Posts Tagged 'Teen Advisory Council'

Teen Ambassadors’ Summer in Review

From Pop-Up Art Spots to interactive story times, it’s been a great summer for family fun at the DMA! If you visited the Museum this summer to enjoy some of these activities, you’ve likely met one of our friendly and knowledgeable Teen Ambassadors. We checked in with three Teen Ambassadors—Martina D’Orso, Grace Ling, and Aditi Krishnan—to get a recap on how their summer at the DMA went. Grace and Aditi will be sophomores at the School for the Talented and Gifted at Townview Magnet Center this fall, and Martina will be a junior at Booker T. Washington High School.

Why were you interested in volunteering at the DMA?

Grace: My mom first took me to the DMA when I was a toddler to attend an art workshop. As I grew up I continued to attend the art programs the Museum offers for different ages and visit the traveling exhibits as well as the permanent ones. I thought that volunteering at a place I often went to as a kid would be a good way to give back and experience the Museum from a different perspective.

Martina: Since I am in the visual arts conservatory at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, I am interested in the arts. I wanted to see what it was like to work in a museum leading tours and helping out during events.

Aditi: I actually became interested in volunteering at the DMA because of a previous Teen Ambassador. Five or six years ago, I came to the DMA with my mom and our first stop was the Center for Creative Connections (C3). The activity we were doing had something to do with recycled materials, and a Teen Ambassador helped me pick my materials and complete my project. She explained the volunteer program to me and encouraged me to join when I was old enough. Since I was pretty young, I forgot that conversation for a while, but when my friend Grace mentioned her position as a Teen Ambassador to me, I remembered my excitement from that day and decided to apply.

What does a day in the life of a Teen Ambassador look like?

Aditi: Because each day will have different shifts and schedules, each day in the life of a Teen Ambassador is a little different. I tend to sign up for multiple shifts in the same day, so my day starts in C3. Before the Museum opens, I mostly prepare art materials for the visitors. Once the Museum opens, I typically help children with the activities and straighten out any messy stations. I usually get lunch in Klyde Warren Park with my friend and come back to do a Family Tour or Pop-Up Art Spot. My favorite shift is the tour because I get to talk directly to kids and teach them about a work of art in a fun and interesting way!

Grace: My favorite shift is Family Story Time. I love seeing the kids’ reactions to the story, which can range from humor to bewilderment. We conclude each story time with an art discussion and drawing activity where they make their own art inspired by what they learned. It’s cool how reading a children’s book can help make that connection and take art appreciation to the next level, where they use their creative imaginations and think deeper.

Do you have any stories or stand-out moments that have happened to you while volunteering?

Grace: When I was volunteering for the Late Night Pop-Up Art Spot, a lady came to try out a coloring activity and we started talking. She talked about how she used to sew wedding dresses and loved making art. It is interesting to listen to other people tell their stories and share experiences.

Martina: A stand-out moment that happened to me was on a Family Tour. The kids on the tour were so excited and they decided they were going to become friends after about 15 minutes of knowing each other. It was just so sweet how the kids are so nice and friendly to each other no matter what.

Aditi: When my friend and I were hosting a Pop-Up Art Spot in the Jonas Wood exhibition, a group of around 15 kids and a few chaperones came in looking pretty upset. The chaperones told us that they were supposed to attend a Family Tour, but they had gotten the dates wrong, so they had been waiting near C3 with nothing to do. We gave each child a coloring sheet and some colored pencils from the Pop-Up Art Spot and after they finished coloring, we let them take some coloring sheets home. The kids were overjoyed! I especially enjoyed this moment since coloring was all it took to make the kids happy.

Why should someone be a Teen Ambassador?

Grace: It is a great opportunity to practice communication skills, meet new people, learn about art, have fun, and contribute to the museum visitor experience.

Martina: It is an enriching experience that helps you understand how life in a museum works. You learn facts about artworks that you wouldn’t have known just by walking around the Museum alone. Additionally, you are able to learn how to talk and interact with people, which is a great skill to learn if you are a bit more introverted.

Aditi: I think one should be a Teen Ambassador because of the fun you have. You get to enjoy and appreciate the art around the DMA and help other children do so too! Teen Ambassadors also get to teach little kids about art in an exciting and entertaining manner, as opposed to just spitting out facts. You also get to meet new people and make friends with others who are interested in art as well. Lastly, the communication and collaboration skills you develop as a Teen Ambassador are essential for almost every career.

