Art Buddy Spotlight: Mark Larson, Mentor

Mark Larson is a Project Manager for Carlson Companies and has been an Art Buddy for 20 semesters (that adds up to about 10 years!).

When Art Buddies is in session, Mark arrives early each week to help with the setup of tables and chairs. He has also generously donated and installed the shelving used in the Art Buddies storage rooms at Whittier and Bancroft elementary schools, and built the stage that the kids at Whittier use on the last day to give their presentations after the parade.

What has been your most memorable experience as an Art Buddy?

Getting a letter from a parent at the end of a session telling me how much the program and my help did for her daughter. She said her daughter had so much praise for me and the program… it was very touching.

Why did you decide to become active with Art Buddies?

My own children were getting a little older, and I missed that age. A co-worker was involved with Art Buddies and suggested that I try it. I loved it and have been with them ever since.

What advice would you give to rookie Art Buddies?

To have fun and not worry about trying to make the best costume. Let the kids make the decisions about style, color, etc. and don’t worry about how it looks or how realistic it might be. None of that really matters… what matters is that the kids have fun and feel like they are involved.

Define what one-on-one mentoring means to you and how it can impact the lives of children.

It is a chance to get involved in the life of a child by donating a small amount of time while having a big impact in their lives. I know I have made a difference in the life of each child I have been partnered with, whether big or small.

What are some of your favorite costume creations, and what inspired your Art Buddy to choose that costume?

My all-time favorite was with a boy named Brian who wanted to be a “musical soldier." We created a soldier costume, complete with a guitar to replace the gun, and everything covered in camouflage. He chose this because he wanted to be in the military and serve his country but he didn’t like guns and killing people, so he wanted to serve his country with music… it was very cool and very creative.


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