Sophie Friedman-Pappas. Uncertainty. 2011 Gold Medal, Painting.

Sophie Friedman-Pappas applied her Award-winning artistic skills to a fascinating internship this fall. Teen artists and writers take note: According to Sophie, an internship can deepen your creative perspective! Read on to learn about Sophie’s approach to art and her internship at New York City’s Educational Alliance.

When did you first become interested in art and painting? Growing up, I was exposed to art galleries and openings because my mother was a painter. Due to my early experiences with the art world, my work originally consisted of drawings of fairies and dragons.

During my freshman year of high school, I was introduced to oil painting. I was hesitant at first because I was aware that this was the medium that my mother primarily worked with and I thought of it as something that only professionals could use. As the year progressed, something clicked, and I began using oils more and more.

You won two Gold Keys and a Gold Medal in 2011 and 2012. What a great accomplishment! What was it like to win all those awards? In 10th grade, I continued to paint with oils, but still thought of it as just a hobby. That year, my mom found out about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and nagged me to apply until I begrudgingly gave (I expected nothing from it). After months of forgetting that I had even applied, I got an email congratulating me on my two gold keys for a painting and drawing I had submitted. I had never been so surprised in my life! Those awards helped me take my work more seriously. It signified that I was able to get praise for my artwork aside from the compliments I would receive from my parents and teachers.

Do you have a teacher or mentor who supports you? My two painting teachers at Saint Ann’s School are Andrew Keating and Angelo Bellfatto. I consider them to be great friends of mine as well as spectacular teachers. They both let their students come to them for help, instead of forcing their own styles and opinions on to students. However, their individual advice is different. Each of their viewpoints helps me shape my work until I feel that it is complete.

Check out some of the incredible student works from the painting intensives taught by Angelo Bellfato and Andrew Keating here!

Tell us about your internship experience at the Educational Alliance. During this past fall semester I worked for Audrey Hope, the Young Artists Program Coordinator, at the Educational Alliance every Thursday from 4pm-6pm. The staff is unlike any other. Each member’s primary concern is to help others experience different forms of art. They offer classes from stone sculpture to photography. Their mission makes it possible for a person of any background to be exposed to his or her area of interest.

What struck me about Audrey’s attitude towards me and my work was that she respected my opinions under all circumstances, and I looked forward to every Thursday that I worked with her. She let me organize the currently displayed student artwork, and she trusted that I had the ability to do the basics of installing a show. When it came to judging middle school artwork, she always took everything I said seriously, and that had a huge impact on me.

The Educational Alliance taught me that loving art is not only about letting yourself have pleasure in it, but that when you love something so much, you should share it with the people around you. I am so happy that I was able to learn about this organization and support everything that it does.

Coming up: Tips on how to apply for an arts-based internship in your community.

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