Young Artists In Studio – YAIS

Thank you for taking time to learn about Young Artists In Studio-YAIS.  

The YAIS program is designed to connect young people interested in exploring their artistic potential in a mentorship with professional artists inside working studios.

About YAIS

*YAIS’s goal is to give a real-life experience to art-minded youth, ages 12-18, providing them with a mentor, a map, and a template.

*YAIS allows kids to observe and interact with a rotation of master artists, including sculptors, printmakers, painters, movie-set designers, tattoo artists, welders, muralists and preservation & restoration artists.

*Students accepted to the program will spend studio time each 9-week semester with master artists, while working on projects at home from these industries. For their final semester, they will choose one field of study.

*The final semester is focused on the project in their chosen field of study, which will be shown in a professional art show at the semester’s end. YAIS students will work on their art project individually and collectively, and be involved in all aspects of the show prep. Roles they will have in the show will include marketing, installation, curation, with the guidance and support of the master artist and YAIS leadership.  

Watercolor art lesson with Avery…in my home studio.

*YAIS graduates will receive continued support, written references, check ins, and be encouraged to participate in volunteer service hours with future art projects within YAIS and the local community.

Though a semester or two of studio time will not turn a young person into a successful artist overnight, the working-art-studio experience will shift their perspective dramatically. Students will complete the program with exposure to the business side of being an artist, as well as insight into their natural talents and interests in the world of art.

A program like YAIS will open up an artist-minded youth’s eyes to more possibilities in their future than they can imagine. An example of a successful master artist/youth pairing is the Dallas-based Cafe Momentum, a program that pairs youth with master chefs in the culinary arts.  The concept is being reproduced throughout the U.S. after only two years of opening the restaurant.

The handful of skilled professionals, who have become masters of their craft after many years of trial and error are the industry leaders who will mentor the YAIS students.  From the first interaction with artists in studios, students’ receptors will be firing on all cylinders as

Ram Small
Plein-Air sketching with Titus and Ram

they witness first-hand the “how,” “what,” and “why.”  The inspiration they will feel on that first day will have them thinking “YES, I could totally do this!”  Or the reaction could be “Wow, this is way more than I expected and maybe not my future.” The opportunity to learn about the world of a professional artist and decide for themselves is what YAIS will provide.

The need is great, the participants are ready, but there is much work to do, beginning with funding and structuralization.  100% of your contribution goes directly into the seed fund to make Young Artists In Studio a reality to positively impact the trajectory of young artist-minded youth in Dallas, Texas.

About Tauma Wiggins

The inspiration for YAIS comes from:

  1. My own journey becoming a professional artist, observing and being mentored inside of master artists’ working studios
  2. Twenty years of working with youth and seeing the need for YAIS programming
  3. Enlisting my network of professional artists contacts and friends to get additional perspectives about how the YAIS program can benefit young people looking for an opportunity to explore the world of professional art

My journey here began after I studied writing & journalism at Texas A&M and publishing at Rice University. After several years as a business writer and assistant-to-the-editor on a book project, I traveled, studied and worked in Mexico for a year & a half.  I then returned to Texas, teaching Spanish to adults, and kids of all ages. As my last teaching job ended, I began to delve into my artistic side.

At age 29, I began to study architectural illustration and watercolor in a very untraditional 5-year apprenticeship, not art school. After a chance meeting with a master architectural watercolorist in his studio, something clicked within me. I had discovered an art form I was very interested in. Naturally, I thought I should probably go back to school– art school. This master artist advised me differently. He said, if I really wanted to be an architectural illustrator, the best way to learn would be to observe the working studio, work on homework, and bring my projects back for critique. I did just that, for five years.

The art business was happening in front of me, meetings, watercolor rendering deadlines, price negotiation, quick-fix tricks for when you screw up a painting, and encouragement and advice from someone actually doing it. Being in studio ignited my passion to explore my future as a professional artist. When I was asked to complete part of a project or support my mentor, I was even more “all in.”  I would bring my architectural watercolor homework back with more questions that just deepened my interest in the “how-to” of the art business. My life would never be the same. I was experiencing where I could go artistically, in the wild environment of the “real world,” not the controlled classroom. And, I had a mentor, a map, and a template.

After all of these experiences, I can tell you I love to paint and draw and teach and write and read and travel, but what I receive most joy and value from is interacting with children and aiding in their development. I cannot help but see life through their eyes, and it brings me back to when I was young, as I talk with them about their hopes, dreams, and struggles. By the time a child reaches eight years old, they already have internalized daily messages telling them “there are things I’m just not good at or won’t have the opportunity to do.” Every new experiential opportunity heavily impacts what they believe is possible for their future.

Thank you so much for your time and interest in Young Artists In Studio.

#YAISUSA        #YoungArtistsInStudio

Click Here to Help make YAIS a reality (Go Fund Me page) 

My first art student, Ram Small, next to a watercolor we collaborated on at Cedars Open Studio – 2014


Tauma Wiggins
Tauma Wiggins is a watercolorist with a background in journalism & architectural watercolor.  Her focus in 2018 is on watercolor commissions and creating #YoungArtistsInStudio, an after-school program that connects middle-school art students with professional working artists.  Outside of watercolor, she writes, gyms, updates the new iOS update, and spends a lot of time saying "NO MA'AM!" or "Good Doggy!" to Sienna, the new fuzzy family member.

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