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Artist Networking & Mentor Initiative

What is the MMSI Artist Networking & Mentor Initiative?

The MMSI Artist Networking & Mentor Initiative began in July 2012.  The purpose of this initiative is to pair young emerging artists with professional and established adult artists to create networking and mentoring relationships, and aid in advancing the student’s opportunities, skill, creativity and introduction into the professional arts community.Several artists in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD graciously opened their studios and engaged young aspiring artists (ages 13-19) in lively discussions about their artwork.  As students toured the studios, the artists discussed the evolution of their work, answered questions, and commented on students’ artwork.  These mentor-artists worked side-by-side with students sharing creative experiences in Artists Circles or guiding them in hands-on workshops.  Each artist found a unique way to share his/her craft with the students and inspired these young artists to continue their own creative endeavors.

The Artist Networking & Mentor Initiative will continue to evolve into other art forms such as music, spoken word.  We also look forward to providing opportunities for group interactive activities to expose student groups to the arts in a fun environment.





Why is this project so important?


As part of our commitment to civic and social responsibility as well as cultural enrichment and education, we endeavor to provide opportunities for our children to see themselves as positive, productive, and successful; and to realize their full potential as descendants of Queens and Kings.  As a leadership development organization, MMSI believes in the potential for all young people to succeed when given the tools, opportunity, access, and resources necessary to achieve their goals.

MMSI’s Artist Networking & Mentor Initiative endeavors to ignite a much-needed spark, as well as fan the flames of student creativity and innovation in the area of the visual arts. The Malik Melodies is passionate about nurturing young artists.  Developing a creative mind is crucial to the development of every child.  “As schools cut time for the arts, they may be losing their ability to produce not just the artistic creators of the future, but innovative leaders who improve the world they inherit” (Winner & Hetland, 2007, The Boston Globe).  Similarly, the New York Daily News reports, “City schools are seeing arts programs being erased amid budget cuts”.  Finally, and of particular importance, the National Education Association posts an article with this subtitle, “Despite mounting evidence of its role in student achievement, arts education is disappearing in the schools that need it most.” (Holcomb, 2007).  Thus it is our inner city, minority and resourced-challenged populations that, once again, lose the very opportunities they crave in order to express themselves in positive ways.  MMSI wants to reverse that trend.

Participating Artists & Galleries

Alyscia Cunningham -  Alysica Cunningham Photography,
Francine Haskins - Francine Haskins Studio
Dirk Joseph - AZÍ ARTS,
Anthony Miller - T. Miller Gallery,  
Imani Russell - Indigo’s Friends Studios, 
George H. Smith-Shomari - Studio G,
Oluwatoyin Tella - Aboriginal Substance -
Paula Whaley - Oneeki Design Studio,
The Washington, DC Doll Artists Circle

Members - Joanna Banks, B. Lynn Bechthold, Kim Bright, Karl Graham,

Francine Haskins, Jeri Hubbard, Efuru Lee, Gloria Kirk, and Anthony Miller

How would I participate? What would be required of me?


​For participating artists, we would need your location, contact information and general availability.  We would work with you to schedule small groups of aspiring artists in time frames that best work for you. We would like for our students to have time in your studio with direct access to you, discussing your artwork, asking questions and possibly doing some hands-on work with you. The students will be asked to bring their own work samples; develop their questions in advance; and to report on their experiences as part of the project. If you have an upcoming exhibit, workshop or other suitable event, we would coordinate with you to organize our students’ attendance at these existing activities as your guests.At least one member of our organization will be in attendance to supervise and memorialize the experience. While we can plan for weekends & holidays year-round, the summer is more flexible for most school-aged children.  In addition to Youth Art Month (March) and National Arts & Humanities Month (October), we would also welcome opportunities that synchronize with significant African-American and Latino/a events such as Black History Month (February); Women’s History Month (March); and Latino Heritage Month (September-October).  However, it is of the utmost importance to us that our aspiring young artists have these opportunities so we will make every effort to work within your schedule.


We welcome you to join our Artists Network Directory consisting of artists willing, able, and ready to impart their creative wisdom to young artists and inspire them to reach their potential.








Please click the appropriate application link below to obtain more information.

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