The program allows students to work side-by-side with artists in their studios for a period of four to six months each year. This gives them the opportunity to witness, participate in, and experience first-hand every aspect of the creative process under the tutelage of master professionals.
In many cases, these pairings result in long-term working partnerships over the course of several years. At the end of the school year, all apprenticeships culminate in a full-scale art exhibition, where student and professional works are displayed side-by-side at Bennett Galleries and Company, a professional gallery in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The students selected for Side-By-Side must be in grades 5 – 12 and have a minimum of two years classroom instruction in the visual arts at the School before being considered.
Students are chosen for particular apprenticeships based on the degree of difficulty of each medium and the amount of time required in the studio; the age, experience, and interests of the student; and the personality, family situation, and special educational or behavioral needs of the student.
Once accepted, the student is allowed to remain in the apprentice program each year prior to graduation; in most cases, this results in long-term intensive apprenticeships with one artist.