Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced the launch this week of a new education program directed at high school students considering careers in the arts.

The new program, called “AK Teens” and sponsored by First Niagara Bank, is part of an expansion of the gallery’s education programs and its effort to build new audiences.

The mentoring program, which will be overseen by staff from the gallery’s education department, is designed to help students ready their portfolios for college applications and to provide a place for them to show their work to the public. It will include workshops and sessions on the art-making process, pursuing careers in the arts and public speaking.

“We are very excited about this expansion in our programming for our region’s youth,” said Karen Lee Spaulding, Albright-Knox interim director, in a statement announcing AK Teens. She praised First Niagara for funding the program and providing “important expertise in helping our teens understand how to manage the practical aspects of their careers, such as budgeting and securing funding for their work.”

AK Teens will expand upon the gallery’s popular Future Curators program, which allows young artists to exhibit their work in a professional installation in the gallery. The next Future Curators show is from May 2 to June 16.

As the AK Teens initiative progresses, according to gallery spokeswoman Maria Morreale, more programs, activities and workshops will be added to roster.

Interested students can sign up for the program’s first portfolio review at 10:15 a.m. April 21 by visiting the gallery’s website at, or they can call gallery staffer Lindsay Kranz at 270-8276 for more information. The program’s inaugural panel discussion, “Pursuing an Education and Career in the Visual Arts,” is also scheduled at 3:30 p.m. April 21.