For the next few months, two Memphis high school students will see what life will be like once they graduate.

From setting prices to dealing with customers, the students will experience real life as business owners through the Autozone Creative Youth Entrepreneurship Residency (CYER) at Arrow Creative in Midtown.

From sketching to painting, on any day at Arrow Creative, you can walk through and find artists at work. You can even find Alex Beard creating a comic.

“I wouldn’t say my art style is the most realistic. I do love a more absurdist art style,” said Beard. “My love of art started when I was younger. I’m dyslexic and had a hard time reading.”

Fewer words and more pictures opened a new world for Beard.

“I noticed in my third-grade class, there was a book around with pictures. I read it in a day and found my love of reading again and doing art as a passion,” said Beard.

Now, Beard is a senior at Hutchinson School in Memphis. Beard now has a studio at Arrow Creative through the Autozone Creative Youth Entrepreneurship Residency (CYER).

“When I come to Arrow I get really organized and can ignore my school work and focused on what I really want to do – which is art,” said Beard.

Beard shares the space with Kennedy Adeogba who is also a high school senior and CYER student. According to Arrow Creative, Adeogba is a fiber artist who fell in love with crocheting during COVID and founded Created by Bliss, offering small accessories and wearable items,

Both students get to call this studio home after being selected as this semester’s student residents.

“They get a studio space for 4 months and a stipend to purchase anything they need for products and mentorship,” said Nyale Pieh, Arrow Creative Programs Manager.

Pieh works with the students in the residency every year. She watches high school and college students transform as they step into the Arrow Marketplace and learn how to run a business.

“When they come in they are very shy and around artists who have been doing this for years. They learn what it is like to be a working artist and they get confident when they leave here. It’s amazing. A lot of growth in just four months,” said Pieh.

“Having people come in and look at my art and ask about prices. I never thought it would happen. When people did buy some of it, it was a confidence booster to put things in a little bag and get paid for it,” said Beard.

Now, Beard said she’s choosing from three art schools for comics and illustration after she graduates and she has already sold about 20 pieces.