The Arts Mentors Program pairs UVA undergraduates with under-resourced students from local schools to develop mentoring relationships and provide both groups of students with exposure to the arts. Arts Mentors exposes local children to U.Va and its resources while giving UVA students the opportunity to engage with the local community. The program is partnered with the City of Promise, a community-based initiative focused on improving outcomes for children who live in the Westhaven, Starr Hill and 10th and Page neighborhoods. The kids who participate in the Arts Mentors program are 3rd through 6th graders from Burnley-Moran and Walker schools who have been nominated by their teachers, principals, or by the City of Promise staff.

The arts component is led by Associate Professor of Music, Bonnie Gordon and guidance in working with young children is led by Burnley-Moran teacher and Curry 2010 alumna, Rachel Savoy. Training and supervision of UVA students, with specific attention given to community engagement is led by the Director of Student Affairs in Community Engagement, Julie Caruccio.

The Arts Mentors Program began in 2010 and is an interdisciplinary effort between  the Arts Departments at U.Va and Student Affairs. It is funded by the Vice Provost for the Arts, the President, The Dean of the College, Student Affairs, The Jefferson Trust, and the Arts Council.



  • Get to know and mentor a young person from the local community in a structured and fun environment

  • Attend a diverse set of arts events

  • Eat good food

  • Make connections with faculty and staff who are active in the local community

  • Make connections with other students interested in making a difference

UVA students can expect to learn:

  • More about the local community of Charlottesville

  • How to connect with a young person

  • A little about different forms of fine and performing arts

  • Leadership and mentoring skills

  • What mentees can expect to learn:

  • What college is like from a current U.Va. undergraduate student

  • A little about different forms of fine and performing arts

  • Skills in leadership, patience, intellectual stimulation, and creativity



One event will be planned for every month of the semester and attendance to every event is required. Each event will consist of three sections: a mentor meeting, the main event with our mentees, and a post-event mentor meeting. During mentor meetings, we will focus on the cultivation of leadership and mentoring skills through various team building activities and guest speakers. Mentors will also have the chance to check-in with AM program directors and other fellow mentors during the pre-event and post-event sections. In the middle, we will have our Arts Mentors event where mentor-mentee pairs will attend an arts event in Charlottesville. Event dates are provided when the schedule is finalized (in the summer) at which point the dates and details are shared with our mentors.

Developing supportive relationships between mentors and mentees is one of the primary goals of this program. Research indicates that intermittent or prematurely shortened mentoring relationships can do harm to the youth involved; thus, we expect mentors to make this program a priority and attend all scheduled events.

Past Arts Mentors events have included: attending the Virginia Film Festival, making ink prints at Kluge-Ruhe museum, creating sculptures at the McGuffey Art Center, viewing photography at the Jefferson School and African American Heritage Center, and learning about jazz at IX Art Park. Past Mentors events have included: implicit bias training, workshops on civic engagement and ethical public service, and mentor-bonding at Jump CVille.  



Registration opens each semester at 9am on the first day of classes.

The Arts Mentors program accepts mentors through an application process each fall. The criteria for eligibility are:

  • Full-time student status

  • Good academic standing

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher

  • Good disciplinary standing

  • Interest in and enthusiasm for developing relationships with local youth and engaging in the arts

  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse group of team members

  • Grant permission for the Associate Dean of Student to access, print and share with the selection committee transcript and disciplinary records for the purpose of application and review.



  • Burnley-Moran Elementary School

  • The City of Promise

  • Walker Upper Elementary School