Youth Art Mentorship Program

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    YAM banner decorative

Youth Art Mentorship Program

About the Youth Art Mentorship Program at the Art Gallery of Peterborough: The Youth Art Mentorship Program (YAM) presents senior high school students with the opportunity to learn from professional mentors to gain valuable skills as professional artists and create work for a public exhibition. Through the program, selected youth artists receive training in visual arts and creative administration, which can open doors to a breadth of careers including animation, industrial design, architecture, and the non-profit sector.

Guided by the Artist Mentor, Curator, and Education Programming Coordinator, artists selected for the Youth Art Mentorship program work independently and as a collective of peers to develop new ideas and create artwork for their curated public art exhibition at the Art Gallery of Peterborough. Through the program, youth artists are provided access to studio time, materials and equipment, and are paid an artist fee for their exhibition.

Funding for this project was made possible by a grant from the PCVS Legacy Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough.

The Community Foundation is a public foundation and registered charity. By combining and investing gifts of all sizes in a pooled fund, the Community Foundation works with donors to build sustainable community resources that can address the challenges and opportunities facing Peterborough now and in the future. For more information visit www.cfgp.ca

Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough


About the Artist Mentor:

Caucasian male, bald with glasses, wearing a lime green sweater and arms crossed. He stands in front of a wall with paintings hung in a grid pattern

Spencer J. Harrison in his studio

Spencer J. Harrison (he/him) is an Artist, Activist, and Educator. Spencer has been painting and creating installation-based art for forty years, and his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.

As an activist, his focus is on human rights for all who are marginalized, with his greatest focus on youth. For instance, he is the founder of Camp fYrefly, Ontario (a camp for LGBTQ2S&A youth) and has been an Artist-in-Residence with the Toronto District School Board for fifteen years. In this role, Spencer operates an open door, public studio where he has produced many works, including the first painted PhD dissertation in Canada.

Additionally, Spencer has been teaching in the Drawing and Painting department of OCAD University for more than ten years, where he has assessed more than 50,000 portfolios for the admissions to the University.

In conclusion, Spencer believes in the power of art and youth to change the world and is thrilled to be working in this program at the Art Gallery of Peterborough.


A message from Spencer…

Meet the jurors

Caucasian female with long brown hair, wearing a black striped shirt and orange sweater, in front of a purple background with yellow, blue, green and orange blobs

Fynn Leitch (she/her) has been the Curator at the Art Gallery of Peterborough since 2014. She has an MA in Visual Culture and a B.A.Hons. in Art History from Queen’s University, and she is also the former Director of Artspace (2011-2014). She has participated extensively in committee work, juries, and conferences regionally and nationally; including, the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO), ARCA National Conference, the Arts Culture and Heritage Advisory Committee for the City of Peterborough and the Electric City Culture Council.



Caucasian female with blonde hair, wearing a black coat and pants, sitting in theatre seating with her feet up.Kelly Egan (she/her) is an associate professor in Cultural Studies and Media Studies at Trent University whose work focuses on materiality and obsolescence. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (2001) in Mass Communication from Carleton University, a Master of Fine Arts (2006) in Film/Video from Bard College (2006), a Certificate in Film Preservation from the Selznick School of Film Preservation at George Eastman Museum (2012), and a Master of Arts (2003) and PhD (2013) in Communication and Culture from the York/Ryerson Joint Graduate Programme in Communication and Culture. Her award-winning experimental films have exhibited extensively nationally and internationally at festivals/venues including the Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Images Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, and TIFF Lightbox, amongst many others. She has lived and worked in Peterborough since 2014.



Key Dates

Dates and times may be subject to change. Guest artist workshops and lectures, collection-based training/workshops, and other additional components may be added (subject to interest, funding, and availability).

  • December 1, 2023:
    • Early bird deadline to submit your application through Submittable to be considered for a portfolio review. Please check the box on the application form to confirm your interest in participating in the portfolio review process. Portfolio reviews are optional and do not guarantee your acceptance to the program.
  • December 9 2023:
    • Portfolio reviews: Portfolio reviews offer the opportunity to receive constructive feedback on your portfolio from the jury before submitting your application. Applicants will then have the opportunity to take this feedback and resubmit their application with the jury’s feedback in mind.
  • January 5 2024:
    • Final deadline for submissions.
  • January 8, 2024:
    • Jury deliberation.
  • January 8, 2024:
    • Results Announced.
  • January 15 to June 3, 2024:
    • Youth Art Mentorship Program Duration: includes a combination of in-person and virtual meetings, open studio sessions, and workshops teaching studio practices and materials.
  • June to October 2024:
    • Youth Art Mentorship Exhibition is mounted at the Art Gallery of Peterborough – (Exhibition opening and duration TBC)


Highlights from the Youth Art Mentorship Program

More highlights and features…

Wayfinding, works from the Youth Art Mentorship Program exhibition

Being in the World, works from the Youth Art Mentorship Program exhibition

Peterborough Examiner: “New works by young Peterborough artists on exhibit“

Peterborough Examiner: “Art Gallery of Peterborough launches youth mentorship program”


Looking for more information?

Please contact:

Andrew Ihamaki
Education Programming Coordinator

E: aihamaki@peterborough.ca
T: 705 743 9179 x 2025

Regular Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is by Donation.

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