For generations, watchmakers have passed down their skills from master to apprentice. Down and down the line, classic techniques and crucial knowledge lives on through the next generation of artistic masters. This model is time-tested and ensures that the best practices of watchmaking endure for the ages.
In more recent generations, the concept of a protege working closely with a mentor has declined in favor of classroom environments. Rolex hopes to revitalize this proven educational model, and not just in the world of watchmaking. They know the benefits of the mentor-protege education model, and they have expanded that model into other areas of study.
The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative brings artistic masters from seven disciplines together with highly promising young artists for a year of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. Since its launch in 2002, the programme has evolved into an enriching dialogue between artists of different generations, cultures and disciplines, fulfilling its aim to make a significant contribution to global culture.
Every two years, the program chooses seven promising artists, aged 22 to 36, to participate in this wonderful program. Rolex mentors are masters in the fields of architecture, dance, film, literature, music, theater, and also the visual arts. Rolex gives each pair funding and logistical support so the pairs can spend at least six weeks one-on-one during their year together. This time may consist of the protege watching the mentor at work, or the protege and mentor may collaborate on a piece together.
Rolex Arts Weekend
At the end of the 12 months, the proteges produce a work or performance that is part of the Rolex Arts Weekend. As of right now, we have few details about the next Rolex Arts Weekend. We do know that it will take place late this year.
In the decade since it was launched, the mentoring programme has evolved into an enriching dialogue between artists of different generations, cultures and disciplines, helping ensure that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on to the next generation.
After the Program
After the mentoring year, Rolex stays in touch with the protégés and continues to promote their work. Many of the protégés have gone on to significant careers, have changed disciplines, collaborated with each other and have become mentors themselves.
Those artists who have participated in the Program have gone on to do great things. Former proteges have won the Bailey Prize and been nominated for Academy Awards. And now, former protege Tracy K. Smith is a Poet Laureate, the greatest honor for any poet in America.
This marvelous program not only sets talented artists up with mentors who pass their knowledge and skills on. It also connects them to the world in which they will be living. These connections will serve them well as they make their own marks on the world of the arts. So, tell us, what do you think of this program?