TEENS UNITED NO LONGER EMPTY EDUCATION REPORT 2019
Prepared for No Longer Empty 122 W 27, 10 fl. New York, NY 10001 nolongerempty.org Prepared by Mica Le John, Director of Education, No Longer Empty Contributions by Duneska Michel, Teen Programs Coordinator NLE Teen Alumni: Kalia Asencio, Jontay Beckles, Jade Villegas Special thanks to the following organizations and individuals who provided ongoing support in the successful delivery of NLE’s 2018-19 youth programming and the completion of this report Abby Remer Carlos Rodriguez-Perez Christine Licata Cuchifritos Gallery Essex Market Health+Hospitals / Kings County Heather Bhandari Jason Isaacs Jodi Waynberg José Ortiz Julia Maranto
Lindsay C. Harris Manon Slome NYC Health + Hospitals / Kings County Rachel Gugelberger Raquel de Anda Sarah Calderon Sinaia Jones Teen Programers Group Ting Lin Youth Development Institute
No Longer Empty’s education programs are supported by Con Edison; Exploring the Arts; Malka Fund; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Berk Foundation, and generous individual supporters. In-kind support is provided by Materials for the Arts.
For more information on NLE’s programs please visit www.nolongerempty.org. To contact NLE’s education staff about any of our programs, please contact us at email@example.com. Copyright 2019, No Longer Empty. All rights reserved.
MICA LE JOHN, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
DUNESKA MICHEL, EDUCATOR
Mica is a writer, educator, researcher of critical pedagogy and STEAM advocate. In her time at No Longer Empty, Mica has significantly grown the organization’s signature program offerings and developed new partnerships with citywide organizations to drive opportunities for young people across New York City. Mica is CEO and co-founder of iissllaanndd, a mission-driven tech company building the future of social.
Duneska is an artist-educator who has worked in galleries and institutions across New York City. In her artistic practice, Duneska dissects the notion of “home” in relationship to an individual’s identity. Through her programming, she aims to create spaces that serve as a safe haven for students and community members alike. Duneska served as Teen Programs Coordinator, overseeing Young Exhibition Makers 2019.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
NO LONGER EMPTY MISSION
NLE EDUCATION INTEGRATED LEARNING MODEL
TWO YEARS OF CHANGE
YOUTH ARTICLE: JADE VILLEGAS
YEAR TWO IN EAST FLATBUSH
YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS
22 Y.Ex 2019 COHORT
LAUNCHING A NEW PROGRAM
YOUTH ACTION COUNCIL
YAC COHORT #1
YOUTH ARTICLE: JONTAY BECKLES
THE EXHIBITION: INJUSTUS
LEARNER OUTCOMES: YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS
LEARNER OUTCOMES: YOUTH LEADERS
LEARNER OUTCOMES: YOUTH ACTION COUNCIL
YOUTH ARTICLE: KALIA ASENCIO
50 CONCLUSION 55 APPENDIXES 10
Opposite: Y.Ex 2019 designing their exhibition space, 2019. Photo: Christine Licata
Entering our tenth year as an organization, No Longer Empty (NLE) continues its dedication to the responsive development and support of artists, communities, and young people. As the youth we work with face ongoing change across the shifting social, economic and political climates, NLE has taken action and created more opportunities for them to have their voices heard in impactful ways. Teens United outlines the new initiatives and signature youth programs NLE has designed and developed for diverse audiences. Positive youth development practices (as outlined by Youth Development Institute) serve as our programmatic foundation in the work we do with New York City youth (14-19 years old). By focusing on our program participants’ positive outcomes we can place additional emphasis on their connectedness to each other, our organization, and our partners; mastery of skills and preparation for the future; and creating meaningful roles and experiences for them. In 2019, the second cohort of Young Exhibition Makers — a hybridized program, incorporating elements of our previous Youth Curatorial Lab (Y.Lab) and Youth Docent (Y.Dot) programs — created a provocative show inside the D-Lobby of NYC Health + Hospitals / Kings County (East Flatbush). This high traffic location led to InJustUs welcoming 15 times more visitors than any previous youth exhibition supported by NLE. We further developed our Youth Leader program, a peer-mentorship opportunity for NLE youth alumni (14-19 years old) interested in building their leadership skills and deepening their understanding of site-specific exhibitions. The 5 participants in this year’s cohort acted as Youth Leaders in the Young Exhibition Makers program, assisting their peers in developing such an impactful show. The academic year-long program exploring the intersection of the arts and social justice was a meaningful opportunity for community-building, dialogue, and action. NLE youth alumni engaged with NYC artists, activists, and other teen groups, delving into themes such as climate change, feminism, and immigration. The conversations sparked by Youth Action Council drive our plans for the future of NLE teen programs forward. As our organization continues to grow, the aim is to create youth programming that is replicable yet flexible.
Opposite: (after)care artist and neurosurgeon Dr. Kathryn Ko had the InJustUs logo screenprinted onto her lab coat, 2019. Photo: Shannel Resto
Founded in 2009, No Longer Empty (NLE) engages public art platforms with artists and communities that are working at the intersection of arts and social justice towards a progressive, equitable world. We curate site-responsive and community-centered exhibitions, education, and public programs in unique locations in New York City. These projects serve as artistic platforms for collaboration and dialogue around social, cultural, and political issues that amplify community histories, networks, and cultural resources.
GENERAL ●● Leadership development for NYC youth through outcomes-driven, intensive training ●● Mentorship and guidance through participant and peer-to-peer learning in all programs ●● Holistic mentorship and guidance through engagement and interviews with aspirational artists and arts professionals ●● Relationship building through ongoing partnerships with other youth programs ●● Connecting participants to local arts resources, professionals, and like-minded peers for additional support and dialogue ●● Promoting equity in the arts industry by maintaining inclusive and fair hiring and selection practices, and consistently iterating NLE’s youth onboarding processes to make them accessible for all young people
LONG TERM ●● Increased sense of autonomy and competence, and improved self-confidence for youth ●● Provide professional development and job training skills (i.e. strengthening communication, leadership, time management, teamwork, design thinking, and creative problem solving) ●● Sustained relationships to support the work of our alumni ●● Fostering a community of alumni who become the next generation of arts professionals (curators/ artists/administrators/etc.) ●● Encourage alumni to be cultural connectors and creative facilitators who amplify their voices and those of others through collaborative art-related projects for all ages ●● Ongoing integration with NLE’s Curatorial and Public Programming initiatives
Teen-led wheatpasting workshop with Ameya Okamoto’s artwork, 2019. Photo: Christine Licata
NLE EDUCATION INTEGRATED LEARNING MODEL
ART ZONE: Community Art and Data Lab (ART ZONE) is an intensive, one-month, paid intergenerational program for a combined 25 high school students (ages 14 to 18 years old) and elders (60+) to collaborate in forming a community think tank. Participants develop their own research methods (under the tutelage of No Longer Empty staff and teaching artists) and work with artists and designers to explore how local histories and desires can be expressed and amplified by the arts, and how the arts can be used as a resource by a neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s different populations. The findings of the community think tank are used to identify community issues and opportunities, build partnerships, and steer the thematic focus of our signature exhibitions. Young Exhibition Makers (Y.Ex) is a 16-week program that trains local high school students (ages 14 to 18) in all elements of exhibition making, from curation and installation to docent tours and exhibition management. Arts mentoring, youth leadership,and real-life work experience are the pillars of this program. Students learn creative writing, public art history, public speaking/oratory skills, and media literacy through working closely with NLE Curatorial Lab, local curators, artists, and community leaders.
All of our youth/intergenerational programs offer stipends for participation.
YOUTH ACTION COUNCIL
ART ZONE COMMUNITY ART & DATA LAB
We aim to develop long-term, sequential education programming for NYC youth that fosters the continued connection of these young people to the arts world for both professional development and personal fulfillment. Emphasis is placed on creative exploration, job skills development, and mentorship opportunities. The majority of the students we work with are young people of color and a heavy emphasis is placed on program development that connects them to arts professionals not only to see themselves represented, but to also increase their access to job opportunities and additional mentorship.
exercises, YAC combines leadership development, political education, and art-making. Engaging in cross-city conversations with other youth leaders, YAC develops two public events during their tenure, one of which is centered around engaging with other teens across New York City.
NLEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Education Programs are based on an integrated learning model. Participating youth can start at any point as a participant through ART ZONE: Community Art and Data Lab, Young Exhibition Makers and Youth Action Council and go onto to be a Youth Leader in any of the programs. As a Youth Leader they can continue to take part in a wide spectrum of professional development opportunities within the arts.
YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS
Youth Action Council (YAC) is an academic year-long youth development program for NYC youth interested in connecting with artists, scholars, and activists to explore the intersections of the arts and social justice. Through workshops, facilitated discussions, and skill-building 16
TWO YEARS OF CHANGE
YOUTH ARTICLE: JADE VILLEGAS
INTRODUCTION We believe engagement with the arts through youth-led programming empowers participants to make largescale positive changes in their communities. Through our signature programs, we provide arts resources, mentorship, and ongoing internship and work opportunities for New York City youth using a responsive pedagogical model that adapts to the needs of the teens within each program. NLE’s work begins when members of a community offer available space for us to develop our programs. Our education programming is staged sequentially and grounded within the knowledge systems of each neighborhood. This programming fits within the organization’s main three to four year cycle that begins with community-centered engagement and concludes with public programming and an exhibition with local partners. This report will focus on year two of the current cycle. For a reflection on year one, see Teens, Amplified, NLE’s 2018 education report for more on the ART ZONE 2017 and Young Exhibition Makers 2018 programs. Jade speaking at No Longer Empty’s Connectivity Ball, 2019. Photo: Victor Castro
In March 2019, we invited a new cohort of youth from East Flatbush and the surrounding communities to participate in Young Exhibition Makers (Y.Ex) where they learned all elements of exhibition-making. NLE alumni (14-19 years old) applied to be Youth Leaders (YL), mentoring their peers during the program. YLs took part in planning the Y.Ex 2019 exhibition, InJustUs, in addtion to collaborating on a digital archive and a documentary about the program itself. That online archive and teen-made documentary can be found at www.bit.ly/InJustUs In the fall of 2018, NLE launched a new initiative, Youth Action Council (YAC), an academic year-long program for youth (14-19 years old) interested in exploring how the arts can be a tool for social change. The members of YAC engaged hands-on with artists, scholars, and activists; guided education programming decisions; provided feedback on teaching materials; and developed their own youth events throughout the year. This group also created and edited their own digital archive, which can found at www.bit.ly/YACademics. This report outlines the progress of our cycle in its latest form through NLE’s work at H+H / Kings County with the East Flatbush community and the extension of this work across New York City. 18
I like art — not only in its most typical (drawing, painting, singing) forms, but also as it takes shape in figuring out a new way to solve a math problem, my brothers’ shape up, and my Grandma’s bowl of mangú. It was only natural for me to gravitate towards NLE’s programs because the organization has cultivated a community that nurtures creative ability. Since the spring of my sophomore year (I am currently a rising senior), I have taken part in NLE’s teen programs.
“In all of the programs I took part in, the NLE staff wanted to see us win! They made sure that we understood concepts, helped us seek out answers for ourselves, and exposed us to so many new things that we would have not known of otherwise.” – Jade Villegas, Y.Ex, YL & YAC alum
The first program I participated in was Young Exhibition Makers 2018. It was an entirely new experience for me. I was focusing on a neighborhood (East Flatbush) that has a large population of people from the Carribean and different African countries — it was a very culturally diverse program. I was already aware of various issues facing the Black community, but to see it firsthand and talk about it with people experiencing it was life-changing. To be completely transparent, the only people I had been around for about 6 years were white and Latinx people. Being Afro-Latina myself, I mainly grew up around people who looked like me. The Catholic school I transferred to in 5th grade had a population that was majority white. There was little variation in the types of people I was surrounded by. But then I woke up. The Y.Ex program was great. I was
educated in something I thoroughly enjoyed and I felt excited to go to work every Saturday. It was met with its own problems, of course, but what can one expect when a group of adolescents is put to work doing something they’ve never done before? One thing that I will always value out of NLE’s programs is the educators’ devotion to our understanding and progress. I also participated in the first year of Youth Action Council, which at the time was only offered to NLE alum. One thing I liked about this program was that the other participants knew about the subjects we were talking about, and we were more familiar with each other. In all of the programs I took part in, the NLE staff wanted to see us win! They made sure that we understood concepts, helped us seek out answers for ourselves, and exposed us to so many new things that we would have not known of otherwise. Our teachers got to know us on a personal level and I enjoyed having relationships with adults that respected my point of view. We’re told “your time is coming,” but who says that it can’t be now?
YEAR TWO IN EAST FLATBUSH
THE PROGRAM NLE’s Young Exhibition Makers (Y.Ex) grew out of our previous Y.Dot (Youth Docent) and Y.Lab (Youth Curatorial Lab) programs, acting as a foundational resource for young people to engage with the arts in the communities we work in while also creating a pathway to cultivate long-term relationships through our Education Matrix Model. The main pillars of Y.Ex are arts mentorship and youth leadership. This year, 19 teens joined NLE on Saturdays from March through June to develop an art exhibition; organize public programming; and provide exhibition tours for neighbors, friends, and the hospital community. View the Y.Ex calendar and a list of guest speakers in Appendix IV.
Young Exhibition Makers 2019 cohort outside of H + H / Kings County, 2019. Photo: Leslie Diuguid Top: Sinaia Jones, Nazair Deondre Francois, Carlitos Rodrigues, Steph Martinez, Mica Le John, Kalia Asencio, Umahani Hamad, Elham Abuali, Etharr Ahmed, Duneska Michel, Janae Stanford, Jade Villegas, Benjamin Opoku, Marvens Volcimus, Nilajah Batts, Elani Amélie Reyes, Nyia Savannah Pilgrim. Bottom: Ting Lin, Alirat Sanni, Givienna-Geneva Gordon, Kimani Brown.
YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS MAKING PROGRAMS REPLICABLE Young Exhibition Makers (Y.Ex) prioritizes the creation of opportunities for teens to articulate and explore pressing issues in their communities, share their perspectives, and receive public speaking and project management training for personal and professional growth. This year we also continued to emphasize mentorship and career development, bringing in arts professionals to meet with the youth participants and offer them an idea of what their career path might look like. These conversations provide the Y.Ex’ers with an open forum to freely ask questions and voice concerns about what their experience might be like in the art world as youth from underserved communities. The second year of Young Exhibition Makers was led by an educator from outside of the organization (Duneska Michel, teaching artist and contributor to this report) to prove the replicability of the program model. Alongside guest speakers, hospital staff and teaching artists, NLE’s
Education team worked with 19 teens as they produced an exhibition of teen artwork at H+H / Kings County. Additionally, participants in NLE’s Curatorial Lab — a professional development intensive for emerging curators interested in developing site-repsonsive exhibitions — mentored the youth cohort. This program followed up on the success of the Y.Ex 2018 cohort (whose exhibition took place in unused emergency waiting room CG-91), and the hospital administration offered the 2019 Y.Ex’ers the D-Building lobby, the main thoroughfare for staff, patients, and visitors, and a significantly larger space than CG-91. And wow, did the youth step up to the challenge! Y.Ex 2019 successfully displayed the work of teens from all across New York City, organized programming that aligned with their themes, and gathered the courage to stand up for social justice issues that affect their community. See Appendix I for more information about the selection process and Appendix II for Y.Ex onboarding materials. Kimani Brown and her fellow Y.Ex’ers creating artwork for their exhibition, 2019. Photo: Jade Villegas
YOUTH LEADERS THE PROGRAM
Y.Ex 2019 COHORT DEMOGRAPHICS
Before the start of Y.Ex 2019, NLE’s education team re-designed the curriculum for our Youth Leaders (YL) program, a peer mentor program for young people who are alumni of our programs and want to continue engaging with our programs. Through an application process that took place early in 2019, alumni were selected and offered roles in the Y.Ex 2019 program delivery.
The 2019 Young Exhibition Makers cohort of 19 young people ages 14-19 years old, was mainly comprised of Brooklynites, with one member travelling in from the Bronx, another from Manhattan, and a third from Queens.
The 2019 YL group was comprised of five teen peer leaders. During the Y.Ex program, the YLs received additional mentorship from NLE staff including extensive development of leadership and communication skills, learning methods to document program successes, and managing public programming alongside their peers.
When prompted to indicate ethnic background using a multi-select option, 81.25% of the group identified as African-American, 25% as Latinx, 18.75% as Caribbean, 12.5% as West Indian; 6.25% as South American, 6.25% identify as African, 6.25% identify as Central American, 6.25% as European, 6.25% identify as Native American, and 12.50% as mixed race (i.e. White and Latin; Haitian and Dominican). The majority of the group identified as women (75%), 13% as men, and 12% as gender fluid or non-binary.
