Kent Bellows Mentoring Program

Joslyn’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program offers challenging discussions and workshops that encourage students to explore, observe, think, and create. Three semesters per year, professional artist mentors are matched with about 50 high school students who are provided an opportunity to find personal inspiration, gain technical skills, and build an art portfolio. Teens and mentors meet after school in an environment that provides a balance of freedom and support, diverse art practice, and which encourages community involvement.

The mentoring program is a partner member of the Midlands Mentoring Partnership (MMP). Inclusion is reserved for programs that meet or exceed the best practices for mentoring, as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (3rd Edition), including recruitment of appropriate mentors and mentees; screening of mentors; training of mentors, mentees and their families; matching of mentors and mentees; monitoring and support of the match; and appropriate closure of the match. These standards are essential to achieving the positive outcomes of mentees, including increased academic achievement, improved attendance, and increased twenty-first-century skill development.

Mural Arts

The Kent Bellows Mural Arts Program matches professional mural painters with young artists to create public art for the community. Each mural is designed by the mentor and students in response to community research and in collaboration with Omaha Public Works. Traditional latex and aerosol paints are used separately or in combination to achieve different visual effects. To date, students and mentors of this mural arts program have completed over 25 community murals totaling over 16,000 square feet.


Program History

In January 2014, Joslyn Art Museum welcomed into its family the newly named Kent Bellows Mentoring Program and ownership of the Kent Bellows Studio, located at 33rd and Leavenworth Street in Omaha. In 2007, a nonprofit organization was established to create an art mentor program for teens — the legacy of Nebraska-born artist Kent Bellows (1949–2005), whose realist work, including the self-portrait at right, is part of Joslyn’s collection. That entity dissolved at the end of 2013, and Joslyn assumed responsibility for the future of its successful program, recognized for its dynamic vision, unique and versatile curriculum model, and exceptional work with young people. Kent Bellows Studio remains the home base for the Mentoring Program and — as an integral piece of Joslyn’s whole — the program allows the Museum to significantly expand its active engagement of teens, local artist mentors, and youth agencies throughout the metro area. The identity and integrity of this highly respected program, which helps develop the creative voice of youth, remains intact, with promise for growth and diversification.

What's Pictured: Kent Bellows (American, 1949–2005), Self Portrait Raging, 1991, graphite on paper, Gift of Dr. Thomas J. Huerter, 2003.19, Collection of Joslyn Art Museum
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