New Initiative Launches in Central Arkansas to Create Opportunities, Apprenticeships for Young Adults

12 month program offers a nontraditional path for creative students to enter the workforce.

Conway, AR – May 27, 2021 – Young adults with creative and artistic interests will have a new opportunity this fall to discover career pathways and develop a professional portfolio through the Creative Institute of Central Arkansas. The Creative Institute offers a 12 month program for students ages 18-24 to explore creative careers through structured apprenticeships, portfolio work, and classroom teaching. The program will enable students to work with professionals in the field before joining the workforce.

Jessica Crum, Executive Director of the Creative Institute, founded the program to offer students hands-on preparation for creative careers in Arkansas. She says, “You can’t learn to cook by reading a cookbook. You learn to cook in the kitchen with your grandma. In the same way, students who are interested in creative careers need to get their hands dirty. They need to go out in the field, hold a camera, meet with a client, and get true practice doing the work they’re interested in pursuing.”

Students who enroll in the program complete a series of 6-week apprenticeships under the supervision of working professionals in the core areas of photography, videography, graphic design, and copywriting/storytelling. The apprenticeships are accompanied by skill-building projects that students use to develop their professional creative portfolios. Each student will complete more than twenty real-world projects for local nonprofits and small businesses.

Hands-on learning through apprenticeships and project work are celebrated by leaders and professionals in the creative industries. Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President of Adobe says, “The best way to learn is by looking over the shoulder of an artist you respect. Without a doubt, the age of apprenticeship is back.” The Creative Institute is working with local industry partners like Eric, Rob and Isaac, Kanga Studio, Few, and Silverlake Design Studio to deliver an immersive real-world experience for students.

The Creative Institute’s gap year program also includes career readiness courses focused on business, finance, and professional skills. These courses support students’ development as professionals with a full understanding of how to do business in the constantly evolving post-modern workplace. Finally, each student will complete a summer internship with one of the school’s industry partners.

The program has attracted students like Belle Overstreet who will be attending the program this fall. “I’m not certain on where I’m going; I just know that I have a passion for, and a drive to relay information and ideas in a creative and artistic way, whether it be in the form of film and cinema, or journalism and media.” Belle noted the appeal of receiving on-the-job training from creative  professionals who are experts in their fields.

Following program completion, The Creative Institute will assist graduates in applying for college or joining the workforce. “We host all of our graduates’ online portfolios and provide job placement assistance throughout the summer. We will assist our graduates in applying to colleges or arts schools, obtaining jobs within the industry, or starting their own businesses or freelance work,” says Nick Stevens, the Program Director of the Creative Institute. 

The Creative Institute of Central Arkansas is now accepting applications for its first class of gap year students, who will begin classes in August, 2021.

Potential students are encouraged to visit their website at to request an info packet and start their application.

More information on the Creative Institute is available at To speak with Jessica Crum or Nick Stevens, contact [email protected] or 501-232-1902.

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