THE ARCHIVE The YL’s creative leadership skills were furthered through the two main projects they took on during programming to show the experiences of the young people taking part in Y.Ex 2019: a digital archive and short documentary. Before the program began, these peer mentors split into two groups (one for the digital archive, another for the film) and underwent planning sessions for their respective projects, dividing up work and delegating tasks to each member for the Y.Ex program’s 16 weeks. Throughout Y.Ex 2019, YLs captured footage, photos, and audio recordings to document the challenges the Y.Ex’ers underwent and the brilliant success of their show. Their digital archive and documentary can be found at http://bit.ly/InJustUs.
Psychogeography maps of the H+H / Kings County lobby by Y.Ex. Psychogeography is “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” (Debord, G.E. “Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography.” Les Lèvres Nues, no. 6, 1955.)
THE EXHIBITION: InJustUs
Being able to curate within the hospital lobby —a space that is not only large in size but also has high foot traffic, directly influenced the themes teen participants chose to tackle in their culminating exhibition, InJustUs. InJustUs divided the D-building lobby of H+H / Kings County into five gallery spaces—race and ethnicity, immigration, mental health, gender and sexuality, and police brutality. The Y.Ex 2019 cohort chose to focus on these issues because they directly influence the East Flatbush community, practicing their skills in site-responsive curation. The artwork was selected by the Y.Ex’ers through an open call to high schools and youth programs across New York City (with priority given to artists from East Flatbush and the neighborhoods surrounding the hospital). Youth artists were 14-19 years old and their work crossed multiple mediums, including illustration, photography, and film. To provide participants with the tools to independently curate and program for InJustUs, guest speakers were brought in not only to guide but inspire them. All of the guest speakers were people of color who cared deeply about the exhibition themes selected by the participants. For example, Yahdon Israel, creator of “ Literary Swag,” led a conversation on the importance of developing writing skills as a key community-building tool. Additionally, the administrative, medical and security teams at H + H / Kings County played an active role in supporting the delivery of the Y.Ex program and the creation of the teens’ exhibition. The exhibition was open for three consecutive weeks in June and Y.Ex 2019 offered tours each Saturday of both InJustUs and the 2019 NLE Lab exhibition, (after)care. (after)care “re-envision[ed] a former emergency waiting room, a space often associated with anxiety and fear, as a site of remembrance, possibility, and celebration of radical care—both within and beyond hospital walls.” Many hospital-organized, public-facing events were also held in the D-Lobby, increasing InJustUs’ impact and visibility in the community. See Appendix IV to view the Y.Ex Curatorial Statements, marketing materials & gallery guide. Participants came into Y.Ex with their own beliefs and thoughts about what would make a good exhibition and through open dialogue were able to see beyond themselves and think about who they were serving — not only their group but also the larger East Flatbush community. 24
Opposite: A happy visitor at the InJustUs exhibition, 2019. Photo: Shannel Resto
“Our partnership with NLE is strengthening the ways to engage and reconnect with the community and patients we serve... NLE’s work is having a remarkably positive impact on the lives of some of our most venerable community members by supporting local youth in experiencing the transformative power of the arts and the possibilities in the creative industries.” – Carlos Rodriguez-Perez, Director of Wellness and Recovery, NYC Health + Hospitals / Kings County
“My connection to all of the artwork from all themes is that they are displaying issues that occur in my life, family, and my neighborhood. What specifically led me to choose the works that I did were the way that I wanted to share these issues with the audience.” – Elani Amélie Reyes, Y.Ex participant 25
“Love all the art and inspired to do
Near the halfway point of the program, Y.Ex began to discuss and plan the public programming they wanted to take place during their exhibition’s run. As this year’s cohort was working in parallel with NLE Curatorial Lab (NLE Lab), some of these were partnered events for InJustUs and (after)care.
better. Inspired to put the focus in my art
June 1: Exhibition Opening
“The young curators were well
work as well.” – 17 year old visitor
Opening day was a 4-hour celebration of the hard work that led to the exhibitions. This event was co-produced with NLE Lab. The public was invited to join the Y.Ex’ers and NLE Lab members for a Lenape land acknowledgment, guided tours of the exhibition, free food, and performances by local musicians.
prepared...the artwork was current, and provided a discussion about the concerns that are shared by all.”
As part of the festivities, visitors were also invited to take part in The WorkRoom, an afternoon art-making workshop for all ages. The opening day WorkRoom was led by Brooklyn-based artist Leslie Diuguid who invited visitors to screenprint the InJustUs logo onto the canvas bags provided or their own chosen material.
– 65 year old visitor
June 8: The WorkRoom: Zine-Making with Tamara Santibañez Following their guided tour of InJustUs, visitors were invited to join Brooklyn-based artist Tamara Santibañez during the second Y.Ex WorkRoom session. Here, visitors created their own zines around social justice issues. After completing their zine, visitors joined the Y.Ex’ers in the lobby courtyard for snacks and music.
Y.Ex at “BRIC Biennial: South Brooklyn,” 2019. Photo: Duneska Michel
June 15: Poster-Making in Solidarity with Sudan The last Saturday of Y.Ex programming was exclusively for teen visitors (although all who came to the show were able to receive a guided tour). A few members of the 2019 Y.Ex cohort are of Sudanese heritage and expressed an interest in shaping their event around the crisis taking place there. With the remainder of the group in full support, the young people invited their friends and other local teens to take part in a poster-making workshop. Attendees were also able to sit down and speak with Sudanese blogger Shahd Khidir about what was happening in Sudan and how they could help from home.
Kimani Brown offering tours of the InJustUs exhibition, 2019. Photo: Shannel Resto
LAUNCHING A NEW PROGRAM
THE PROGRAM Members of YAC are youth who commit to meet every other week during the school year. In this youth-led educational and professional development program, NLE works with YAC to facilitate their learning to be cultural connectors and creative facilitators. Each session is designed to expose youth to interdisciplinary practices, offering hands-on experiences in leadership and advocacy. Collaborators include local and (inter) national artists, activists, historians, academic scholars, and arts professionals who guide, inform, and enrich the dynamic learning exchange. YAC is a site for encouraging programming by and for young people. We believe this is integral to their self-efficacy and their ongoing professional development. We also aim to provide opportunities for them to build coalitions with other teenage arts workers outside of our programmatic offerings.
Steph Martinez, Yewande Ogunleye, Justice Hamlin-James and the rest of YAC performing as keynote speakers at Forward Union, 2018. Photo: Sinaia Jones
YOUTH ACTION COUNCIL BY YOUTH, FOR YOUTH No Longer Empty’s Youth Action Council (YAC) is an initiative NLE launched in Fall 2018 to build social engagement and creative leadership for young people ages 14-19. YAC serves to offer more opportunities for young people to engage with the art world in a continual and in-depth way. YAC 2018-19 became an effective cohort of creative activists, traveling across the city to meet and collaborate with other youth groups, community organizers, and arts workers. These meetings provide opportunities for participants to build coalitions with other like-minded cultural workers, and to share with and learn from mentors and industry professionals. Over ten months, the cohort establishes significant relationships to share with and learn from peers across NYC, creating greater cultural, artistic, and social connectivity. Upon completion of the 2018-19 program, the members of YAC expressed a strong belief that the arts are a medium for change and tool for expression and connection. 28
Applicants to the 2019–20 program learned about it through multiple partner channels including cultural and arts organizations, youth email lists, youth worker professional networks, and NYC high schools.
September: Critical Thinking & Questioning October: Activism & Art November: Storytelling & Society December: Planning the Future January: Feminisms February: Carceral State March: (Im)migration April: Documentation & Archiving May: Media Power June: Climate Justice & Community Action To view the full YAC calendar and a list of guest speakers, see Appendix V.
“My relationship to art has changed during the program...YAC has expanded my horizon” – Marvens Volcimus, YAC Participant
“An open mindset helps expand the minds of others — YAC offers us a chance to show and share our knowledge with other people” – Sarahfina Cunningham, YAC Participant 29
YAC COHORT #1 DEMOGRAPHICS The YAC 2018-19 cohort was comprised exclusively of NLE youth alumni, ages 14-19. As our programming cycle has been hosted at H+H / Kings County in East Flatbush over the last two years, the 2018–19 youth participants travelled from Brownsville, East Flatbush, Crown Heights and South Ozone Park to meet bi-weekly in the program.
Held at Clemente in the Lower East Side, Youth Alliance was a half-day event for NYC youth to participate in panel discussions, breakout sessions, and social justice art-making workshops. YAC and Brooklyn Museum partnered to facilitate 2 artist workshops: “Personal Narrative as Resistance: Queer People of Color in the Visual Arts” with Sal Muñoz, and “We the News: Storytelling and Immigration” with Lizania Cruz.
When prompted to indicate ethnic background, YAC was able to multi-select categories. 62.5% of the group identify as African-American, 37.5% as Caribbean, 12.5% as West Indian, 12.5% as African, 37.5% as Latinx One member of the group is gender fluid, 30% identify as men and the remainder as women.
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT Throughout the program, YAC engaged with different publics across New York City. From invitations to participate in events to co-organizing and co-leading youth forums, they engaged with over 500 New York City residents through public programming. Forward Union (September 2018) YAC members were invited to be the keynote speakers at Forward Union, held at Red Bull Arts New York. Taking place in the lead up to the 2018 Congressional elections, YAC kicked off the event with each of them continuing the prompt, My vote matters because... As nearly all of YAC were not able to vote yet, their performance emphasized the power adults hold as they make voting decisions not only for themselves but on behalf of everyone who cannot take part in the election process. ArtFuture NYC: Youth Alliance (March 2019) ArtFuture NYC is a series of ongoing collaborations by local arts organizations to increase access to art and design careers for people of color, with an emphasis on high school students of color from low-income backgrounds who will be the first in their families to receive a college degree. YAC was invited by the Joan Mitchell Foundation to co-organize the 2019 event alongside participants in the Brooklyn Museum Teens and Parsons Scholars programs. 30
Opposite: Jontay Beckles, Kalia Asencio, Sarahfina Cunningham, Justice Hamlin-James, and Marvens Volcimus exploring Winter Term 2019: The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) at The Drawing Center, 2019. Photo: Sinaia Jones
BRONX SITE VISIT PARTNER
Youth Voices (May 2019) YAC partnered with Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY (NOCD-NY), El Puente, THE POINT, and University Settlement House to organize Youth Voices, where NYC teens connected to creatively explore topics that shape their worlds and determine ways to collaborate in the future. This forum was a youth-determined and youth-led process and incorporated zine- and button-making workshops, writing seminars, dance lessons, and breakout group discussions. Slip the Tea (June 2019) YAC planned and hosted a teen-only dinner party for youth from across NYC to discuss social justice issues. Forming four breakout sessions, the attendees engaged in dialogue around feminism, violence, LGBTQ+ rights and allyship, and climate change. Following these conversations (facilitated by YAC members), attendees ate dinner together to talk about the future and what they could do to address the problems they identified during their conversations. After dinner, the youth created artwork, painting glass jars with visuals related to their breakout groups, then planting seeds in them, not only commemorating the event but also encouraging metaphoric growth.
SITE VISIT & PARTNER HARLEM
“Great organization, positive environment, [and] the amount of different
workshops to choose from [was] great!” – ArtFuture NYC: Youth Alliance Attendee JACKSON HEIGHTS
“[This event] helped me see that there are bunch of alternatives to embark...on
NEWARK [for my art] a journey.”
– ArtFuture NYC: Youth Alliance Attendee
“I loved the conversation we had and
hearing from different perspectives.” – Slip the Tea Attendee BUSHWICK
“I was able to push a bit out of my comfort zone and participate. I liked how people would add more to whatever I said and expanded my knowledge on the topic of feminism.”
EAST NEW YORK
– Slip the Tea Attendee 32
YACademics YAC members met twice during the program to collaborate on YACademics, their digital archive. YACademics chronicles the experiences the youth had during the program — from teen-only events to artist workshops to protest demonstrations they took part in. The archive has multiple parts: “Family Quilt,” a collage of illustrations and photos the group selected to represent the entire year; a multimedia “Meet YAC” page, introducing the members of YAC and their creative reflections on the first half of the program; two curated photo galleries with highlights selected by YAC-member Photographers and Social Media Managers; an “About” page, describing the events they took part in; and a “Guests” page, identifying and thanking the speakers and program partners who made YAC 2018-19 possible.
A quilt square for YAC’s archive, by Jade Villegas, 2019. Photo: Sinaia Jones
In addition to the materials generated for their archive and through art-making activities, members also contributed to the creation of an onboarding handbook to be given to teens entering an NLE program for the first time. See Appendix II for the booklet.
“My vote matters because maturity comes with experience, not age. Most of us may be too young to vote but our generation’s greatest minds are expanding as a whole to make this world a better, safer place. We want a cleaner environment and a stronger society... This is the new generation, and it’s here right now. Nothing is impossible when we set our minds to it!” – Mariel Martinez, Keynote speech excerpt, Forward Union 34
Opposite: Jontay Beckles, Kalia Asencio and Steph Martinez collaborating on materials at Winter Term 2019: The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) at The Drawing Center, 2019. Photo: Sinaia Jones
YOUTH ARTICLE: JONTAY BECKLES
I’ve been a part of NLE’s programs over the last two years and my journey with the organization has been great. The first time I heard about NLE was from my grandmother. She was walking by the Kings County Hospital and saw the flyer for the Y.Ex 2018 program — at the time, I was looking for an internship to gain more work and life experience, and was excited to find out it was also paid. My first day in the program I walked in not knowing much about art. I really like art, I just rarely spoke about it before Y.Ex. As the program continued, I learned more about what the people who explain art in museums are called (docents), different ways to talk about art (i.e. inquiry-based tours), different ways art is expressed, and more. My favorite parts were when we did hands-on activities because I like to be active and engage with my work closely.
Trans in Media and Wild Ponies, two films focused on the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. I don’t have many personal connections with members of this community and it was great for me to learn more about a subjects that doesn’t directly affect me. Not only was it great because I wasn’t used to the subject matter but I enjoyed how the conversation impacted others in the room.
The best experience for me in the whole program was seeing not only my own group’s art gallery, but the final, collective Y.Ex show. When we first started, all we had were ideas; to see everyone bring those ideas into reality — and make great work — was great. I also really liked that we got to show everything off at the end: even though I’m shy, I like talking to people about subjects that mean something to me. I created my own curatorial tour for visitors that included a story about my friend’s dad and how gun violence has affected his life. I wanted to tell people about it and discuss why gun violence really needs to stop; it’s becoming normalized even though it shouldn’t be.
Another experience that was really new for me was a visit by Ayana Evans, a performance artist who started her workshop with a performance on the street in front of NLE’s office — and us teens had to take part in it! As weird as it was for me, it also gave me more confidence because I would never do something like that alone. I realized that if Ayana can do that with as much pride and self-assurance, I can do anything too.
After hearing and seeing what they go through, I felt more of a connection to people in the community. Later on, I found myself connecting more with LGBTQ+ folks in my school. I’m part of an extracurricular group called “The Voice” and our main goal is to bring members of the community and allies together to decrease the separation between the two communities in my school.
My biggest highlight from YAC was our teen-only dinner party. We got to plan the whole thing and ran the event from beginning to end (including choosing the food). We were truly in charge: we set a rule that the adults present couldn’t talk unless we said so! Not only did I like that we planned the event but I also got to meet many new people which was fun. I had great conversations with attendees about feminism: most of my dining group identified as female/non-binary and it was cool to hear what they thought about it.
My first year with NLE was a learning experience and gave me an opportunity to open up to doing new things. My second year in an NLE program was during 2018-2019 as part of Youth Action Council and even though it was fewer meeting days, this was a better program for me. Ms. Mica always made us feel that we were in charge, and she helped put the final touches on the public programming we planned in ways that still allowed us to lead. I really liked going on more trips and taking part in more events this year, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Teens Take the Met events and 8-Ball Community Center. Teens Take the Met was consistently my favorite trip. When I arrived at the museum for the first time, I was happily surprised that so many NYC teens would be interested in such an event. I like walking around the museum to see the different stations that organizations set up and what teens from other programs had to offer and show off. 8-Ball Community Center is another favorite because it is a very open and relaxed space. People there are living 36
Jontay having his portrait taken by Kalia Asencio during an interviewing workshop, 2018. Photo: Mica Le John
My two years in the NLE family have been a great learning experience and I’ve had a chance to see and do many new things I never would have if I wasn’t a part of these programs. I hope to keep learning new things about art and taking what I learned from NLE out into the real world.
their dream! It’s really inspiring to see people doing things that others might never see themselves doing. My mind was blown by all of the things you can do. For example, members of the 8-Ball community who want to create shows just go into the green screen room and create whatever they want! One of the most impactful guest speaker sessions we had was when Quito Zeigler and Kristen Lovell came to screen 37
See Appendix VI for more information about our evaluation methods.
LEARNER OUTCOMES: YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS PROGRAM GOAL: Empower young people to create an exhibition around issues they care about ●● Knowledge and understanding about different
LEARNER OUTCOME 1: Knowledge and understanding about different roles in art industry
LEARNER OUTCOME 2: Increased ability to use leadership skills (teamwork, time management, communication)
LEARNER OUTCOME 3: Ability to plan an exhibition and programming
89% of the Y.Ex cohort entered the program with little to no knowledge of the different roles in the art industry. Of the program participants (non-YLs), 76% expressed significant improvement in their knowledge of the professional art world (across education, programming, curation, etc.), with at least a 50% increase in their understanding. 100% of YLs reported entering the program with an established understanding in this category.
Leadership in Y.Ex extends across multiple areas in the program and by the end of the Y.Ex 2019 cycle, 82% of the group expressed confidence or extreme confidence in their abilities as a leader. 35% of the group felt they had started the program with good time management skills — and nearly half of the cohort reported a >50% improvement in this area by the end of the program. 18% of the Y.Ex members felt they entered the program with strong public speaking skills and 100% of the remaining group felt they had improved in this area by the end, with 53% expressing at least a 50% increase in skill.
Upon program completion, 100% of the Y.Ex 2019 cohort (including YLs) expressed an increase in their knowledge of what it takes to make an exhibition — a staggering 94% reported at least a 50% improvement in this category.
roles in art industry as evidenced through How Many Are There (a career-oriented educational
Visitors to the exhibition left glowing reviews after their tours and were deeply impacted by the work and the experience they had viewing the show.
activity for youth that explores the different roles available in an industry)
“It’s really not been that long since I...
●● Increased ability to use leadership skills (teamwork, time management, communication)
came to [the] United States so my
as evidenced through successful cohesive group
weakness [entering the program] was
work during planning and execution of show and
public speaking and I was always afraid
ability to lead visitors during tours and activities
to speak out loud in public. But since
●● Ability to plan an exhibition and programming as
I’ve been in this program it really helped
evidenced through programming developed with
me to speak up for myself and for what
minimal oversight, clear and coherent content (curatorial statements, gallery guide), and visitors understanding the themes of the exhibition after teen-led tours
“I improved [my understanding]...about
is right and what is wrong. It helped me
“One thing I learned today was how
exhibitions because I wasn’t really as
a lot to improve my public speaking.”
young people are processing the
knowledgeable about the whole curato-
– Hamza Amzar, Y.Ex Participant
injustice of society right now [and]...how
rial process.” – Umahani Hamad, Y.Ex Participant
well spoken...the teen curators were.” “I think I’ve improved in all skills because
– InJustUs Visitor
it takes a lot of work and thinking to
“[Throughout this process] I got more
grow in all...areas. I enjoyed learning a
“Young people have so much
experience and I learned a lot that can
lot about everything and…[feel I experi-
understanding and compassion to
benefit me in life or personally.”
enced] personal growth.”
offer the world”
– Etharr Ahmed, Y.Ex Participant
– Michelle Muszkat Levine, Y.Ex Participant
– InJustUs Visitor 39
“Listen” (Mental Health) gallery in InJustUs, 2019. Photo: Christine Licata
Kimani Brown, Givienna-Geneva Gordon and Alirat Sanni preparing collages to advertise their call for artist submission, 2019. Photo: Sinaia Jones
Marvens Volcimus preparing a piece for the Y.Ex exhibition installation, 2019. Photo: Jade Villegas
“Our Lives Matter” (Police Brutality) and “Who You Are” (Race and Ethnicity) galleries in InJustUs, 2019. Photo: Christine Licata
LEARNER OUTCOMES: YOUTH LEADERS GOAL: Encourage NLE teen alumni to be effective peer leaders ●● Cultivate a sense of self-awareness by identifying their leadership vision, mission, style and values as evidenced by a demonstrated practice of ethical leadership and achievement of YL-defined goals ●● Ability to document program successes as evidenced by content and videos that are clear and coherent (digital archive, mini-documentary)
LEARNER OUTCOME 1: Cultivate a sense of self-awareness by identifying their leadership vision, mission, style and values YLs in the Y.Ex 2019 program underwent two consecutive weekends of training to prepare for their roles. These peer mentors developed a framework for ethical leadership that included qualities such as honesty and empathy. Across both of these categories, 100% of YLs expressed significant improvement in their ability to leverage or express these skills: 60% felt they improved their empathy and ethical leadership abilities.
LEARNER OUTCOME 2: Ability to document program successes
LEARNER OUTCOME 3: Ability to use leadership skills (teamwork, time management, communication)
The InJustUs digital archive and a documentary were successfully designed and created by the YL teens. Visitors to the website expressed excitement over the events as they were posted and 100% of them felt they learned about the program easily despite not attending the exhibition in person. The Y.Ex participants (non-peer leaders) were proud of the way the program was represented and felt it represented their experience cohesively and offered an immersive view into Y.Ex 2019 for the viewer.
At the start of the program, 100% of YLs expressed a desire to improve their communication and time management skills, and 80% expressed a need to improve their teamwork abilities. Upon completion of the program: 60% of the YLs expressed at least 75% improvement in teamwork abilities (20% of the group already felt strong in this category upon beginning this program); 80% of the group felt they had improved their time management skills by at least 25%; and 80% expressed improvement in communication skills by at least 50%.
●● Ability to use leadership skills (teamwork, time management, communication) as evidenced through an increased ability to use leadership skills to create and manage events, archive and film projects
“I hadn’t really realized but I had been extremely one-sided for a very long time. I refused to look at both sides of the coin and that was affecting my ability to empathize with people. As a leader, empathy is extremely important...It has helped me to be more kind and patient with people (even when it’s hard).” – Jade Villegas, Youth Leader
“I learned how to better communicate and listen to what my peers need and... better coordinate [with] people.” – Benjamin Opoku, Youth Leader 42
“Working with the Y.Ex’ers was really inspiring. These teens taught me so much as both a designer and a human being of ways in which we can engage with our surroundings in a positive and thoughtful way...I think their archive and documentary shows their hard work and achievements in a coherent and digestible way and I’m glad it lives on an online and accessible platform.” – Valentina Vergara, Graphic Designer. Worked with Y.Ex on their InJustUs gallery guide
“Benjamin ALWAYS works well in teams! He is extremely kind and is a great person to work with.” “Marvens is extremely kind! He is always willing to help out anyone who needs it.” “Steph is extremely punctual. She shows up everywhere at least 30 minutes early and has everything on lock.” – Youth Leaders 43
Justice Hamlin-James, Kalia Asencio, Steph Martinez and Ashanti Strong headed to an Indigenous Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day action, 2018. Photo: Mica Le John
Ashanti Strong and Steph Martinez making prints during an artist studio visit, 2019. Photo: Sinaia Jones
Leslie Diuguid assisted by Umahani Hamad during the screenprinting workshop at the InJustUs opening, 2019. Photo: Shannel Resto
Nilajah Batts and Janae Stanford welcoming visitors to InJustUs, 2019. Photo: Shanell Resto
LEARNER OUTCOMES: YOUTH ACTION COUNCIL PROGRAM GOAL: Nurture YAC members to be effective artists and activists ●● Increased ability to articulate views on social justice issues as evidenced by content that is clear and coherent (archive, event materials) and checks for understanding ●● Stronger connection to the arts as a form of self-expression and medium for change as evidenced through an increased ability to identify
LEARNER OUTCOME 1: Increased ability to articulate views on social justice issues
LEARNER OUTCOME 2: Stronger connection to the arts as a form of self-expression and medium for change
LEARNER OUTCOME 3: Increased ability to use soft skills (teamwork, leadership, time management, communication)
Each YAC session included an element to encourage participants to speak about the subject covered and share their viewpoints on it. Upon completion of the program, 88% of YAC participants expressed they were confident or very confident in their ability to articulate their views on social justice issues, and 100% of YAC members experienced an improvement in their understanding of social justice issues they didn’t know about before. 63% of the group improved their ability to critically analyze social justice issues by at least 50%, and our staff noted at least 25% improvement among the other program participants.
88% of YAC members reported a stronger connection to the arts as a form of self-expression and medium for change upon completion of the program (the remaining member felt their connection was already strong when the program began). 100% of program participants finished the program with a deeper understanding of what artists do in their work. 66% of the group reported an increased ability to meet other young people interested in the arts (the remaining portion felt they were strong in this area upon entering the program).
100% of YAC participants began the program with a stated intention to improve their ability to use soft skills (especially around leadership and time management). 83% of the group expressed an increase in their leadership abilities (one member expressed this as an existing strength upon entering the program), and 100% of YAC members completed the program with improved time management (related to both group work as well as punctuality). 75% of the group expressed significant (> 50%) improvement in their professional communication.
arts a medium for change ●● Increased ability to use soft skills (teamwork, leadership, time management, communication) as evidenced through an increased use of them to create and manage event and archive
“I see art as a medium for change because it catches the minds of its
“The top skills I’ve improved on are being
viewers and encourages them to make
punctual and time management.”
a change for the better.”
– Justice Hamlin James, YAC participant
– Ashanti Strong, YAC Participant
“My time management has been ok this
“Art is a medium for change because art
program — I’d say I grew in it. I try to
“I feel like I have become a much better
is reactive. It is a platform for a conver-
balance everything I do but sometimes I
at being able to articulate myself on
sation and through a conversation...you
do get distracted...and fall back into my
social justice issues. I used to get heated
become more aware of an issue/problem. old ways. But I’m pushing to do better
very quickly, but now I can have a calm
With that new found understanding [you
because if I want to succeed in college I
are]...able to...spread awareness.”
have to start managing my time.”
– Jade Villegas, YAC Participant
– Kalia Asencio, YAC Participant
– Jontay Beckles, YAC Participant 47
YOUTH ARTICLE: KALIA ASENCIO
My name is Kalia, I am 16 years old and I have been a part of the NLE family for nearly 3 years now. My first NLE program was in 2017 — I took part in ART ZONE CG-91: Community Art and Data Lab (ART ZONE). In 2018, I was a Youth Leader in both the 2018 and 2019 Young Exhibition Makers programs (Y.Ex). Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, I was also a member of the Youth Action Council (YAC). I have now taken part in all of NLE’s teen programming and have learned a lot throughout each of them.
others create a tour script for the artworks and hold each other accountable to memorizing the works. My growth in public speaking also extended to YAC, where we learned how art can be used as a tool to spark conversation around social justice issues. As YAC members, we participated in many youth events and somehow I found this less nerve-wracking than having to lead a small group by myself as I did in Y.Ex. In this program, running ice breakers and facilitating group conversations started to become easier to do.
Coming into ART ZONE, I had a limited view of what art was. When I saw art, it was always tied to craft — it wasn’t anything serious or never got me thinking. When I started the program I thought we were going to learn about “traditional art” (painting, drawing, sculpting, performance arts) as these are the only types of art that I’d ever seen or known of. While in ART ZONE, I realized there was a real, human value in art; during our closing artist salon and open exhibition hours, I finally saw the stories and meaning behind the work. During the artist salon, local East Flatbush artists explained their work and their reasons for making it. For example, Charlie Gross came to speak about his Residency Unlimited project in the Behavioral Health department at H + H / Kings County. Charlie is a photographer who took pictures of mental health clients to uplift their stories. His goal was to show people outside of the hospital who the patients were and to call to light the stigma surrounding mental health patients. Through his photos of the young people in the mental health clinic, I saw they were just regular, normal people. They were the same as anyone else. I found it very powerful and touching because you were seeing people as they were, not as you expected them to be. ART ZONE helped me to understand the importance of community wellness and site-responsive work. Community wellness for me is defined as what is done to benefit and contribute to the well being of the community; site-responsiveness relates to what work is made in a specific place in response to something. These words became more important to me because they were the foundation of Y.Ex — putting those words into action was completely different from just learning about them. When ART ZONE began, the artwork was already installed in the space and we learned basic docent skills and if we forgot something like the artist’s name we could easily look at the summary next to the artwork. When I joined Y.Ex, that’s where I learned how to give a big tour, a real presentation. In Y.Ex, we had to start everything from scratch. We 48
Experiences in NLE’s teen programs not only cleared up my misconception of what art is and its value, but also helped me become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Through these programs, I am more aware of the impact that art has on people and their communities. I learned to understand how artists felt about their work and why it was important to them. I saw how art could get people to talk about the issues in their communities and share their insight and feelings. Art has no boundaries; art is something that is an act of expression through any medium. I think the most important characteristic of art is that it’s a conversation starter. There are so many layers to a piece of art and you often cannot pick up all of the meanings or its importance right away, but through conversation you can learn from others. This conversation can often go beyond the issue that the art piece is trying to convey. Being able to hear other teens’ opinions and interpretations of artwork was great. Through conversation, I was able to understand the concept and the gravity of the issue more clearly than before the exchange of ideas.
Kalia Asencio “digging in the crates” at Interference Archive, 2019. Photo: Mica Le John
learned about everything from curation (choosing artwork for an exhibition) to leading tours to making gallery guides. As a Youth Leader in the program, I learned to get comfortable with leading a small group and speaking up. I noticed that I was able to get comfortable leading my small group during our exhibition planning. This was even easier to do when helping out my peers during my second year of Y.Ex. As a Youth Leader, I was there to help my gallery group with creating our exhibition, and I found myself able to help
NLE’s programs have helped prepare me for the real world. I had the opportunity to work with other teens from various walks of life and with very different backgrounds. This has prepared me to work with a diverse group of co-workers when I do step into the professional world. I have made many meaningful connections with my supervisors and the other participants that have become true friendships. I am very thankful to be a part of the NLE family.
As No Longer Empty’s vision looks forward, we are deeply grateful for the work we’ve had the opportunity to carry out with partners and young people alike. Having New York City teens drive the direction of our education department has been exciting, eye-opening, and fruitful. The second year of YAC has launched with an all-new cohort of youth prepared to tackle the issues of today and tomorrow. As we continue to grow NLE’s youth education programs, we will place further emphasis on different forms of literacy and finding additional avenues for teen participants to have their voices heard. In helping strengthen and develop their skills we aim to facilitate the ongoing articulation of their goals, opinions, and ideas of both themselves and New York City. By continually evolving our model and adapting our youth education programs to the needs of participants, NLE aims to create a foundation for our work locally and to dig deeper with those we have connections to in New York. But this also extends outward, as we hope to provide support and develop partnerships on a national and international level. We are shaping our model to be replicable, malleable, and meaningful for all. We want to open-source our materials to all who would like to access them, and change how arts professionals engage across departments (education, curatorial, public programs) and with different publics. In building opportunities for teens to engage with other youth groups and by partnering with other arts and cultural organizations, we have seen a new level of coalition-building take place. We are excited about the future because we’ve already met many of the people who are going to shape it.
Opposite: YAC celebrating their closing event at Essex Market, 2019. Photo: Sinaia Jones Clockwise from top left: Sarahfina Cunningham, Marvens Volcimus, Justice Hamlin-James, Mariel Martinez, Jontay Beckles, Jade Villegas, Steph Martinez, Ashanti Strong, Kalia Asencio, Mica Le John.
OUTREACH AND SELECTION PROCESS All NLE youth programs undergo a similar outreach and selection process.
the youth applying to our programs, these calls are their first time being interviewed (and for those accepted, their program stipends are often their first paychecks).
Outreach For both YAC and Y.Ex, the call for applications is extended to multiple networks: ●● NLE’s mailing list and social media followers ●● NLE alumni ●● Youth Development Institute’s Career Internships Network listserv ●● Teen Programmers Group listserv For more information on NLE’s programs please visit www.nolongerempty.org. To contact NLE’s education staff about any of our programs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
●● NLE Education staff’s contacts in high schools and arts organizations across New York The call for applications to NLE’s YL program is extended to NLE alumni exclusively. Selection Once all online applications have been received, NLE invites a handful of professionals in our network to join a selection committee. This group is intentionally diverse and includes (at minimum) an artist, an NLE Advisory Board member, and NLE Education staff member. These committees convene remotely to offer their feedback on the applications. The submitted applications are scored across a matrix of different categories (i.e., interest in social justice, access to arts programs) and the selection panel is asked to include a mix of young people in their suggested finalists. In shaping the cohort, we aim to ensure participants come from different levels of arts experience and access, and welcome young people with deep interests outside of the arts. During this panel selection process, NLE staff interview all applicants via a 10 minute telephone or video call. This conversation enables our team to learn more about the young people who applied while also giving them all a chance to experience the interview process. For many of
YAC members contributed to the creation of an onboarding handbook to be given to teens entering an NLE program for the first time. Here is a sample of the youth-made pages.
Life outside of NLE…
- Inappropriate language on NLE social accounts will be deleted
Founded in 2009 and based in New York City, No Longer Empty (NLE) curates site-responsive and community-centered exhibi9ons, educa9on and programs in unique spaces ranging from vacant storefronts and landmark buildings to an underu9lized emergency wai9ng room.
- Be mindful about what you post on your own personal account and know that the NLE team may speak to you about it. -Remember that nothing disappears from the internet. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma/Abuelita/Babushka to see. You are represen9ng your own professional brand.
