From Aug. 12-14, 2009, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
hosts Generation O: A National Convening for Teens and their Arts Organizations. Bringing together five of the most innovative teen arts organizations in the country, Generation O inaugurates a nationwide exchange of ideas among key teen leaders and their museum educators. In a time when arts education is dramatically reduced or absent at many public schools, the teen-moderated conference addresses how museums can provide opportunities for young people to experience art and develop skills in creative thinking and leadership. Participants include: the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Marwen Center in Chicago.
Teens and museums can learn a lot from each other about the necessity of art and creative expression in our daily experience, and the ICAs Teen Convening is the first step towards our mutual education, says Jill Medvedow, Director of the ICA. Museums with vibrant teen arts programs have the chance to enrich the lives of their young participants in a meaningful and lasting way; through immersive and innovative interactions with art, artists and each other, teens are inspired to think creatively and critically in all aspects of their lives.
Since the ICA expanded its Teen Arts Program two years ago, we have seen participation increase by an astounding 300%, says ICA Associate Director of Education Rosanna Flouty, who oversees the museums teen programs. As in other parts of the country, budget cuts and changing priorities have made it difficult if not impossible for Boston public high schools to maintain their arts programs.
The popularity of the ICAs Teen Arts Program clearly indicates that young people are seeking ways to meaningfully experience art, creativity and new ideas. The main goal of Generation O is for teen arts leaders and museum educators to come together and discuss their findings in order to build a model for teen engagement in the arts.
The term generation O refers to the current generation of young creators and innovators who will come of age during the Obama administration. