The Teen Arts Program strives to level the playing field by providing high-quality arts and youth development programs to teens who do not have the economic privilege to access them. Youth are paired 1 on 1 with an experienced mentor to guide them through the complicated process of applying to art schools, visiting artist studios and cultural institutions, and exploring professions in creative fields.


Individualized portfolio development for teens interested in applying to a NYC specialized arts high school. Over the course of 8 months, teens and mentors work 1 on 1 to research perspective art schools, develop a visual arts portfolio, and prepare for the rigorous application, interview, and audition process.

Mentors are experienced creative professionals with a BFA or MFA. They assist youth in developing their portfolio with over 60 hours of training and support.


The Museum/Studio Visit Program creates opportunities for teens to have access to leaders in the NYC visual arts community. Youth and mentor pairs meet monthly, to tour artists’ studios, participate in creative workshops, and build visual literacy. 2017 artist visits include Matthew Day Jackson, Curtis Kulig, Taryn Simon, and Christopher Wool.


Creative Career Exploration offers teens an introduction to the many facets of the creative industry. Over school breaks, teens build professional development skills and tour top creative companies. Each morning, teens work to build communication, networking, resume writing, interview and other professional skills. The remainder of the day consists of visits to businesses, where teens meet employees, learn about their jobs and the paths they took to get there.

Companies this year include: Bustle, Downing Frames, Luhring Augustine, Penguin Publishing Group, Pioneer Works, Phillip Lim, Sotheby’s, Swarovski, Uniqlo, Velocity/Viacom and Warby Parker.


After completing the Creative Career Exploration intensive, teens can continue to build invaluable skills and relationships over the summer through month-long paid internships at Free Arts and external creative business partners.

Interested in hosting a career visit, intern, or becoming a mentor? 
Contact our TAP Team

Teens can engage with TAP through one or more of our tracks, but must be enrolled with one of our Community Partner Programs.  Check the list here.