Teen Artist Guild Paints A Future For Aspiring Young Artists


Photo courtesy of Sandra Zally. The Teen Artist Guild comes together for another group meeting.

Kaden Ryback, Features Editor/Opinions/Editorial Chief

Teen Artist Guild is a club devoted to helping students across the valley who are interested in pursuing a career in the arts. Founded in 2014 with the mission of supporting aspiring young artists, the Teen Artist Guild has helped students achieve their goals in the art world by giving them unique opportunities to help foster their passion, and further progress their art education. 

Sandra Zally is the founder of The Teen Artist Guild, a club that grew out of the Phoenix Center for the Arts. Zally went to art school at the University of Southern Maine, and although she believes the school was a rewarding experience, she claims that it didn’t teach her how to make a living as an artist. This experience led to one of her main motivations in starting the club, which is to give artists guidance in turning their passion into a feasible career path. 

“It has always been a desire of mine to help young artists, because in other fields, like if you are going to be a doctor or a lawyer, or even a chef, you can go to school for that and there are clear steps to accomplish that goal. Artists usually have a more difficult path. A lot of people, when you say you are going to be an artist, they say, ‘Well, how are you going to make money?’ I think that a baker bakes, a doctor is a doctor, and I think that an artist should be an artist,” Zally said. 

Pursuers of a career in art increase their creative abilities, learn new artistic styles, and learn new ways of perceiving that natural world. These are no doubt valuable skills, but Zally argues they are not skills that are only valuable to the art field. In Teen Artist Guild, Zally believes that members can learn art skills that can become vital assets to a person’s capabilities in other fields as well, and she has been able to witness this application first hand. 

“Artists are very creative people. So, they usually don’t want a job where everything is already planned for them. For instance, we had a guy that worked for the city as a lawyer and he would provide visuals for lawyers to take to court to share in the courtroom. He was an artist, but he became known as the guy who could provide visuals. He ended up creating his own job by becoming a strong visual artist,” Zally said. 

Teen Artist Guild has brought together students of multiple grade levels from schools across the state. One of these students is Ruchi Ukhade, senior and the club’s current president. Ukhade discovered the club when she was in middle school, and saw an opportunity to make her mark in the art world. 

“I got into it in the 7th grade, I went to a show and I really liked it because they had their own exhibition. There was a lot of empty space, so I really wanted to fill up some of that space with some of my own artwork,” Ukhade said. 

For many of the groups members, one of the desirable aspects of the Teen Artist Guild are the events it hosts in Downtown Phoenix during the First Friday Art Walk. At this event the club’s members are able to present their work, and are allowed to sell their art to the event’s many attendees. Ukhade found this to be an eye opening experience into the art world that got her to keep pursuing her love for art. 

“I hadn’t really done a lot with my art at the time. The Teen Artist Guild helps put up shows at First Friday, and in those festivals we had our own booths where we could set up our art work. It was really good for marketing and getting our artwork out there, and just being known in the public because after we did these shows a lot of people would know us by name,” Ukhade said. 

Samantha Cassity is Vice President of Teen Artist Guild, and a student at Northwest Christian School. Cassity attempted to start an art club at her school, but due to the busy lives of high school students, the club never really took off. Cassity then focused more of her energy towards the Teen Artist Guild, and became one of the club’s biggest advocates. Cassity finds the experience of selling her art to be a helpful morale booster in affirming her worth as an artist. 

“I feel like personally it validates all my hard work, it makes me feel like I actually am talented, because as artists it’s easy to be insecure. You see so many other things, and everyone’s art is so different that you wonder if you have really developed a style that is personal to yourself. So I just feel really great, and it helps me continue to do art,” Cassity said. 

Besides being able to experience the business side of the artworld, the club also allows members to participate in large scale art projects. The most recent project being a mural at Serefina Coffee Roasters, a brand new coffee shop where the Teen Artist Guild painted an abstract art piece on the roof of the building. 

“They painted an abstract mural on the roof, and these metal slabs on the top of the roof that reflect it. The teens did it all on their own,” Zally said. 

As for the future, the club hopes to grow and bring its benefits to teen artists across the state. Cassity wants people who are interested in the club to know that it is a supportive group, and a great way to build friendships. 

“Personally I’ve made friends through it. So if you are having trouble trying to build a community with people who are like minded, Teen Artist Guild is good. We also learn from each other. It’s just learning from each other and growing together,” Cassity said.