2019 in review →

The Teen Arts Program provides dynamic opportunities for 65 teens – ages 13-18 – to explore the arts academically and professionally. Teens are paired 1 on 1 with a mentor in a creative profession to guide them through the complicated process of creating a portfolio and applying to specialized art schools. Throughout the program, teens also gain real-world experience through company visits and paid summer internships.


Become a Teen Arts Program mentor!

We’re looking for experienced creative professionals with a BFA or MFA to become mentors in our Portfolio Mentorship program. During 1 on 1 monthly sessions as a mentor, you’ll guide your mentee through the technical and artistic process of creating a visual arts portfolio and applying to specialized art schools while serving as a positive role model!


How To Apply

Interested mentors will be required to submit an application and attend two mandatory trainings. Complete a supplemental application here.
Please email volunteer@freeartsnyc.org with any additional questions.

Required Trainings

Youth Development Training: Thursday, March 5th: 6:30 – 8:30 pm and Program Training: Wednesday, March 11th: 6:30 – 8:30 pm or Wednesday, March 18th: 6:30 – 8:30 pm – Meet your teen on Saturday, April 4th!)


Individualized portfolio development for teens interested in applying to a specialized arts high school and/or college. Over the course of 8 months, teens and mentors work 1 on 1 to research perspective schools, develop a visual arts portfolio, and prepare for the rigorous application, interview, and audition process. 2019 schools include:

  • Brooklyn College
  • Buffalo State
  • Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Gramercy Arts High School
  • High School of Art & Design
  • Laguardia High School of Music & Performing Arts
  • Lower Manhattan Arts Academy
  • Parsons
  • School of Visual Arts
  • The High School Of Fashion Industries


Creative Lab offers teens an introduction to the many facets of the creative industry. Youth and mentor pairs meet monthly, to visit artists’ studios/museums, participate in professional development workshops, and build visual literacy. Teens work to build communication, networking, resume writing, interview and digital literacy skills. Over school breaks, teens visit top creative companies, meet employees, learn about their jobs and the paths they took to get there. 2019 companies include:

  • BFA
  • Catbird
  • Draper James
  • Penguin Random House
  • Phillips Auction House
  • Uniqlo
  • Verizon
  • Viacom/Velocity
  • Warby Parker


High school juniors and seniors earn paid summer internships hosted by creative companies. 2019 summer internships include:

  • Betty Cunningham Gallery
  • Blueprint Media
  • Bustle
  • Cynthia Rowley
  • David Zwirner
  • Downing Frames
  • George Adams Gallery
  • Getty Images
  • Lively
  • NADA
  • Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance
  • Npeal London
  • Scarlett Showroom
  • The Swiss Institute

“Free Arts means a lot to me, it’s become a part of my life. I love art and I want to pursue a career in art, and Free Arts helped me express myself and learn who I am through what I love.”

– Ricardo, Portfolio Development Program