Conceived in response to a par9cular site and its loca9on, our exhibi9ons are developed through a series of community-engaged research programs that culminate in ar9s9c planorms for dialogue around social, cultural, and poli9cal issues. YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS (Y.Ex) WORKING WITH Be in the know Together with community stakeholders and CHILDREN AND TEENS Young Exhibi)on Makers is a three-to-ﬁve month program that trains organiza9ons, we co-create programs that amplify and pays local high school students in all elements of exhibi9on You get what you give community histories, networks and cultural making. In Y.Ex students learn crea9ve wri9ng, art history, oratory CHILDREN skills and media literacy through working with curators, ar9sts, and The more eﬀort you put in, the more you will get out • Be pa9ent resources. community leaders. of the program • Help keep children and families focused on the task at hand Ac9vi9es include: You get 2 absences • Your primary concern is the safety and educa9on • Selec9ng youth artwork from partner organiza9ons and schools Being over 20 minutes late counts as ½ an absence of the children of the families you are working • Field trips to art exhibi9ons Contact your supervisor if you are going to be late — • Construc9ng a group vision of a crea9ve space and installing an with art show. the sooner we know, the easier it is to let it go! • Never go anywhere alone with a child. If they • Leading tours I must go somewhere like the bathroom, let their • Becoming community ambassadors and encourage dialogue Communica9on is key family or caretaker know. around social issues through art. !
TEENS • Support and encourage engagement in ac9vi9es related to program. • Try to make visitors feel welcome to speak their minds. This is a brave space – let the visitor know that! Give out the energy you hope to receive!
Welcome to the No Longer Empty Team! THE PLACE TO BE YOURSELF, SPEAK YOUR MIND AND YOUR TRUTH WITH NO JUDGEMENT Draw anything you want here.
This is a brave space so speak your truth A brave space is a space where you can speak your mind with no judgement
Young Exhibi9on Makers 2018 opening day !
YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS CURRICULUM OVERVIEW Y.Ex is designed to serve as a space that encourages co-learning amongst the participants and NLE’s education team and provide opportunities for mentorship with both our staff and the guest speakers who come to meet the group. The education team designs each session to make sure the participants feel empowered, which in turn gives them a sense of independence and autonomy that makes the exhibition stronger. The confidence they achieve throughout the program not only makes them feel comfortable sharing their own opinions but when listening to others’ perspectives. This helps them tremendously when discussing work with visitors and collaborating with their peers. The 2019 Y.Ex participants’ growing comfort with one another directly impacted how well they collaborated. This strengthened the thematic discussions they had with the public during the show and their ability to engage more deeply with the issues during tours with visitors of all backgrounds. Empowering the participants to share their ideas not only increased their sense of independence and autonomy but allowed for the teaching team to learn more about the participants and their passions. This laid the foundation for fearless discussions around controversial topics and honest relationship-building with participants. The program was divided into three integrated units, with 4-hour meetings for every session: Exploring arts careers, exhibition making, and community-centered work through readings, group conversations, and guest visitors including artists, community leaders, and curators. Refining participants’ understanding of curatorial practice, exhibition planning, and collaborative processes on field trips to arts institutions, artwork selection workshops, writing exercises, and hands-on exhibition installation. Designing gallery experiences for visitors through planning and practicing tours and developing
public programs. Hosting public programming and tours for the community during Saturday sessions and weekday appointments. Upon completion of the program, a graduation ceremony was held outdoors on the hospital campus with friends and family in attendance. Here, participants were surprised with a physical program catalog that documented their successes during the program through images and text. Program certificates, recommendation letters, and stipends were given to all 19 of the participants for the work they did. Documentation of the program was imperative to develop a professional portfolio of printed material that highlighted their contributions and could be used for future work opportunities. This included the InJustUs gallery guide and installation images (which can be found online at https:// bit.ly/InJustUs).
created social identity maps, viewed clips from the PBS show Off and Running, and engaged in discussion with Yahdon Israel. Session 4 - March 23 Field trip: BRIC Biennial: Volume III, South Brooklyn Edition, and MOCADA’s exhibition, Give Me Body: Femme Redivined. Session 5 - March 30 Y.Ex selected art work for their exhibition. Guest speaker: artist Tamara Santibañez. Following a presentation of her work, Tamara led the group in an art-making activity to create work to supplement their exhibition. Session 6 - April 6 With their themes and artwork decided, participants began to plan the exhibition layout, create psychogeography maps of the D-Lobby, and write curatorial statements. Guest speaker: Claire Kim, independent curator and special assistant to the President of BRIC, led the curatorial statement workshop.
YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS PROGRAM SCHEDULE Session 1 - March 2 The first session of Y.Ex was designed to help participants get acquainted with one another, understand what was required of them, and evaluating their knowledge of art and socially engaged practices. They learned each others pronouns, discussed the importance of curiosity in the curatorial process, and played“How Many Are There”. Session 2 - March 9 Participants selected the themes for their exhibition and considered how these themes directly relate to the East Flatbush community. Guest speaker Dalaeja Foreman visited to discuss site-responsive curation and psychogeography. With Foreman, the youth delved into the works of Marin Hassinger, Anthony Jamari Thomas, and Shellyne Rodriguez and examined the relationship between material and community. Session 3 - March 16
Session 7- April 13 Alongside NLE Lab members and NLE staff, Y.Ex participants brainstormed free, public programming for InJustUs. Session 8 - April 27 Y.Ex participants met with a graphic designer, Valentina Vergara. Vergara emphasizes collaboration in her work and met with each thematic group to discuss their gallery guide section. Each gallery groups’ section incorporated their curatorial statement, images of the selected artwork, and an interactive component to encourage visitor engagement. Sessions 9-12 - May 4-25 The last four sessions of the program were spent installing the show and practicing exhibition tours with their peers and guest visitors (the NLE team and NLE Lab members).
Y.Ex 2019 cohort discussed self-perceptions and how this affects how one views their respective communities. They
InJustUs aims to share different viewpoints of various social injustices in the hopes of educating visitors. The exhibition features various artists that explore a multitude of mediums such as digital illustrations, painting, drawing, photography, and video. Each of these artists use their medium of choice to aid in them displaying their ideas and thoughts in a creative way! As teenagers spanning the ages of 13-19, the curators of InJustUs chose topics and artworks that matter to them IN THIS MOMENT. They felt that Kings County Hospital is the perfect space to showcase InJustUs as it is in the center of Brooklyn, where a majority of the curators are from. The curators of InJustUs hope the exhibition serves as a mirror of the community’s concerns. INJUSTUS GALLERY GROUP CURATORIAL STATEMENTS Who You Are (Race and Ethnicity) — Curated by Alirat Sanni, Michelle Muszkat Levine, Etharr Ahmed, Kalia Asencio, Hamza Azhar Who You Are aims to leave visitors with a message they can think about after leaving the exhibition. The artists in this exhibition use a variety of materials to explore the concept of race versus ethnicity. The curators of Who You Are hope that visitors leave with a stronger sense of empathy, and a smile. They hope that by looking at the work they realize the importance of giving other’s space to be completely with who they are. That through communication we will all be able to better support one another. Love Without Borders (Immigration) — Curated by Elham Abuali, Umahani Hamad, and Jade Villegas Love Without Borders addresses immigration under the Trump administration. The artists in this section of InJustUs explore the impact of the political climate in the past 3 years. Through painting, graphite, and digital art, the artists ask and answer difficult questions about xenophobia in the 21st century. The artists use their collective experiences as an impetus in the creation of their work. Choosing an artwork that says “no more” in different languages, as well as faces, we hope to be accessible and create an evocative experience for a plethora of audiences. Love Without Borders should be approached with empathy and understanding of both sides of the story. 58
Listen (Mental Health) — Curated by Kimani Brown, Nyia Savannah Pilgrim, Marvens Volcimus, Benjamin Opoku, and Steph Martinez
Through Listen, we are hoping to spread awareness regarding mental health and stress the importance of how different mental illnesses impact people’s lives. We hope the artwork featured will make people more conscious of how they treat others. Through painting and digital art, the artists featured remind the viewer not to judge others and be empathetic. Having the artwork displayed in a hospital is extremely important as it will ignite conversations regarding mental health within a space that treats and cares for those who may be living with a mental illness.
