It does not matter what your age—high school student or adult, we all have aspirations and need some help in reaching our goals. Through our journey, we hope to find individuals that will inspire us, give us hope for a future, and introduce us to those working in the area we desire. The adage, “It is not what you know, but who you know,” may even come into play. Internships and or finding a mentor can be the key.
Bridgette Mongeon has helped others achieve their dreams and calls this process “Pony Keeping.” She explains, “A young person wanted a pony, but a friend said, what do you know about pony keeping? So the aspiring pony keeper researched everything they could know about pony keeping, they even volunteered for others who had ponies. Upon finishing this investigation, they were well versed in the art of pony keeping. Yes, they may have had to shovel a bit of ‘you know what’ along the way, but they learned that this too was a part of pony keeping. Upon finishing their adventure, they discovered they did not want to own a pony, but instead wanted to be a jockey. But the most important thing about their experience is that the learning was invaluable, and they became known to all of the pony keepers.”
Interns and Volunteers- For the young and the not so young
There is much to be said about volunteering, apprenticeships, and internships, and many cities area is filled with opportunities. For the youth, volunteering and internships shows employers and college admission committees that you are committed, focused, have outside academic interests, can work with others, and are dependable. For older adults, it helps them to set their goals, and move in a different direction that may be more fulfilling for their life.
But how do you find such opportunities? Mongeon’s reply to that is simple, “You ask.”
There are, of course, numerous websites that offer volunteer opportunities and internships, but more importantly, if there is a direction you want to go or someone you admire, then muster up all of your courage and call them, or email them. Be sure to represent yourself in the most professional manner, but make yourself known. Some internships pay, but if you go with the attitude that the learning is the value, this will be to your advantage and will show in your work.
Mongeon, a Houston sculptor, and writer is known for her numerous commissions of entertainers, commissions of loved ones, mascots sculpted for universities and most recently for her monumental sculpture of Alice In Wonderland’s Mad Hatter tea party slotted for Evelyn’s Park.
“Just ask” is what two very nervous students did this week. Amy Vonn’s parents came by Evelyn’s Park grand opening in Bellaire, Texas this past April. They met Mongeon as she was talking about her monumental sculpture titled “Move One Place On” that will soon be in the park, The parents shared their daughter’s love of art, and as she always does, Mongeon encouraged the parents and their daughter to come by her studio.
“I try to help—to inspire everyone I meet.” I would have loved to have such a thing when I was young, and I know I can help them.
Vonn is a resident of Meyerland and a senior at the High School For Performing and Visual Arts. She mustered up her courage to call Mongeon and is now shadowing her this summer in her Houston Heights area studio. “I’m excited to witness and learn about the translation of 3-D program designs into tangible sculpture, like the Alice piece.” States Vonn. Mongeon has a lot to offer besides the introduction to the hands-on work, she introduces the team to the creative process, working with an art business, digital technology and has been known to pass on additional paying work to interns.
Sam Kenn, a high school student from Spring iSchool High. Kenn heard about Mongeon’s studio and the incredible opportunity of working with the artist. His schedule did not allow his participation until now. He too sent a letter inquiring about the possibilities.
“ I am so grateful that my wish for tactile and hands-on experience with art, the craft of art, is coming to fruition. In addition, this internship allows one to grasp the esoteric qualities of being an artist that are necessary but unexpected, namely: group work, technology, entrepreneurship, etc.– all these things go hand in hand with the making side of being an artist.”
Mongeon does her best to schedule interns so they can experience a working studio. “I love sharing. I can’t use everyone that inquires, but I encourage them to visit, stay in touch, and be persistent. It does take a bit of time and focus to include interns in the daily workflow. It means the studio is not only a workspace, but I’m always searching for opportunities to educate.” When working the many long hours in 2016/2017 to sculpt the monumental characters of Alice and her friends, Mongeon had 12 individuals who helped in the capacity of volunteers, paid interns, and students working for class credit.
Mongeon also offers to bring interns on field trips when available. She visits other artists space, foundries or artistic, social gathering.
Mongeon has become a well-known and influential educator using the creation of her art, making each project’s influence stretch further than the art itself. But she has not stopped there. A sign as you exit the artist’s studio reads…
“Searching for a promising student or promising adult to mentor
I am looking for a promising art/writing student to take under my wing and mentor. If you know of a student that lives, breathes and thinks art and that might like to be a part of a “term’” experience with an artist, please let me know- high school, junior high, university level, and adults are welcome.
Qualifications: a passion for art, committed, dedicated, and reliable.
I often can work around mentee’s schedule.
Please include in this written application:
Why is this art form important in your life?
Give a brief description of your interests.
Describe your present study.
What do you hope to gain from this relationship?
Share a bit of depth into who you are and a few samples of your work.
If under 18 students must have parent’s permission.”
Bridgette is now accepting applications for mentorees. Send written request through her website at https://creativesculpture.com
Periodically Mongeon volunteers her time with creative individuals both adult and youth. She mentors them through their desired creative inspiration. Being a mentoree is different than an internship.“Some people just need a guiding hand to get where they want to go; they need help to find their direction, and they need accountability. I partner with them to help them through this journey. Think of it as an inspirational, motivational couch.” These mentorships are different than internships; it is a one on one partnership where the learner either youth or adult, designs their goals and Mongeon helps them. They even sign an informal contract, so things are clear. Mongeon’s volunteers her time to these chosen few. She says it is her way of giving back, but her time is limited; she only takes one or two mentorees a term. Most mentorees have a creative focus such as writing, art, dance, or theater. Individuals must apply. “I’m looking for the same thing I am with interns. I’m looking for passion and a heart. The rest can be learned or taught. I will keep you accountable though. So whatever the term of agreement, dedication is necessary.”
The opportunities for learning are out there, not just at Mongeon’s studio, but also with many others. All you need to do is make a decision that you want to evolve creatively, tap into your passion, find a place that will encourage that, and as Mongeon states, “Just ask.”
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For further information
B. Mongeon Sculpture Design Studio
Contact Jessica Brown assistant PR-