The 2010/11 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative

Yesterday, Brian Eno made an appearance at the New York Public Library to introduce a work by his protégé, musician Ben Frost. It was part of a weekend of performances marking the end of the fifth cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, a year-long program that pairs promising young artists with masters in their field for a year of creative collaboration. This year saw artist Anish Kapoor paired with young South African Nicholas Hlobo, choreographer Trisha Brown with Austrian dancer Lee Serle, filmmaker Zhang Yimou with Palestinian Filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, “polymath patrician” Hans Magnus Enzensberger with American poet Tracy K. Smith, dramaturge Peter Sellars with Maya Zbib from Lebanon as well as Eno and Frost. The opportunity to work alongside such world-renowned artists is so coveted and exclusive that nominees are selected by an anonymous panel of experts who conduct an exhaustive international search.

The process is rigorous to say the least. When three possible protégés in each field have been chosen, the corresponding mentor meets them all and picks the one they want to work with. Once the relationship begins it’s an intense, but rewarding partnership with the possibility of an incredibly productive year for both mentor and protégé. “The point is to show what happens when these people … come together in a setting that may not be theirs. Like in comparative literature, things are put together that don’t seem to go together,” says Paul Holdengraber, who runs ‘LIVE From the NYPL,’ which shared an exclusive partnership with the Rolex Arts Initiative during the 2010/2011 program.

Learn more about what each protégé accomplished this year, and stay tuned for when we announce the mentors for 2012/2013 program.

This post is sponsored by Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative in partnership with Sundance Channel.