UA Little Rock Launches Program to Help New Art Graduates Jump Start Their Careers

Students pose for a scene in the Expect More tv commercial during a drawing and painting class at the Windgate Center for Art and Design.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has launched a first-of-its-kind program at the university to help new alumni artists boost their careers.

The goal of the newly established artLAUNCH program is to provide early career alumni artists with funding, mentoring, and professional development opportunities to accelerate their artistic pursuits. The program is funded by a $216,000 grant by the Windgate Foundation.

“The early years after graduation are a critical time in an artist’s life,” said Peter Scheidt, assistant professor of furniture and woodworking and artLAUNCH coordinator. “New alumni are looking for a way to focus on their art while balancing the loss of support that comes from faculty and peers. This award will help new graduates spend more time focusing on creating art and preparing for their careers.”

The pilot program will provide graduates of the UA Little Rock Department of Art and Design with a $10,000 incubator award to help jump start their careers. The artLAUNCH award will be granted to five alumni each in 2022, 2023, and 2024.

UA Little Rock Department of Art and Design Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Fine Art studio art alumni from within a five-year window are eligible for consideration. The award may be used for anything allowing the recipients to concentrate on creating studio work: equipment, materials, travel, artist residency or workshop fees, shipping, and more.

Faculty members and professional artists will also serve as mentors for the artLAUNCH recipients. They will serve as a resource for professional advice, networking, technical questions, and more. Mentors will be proactive and act as a hands-on engaged partner with their mentees. Recipients will also be granted access to UA Little Rock art facilities and equipment during their award year.

“This innovative pilot program is a great opportunity for our graduating students and alumni to make a smooth transition from art school to the professional art world,” said Thomas Clifton, chair of the Department of Art and Design. “The Windgate Foundation has been a tremendous partner in providing support for our programs and students, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of these exceptional efforts.”

Applications for the artLAUNCH program are due March 31, and the 2022 program recipients will be announced in May. UA Little Rock will hold an exhibit during the spring 2023 semester to showcase the work of the 2022 artLAUNCH recipients.

“This program will directly benefit recent art and design alumni at UA Little Rock,” Scheidt said. “We hope this will be a career-changing endeavor at a critical time in these artists’ lives.”

For more information, contact artLAUNCH Coordinator Peter Scheidt at pnscheidt@ualr.edu or 501-916-5112.

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