Art Ready Exhibition 2015 Art Ready: Selected Work from the Artist Mentorship Program


Above image: Art Ready students Jemila, Gustavo and Fatima worked collaboratively with mentor Esteban del Valle to produce a mural Two Hats that was included in Smack Mellon’s exhibition RESPOND.

Exhibition Dates: May 20-24, 2015
Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 20, 6-8pm, Fashion Show: 7pm

Student Artists: Gustavo Bahena, Earl Douglas, Rateeba Ghaffar, Kuburatu Jagun,
Jemila Mowarin, Fatima Khamise, Sahara Leung, Nephtali Madhere, Inayiah McKay

Artist Mentors: Michael Paul Britto, Esteban del Valle, Natalia Nakazawa, Phillip Shung

Smack Mellon is pleased to announce the opening of Art Ready: Selected Work from the Artist Mentorship Program. The exhibition presents the work of students who participated in the 2014-2015 session of Art Ready, Smack Mellon’s arts mentorship program for high school students interested in pursuing a career in the visual arts. Working with professional painters, installation artists, graphic designers, and video artists, the student artists created an impressive range of work in a variety of media. This includes: portrait photography; expressive paintings ranging from self-portraiture to painting on unconventional materials, sculpture, and mixed media collage. One group created 4ourth Quarter, a fashion line featuring unisex tops culminating in a fashion show presented at 7pm on then night of the opening. Other students who worked on the fashion project were Ashley Bencosme, Maurice Charles, Tajani Finnie who created a sub collection called 4ourth Quarter x SensProfond. Accompanying sketches and written commentary will document all the young artists’ work process.

Art Ready is a mentorship program designed to give students the opportunity to experience firsthand what it is like to be a professional working in a visual arts discipline. Students are exposed to a wide variety of artists and arts professionals, participate in mentorships, and visit museums and galleries. This year, the Art Ready group took field trips to such cultural venues as the Brooklyn Museum and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Individual mentor groups’ excursions included the Museum of Natural History, the New Museum, and Manhattan’s Garment District. Students also participated in a special group workshop on college portfolio prep, led by teaching artist Sonya Blesofsky, and received additional artist talks from Victoria Calabro at Urban Glass, Marci MacGuffie, Jessica Ann Peavy, Saya Woolfalk, Bryan Zanisnik and Sage and Coombe Architects. To read about students’ and mentors’ experiences, visit the Art Ready blog:

Smack Mellon is a non-profit arts organization in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Its mission is to nurture and support emerging and under-recognized women and mid-career artists by providing access to the technology, studio space, and exhibition space necessary for the realization of ambitious projects. In 2007, Smack Mellon initiated Art Ready to extend its artistic services to creative high school students.


Smack Mellon’s Education Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York City Council Member Stephen Levin, and with support from Select Equity Group Foundation, Exploring The Arts and Smack Mellon’s Members.

Smack Mellon’s programs are also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, and with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Lambent Foundation, The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of The New York Community Trust, The Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Richard J. Massey Foundation for the Arts & Sciences, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Gilbert Mackay Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, The O’Grady Foundation, The Greenwich Collection Ltd, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Inc., and Smack Mellon’s Members.

Space for Smack Mellon’s programs is generously provided by the Walentas Family and Two Trees Management

In-kind donations are provided by Artist and Craftsman, Supply Trader Joe’s, Dumbo Kitchen, and Peas & Pickles, and by Materials for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs/NYC Department of Sanitation/NYC Department of Education. Special thanks to Downtown Community Television.

For more information, please contact Erin Donnelly, Programs Manager, at or 718-834-8761.


About smartready

Mentorship Program Manager, Smack Mellon
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