Megan Butcher wants to mix her love of marine biology with her passion for illustration.
Ashley Gutierrez sees fashion design in her future.
Jessica Rodriguez, meanwhile, is deciding whether art school is right for her.
The three high school seniors from the Academy of Arts & Minds in Coconut Grove got some help with their career directions from five artists during a workshop Tuesday at the Miami Seaquarium. The three were among 10 students mentored by the artists, all of whom will be exhibitors at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival later this month.
The students picked which artist they wanted to work with — two students per artist. Ines Covas, an aspiring painter, said she learned a lot from listening to Ed King, an artist who specialize in acrylic painting.
King said the kids don’t have to limit themselves to one job.
“They can be an architect and a painter, why not?” King said.
That appealed to Covas, who was struggling with whether to jump into being a full-time artist or working in another job and then pursuing her art — a path favored by her parents.
“I’ll do my own path later,” said Covas.
The artists discussed a key aspect of being professional artist: preparing exhibits and pricing their art pieces.
“We encourage our students to exhibit and sell their work,” said Mary Abru, director of the school’s visual arts program.
The teens will get a chance to show their work at an open gallery from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, 3300 SW 27th Ave. Their mentors will also exhibit and sell their work at the gallery.
The workshop and gallery are part of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival’s new mentor program, said festival spokeswoman Melissa Nobles.
“Education has to be a part of an arts organization,” Nobles said.
The artists, for example, discussed with the students how to balance their dreams and cope with criticism.
“The reality is that you don’t always do what you want,” said King, an acrylic painter.
Rodriguez’s mentor, Beau Tudzarov, told his group to not be discouraged and find the right audience for their art.
“You probably can’t sell tattoo designs in Little Havana, go to Wynwood instead,” Rodriguez said.
King said he worked for an advertising agency for 12 years before he became a full-time artist.
“There’s a difference between diving in and dipping your toes,” King said.
To deal with criticism, the pros advised the teens that it’s pivotal to remain committed to their work.
“If you have passion that’s all that’s important,” said jeweler Kristin Holeman.