Art Buddy Spotlight: Stuart Wainstock, Mentor/Advisory Board Member

Stuart Wainstock is a Digital Designer at Greenspring Media where he works with such esteemed publications like Minnesota Monthly and Midwest Home Magazine. He has been a valuable part of our Art Buddies mentorship program and Advisory Board for two years.

Photo courtesy Doug Knutson

How would you describe Art Buddies to someone who has never heard of the program?
Art Buddies is a one-on-one after-school mentoring program that allows you to step away from grownup meetings and emails and into the world of kids one day a week. You and your buddy will go from ideation to working concept in a matter of 8-10 weeks. Be prepared to get messy and have fun.

What has been your most memorable experience as an Art Buddies mentor? 
My second semester with Art Buddies was pretty great. My buddy came to the first session with a stack of books (he had participated previously) and wanted to sketch ideas immediately. We must have spent two sessions researching and prototyping before even cutting a piece of cardboard. By the end of the semester, my buddy had created an extremely elaborate storyline about a wizard who befriended little creatures in the forest. His costume and accessories reflected the awesomeness. 

Why did you decide to volunteer with Art Buddies?
I did my undergrad in Elementary Education and taught kindergarten for five years. When I moved to Minneapolis, I missed working with kids, and Art Buddies filled the void perfectly. The blend of creative mentoring and after-school education make coming back each semester feel like the first day of school. Being able to play with glitter and sparkles was also pretty appealing.

What advice would you give to rookie Art Buddies mentors?
Let your little buddy run the show. Be there as a facilitator/guide and let your buddy take it from there. No matter how much you want the costume to be your marvelous and amazing creation, let it come from your buddy, and it will be that much more meaningful. 

How do you feel the after-school combination of creativity and mentoring helps children with schoolwork? 
One of the best things about the combination is the spectrum of grownup buddies that participate in the program. From architects and real estate agents to art directors and industrial designers, kid buddies get first-hand insight into what it means to be creative in the work place. Students start to see how different elements of their school work can be applied in a creative way, and that helps to breakdown some of the stigmas of that school work. Helping to raise awareness of all the different ways someone can be creative helps put things in a different lens.

Photo courtesy Mike Habermann

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