Real-World Artist Mentorship Program - University of Houston
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Real-World Artist Mentorship Program

The UH Real-World Artist Mentorship Program (RAMP) offers career prosperity training, presented by Houston-based UH alumni artist-entrepreneurs or educators.  Each year, we select and cellebrate a new cohort of menotrs, who have successfully transitioned from college into financially secure, fulfilling careers. These successful artist alumni offer career advice presentations and consultations to current UH students.

Additionally, a select group of UH undergraduate musicians, theater makers, dancers, and visual artists participate in intensive, one-to-one mentorship and collaboration with these professional mentors. The selected undergraduate mentees receive scholarships, participate in a weekly seminar, and complete a final community performance or education project.



  • Brittany Bass headshot

    Brittany Bass


    Brittany Nicole Bass holds a Bachelor’s degree in dance from the University of Houston. She serves as a Teaching Artist in Houston Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement Department and is part of the faculty at Houston MET Dance. She is an artist in the MET's Creative Incubation Residency program. Additionally, Brittany acts as the Program Manager for Dance Source Houston and has been a Karen Stokes Dance Company member since the Spring of 2014. Several Houston performances have showcased her choreographed works, including Mix-MATCH, Fall Extravadance, Barnstorm Dance Festival, Choreographer X6 at ERJCC, Houston’s 2019 Fringe Festival, and Mind the Gap. For more info click here.

  • Cecilia Duarte headshot

    Cecilia Duarte


    Cecilia Duarte, mezzo-soprano and soloist in the Grammy Winner album Duruflé: The Complete Choral Works, has been praised by The New York Times as "A creamy voiced mezzo-soprano." Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Cecilia is a versatile singer that has performed around the world singing a variety of music styles, especially early and contemporary music. Cecilia has been greatly recognized for creating the role of Renata in the first Mariachi Opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna with the famous Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, commissioned by Houston Grand Opera in 2010. Her experience in early music include performances  with Ars Lyrica HoustonMercury Houston, The Bach Society Houston, the Fesitvalensemble in Stuttgart, Germany, the Festival de Música Barroca de San Miguel de Allende, México,  Boston Early Music Festival, Bach Collegium San Diego, re: Naissance Opera, Early Music Vancouver and Pacific Music Works. She is a vocalist in and a leader of Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, performing early and contemporary music.

    Recordings include Cecilia's first solo album, Reencuentros.  She is currently working on a second solo album to be recorded and produced sometime during this mentorship. For more info click here.

  • Brian Ellison headshot

    Brian Ellison

    Visual Art

    Brian Ellison is a Houston-based conceptual artist with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston, earned in May 2023. Grounded in the belief that art is a universal language and a catalyst for healing, he delves into cultural misconceptions such as one-dimensional expressions and emotional inaccessibility. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, including performance art, Ellison captures the intricate facets of the everyday Black experience. Themes of his work span the impact of gentrification on legacy communities, the physical and emotional toll on Black bodies, the lesser-known tales of Black love and solidarity, and the resilient spirit of Black men and women. For more info click here.

  • Edgar Guajardo headshot

    Edgar Guajardo

    Technical Theatre

    Edgar Guajardo is a Lighting and Scenic Designer/ Theatrical Producer/ Poet/ Actor/ Painter/ Carpenter originally from Pharr Texas, but has been residing in Houston for 10 plus years. He has a BFA in Theatrical Production with an emphasis in Lighting Design and Scenic Design from the University of Houston. He was the former Assistant Electrician on Mickey Mouse’s Rockin Road Show for Disney Live and the former Assistant Technical Director of Queensbury Theatre company. He currently is the Resident lighting designer for Opera in the Heights and Production Manager of the Deluxe Theater FWCRC. 

    Connect with Edgar on Instagram.

  • Jackson Guillén headshot

    Jackson Guillén

    Violin and Viola

    Jackson Guillén, Honduran violinist and violist Jackson Guillén is the Director of the El Sistema-inspired Houston Youth Symphony Coda Music Program and Conductor of the HYS Debut String Orchestra. Additionally, Dr. Guillén serves as Professor of violin and orchestra at Lone Star College, leading the Creekside Civic Orchestra, an initiative that brings students from two Lone Star campuses together.

    Dr. Guillén has performed in venues in the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, and Chile, and toured several countries of Latin America. He has served as Principal Second Violin and Guest Concertmaster for several orchestras in the United States. Jackson plays an important role in the organization of the Encuentro Anual de Cuerdas, a string-focused festival in Honduras. He was a member of the first generation of the Orchestra of the Americas Global Leaders Program.

    Dr. Guillén has performed as a guest artist at International Music Festivals in Colombia, Mexico, and the United States. Most recently, he was selected for the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Future of Music Faculty Fellowship which addresses underrepresentation in Music School Faculty.

    Connect with Jackson on Instagram.

