Art Buddies: Revealing the Promise of Creative Young Minds

  Written by Mike Lescarbeau, CEO of Carmichael Lynch

I became an ad agency CEO by first being a creative director. I became a creative director by first being a copywriter. I became a copywriter by first being utterly hopeless.

Hopeless was what a kid was, back in the seventies, when he couldn’t maintain a train of thought through even the simplest math problem, when he always left his dress shoes on the bus, when he could never remember whether the ball would be hiked on one, two or three.

Today, kids with severe attention problems like mine are often diagnosed right out of the gate, but even with help, it’s no less disheartening to know that what’s easy for other kids might pose a lifetime of challenges for you.

That’s why I’m so pleased and proud that my company supports Art Buddies.

Through Art Buddies, kids meet and work with creative people who, like me, have turned their innately undisciplined ways of thinking into careers that reward creativity. Over the course of an eight-week project, they're able to see, many for the first time, that when their mind wanders, it might be worthwhile to follow it.

In today’s environment of standardized school testing, we hear a lot about the outsized emphasis being placed on rote learning. But who is testing for the ability to generate fifty ad campaign ideas on a three-day deadline? Which little bubble do you fill in to indicate your feel for the right color palette, or the proper pace of a film edit?

When I was young and struggling with school, I didn’t know that creativity would become my salvation. I went many disheartening years before finding out that the very thing that made coursework a challenge might be my greatest asset when it came to succeeding at a career. Fortunately, thanks to twenty years of Art Buddies, over 2000 kids (and counting) have been able to make that joyful discovery without waiting quite so long.


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