Not every summer program requires kids to pack up and leave home or for parents to spend a lot of money. The Whitney Museum has been running teen programs since 1997 that are free. They supply even provide student metro cards to get kids to the programs and all the supplies. Applications for this year’s programs are available starting in the spring.
We hopes their participation in these programs makes for a deeper involvement with the Whitney,” said Heather Maxson, director of school, youth and family programs at the Whitney. “We want to make sure we open the doors to the Whitney as wide as we possibly can so that the teens of our city can feel this can be a place for them,” she said.
One is for students entering grades 10 through 12 who might be interested in a career in art. Teens meet with Whitney Museum staff, arts professionals, and other teens. Students who have had some involvement with the Whitney’s teen programs such as Youth Insights or Open Studio for Teens) will have priority.
The other is the Insight Introductions program which is aimed at students who are learning English as a second language.
“We want to give them the space to where they can feel they can talk about art and meet other people who are recent immigrants and are practing their English,” said Dyeemah Simmons, coordinator of teen programs.
Said one student on a You Tube segment about the program, “All of the students who are in the class are all of different cultures and all of them are like my friends.”
Last year, the program attracted teens from Ukraine, China, Guatemala, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Russia, Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Guinea, Uzbekistan, Ivory Coast, New Guinea, Thailand and Burkina Faso.
”I’ve seen them connect across cultures and across languages even with limited English,” said Edward Restropro Gastano, an assistant in the Insight Introductions program, “in ways that are very beautiful.”