“We’ve got a great beginning,” a teen reflected at last weekend’s Summit 4 Teens.
MASS MoCA and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) collaborated to host a night of art-making and brainstorming future teen programming. The college students mentored the teens, setting the precedent for a long-term partnership.
We began the night getting to know each other with some team-building games. To set the tone of freedom of expression and no restraint from the get-go, which continued throughout the night, each person expressed a gesture to introduce him- or herself and the group repeated it back.
After a brief gallery tour and walking meditation, the teens chose art stations led by MCLA students. In Kidspace, the stations included: knit bombing (i.e., knitting and crocheting around a found object, in this case, two Kidspace chairs), fashion design, cartooning, and jewelry-making (including using the ever-popular shrinky-dinks). At the same time, teens could also participate in a music jam session and spoken word poetry slam, followed by theater improv games and body percussion. Many teens admitted that they’re usually on the Internet, but they enjoyed doing things with their hands.
The group brainstormed future programming and a Teenspace (name to be determined) during the Dream Big Task Force session. Some ideas about what would be in Teenspace made us laugh, like a flying car and Teenspace pet, but most reflected the teens’ determination and enthusiasm to create an artistic space they could call their own. One teen voiced her desire to be a “poet on Monday, sculptor on Friday,” indicating the variety of artistic practices the teens want to explore.
The teens proclaimed a passion for artistic genres including visual arts, photography, and video; theater, music, and dance; poetry and writing; yoga and architecture. They want to express these passions by, for example, splatter painting the walls, cooking food, designing video games, making costumes, drawing, creating Jell-O sculptures, Zen doodling, fabricating fantasy buildings, making ceramics, and printmaking. They noted in order to accomplish these undertakings, they would like to participate in classes as well as have free artistic time, in a space with the necessary equipment and resources. Ensuring a judgment-free atmosphere, sense of community, and a productive place to create are the keys to success.
To conclude the night, the teens and college students planted bulbs on which they had written something they wanted to manifest from the Summit. As they dropped each bulb into the pots they had collaged earlier in the evening, they reflected on the night’s events. Optimistic responses, such as “Change is in the air” and “I was impressed by everyone and it was an inspiration,” pervaded the air.
Interested in participating in future Dream Big Task Force brainstorming sessions or teen events? Contact Shannon Toye at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 664-4481 x8154. Also, be sure to “like” The Summit 4 Teens on Facebook!