"It was interesting to learn about different artists, their work, and the processes behind it. It gave me new ideas and clear direction of where I wanted to go in the future. The mentorships were rich experiences too; I learned skills from the artists which I could later apply to my own artworks."

- Former Art Ready Participant 


Art Ready is a Mentorship Program designed to give high school students the opportunity to experience first hand what it is like to be a professional working in a visual arts discipline. Participating students meet and work with a wide range of artists from emerging to well-known. Students who complete Smack Mellon's Art Ready program are well informed, educated and prepared to make a decision about pursuing a future career in the arts.

Art Ready meetings take place Wednesday afternoons from 4:00-6:30pm, November 1, 2017 through May 16, 2018. From November-December 2017, students visit professional artists' studios. Art Ready visits artists in the fields of public art, film, painting, sculpture, jewelry design, shoe design, architecture, installation art, video, and photography.

After the group has visited all the artists, each student chooses an Artist Mentor to work with from late January to May 2017. Students work on average 2.5 hours/week and attend their mentorships in small groups. During the mentorship period, students continue to meet as a group for gallery and museum trips.

Art Ready culminates in an exhibition of work created during the program, in Smack Mellon's 5,000 square foot gallery space.


Art Ready is led by Kathleen Gilrain, Smack Mellon’s Executive Director. Ms. Gilrain is an artist and is certified in New York State to teach art K-12. She has teaching experience at the elementary school and high school level as well as several years teaching at Brooklyn College. Ms. Gilrain received her Mentor Supervisor certificates from the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of NYC Center for Training and Professional Development. 

Art Ready mentors are a varied group of professionals selected with three criteria in mind: an interest in sharing their knowledge, experience, and skills with students; diversity in both ethnicity and media;  and success in their field. The majority of our mentors are former exhibiting or resident artists at Smack Mellon, and have substantial mentoring and teaching experience. In keeping with Smack Mellon’s mission, a majority of the mentors are women.

Please visit our blog for a list of current mentors and schedules.


The program is open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors living in all areas of NYC who are interested in pursuing a career in the visual arts.


Applicants are required to complete an online application form, answer essay questions about why they are interested in the program, and submit two samples of past work. 

Finalists will be interviewed and up to 20 students will be selected with these criteria in mind: their interest in pursuing a career in the arts, their ability to attend every session on Wednesday afternoons from 4:00-6:30pm, November 1, 2017 through May 16, 2018 to complete a 4-month mentorship, and the quality of their application.


Please contact Kathleen Gilrain at 718-834-8761 or


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, The Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of The New York Community Trust, Lambent Foundation, The Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Gilbert Mackay Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, The Greenwich Collection Ltd, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Inc., Iorio Charitable Foundation, 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 & Craftsman Supply, Costco, Fairway, Trader Joe’s, 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.

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View Art Ready 2016 Exhibition photos

View Art Ready 2015 Exhibition photos

View Art Ready 2014 Exhibition photos

View Art Ready 2013 Exhibition photos

View Art Ready 2012 Exhibition photos

View Art Ready 2011 Exhibition photos

View Art Ready 2010 Exhibition photos

View Art Ready 2009 Exhibition photos