SAQA Mentorship Program 

The SAQA Mentorship Program offers a goal or project-based program of peer mentoring, open to all SAQA members seeking one-on-one mentorship for a period lasting up to twelve months.

The SAQA Mentorship Program offers two levels. The primary Mentorship Program is for artists beginning an art practice and also for experienced artists that want to explore growth opportunities with another experienced artist. Mentors can provide a wide array of options to consider and offer constructive critique, all with the permission of the Mentee. Those members considering SAQA’s Juried Artist Membership (JAM), may opt to experience a primary Mentorship first, before moving forward with the more focused JAM preparation option.

SAQA mentoring is a partnership in professional development. The SAQA Mentor is a friend, a trusted guide, one who shares knowledge and resources with a less experienced colleague. The Mentor’s responsibility is to provide guidance, support, and feedback. The Mentee’s responsibility is to identify goals and make reasonable progress towards attaining those goals.

Mentors are recruited and matched to applicants based on availability and areas of interest. A Mentor will initially review the application of a potential Mentee. If the Mentor accepts the applicant and the Mentee is amenable, both will be notified and begin the Mentorship process.

Since SAQA is an international organization with members located across the globe, most often mentees and mentors are not able to meet in person. Various alternative options will be suggested to the pairs and they can choose a method that will work for them.

Contact Sherri Culver at with any questions about this program.


mentorship benefits

Becoming a mentor to a developing artist has many benefits:

Sharing your knowledge and experience makes you feel good and can be very empowering.  Remember the challenges you faced when you were first starting out?  Wouldn’t it have been nice to have someone you could turn to for advice and feedback to avoid those missteps you took? 

There is a great deal of personal satisfaction that comes from knowing that you are helping someone else achieve their creative goals.  It also challenges you to stay at the top of your game in order to provide your protege with the best feedback and guidance you can, which may in turn inspire you with some fresh ideas and perspectives on your own work.

When you become a mentor, you create a legacy that has a lasting impact on your protege.  You’ll also be helping the SAQA organization to promote the art quilt through education and professional development.

There are an incredible number of benefits to working with a mentor:

Heidi ProffertyHeidi Proffetty, mentee - SAQA member since 2014

Now entering the second quarter of this program and looking at the basic definition of mentoring, I feel 100% that my mentor has already set me on the right track to developing both professional and personal growth as a new artist. At the onset of the program we arranged a basis for communicating and due to distance mutually agreed that a once a month, 1 hour check in utilizing FaceTime would be appropriate. In addition, my mentor offered to be available by phone, in person, or by email, should questions arise. An excellent approach, because I know that my mentor, someone who's in my corner, is available when I need support. 

After communication came goal setting. My mentor had me brainstorm and write down as many goals as a new artist might want to achieve. This is very subjective and each artist will have different goals. Important to note, that I did this with no coaching from my mentor and again a brainstorm approach. The next valuable step came from my mentor who with her experience reviewed my goals and my unique lifestyle, meaning the amount of time that I could feasibly dedicate to my art work. She then helped me establish both short and long term goals. Then from the short term goals together we narrowed down to which goals I would seek to accomplish in the current year -- 2015. Now, it was my turn as mentee to make those goals visible, write them down with due dates, and stick them up somewhere visible as a reminder for me to work to achieve these goals.

Personally, I am thrilled to be a part of such a fabulous program and as a new artist excited for my art future. Had it not been for this program it would have been a struggle for me to figure out how even to begin to establish myself as a fiber artist.

Barbara AikenBarbara Aiken, mentee - SAQA member since 2009

The mentoring program has been the best thing that has happened to me in a long while.  I can't believe I have been so blessed with this experience.  I am working with Pam Druhen.  We seem to be the perfect match.  I am so grateful for her positive guidance.  We meet monthly and converse as needed through email.  The goals we have set so far are realistic, and we are building in small steps.  I just can't believe that someone of Pam's caliber would be a mentor for free.  The mentoring program is one is the best experiences that SAQA has offered, and I am so happy that I responded to the offering.  I certainly needed a creative "jump start," and Pam is a great mentor.


Susan PolanskySusan Polansky, mentor - SAQA member since 2005

I wish the mentoring program had been around a number of years ago! I would have loved to soak up lessons from someone else’s experience. But that was then and this is now. I signed on to the mentoring program because I know there are others out there developing their craft as I had been, looking for encouragement or guidance.

My experience with this program is different than I thought it would be, as my mentee is tapping into areas of my knowledge that I hadn’t even thought of as strengths. I really like forming questions that push her creative ideas and get her to think along different lines than she is used to. Breaking down the steps of how I do my own work in order to offer insight has made me think more about communicating and developing ideas. It’s exciting to open up doors and see where they lead.


Pam DruhenPam Druhen, mentor - SAQA member since 2010

The mentorship program has been a win win for me.  I believe the key is taking the time to build a good trust relationship with your mentee.  It is easy to read a profile and see what a person is hoping to gain, but most of what a mentee would like to achieve is gained over time, not from one or two meetings.  Both of us have to be flexible in what we expect to gain, where we expect to go and how we are going to get there.  It is really gratifying to see a mentee grow.  It is exciting to see her reach into herself and push away self-imposed boundaries.  I think that at this point in our relationship I can say that she is on track to meet many of her goals. 

Flexibility plays a main role in mentorship.  We both have to be willing think and work outside the box.  I’m looking forward to the day we look back to the beginning and talk about the next set of goals, and I’m confident that the time Barbara has invested in this program will pay a huge dividend in her future. 


Above testimonials are from MA/RI region pilot program participants