Exhibition Opening June 1 from 1–5 pm Kings County Hospital D–LOBBY Brooklyn, NY
InclUsive (Gender & Sexuality) — Curated by Carlitos Rodriguez, Janae Stanford, and Nazair Deondre Francois Through InclUsive, we hope to establish an avenue for artists to display their pieces that focus on the current role of gender and sexuality in everyday life. When people view these works, we hope to inspire change or at least increase the representation of the complicated nature of gender and sexuality. The artists chosen have used painting, as well as digital art, to focus on people other than heterosexual men. A recurring theme in the works featured being the human body and its importance to us. Through this exhibition we aim to challenge the way that the media portrays women, and folks that identify as LGBTQ. Our Lives Matter (Police Brutality) — Curated by GiviennaGeneva Gordon, Nilajah Batts, and Elani Amélie Reyes Our Lives Matter aims to bring awareness to the issue of police brutality currently happening in America. The curators’ main goal is to shine light onto the corruption taking place in police departments. Through drawing and painting, the artists featured broadcast the reality of police brutality and how it affects people of color worldwide. The decision to position this work next to the security desk was made in order to have a larger conversation about the public’s relationship to authority figures, as well as to inspire thought. By showing the works included in Our Lives Matter, the curators hope viewers recognize that simply because they may not have a direct relationship to police brutality does not mean that it is not happening. As a community we must all recognize the pain people are going through and take a stand. We must all recognize that OUR LIVES MATTER!
Young Exhibition Makers 2019
CURATORIAL STATEMENTS BY Y.EX PARTICIPANTS InJustUs EXHIBITION CURATORIAL STATEMENT
No Longer Empty’s Young Exhibition Makers 2019 present InJustUs, an exhibition which aims to spread awareness on various social injustices — police brutality, mental health, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, and immigration — in the hopes of educating visitors.
WorkRoom: Zine Making with Tamara Santibañez June 8 from 1–5pm Talk with NLE Lab Members and Exhibiting Artists on June 15 from 1–5pm To schedule a tour contact: Duneska@nolongerempty.org
No Longer Empty’s education programs are supported by Con Edison; Exploring the Arts; Malka Fund; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Berk Foundation, and generous individual supporters. In-kind support is provided by Materials for the Arts and Kings County Hospital.
Sample pages from the InJustUs gallery guide.
Young Exhibition Makers 2019
Who You Are aims to leave visitors with a message they can think about after leaving the exhibition. The artists in this exhibition use a variety of materials to explore the concept of race versus ethnicity. The curators of Who You Are hope that visitors leave with a stronger sense of empathy, and a smile. They hope that by looking at the work they realize the importance of giving otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s space to be completely with who they are. That through communication we will all be able to better support one another.
Young Exhibition Makers 2019
1. What comes to mind when you hear Race and Ethnicity? 2. What are the differences between Race and Ethnicity? 3. How can being multiracial or having a mixed ethnic identity affect you? 4. Can you be Latino (for example: Dominican, Cuban, Puerto-Rican) and black? Explain why?
Draw some symbols that represent you below
Young Exhibition Makers 2019
Race & Ethnicity Questions
23 3 Mya Chamberlain
Protect the Youth
Ethnicity: cultural background (for example: South-East Asian, North Eritrean, Middle Eastern) Race: physical characteristics (for example: hair, skin, eye color, bone structure)
5 Leila Eng Perez
4 Dashiell Del Barco
1 Lainey Liriano
WHO YOU ARE
RACE & ETHNICITY
Michelle Muszkat Levine
YOUTH ACTION COUNCIL CALENDAR
February: Carceral State
September: Critical Thinking & Questioning
Feb. 8 Yahdon Israel: Lecture and Discussion: Narrative vs. Plot
Sept. 7 Foundations of critical thinking and social justice; discussion: Why Cultural Critics of Color Matter Sept. 21
Kamau Ware / Black Gotham Experience
October: Activism & Art Oct. 5 Intersectionality; Indigenous People’s Day Poster-Making Guest speakers: Kyle Goen and Marz Saffore / Decolonize this Place Oct. 13
Art in Odd Places
Oct. 19 Brooklyn Museum, guided tour of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power November: Storytelling & Society Nov. 2 LGBTQ+ representation; Allyship Guest speakers: Quito Ziegler and Kristen Lovell, WRRQ Collective Screening: Wild Ponies and Trans in Media Nov. 16 New Museum, guided tour of MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas Nov. 30
Interviewing Workshop Guest speaker: Didintle Ntsie
December: Planning the Future Dec. 7
Mid-program evaluation session
January: Feminisms Jan. 11 Ayana Evans: Participatory performance + presentation and conversation Jan. 25 BUFU (By Us For Us): Screening of WYFY + presentation and conversation
LES gallery walkaround
Stories Matter Media: CIRCLES screening
Group check-ins and frequent one-on-ones enable our staff to iterate quickly on curriculum and teaching styles. Frequent “exit notes,” handed in anonymously at the end of workshops, enable staff to quickly respond as needed to the participants’ needs and questions
YOUNG EXHIBITION MAKERS AND YOUTH LEADERS
Every session of Y.Ex 2019 was facilitated by three to four members of NLE’s Education staff. This allowed program participants to receive more focused attention, for our Education team to evaluate student and program success more quickly, and to adjust the curriculum where needed.
ArtFuture NYC: Youth Alliance event
March 15 The Drawing Center, guided tour: Winter Term 2019: The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) March 29 Luba Cortes, Make the Road NY: Know Your Rights training April: Documentation & Archiving April 5
FIELD TRIP: Interference Archive
Studio Visit with Jasmine Murrell
May: Media Power May 4
May 17 8-ball Community Center: Tour and zinemaking workshop June: Climate Justice & Community Action June 7
Storyline Media: Water Warriors screening
June 14 Final day: Quilt making for archive and program evaluation June 19
Slip the Tea
During the first session of Y.Ex the new program participants completed a welcome survey where they were asked to define terms (i.e., site-specific art, socially engaged, and community wellness) and to provide more information about their engagement with community programs in order for us to gauge their understanding of and experience with the ideas covered in the program. These same questions about key terms were included in the midpoint and final evaluations, using the initial survey as a tool to evaluate the change.
ableism, transphobia, feminism, and social practice. At the midpoint and upon program conclusion, this handout was completed again and compared with the initial handout. At the midpoint of the program (late December 2018), we held a two-hour evaluation debrief broken into two parts: Anonymous walkthrough: YAC members used sticky notes to anonymously answer questions posted to the wall Group conversation: YAC members, NLE staff, and an external reviewer discussed elements of the program they enjoyed thus far, any concerns they had about YAC, and sessions they would like to have during the remainder of the year In the final weeks of the program, participants completed surveys that included program feedback and self-evaluations. The questions in this survey target administrative/ NLE staff evaluations, guest speaker sessions, and most importantly, the participants’ self-reported personal growth across the three main learner outcomes for YAC.
In the Midpoint Reflection participants were not only asked about the terms mentioned at the beginning of the program but also about the curatorial process. We did so by asking questions such as “What are the connections between the artwork?” as well as prompted to reflect on their decision-making process. In the final weeks of the program, participants completed anonymous program and self-evaluation surveys (with YLs also completing peer feedback). This feedback plays a valuable role in program design for the following year and enables our team to evaluate internally whether the program was successful and achieved the learner outcomes.
YOUTH ACTION COUNCIL At orientation (August 2018), members of the inaugural YAC cohort completed a key terms handout to give us an understanding of how much they know about social justice issues and set a baseline to measure against at the end of the program. This list included terms such as 63
Left: Y.Ex 2019 Youth Leader Program, Self and Peer Evaluation form Right: Questions for YAC’s anonymous midpoint evaluation
Y.Ex Youth Leader Self and Peer Evaluations 2019 * 1. What is your full name?
* 2. Were the trainings helpful for you to discover and solidify your style as leader? Not so helpful
Why did you choose the above rating?
* 3. Now that we're at the end of the program, think back on the leadership skills and abilities you identified at the beginning of the program and indicate below where you think you've made improvements (if theyWhat is colonialism? were necessary!). Please take your time with this section :) Didn't need to improve (already strong) Empathy Honesty
Need to, but didn't Improved somewhat improve (+25%) Improved (+50%)
What is intersectionality?
Improved a lot! (+75% or more)
What is transphobia? What is social justice?
What is social practice?
What aspects of Youth Action Council have been your favorite? Why?
Teamwork Adaptability Kindness Punctuality Communication Thoughtfulness Open-mindedness
What aspects of Youth Action Council have been your least favorite? Why? Please tell us one thing you would like to improve in the new year (with regards to YAC). Is there fluid communication between you and your peers? Please explain. Is there fluid communication between you and your supervisors? Please explain. How do you feel about the topics we’ve explored so far?
If there's a particular skill (or two) that you've really grown in and are willing to share, please write a short explanation of what has Were been exciting about this personal growth:
there any topics that you are super passionate about and felt we didn’t explore enough? What was the most memorable YAC session for you so far? It can be positive or negative. Has this program had any impact on your college plans or thoughts about a future career in the arts? Please explain. Has your perception of the relationship between contemporary art and activism changed since you started the program? Please explain. Do you consider yourself more connected to art than before? Please explain. Do you feel more connected to New York City than before?