“The KBS Mentoring Program started in February, 2008 at the Bemis Underground,” Education Manager of The Kent Bellows Studio & Center for Visual Arts, Weston Thomson said. “How do we leverage young people and give them a voice? By creating organizations which adapt to the climate of the community in dynamic and ongoing ways.” Thomson described the Mentoring Program process which presently includes 50 students from over 25 Metro area high schools including Council Bluffs, Gretna, Bellevue, and OPS. A mentored program group might include 3 -5 students, who meet with a Mentor focusing on a specific area of study, such as oil painting or mural painting. In doing community outreach the KBS staff visits area high schools, gives presentations about the mentoring program and hands out applications. There are three Program semesters, Spring, Summer, and Fall, each with a deadline date for applying. An interview follows in helping to determine which program the student participates in. The tuition is a donation process, each student’s family donating what they’re able to pay. The Mentors provide fine art education in the fundamentals of art practice, teach topics relevant to the youth population, and serve as professional artist role models. Each Mentor has 3-4 students. The students commit 5-6 hours studio time per week.  Presently an outreach Mural Program with Metro area artist Mentors, Mike Giron and Richard Harrison is teaming the KBS students with the Douglas County Youth Center. The KBS students are interviewing DCYC detainees. This collaborative experience will become part of four 10’ x 10’ murals to be painted on the outside of the DCYC building. Bellevue University is donating use of their mural studio facility. “Louder Than A Bomb” Poetry Slam has recently been added to the roster of KBS program offerings. KBS is one of two teams competing in the Slam with students from mixed high schools. The Critical Art Theory and Curatorial Program teaching students to curate, install, and hang art work is presently working on “Escalation, Kent Bellows Studio Young Artist Exhibition”, opening Friday, May 3, 2013, 6-9 pm at The Kent Bellows Studio & Center for Visual Arts, 3303 Leavenworth St.402.505.7161 http://kentbellows.org/

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