"I had been to a Laguna College event and thought the quality of the work and the academics that were being taught there were fantastic," Fuld said. "It occurred to me that there wasn't much involvement between the galleries and the college."
Fuld was on the Art Walk board at the time, and her friend was teaching the professional studies class at the college. Fuld shared her thoughts with her friend, who suggested that they utilize the students in her class. The first mentoring program was born.
"The following year, my friend stepped down and offered me her class — so I started teaching it," Fuld said. "This is our fifth year now, and it's been so welcome by the galleries. Now many of them are even employing students. Many have gone on to be sales associates, administrative assistants or support staff."
"After the program, there's this rewarding, long-term connection," said Marion Cuddyer of Marion Meyer Fine Art, a participating gallery.
Fuld said she began by contacting member galleries about participating in the program. "Now they start contacting me and saying they want to do it next year," she said.
She said she takes many things into consideration when assigning students to galleries, including the student's body of work and the gallery's own qualities. Fuld added that it's difficult to assign students pursuing one type of art with an exact gallery fit, though.
"I never know if I'm going to have a more contemporary student or how many contemporary galleries will be available," she said. "The focus is on the professional experience, so I prefer to use the word 'assign,' not 'match.' "
"I've just been so happy with who I've been set up with, and it's really such a great opportunity to put our work out there and get the experience," said student Katie Schmid, who is working at Contemporary Chinese Fine Art.