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Arts apprenticeship encourages young artists to pursue passion


Former Carrboro Town Council member Jacquelyn Gist (left) and Carrboro resident Jacqueline Marx campaign outside Carrboro Town Hall on Nov. 2, 2021.

Emerging and early-career artists in Orange County can now apply for the 2022 Jacquelyn Gist Summer Apprenticeship in the Arts program — which includes a $1,000 prize. 

The program, which has been around for almost a decade, helps support young artists in Orange County by providing financial compensation while they complete a summer apprenticeship with an Orange County artist or arts organization. 

Three apprentices will be selected. The award is open to rising juniors and seniors in high school, as well as students in college or those who have graduated within the last year. Applicants must have an interest in the arts, such visual arts, performing arts or arts administration. 

Jacquelyn Gist, the scholarship's namesake, is a former Carrboro Town Council member who currently works as a UNC career counselor. She also served as a liaison for art commission during her 32 years with the Carrboro Town Council. 

She noted how the award came about through her involvement with the Council and current work at UNC, where she helps students find internships. 

“A lot of times people who are artists are asked to work for free,"  Gist said. "I think that starting at a young age is important, which is why this starts with high school students," she said. "We need to encourage people to realize that their art has economic value.” 

While applicants must live in Orange County, preference is given to those residing in Carrboro. 

Applicants are required to identify a local arts organization or artist that has agreed to work with them for a minimum of 15 hours a week for five weeks. For assistance in finding an apprenticeship, email the Carrboro Arts Committee at 

Carrboro Recreation Administrator Charles Harrington said students worked with several local organizations, such as The ArtsCenter, Cat’s Cradle, Leo Gaev Metalworks, Inc. and Carrboro Modern Dance Company. 

“The program is designed to provide an opportunity for emerging artists to work under the guidance of local artists or arts-related organizations to get a feel for what it is like to be a professional within the industry,” Harrington said. 

Camilla Crane, a UNC junior who won the award last year, interned at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. She said the award helps community members better understand what they may want to do later in life.   

“It let me explore my interests without having to worry about money because it's kind of hard to come by in the art industry,” she said. 

In completing the application, Crane recommended doing ample research on the variety of local organizations and programs that students can work with. 

“Do something that you are interested in doing, but haven't had the chance to gain much experience with,” Crane said. 

Investing in the arts is important to aiding in the quality of life for local communities, especially in the Carrboro area, Gist added. 

"Therefore, the Town and the Arts Committee want to provide opportunities for young artists to engage with and learn under local professional artists. In many ways, this is seen as an investment in our community," Harrington said.

The application is available on the Town's website

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