Art Buddy Spotlight: Tivoli Madsen, Mentor/Advisory Board Member

Tivoli Madsen is a Trend Forecaster + Designer for Target Corporation, and has volunteered as an Art Buddies mentor for 6 seasons at Whittier Elementary School in south Minneapolis. Tivoli has also been an active member of the Art Buddies Advisory Board since 2012, providing advocacy and support for programming, fundraising and special events.

Photo courtesy Doug Knutson Photography

How would you describe Art Buddies to someone who has never heard of the program?
Art Buddies is an amazing mentor program that pairs creative professionals one–on-one with elementary school kids for an 8-week art program that boosts self-esteem, imagination and creativity… for both the kids and the mentors!

What advice would you give to a rookie Art Buddies volunteer?
Learn from your kid! Admittedly, there are a few “Type A” personalities in the creative field, and it’s easy to want to “direct and perfect” the project you are working on with your child. But the fun part for me is letting the kids direct you - their passion and excitement build something you would have never dreamed of.

Define what one-on-one mentoring means to you and how it can impact the lives of children.
Being able to work with a child one-on-one is unique in that you get to really learn about who they are and - most importantly - really listen to them. I think it means a lot to a child to be able have an adult’s undivided attention and get to ‘run the show’ on the project. It shows them how much their ideas matter, and that they are being heard.

How do you feel the after-school combination of creativity and mentoring helps children in school?
Art Buddies helps kids feel empowered and confident in themselves. This goes well beyond the art project, and we see them feeling more confident and excited in school.

While you were sharing knowledge with your Art Buddy, did you ever find they were teaching you something equally important? If so, what?
Always. It is a reminder to let go, dream a little wilder, think outside the box… and create without overthinking. They have no design rules or preconceived notions of what a costume should look like; they just let loose with their ideas and a glue gun and go for it. It’s quite liberating. 

Photo courtesy Doug Knutson Photography

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