Art Buddy Spotlight: Anna Thompson, Mentor/Advisory Board Member

Anna Thompson has enjoyed being an Art Buddies mentor and Advisory Board member for eight years (and counting!). Outside of Art Buddies she puts her creative talents into motion at Socially Smitten as a Social Marketing Account Manager and Illustrator.  

What has been your most memorable Art Buddies experience?
Two years ago, I recruited my mom, a former art teacher and designer, to volunteer with Art Buddies. She hasn’t taught art in a long time, and she totally enjoyed it! Not only did she have fun with the kids, but it was a great bonding experience for us too.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Art Buddies?
I volunteered with Art Buddies back in 2007. At the time, I was still trying to figure out what exactly I was going to do for a “career." Art Buddies helps kids AND adults foster their creativity. Not long after that, I started my own Etsy business that I still have today. 

Define what one-on-one mentoring means to you and how it can impact the life of a child. 
Volunteering with Art Buddies has been incredibly rewarding. I have seen the difference one-on-one mentoring can make in a child’s life. Many of the kids in the Art Buddies program don’t get the chance to have an adult all to themselves, and I think they really crave that attention and need it to thrive. I love devoting a couple hours a week to one special kid and really letting them know that this is THEIR time. 

How do you feel the after-school combination of creativity and mentoring helps children with schoolwork?
From a personal experience, when I set aside time to be creative, it sparks creativity in other facets of my life too. Volunteering at Art Buddies mid-week revitalizes me and gets my creative juices flowing – those creative juices then spill back into my work and I feel renewed. I can only imagine that the same thing happens for our little Art Buddies. 

Have you gained new friendships or expanded your network as an Art Buddy?
I have definitely met some cool cats volunteering with Art Buddies. It’s always fun running into them at events (whether it’s an advertising convention, an art festival, or even just out and about!). I’ve found that my wealth of Art Buddies friends has grown considerably over the past years. It’s a great community.

Art Buddies accepts mentor applications every fall and spring. Learn how you can volunteer with Art Buddies at