  • Alexis Pye headshot

    Alexis Pye

    Visual Art

    Alexis Pye (born 1995, Detroit, MI) explores the tradition of painting as a way to express the Black body outside of its social constructs, to evoke playfulness, wonder, and blackness, as well as the joys amidst adversity. Pye received her BFA in Painting from the University of Houston in 2018. She was selected as a Summer Studios Resident and for Round 51: Local Impact II at Project Row Houses, both in 2018. Her work was exhibited in a group show of young artists at the David Shelton Gallery for Everything's Gonna be Alright in 2019, curated by Robert Hodge. Pye received the Juror's Choice Prize for the 20th Annual Citywide African American Artists Exhibition held at Texas Southern University in 2019, selected by Kanitra Fletcher.  She was included in the group show Animal Crossing at Inman Gallery in 2020, and presented her first solo show, The Real and the Fantastic/The Irrational Joys of the Axis, at Inman Gallery in July 2021. In 2021, her work was included in the group exhibitions My Mirror Is Fine curated by Miles Payne at the Community Artists Collective, Houston and Honor Thy Self at Martha's Contemporary in Austin. She is a Round 16 Lawndale Artist Studio Program Participant for the 2022-2023 season.  She is the founder of Pink Plankton, a reoccurring concert series showcasing local musical talent.  For more info click here.

All About RAMP!

  • About the Program

    Apply Here

    The UH Real-World Artist Mentorship Program (RAMP) offers career prosperity training, presented by Houston-based UH alumni artist-entrepreneurs or educators, who have successfully transitioned from college into financially secure, fulfilling careers. 

    We are looking for UH undergraduate musicians, theater makers, dancers, and visual artists participate in intensive, one-to-one mentorship and collaboration with these professional artist/entrepreneur mentors.

    For questions about eligibility or the status of your application, please email

  • Eligibility


    • Applicants must be an undergraduate College of Arts major, entering their sophomore, junior, or senior years. 
    • Applicants must be planning to be enrolled at UH for the the full '24-25 school year, not graduating before May 2025. 
    • Applicants must be full-time students, in good academic standing. 

    Apply Here

  • Program Benefits and Expectations

    Program Benefits and Expectations:

    • Selected undergraduate mentees will receive a $2,000 scholarship, awarded in the summer 2024.
    • Selected mentees must participate in eight weekly, 90-minute zoom seminars over the summer, with other selected mentee students and the director of UH Community Arts, Evan Leslie.
    • Selected students are expected to organize regular, weekly interactions with their mentors, through out the summer. When possible, mentees are expected to observe their mentor at their work, assist and collaborate with their mentor.  
    • Selected students are expected to maintain a journal, answering weekly prompts and summarizing their weekly takeaways with their mentor. Journal entries will be discussed and occasionally evaluated during weekly seminars with the mentee cohort.
    • During the 2024-2025 school year, mentees will produce and facilitate a public interview with their mentor as part of our Artist Round Table Series.
      • In preparation for this on-campus presentation, students and mentors will focus on career prosperity topics, such as budgeting/finance, healthcare and wellness, professional publicity, and networking.  These presentations will be recorded and added to a career resource repository on the UH Music and the UH Art and Architecture Library websites.
    • Final community performance or education project: Mentees and mentors will continue to interact one-to-one in the fall, in preparation for a final project of the mentee. The projects may be presented collaboratively with their mentor and may be incorporated into one of the mentor’s professional projects, or presented at UH, at a public library, school, or other community venue.
    • Option to enroll in a three-hour independent study course. Check with your advisor to find out if an independent study course would help you fulfill a degree requirement.

    Apply Here

  • Schedule Summary

    • Late April through early June: mentees are selected and begin one-to-one meetings/correspondence/collaboration with their mentors
    • June 1: Mentors receive their RAMP Journal Prompts 
    • Weekly Zoom meetings begin Monday, June 10, 6:00 - 7:30PM, and continue through Monday, August 5 (zoom meetings are tentatively scheduled on Monday evenings, but exact day and time may change, in order to accommodate student schedules). 
    • By August 5, student mentees must present their plans for their final community performance or education project.
    • Fall 2024: three of six student mentees present public interviews with their mentors, scheduled strategically to reach the maximum number of UH students. 
    • Spring 2025: three of six student mentees present public interviews with their mentors, scheduled strategically to reach the maximum number of UH students.
    • Final projects must be presented before the end of the 2024-2025 school term. 

    Apply Here

  • 2024 Mentors

    Visual Art

    • Brian Ellison: multidisciplinary/performance artist, educator, and non-profit leader
    • Alexis Pye: painter and concert producer

    Theatre and Dance Music
    • Cecilia Duarte: mezzo-soprano, recording artist, arts entrepreneur, and therapist in training
    • Jackson Guillén: violinist/violist, educator, conductor, and community arts expert

    Would you like to be considered as a future RAMP mentor?
    Please email with your resume to express interest. 

A UH Summer Teaching Artist leading an interactive arts field trip