Applications for the DMA’s summer Teen Ambassador program will open in March 2020. If you’re interested in staying involved with the Museum during the next school year, consider joining the Teen Advisory Council—applications are due by August 19!

Got questions about the volunteer opportunities for teens at the DMA? Email teens@DMA.org and we’ll get right back to you!

Jessica Thompson-Castillo is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

The Making of “Teen Renaissance”

When the DMA Teen Advisory Council (TAC) re-convened for this year’s session, we started our first brainstorming exercise with the question we ask ourselves every year: what do we want the Dallas Museum of Art to be for teens? While the answer we ultimately arrive at takes a different form, the teens always think of inventive new ways to create a space for their peers.

A Teen Advisory Council meeting in session

This year, the conversation revolved around teen artists. Council members know that young people in DFW have a lot to say, and use their talents to express their ideas. To give these talented artists a space to be heard and recognized, TAC decided to launch Teen Renaissance, a new student art exhibition inspired by the innovation and unique perspectives of their generation.

In developing the open call, TAC settled on the theme of “Your Personal Lens,” inviting teens to submit artworks that shared their interpretations of the world. A whopping 195 students submitted their artwork for consideration, representing more than 15 different schools around the Metroplex.

TAC members making curatorial decisions for the Teen Renaissance art installation

While narrowing down so many submissions was difficult, TAC specifically looked for artworks that could speak to each other. We looked at all the submissions together, finding common themes and works that would be cohesive when viewed together. The council went through three rounds of elimination before deciding on the final 15 works on view at the Museum.


TAC members discussing and planning for Teen Renaissance

So how do teens see the world? This year’s Teen Renaissance shows us that being a teen is a lot about what’s happening on the inside as young people start creating a place for themselves in the world. For many teens, their personal lens is their cultural heritage, and how multiple identities merge and balance to create a unique individual. For others, their personal lens is the complicated journey of growing up, finding a world view that’s authentic to them, and creating meaningful relationships with others.

Join the Teen Advisory Council on Saturday, March 16 for Your Personal Lens, an all-day celebration of the exhibition and teen talent throughout Dallas!

Teen Renaissance is now on view through March 28, 2019, on Mezzanine 2, next to the Mayer Library.

Jessica Thompson-Castillo is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

Zine Club’s “Opening Year”

What is a zine? Short for “magazine,” zines are self-published books of writing and art that are made for as little money as possible and circulated in limited quantities. Zines became popular in the 1970s in counter-culture circles as a way of promoting art and ideas outside the mainstream media, but creators have been self-publishing their ideas for much longer! Many can trace the lineage of zines back to 1776, when Thomas Paine published “Common Sense.”

In September 2018, the DMA hosted its first Zine Club meeting for high school students. Teens have great ideas and make interesting connections between the DMA’s collection and their own lives all the time; look no further than Disconnect to Reconnect, for example, hosted by the DMA Teen Advisory Council. Zine Club is a way for teens to explore their ideas through art and share those ideas with DMA visitors and their own communities in Zine Club’s biannual issues.

Zine Club meets the first Thursday evening of the month, and it is completely free to attend and participate. Teens enjoy snacks, go to the galleries to brainstorm, and return to the studio to make pages for the zine. Everyone who attends Zine Club gets at least one page in the final issue and receives several copies of the zine to share with friends and family. Museum visitors can pick up their own copy of the zine for a limited time in the Center for Creative Connections.

After several months of creating, Zine Club presents Opening Year. Over the course of four months, nine teens, three educators, and one visiting artist explored the following questions: What do we change about ourselves to fit in with the status quo? What do images say about beauty? What stories do you want told at a museum? Click here to browse their answers for yourself!

Physical zine copies will be available in the Center for Creative Connections for a limited time this month, so plan your visit and pick up a copy the next time you’re at the Museum. Zine Club picks back up again this spring for four meetings all about personal experience and stories, so check out our upcoming meeting schedule at DMA.org. Hope to see you this spring!

Jessica Thompson-Castillo is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

D2R 2.0

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Disconnect to Reconnect’s open-mic poetry slam.

Last Thursday, our Teen Advisory Council took over the Museum for their second Disconnect to Reconnect night for teenagers. Seeking ways to make the DMA more accessible and fun for their peers, Council members created Disconnect to Reconnect to encourage visitors to put away their cell phones and engage with the art and each other.

