Artist/Student Mentoring Program

2020-2021 Young Artist Mentoring Program/ updates

This year’s program included seven students from Morristown High School attending weekly Zoom sessions taught by artists Susan Faiola and Dan Fenelon. The students this year were extremely talented, thoughtful, and hard working. Ariel Papas has recently completed a Winter Session with the very prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Maeve Grennan has been taking classes at FIT on weekends. Daniela Cappy has received a scholarship to SCAD, where she will attend in the fall. Maria Paguay has been accepted to FDU, William Patterson, St. Elizabeth’s, Stockton University, and Seton Hall. Students have been exposed to works by different arts and have been sharing their own works, digital or analog, with the class. Sessions have included studies in light and shadow, exploring line/ contour drawings, experimenting with different mediums, and portraiture (of self and of others). Additionally, students have been studying logos and typography, designing their own.

YAMP Summer project: In collaboration with Stefan Armington, the Morristown Partnership and property owner Doug Greenberg, the mentoring students will create a mural for an empty storefront window at 32 Speedwell Avenue (formerly the Design with Tile storefront). The canvas mural, to be backlit at night, will match the window size, 79” by 66,” and will be easily movable in case there is the option for it to travel to other vacant storefronts this summer. Its theme is “Morristown Strong,” and the mural will represent what community means to the students.

Teddy Smarz, a Mentoring Student alumnus, currently a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, inspired Great Conversations guests by sharing his own experiences in our Mentoring Program and how greatly that program advanced his opportunities.

Young Artist Mentoring Program – 15 years and going strong  

Artwork and mentoring students at work in Morris Arts’ Young Artist Mentoring Program at Morristown High School, Morristown, NJ.  

The 2018-2019 Young Artist Mentoring Program ended on a high note this April as thirteen students and eight seniors left the program with plans to study art at numerous universities this upcoming fall.

Founded in 2004, The Young Artist Mentoring Program is one of Morris Arts’ longest running and most successful programs. The program is a weekly after school program involving some of Morristown High School’s most artistically talented students who need additional support in refining their artistic skills, developing their own personal style, and assembling a strong art portfolio, enhancing their ability to compete for admission into quality arts schools, college, a career in visual arts and/or scholarship aid.

Since its inception, the program has served 106 students, providing positive reinforcement and a supportive environment where students from different backgrounds and cultures can express their creativity, improve skills and increase their self-awareness. It also enables them to realize the potential impact they can have on their communities as future business and artistic leaders. Two professional artists, Susan Faiola and Mike Moran, meet with students for twenty weeks to provide mentoring/oversight, offer creative criticism and help the students create art portfolios for college or art school applications.

Our mentoring students have been accepted into Fairleigh Dickinson University; Maryland Institute College of Art; Massachusetts College of Art & Design; Montclair University; New York Institute of Technology; Pace University; Parsons School of Design; Philadelphia Art Institute; Pratt College; Savannah College of Arts and Design; Fashion Institute of Technology; The Philadelphia Art Institute and William Patterson.

This year, student Matt Amati, a senior in the program, accepted an animation internship at Marvel Studios in New York City. And, at this year’s Great Conversations, Mentoring Program graduate Cristina Mendoza Revayo gave a moving testimonial to the impact of the program on her life and subsequent artistic success.

Morris Arts is proud of this program and the enduring impact it has had on so many young lives, preparing students for professions in the arts and for careers that will provide them with a living and enable them to fulfill their passion for a life in the arts.


Morris Arts would like to thank the Foundation and its Board of Directors for choosing to fund this Program in honor of the late Lauren Failla, an artist and a former graduate of Morristown High School.

Morris Arts’ Artist/Student Mentoring Program was the brainchild of Mira Morrison from the Morristown High School Art program. Ms. Morrison approached Morris Arts several years ago with the idea and has worked closely with Kadie Dempsey, Morris Arts’ Program manager, to define and shape the program.

Originally funded by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Morris Arts’ Artist/Student Mentoring Program assists selected, highly talented art students who needed additional support in refining their artistic skills, developing their own personal style and assembling a strong art portfolio, that, in turn, will enhance their ability to compete for admission into quality art schools, college, a career in visual arts and/or scholarship aid. Two professional artists meet with the students for 12 weeks in the Winter/Spring semester and 12 weeks in the Fall semester.  Additionally, the students receive instruction in Art History, Life Drawing, Still Life Drawing and Computer Arts. Graduates of this program have been highly successful in meeting their career goals.

Students participating in the 2011-2012 Mentoring Program at Morristown High School displayed their art work at Zebu Forno in Morristown. The opening reception took place on Sunday January 22 and works were on display until February 12, 2012.  The show was covered in local media by Morristown Green and Morristown Patch. Images from the opening reception below.


It is through the generosity of the Lauren Elizabeth Failla Foundation that Morris Arts presents this program.

Morristown students graduate Mentoring program

Posted on June 5, 2013

On June 4, from 3-5pm, the nine students of the Art Mentoring program at Morristown High School along with their mentors, funder Kay Failla, and staff from Morris Arts, celebrated the completion of this year’s work and the graduation of six of its students! Morris Arts acknowledges and congratulates all of them for their commitment to the program over the last three years. Along with our best wishes, we hope that the Mentoring Program – under the guidance of professional artists/mentors Dan Fenelon and Susan Noonan – has given them additional skills and encouragement to pursue their future dreams.  This year’s graduates and the schools they will be attending are as follows:

Mayra Barrios (Pace University)
Rei Warren (Fashion Institute of Technology)
Monica Argenio (Massachusetts College of Art & Design)
Jean Koba (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
Karina Cabrera (County College of Morris)
Penpitcha Pimonekaksorn (aka “Dream”) who is returning to Thailand and, in four months, will be going to college there at Mahidol University of Science.

Here are some photos from the June 4th celebration:

L-R: Artists Dan Fenelon and Susan Noonan flank Katrina Cabrera; Monica Argenio, Katrina Cabrera and Mayra Barrios with mentor Dan Fenelon (sad to see them go!); Morris Arts’ Kadie Dempsey talks with students Katrina Cabrera and Mayra Barrios; Rei Warren just keeps drawing

L-R: Katrina Cabrera with her favorite work (a jaguar’s eye); Adam Merrigan with one of his works; “Dream” Panpitcha Pimonekaksorn displays her certificate with mentor Dan Fenelon; Monica Argenio with her painting.