Third Year Mentorship: A Pivotal Moment of Development

In a curriculum designed to help students master techniques essential to realist art – techniques which amount to a kind of visual grammar, Studio Incamminati has dedicated a part of its education to helping our more advanced students forge their individual artistic voice. In the third year of the Advanced Fine Art and BFA Articulation program students work one-on-one for the semester with a mentor who, by distinction, is more aware of the intricacies within personal artistic expression. Mentors are usually faculty members or Fellows.

Current third year student, Katherine Haverkamp, recently finished her mentorship with Instructor and alumna Lynn Snyder. On the experience, she said, “Incamminati’s mentorship program is an excellent opportunity to work with practicing artists that are making their way beyond the Incamminati program. I found in my mentorship time I was able to absorb beneficial tips, techniques and practical advice on being a professional practicing artist after graduating.” Under Snyder’s tutelage, Haverkamp was able to call upon her foundational training to create a very personal piece which responded to the political strife plaguing our country, and the unity she yearns for in this fragile time.


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Kat Haverkamp’s painting created during mentorship last semester


Mentorship is also one of the first times in the curriculum when students are encouraged to consider how to create a finished painting. At this point in their journey, students develop finish in context with their building blocks gesture, block-ins, form, shape – and apply narrative thinking. Their mentor guides them through each layer of a painting, discussing their thought processes and applications of learned skills, as well as the artistic vision they hope to attain.

Finally, Instructors may also impart wisdom on being a working artist. They are able to share their experience showing in galleries and museums, and practical skillsets such as building a portfolio and preparing for public shows.


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Matthew Riggs, National Identities, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, 2021


“My mentors have all brought important insight about the process of developing an art piece. The conversation always started with what I’d like to work on and why. They encouraged me to explore my composition, color, and value, while pushing me to have a plan and trust our strategies. They’ve helped me to see where I could do better and to not forget to enjoy the process.” Student Matthew Riggs said following his mentorship this year.

Through the experience he created National Identities, a work expressing his views on nationalism and developing a consciousness that weighs some human experiences as more valuable than others.

Curious about our programs or how realist art training is crucial to your career as an artist? Attend our Virtual Open House on April 17 from 12 – 2pm. Register here.

For any questions about these programs please reach out to Dan Mahlman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (215) 592-7910.