Youth Art Mentorship Program

Black and white collage of various landmarks from Peterborough, Ontario, over a colourful, black, yellow, magenta, and cyan graffiti background and white dotsYouth Art Mentorship Program

We’re excited to announce the launch of our inaugural Youth Art Mentorship Program. This program offers youth entering the final years of high school a unique and invaluable chance to gain hands-on experience and insights into career opportunities in the arts. This program is comprised of two phases, which include FREE Portfolio Reviews and a juried Call for Submissions.

To participate in this program, you must be:

  • a grade 11 or 12 student enrolled in high school or an alternative education setting
  • a resident of the City of Peterborough or Peterborough County
  • between the ages of 16 and 20

Please note:
The AGP strives to reflect the whole of our community and encourages applications from all qualified candidates. We are committed to building an inclusive and barrier-free environment for staff, volunteers, artists, visitors, and patrons. We actively work to reflect the diversity of our community. As such, applicants will not be discriminated against for any reason, including but not limited to issues of race, creed, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, class.

Youth Art Mentorship Program – Call for Submissions

Call for submissions to the Youth Artist Mentorship Program OPENS December 1, 2021.

Deadline for applications is January 14, 2022.

Successful youth will work directly with Artist Mentor (Spencer J. Harrison) and their peers to develop a body of work to present in a group exhibition at the Art Gallery of Peterborough. As a result, participants will earn a professional exhibition credit and receive payment for their exhibition in accordance to the 2022 CARFAC fee schedule.

The Artist Mentor will lead the group through guided critiques, workshops, and one-on-one discussions exploring the creative process and learning professional studio practices and techniques. Moreover, these sessions will foster a collaborative and professional working environment.

Additionally, participants will work with the Curator and Education Programming Coordinator at the Art Gallery of Peterborough to develop professional arts skills.

Please check back at the end of November for more details, instructions, and information on how to apply to this program.

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 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.

Portfolio Review Sessions

In this phase of the program, we are offering portfolio reviews designed to offer critical feedback to youth. Most importantly, these sessions are designed to build confidence and encourage them as they prepare their portfolios for exhibitions and entrance interviews for University and College programs.

Registrations are currently OPEN!

Please complete the following Registration Form by November 24, 2021.

Available Dates:

  • November 27, 2021
  • December 4, 2021
  • Additional dates TBD, depending on interest and availability

Joining Spencer J. Harrison on the Portfolio Review panel will be:

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 has been the Curator at the Art Gallery of Peterborough since 2014. She has an MA in Visual culture and a BAH in Art History from Queen’s University and she is 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 male with black hair and goatee, wearing a black t-shirt standing in front of a black background.


Lucas Cabral is a curator and arts administrator with a background in communications and community engagement. He completed his BFA at Western University and has since held positions at McIntosh Gallery, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and Artcite Inc. Lucas is currently Artistic Director/Curator at Artspace Peterborough.



Please note:

  • You must sign-up using the registration form to book your Portfolio Review
  • Spots are limited and will be offered on a first come first served basis.
  • Portfolio must have at least 3 images, up to a maximum of 10.
  • Your participation in a Portfolio Review session does not guarantee your acceptance into the Youth Art Mentorship Program.

For more info, please contact:

Andrew Ihamaki
Education Programming Coordinator

705-743-9173 ext. 2025

The Art Gallery of Peterborough is currently open to the public, by appointment

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