For this iteration of D2R, the Council wanted to highlight local teens, inviting musicians, filmmakers, thespians, and writers to shape the event with their talents and interests. Musical acts R.A.G. and Aloe Sara provided a soundtrack for the evening and a rotation of student films screened in C3 Theater, while C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker led a zine-making workshop related to her work on display at the Museum. The Council presented an escape room-style mystery in the Reves Collection, and hosted an open-mic poetry slam in the Museum’s Barrel Vault galleries. Teen Ambassadors were also there to lend a hand, making this Disconnect to Reconnect a true team effort.

I caught up with a few Teen Advisory Council Members, as well as a few assisting Teen Ambassadors, at a planning meeting before the big day to ask them about their goals and the planning process.

Q: What activity has been the most fun or challenging to plan?

“The Reves Murder Mystery was probably the most intense activity to plan.” Emma, Teen Advisory Council

“There were so many things that went into it. We had to research the history of the Reves collection, come up with a story, and find actors.” Claire, Teen Advisory Council

“I think that the process of constructing some kind of murder mystery-type scenario is a lot more involved than you might think, just because you want to know how the crowd will respond and a lot of thinking goes into it. But I think it will be really rewarding!” Anastasia, Teen Advisory Council

Q: Why do you think it’s important to have programs like this for teens at a museum?

“Going to art museums is seen as an old person thing to do, but if there are programs for teens, it shows young people that there are things for them to do here too.” Shirui, Teen Advisory Council

“I think that teens are just as interested as older people, they just don’t know the museum is an option for them to be interested in going to, so if we have programs specifically for teens, it makes it a better place to be.” Anastasia, Teen Advisory Council

“I feel like teens aren’t given a platform to express themselves in a way that’s official or endorsed, so usually teens have to start from scratch and overcome a lot of challenges if they find a place where they can. It’s really nice to have a place that wants to hear what you have to say and a place for you to say it, and share that with others.” Claire, Teen Advisory Council

“It’s also a place for different kinds of people to be united under one umbrella and become a community, and meet people with different experiences than you.” Wolfgang, Teen Ambassador

Q: What do you hope visitors take away from Disconnect to Reconnect?

“I hope it inspires them to share their life and experiences more – maybe sharing it more with people, face-to-face, instead of just on social media.” Claire, Teen Advisory Council

“I hope that people leave knowing that the DMA is for anyone and everyone, with any interest – it’s not just about art! We have a lot to offer.” Tori, Teen Ambassador

“I hope they take away some sort of connection and know that there are things for them here at the Museum. Museums are not some sort of elitist, high-society places, and we do have programs and activities for all ages. There’s a spot and a place here for them.” Arik, Teen Ambassador

After six months of planning, Disconnect to Reconnect went off without a hitch. Over 250 teens participated throughout the night! We’re very proud of the Teen Advisory Council, and look forward to what they will bring to the Museum next.

Jessica Thompson
Manager of Teen Programs

Teen Time

It’s a Thursday night at the DMA, and conversations fill the galleries. A group of friends joins a discussion led by a Visiting Artist, who is hosting a workshop later that evening. Total strangers are chatting in front of their favorite work of art, bonding over shared thoughts and interests. A great band is playing in the Center for Creative Connections, and a small crowd is jamming along with them. Upon closer inspection, all of these visitors are teenagers, and – remarkably – there’s not a cell phone in sight!

This is the vision of the DMA’s Teen Advisory Council, a group of highly motivated students from around Dallas-Fort Worth. Since 2013, the Council has worked with DMA Education staff to develop programs and activities for visitors. If you’ve attended a Late Night in the last few years, you’ve likely experienced their work firsthand. From scribbling robots to life size board games, they never fail to creatively interpret the Museum’s collections and exhibitions in new and exciting ways.

This year, the Council has turned their focus toward their peers in an effort to share the Museum with their fellow teens. At a brainstorming meeting earlier this year, the discussion turned toward a common stereotype of young people: that they are glued to their cell phones 24/7. There are benefits to being connected all the time. In my experience, teens today are much more involved and knowledgeable about current affairs than I was at their age, thanks in part to having information so easily accessible. However, teens know there are consequences: a friend is just a text away, but so are bullies, school pressures, and global politics.

Because Teen Council members are at the Museum so often, they know it as a place where they can take a break from being connected. It’s a place where they can learn at their own pace, find calm within themselves, and open up to new perspectives and experiences without being judged. To share that feeling with others, the Council has worked hard planning Disconnect to Reconnect, a night of free, fun activities for teens.

