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The apprenticeship program is a way for teens in Sonoma County to get hands-on experience in a creative work space. Apprentices are mentored by and work alongside lead artists to complete projects such as murals and mosaics.​ These projects are both privately commissioned and publicly funded to beautify our community. 


Over the course of the 3-4 weeks of the session, the apprentice is expected to treat the program like a job. They must be on time and focused, and if they must miss a day for any reason, should inform their lead artist or the program director ahead of time so that we can plan accordingly. 

Apprentices are paid a small stipend for their participation (around $250, depending on how many total hours that particular session is). 


We are both proud and grateful to be able to offer a safe, in-person, creative, community to talented Sonoma County teens.





During the school year, (September-June) sessions are Tues/Wed/Thurs, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, each week. 


For our summer program in July, session is Tues/Weds/Thurs, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. each week. 


Artstart is located at 317 Sutton Place, off Standish Rd., off the Todd Rd. Exit from Highway 101.


If you haven't participated in an Artstart apprenticeship in the last year, you must apply by submitting an application and a portfolio.


Please submit your portfolio and application electronically to

Portfolio Instructions:

  • Submit a portfolio with 5-10 images of their work along with their applications

  • One image per page please.

  • Images should be full color.

  • For each image, please list: the title, the medium used, and the date completed. If it was created for a course, please include the course title. 


The portfolio can be images of work you’ve done independently or for an art course. Prioritize showcasing work that you are proud of, but also try to include images of artwork in more than one medium. We are looking to get an idea of your skill level in various mediums, your creativity, your eye for design, etc. 


Portfolios will be juried by the Creative Director and Lead Artists.


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Here's some of what former students, parents and instructors have had to say about our apprenticeship program!

Chris McKee, Previous Artstart Apprentice, July 2021:


"Artstart helped me find a professional path forward in life. It taught me about planning out projects and being ready to make the changes based on the particular obstacles each job ends up having. It also gave me the lesson of how important a good work ethic is for an artist to have. It gave me more practical lessons then art school."

Apprentice Parent, July 2021:


“I feel so excited for her [my daughter] right now.  It's the first a long time...I saw her light up at the idea of leading a project, not to mention contributing to a "show" where she potentially could earn a commission. Such a great learning experience and the opportunity to lay a foundation of priceless skills!


I can't express my gratitude enough for giving her this opportunity and being such a fantastic mentor.  It's  a dream come true for me (and for her!)!"

MJ, Previous Artstart Apprenticeship, July 2021:

"At the age of 15 I joined Artstart and had no idea what it would ultimately mean to me. I worked there until the age of 21 and met my best friend here as well. It was the first time in my life that I saw that you could make art your career. There are things that I learned at Artstart that I still use in my professional art career to this day. It taught me the importance of work ethic and also standing up for what you believe in. I appreciate what Artstart did for me."

Alina, Previous Artstart Apprenticeship, July 2021:

"I joined Artstart as a bright-eyed, artistically-inclined 17-year-old. The process of applying for, getting into, and working with Artstart was a formative experience of my youth. Yes, it's a great job. Yes, it was the most fun I'd ever had. Just as importantly, it exposed me to a myriad of ways to work and create art that I'd never seen before, and a work ethic which has helped me both start and finish projects ever since. As an apprentice, I made things, rather than just decorated them. I sawed, sanded, and primed every surface I painted; for the first time, I was involved in every step of the process of making art. I handled power tools, I learned mosaic -- outside of artstart, it's unlikely I'd have ever touched either of these remarkably useful skills until well into my adulthood, if ever.

I made a connection with professional local artists, and their focused mentorship pushed me to be a better artist. It's less that I improved my technical skills (though I did that too), but more how I learned how to tackle projects that would have seemed overwhelming and impossible without the Artstart Leads pushing me to try and giving me guidance when I needed it. I learned to finish things. I learned to start things.

I still live and work in Sonoma County, and seeing the public art around town that I made as an apprentice -- now adjacent to public art that I have made as a professional artist -- fills me with a sense of pride, confidence, and belonging.

three things I learned:
technical skills in the arts at every step of the process, from preparing a surface with sanding and priming, to improving my painting and drawing techniques, to varnishing and installing.
2) soft skills I learned about were the unflinching work ethic of my mentors, the importance of starting projects (rather than letting the technical challenges scare me off of even trying), and the drive to finish projects to the degree they deserved. I learned to keep high standards for my own work.
3) not a skill, but the sense of confidence and belonging that I got -- and to this day, get -- from seeing my art in public places, being enjoyed by people is unparalleled by any other experience I've ever had."

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