The Need

Many young people have great artistic potential but do not have access to art instruction and supplies. Public education’s focus on the core subjects of math, English and science, and its value of athletics often means that these young people’s artistic potential is not encouraged. The cost of private art lessons and art supplies make the cultivation of young people’s artistic gifts available exclusively for the wealthy. Acrylic University aims to make access to art accessible for young people, especially youth from low income families. Access alone to art instruction and supplies is not enough. These young people need the encouragement and critique, nurture and support of a community for their artistic gifts to flourish.

Jason Dorsey, facilitator of the “Access to Art” program, painting as a young boy

The Mission of the Access to Art Program

Our mission is to provide artistically gifted youth a two-year access to art instruction, art supplies and a supportive art community.   

The Vision

Over the next decade to raise up gifted, successful artists who share beauty with the world by providing the Art for Access Program to over 100 students.

Access to Art Program

Acrylic University believes access to art instruction, art supplies, and a supportive art community is the key to unlock the artistic potential of young people. Our program is aimed at providing this access to youth 13-22 years of age, and is especially geared towards youth from low-income families.

  • Art Instruction: Acrylic University provides online instruction in acrylic painting from Master artist Jed Dorsey. Jed’s engaging, encouraging instruction style allows for youth to learn “over his shoulder and through his heart.” Much of what we learn is from watching someone else, learning from them. Acrylic University offers classes beginning with 101, the most basic class to more advanced classes. Because the instruction is on-line, the student can watch the lessons from his/her phone, or a computer at the library or at home.
Acrylic University Instructor, Jed Dorsey
  • Art Supplies: Acrylic University ships a backpack with all the necessary art supplies to begin painting. This includes (1) portable easel, (2) brushes, (3) paint, (4) palette, (5) three canvases. It also includes a supply list for the student so that he/she can have a guide to purchase supplies in the future. It is important that all of the supplies fit in a backpack because many of these youth live transient lives, moving from apartment to apartment and they need to be able to carry their mini-art studio with them.
  • Art Community. Enrollment in AU’s Access to Art community immediately connects the artistically gifted youth into a supportive, encouraging community. This starts with an “Advocate” who knows the youth’s potential and pledges to support them in their journey. The advocate is someone who knows the student and is in their lives. It might be a parent, grandparent or guardian, or a teacher.  After filling out an application and acceptance into the program, the youth is connected to a multi-generation community of artists facilitated by a “Coach” who provide support, encouragement, and critique.  

Access to Art Application Process

An “Advocate” identifies a youth aged 13-22 who has artistic potential and on the application form pledges to support that youth in their journey.

  • The youth applies to the Access to Art Program. The application includes the signature of the Advocate. After acceptance into the program, the youth is placed on the waiting list for an Access to Art Program Grant (see below).  
  • After receiving the Access to Art Grant, AU (1) ships the backpack of art supplies to the Advocate who gets them to the student, (2) registers them for the online instruction portal, and (3) connects them to the online art community.
  • At this point the youth is considered a member of Acrylic University and welcomed to participate in all of the programs of AU including submission of art to the annual juried Acess to Art (online) Art show (see below).
  • After the youth graduates from the two year Art Access program of Acrylic University. They can choose to (1) continue in Acrylic University by paying the regular fee, (2) apply for being a AU “coach” and receive the AU instruction as their reimbursement for being a coach.  

Access to Art (Online) Art Show

Entering artwork in a show, having your art juried, selling and shipping artwork, and paying a gallery commission is are vital steps to grow and be affirmed as an artist. In Partnership with Sunnyshore Studio, AU provides an online Access to Art Art Show where Access to Art Students can showcase and sell their artworks. A 10% commission for the administrative and promotional costs will be taken. Advocates play an important role in this art show by promoting their student’s artwork via social media and with their network of friends, and by helping walk the student through the shipping of artwork that is sold (if shipping is required).

The Cost: Free to Access to Art Students through an Access Grant

The cost of providing access for one youth in Acrylic University is $350. THIS COST IS FREE FOR THE STUDENT. WE WILL RAISE THE MONEY TO COVER THE COST FOR EACH STUDENT ACCEPTED INTO THE ACCESS TO ART PROGRAM.

  1. $100 = Art for Access “Student Rate” for online instruction
  2. $200 = Mini-Studio Supplies (backpack, easel, brushes, paint, etc.)
  3. $50 = Shipping and Handling

Access Grant

Individuals who would like to provide access to an artistically gifted youth can donate the following levels to provide an Access Grant ($350 per student).

  • $50 Shipping & Handling
  • $100 Art for Access “Student Rate” for online instruction
  • $200 Mini Studio Supplies
  • $350 Full Access Grant

The Pilot Access to Art Program will be Facilitated by Jason Dorsey

In Partnership with Sunnyshore Studio, Acrylic University is launching the pilot Access to Art Program in October, 2019. Jason Dorsey, Artistic Director of Sunnyshore Studio will be working with advocates to identify ten artistically gifted youth. After the youth have are accepted into the Access program, they will be eligible to receive the Access Scholarship. In October 2019, Jed Dorsey will have a solo art show at Sunnyshore Studio. Sunnyshore Studio is donating 5% of the commission and Jed and Renae Dorsey are donating 5% to raise Access Grants to fund the ten students. In the fall of 2020 show, artworks by the students who are a part of the Access Program will be showcased in an online Art Show.

Advocate Commitment

Advocates are vital for AU’s Access to Art Program. They serve in three important ways.

  1. First, the Advocate identifies a gifted young artist (age 13-22) and works with them to complete and turn in an Access to Art Application.
  2. Second, once the student receives a grant, AU ships the backpack and art supplies to the youth. The Advocate ensures that the youth receives the art supplies.
  3. Third, the Advocate supports the student as they showcase their work on the online Art Show including (1) sharing the student’s participation in the online show via social media and with his/her network of friends, and (2) helping youth ship artwork to purchaser if this is required.   

Access to Art Timeline

August 15, 2019: Applications Due

September 1, 2019: Art Access Pilot Program Members Announced

October 2019: Jed Dorsey Art Show and Art Access Fund-Raiser

November 1, 2019: Pilot Program Begins

October 2020: Paintings of Access to Art Pilot Program Members online Art show

Art Supplies

The following art supplies will be provided for Access to Art Students along with a backpack to carry them in.

  • 23 Canvases
  • 9 Tubes of Paint (warms and cools of primary colors, plus gray, white and black)
  • Paint box (for holding paint)
  • Palette (Masterson Sta-Wet Palette – mini version)
  • Set of 10 brushes
  • Sketchbook  
  • Set of 6 pencils with sharpener
  • Tabletop Easel
  • Spray Bottle
  • Masking Tape
  • Value Finder

Note: Students and advocates will need to provide water buckets for cleaning brushes, and paper towels (or rags). Hair dryer and hydrogen peroxide are optional (used for helping Sta-Wet Palette stay fresher for longer).

Applying to the Access to Art Program

We are only taking 10 students in the pilot Access to Art Program.

  • Applications must be post-marked by August 15th (or e-mailed by August 15th)
  • Applications will be evaluated in the order in which they arrive.
  • Youth who are not admitted into the pilot program will be placed on a waiting list.

To apply for the program request an application from Jason Dorsey. Contact Jason at j.dorsey23@gmail.com.