It was showtime for artist Colleen Police and her classmates, as they exhibited their work at local galleries during the December First Thursdays Art Walk.
Police joined other seniors from the Laguna College of Art & Design in a unique mentoring program, now in its sixth year, that pairs students with gallerists to teach them about the business of art.
Police said program leader Robin Fuld has equipped her students to go into the art world with confidence.
The program, which dovetails with the skills students learn in Fuld’s class, allows students to learn about everything from framing to business forms firsthand.
Student artists are given two months to get in touch with galleries to go over which work will be shown, learn the consignment process and discuss advertising. The program culminates in the Art Walk exhibition; money raised from sales benefits the students and Art Walk.
Police’s relationship with Rebecca Barber began with a sale, months before her mentoring began.
Barber visited a show that Police was exhibiting in over the summer, and bought one of Police’s paintings.
When Police stopped by Studio Arts Gallery to deliver the piece, Barber told her to stay in touch.
Fuld, knowing nothing of the exchange, assigned Police to work with Barber at Studio Arts Gallery.
“Out of all the galleries in Laguna Beach, and all the people,” Police laughed. “Of course Rebecca was so excited.”
Police said she has been spoiled by her experience in working with Barber.
“She’s been amazing,” she said. “I think I’ve had one of the best experiences.”
“The gallery owners really treat us like professional artists,” Police said.
She and Barber discussed what pieces Police would exhibit. Police went in expecting to show oil paintings, but upon seeing the space, she opted to show two drawings, two watercolors and a figure study, in a range of sizes and prices.
“The biggest one is a large figure drawing that I really like,” Police said. “If somebody wants to buy it, that’s great — but I’m going to be really sorry to see it go.”
Barber then helped Police develop an advertising plan, creating postcards that she sent out using Police’s mailing list.
“It’s been a real team effort,” Police said. “I’ve appreciated her so much. I feel very blessed.”
The feeling was mutual.
“Rebecca was telling me today that she also learned so much,” Police said Wednesday after hanging her work. “As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t know how to do anything. A couple of months ago, I was freaked out about this whole gallery thing. This experience is going to be very helpful if I decide to show in galleries.”
Police voiced her enthusiasm for Fuld’s program.
“I think it’s really important for people to understand exactly what this program is, and to support it,” she said. “It’s a really unique and great opportunity for people to learn, and it’s a great opportunity for the galleries, too.”