Disconnect to Reconnect invites teens to discover what the DMA can offer them, from solving an Escape Room themed after the history of the Reeves Collection to creating art with Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker in the Center for Creative Connections. The Teen Council also invited teens to showcase their own talents – the two musical acts of the evening, R.A.G. and Aloe Sara, are high school students, and short films made by local teens will also be playing in the C3 Theater. All of the Council asks is that visitors be fully present, with cell phones silenced and put away while participating.

We hope you’ll be able to join us this Thursday, July 20th for Disconnect to Reconnect from 5:00-9:00 p.m.!

Jessica Thompson is the Manager of Teen Programs 

Happy National Volunteer Week!

April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week in North America. This special week was created in the 1970s to celebrate and recognize volunteer service across the country. We are so fortunate to have a fantastic group of volunteers at the DMA who support our programs everyday. Since January, DMA volunteers have already donated over 3,600 hours of service and helped create countless experiences for our visitors! In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to share a mini volunteer spotlight for each group to celebrate their daily achievements and show our thanks.

Everyday in the Center for Creative Connections, our Junior League of Dallas and C3 volunteers welcome visitors and encourage them to interact with art in new ways. They are always willing to engage in new opportunities when they arise.

Our Docents share their knowledge and passion for the Museum with hundreds of visitors each week. They are constantly researching and learning new things to ensure their tours and access programs are the best they can be.

Arts & Letters Live volunteers help make our many BooksmART and author events possible while serving as ushers, ticket takers, and greeters. Their ongoing commitment to this speaker series makes each year a success.

Go van Gogh volunteers travel to dozens of classrooms each school year, bringing art education to children across Dallas. We truly appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication in delivering these experiences across the city.

Community Engagement volunteers are always happy to lend a hand at special DMA programs including Late Night and Membership events. They are truly one of our most flexible groups!

The Teen Advisory Council is always thinking of innovative new ideas to involve the community and recently launched the Disconnect to Reconnect teen night. We are also looking forward to welcoming a new group of Teen Ambassadors who will join us this summer.

Thank you so much to all of our wonderful and amazing volunteers! You all help make our programs a reality and we sincerely appreciate your ongoing generosity and support. If you are interested in becoming a DMA volunteer, please visit the Volunteer page or email volunteers@dma.org.

Andi Orkin
Volunteer Coordinator for Programming

A Night of No-Phone Fun

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A few of our dedicated Teen Advisory Council Members showing off their moves at Late Night Creations!

The DMA’s Teen Advisory Council has been hard at work brainstorming new ways to connect our visitors with our collection and exhibits. You may have already experienced their handiwork for yourself: from Late Nights to alternative bite-sized tours, members of the Council never cease to amaze with how creatively they interpret works of art at the Museum.

This year, the Council is taking a deeper, experimental approach to making the DMA a comfortable place for visitors–especially teens–to be themselves. In an initial brainstorming meeting, the Council reflected on the stereotype that millennials are connected 24/7 to technology: that they can’t put their phones down and prefer texting over face to face conversation.

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However, teenagers know that always being connected has consequences. While their friends are always a text away, they’re also connected to people and things they wish they could get away from. Leaving school for the day will not keep a teenager safe from bullies anymore. Apps allow teachers to text students after hours and on weekends. Young people are bombarded constantly by international tragedy and injustice on their social media feeds. Constant access to technology leaves teenagers without a safe space, so the Teen Advisory Council decided to create one.

On January 5th, they hosted Disconnect to Reconnect, an event that encouraged visitors to put away their cell phones and engage with the art and each other. Council members designed activities to encourage conversation and reflection. Visitors started dialogues on our atrium tables, and contributed to a zine that reflects their personal aesthetic.

The Teen Council also led their own tours, scavenger hunts, and workshops. True Colors tours took visitors on a journey of self-discovery with artwork that shared their personality, while Kendra Greene’s Spoken Word workshop used art as a catalyst for poets to say something about themselves.

Watching the Teen Council plan Disconnect to Reconnect has been an amazing experience. The programs presented at the event were written entirely by Council members and required minimal staff feedback or oversight. During the planning process and the night of, they had to make decisions about content and logistics that would be difficult even for adult educators – and handled it all with their typical optimism and cool. We’re very proud of them, and can’t wait to see what they do next!

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If you or a teenager you know is interested in volunteering at the DMA, more information is available on our website. And don’t miss the Teen Advisory Council at Late Night Creations this Friday, February 17!

Jessica Thompson
Manager of Teen Programs


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