a peek into what it’s like to live and work as an artist. They took part in the Kentucky College of Art + Design and Louisville Visual Art’s “The Future is Now” mentorship program.

This is the second year for the program -- which matches high school students with local, professional artists.

Jackie Pallesen is LVA’s director of education and community outreach, and a facilitator of “The Future is Now."

“It’s a really phenomenal program that gives high school students the opportunity to kind of experience what it is to exhibit their work and create work in a gallery setting,” Pallesen says.

Pallesen says The Future is Now” serves as a nice contrast to LVA’s other professional development program, “Studio 2000,” which operates more as a workstudy with a technical focus.

“‘The Future is Now’ is more about building into conceptual work, showing their (the students) work in a fine art gallery, and being able to also to price their work,” Pallesen says.

The program has shifted some from its format last year. This go-around, Pallesen says organizers made the decision to shorten it from six months to three summer months. As a result, students met with their mentors once a week rather than once a month.

“And it was really great because it did exactly what we thought it would do -- engage the artists and their mentor a little quicker and a in little more of a meaningful way,” Pallesen says. “It’s been great doing it over the summer and we’re hoping to continue this partnership over the next few years.”

This year, students were also given a list up front of area artists looking to engage with “The Future is Now.” They were then told to make their own list of potential mentors to whom they felt connected based on their work.

“It is really remarkable -- the way the mentors and the mentees were paired, it really worked super well this year,” Pallesen says. “I think being able to make that proper matching and pairing, we were able to really get phenomenal work out of the mentees.”

After a summer of creating artwork with the input of -- or sometimes in collaboration with -- their mentors, “The Future is Now” students will spend some time at Spalding University’s Huff Gallery. There they will experience curatorial practices by participating in exhibition layout, installation of their artwork, promoting and hosting the opening reception.

Here's the list of the artist mentor/student artists pairings:

Sara Pitt - Gavin Duvall, Eastern High School
Brandon Harder - River Skipworth, Atherton High School
Carrie Neumayer - Ashton Jones, DuPont Manual High School
Adrienne Miller - Nhan Phan, Central
Alexia Serpentini - Shaii Morton, J-Town
Daniel Pfalzgraf - Katie Galloway, Fern Creek

“The Future is Now” exhibition opens August 5. More information is available here.