Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Project Now Accepting Applications

Are you an emerging artist hoping to meet other artists in Guelph to learn the ins and outs of professional creative practice? Interested in trying your hand at graphic design, social media, marketing, installation, curation and more while developing an exhibition? If your answer is yes to any or both of these questions, the Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Project (GEAMP) is for you! 

The GEAMP is a local initiative organized by Guelph Arts Council and the School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM) at the University of Guelph. It is also supported by the RBC Emerging Artists Project, and aims to aid emerging artists in the transition to professional practice by matching them with mentors, who are arts and culture professionals based in Guelph. The project began in 2017, and has since paired 42 emerging visual artists, cultural managers and musicians with mentors. Emerging artists meet with their mentors to learn more about and discuss the various elements of professional life, as well as participate in graphic design, social media promotion, marketing, curation, installation and more to create their own culminating exhibition or performance at the end of the project. 

Cindy Dochstader is an emerging artist who participated in the summer 2019 round of the Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Project. She described the project by noting “When we began the GEAMP, we were asked to list some of the things we hoped to gain from the process. I wanted to learn about art business best practices, refine the vision for my career path, and increase my confidence as an artist. My time in this project has helped me achieve all of these goals and more.”

I also participated in the Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Project this past summer. My mentor, Alissa Firth-Eagland, is an accomplished, knowledgeable and wonderful person. She helped me learn about various curatorial approaches to exhibitions and creative projects, the skills and qualities that emerging curators should strive to develop, and various international curatorial residency opportunities. She additionally helped me understand how to make professional connections in the arts and culture sector and effective job search tips for finding arts-related employment after graduation. I also worked with other talented and dedicated emerging artists to develop Treading Loudly, an interdisciplinary exhibition at the Boarding House Gallery between July 17 and July 31, 2019. Treading Loudly included both two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork by emerging artists, as well as musical performances at the opening and closing receptions by Mikalyn Hay and Roscoe Fiction (Peter Spring). This culminating project helped me learn about curation, social media promotion, marketing and installation, as well as how to write and develop gallery text panels. The Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Project was an incredible and rewarding experience. It provided me with valuable opportunities to develop my curatorial practice and excel in my career. 

“Guelph is home to a vibrant community of artists, and we are grateful to SOFAM and RBC Emerging Artists Project for partnering with us to help emerging artists build connections in that community, and ultimately to live, work and thrive as Guelph artists,” says Patti Broughton, executive director of Guelph Arts Council.

Previous mentors include professionals such as curators Dawn Owen, Scott McGovern and Alissa Firth-Eagland, visual artists Annie Dunning, Jessie Buchanan and Robin Baird Lewis as well as musicians Jeff Bird, Doris Folkens and Nathan Lawr.

The sixth round of the project is currently accepting applications from emerging artist mentees and mentors. Applications are due on Sunday September 22, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. The GEAMP is free for emerging artist mentees, and requires a minimum time commitment of four to six hours from late September to November. To apply, visit or call 519-836-3280.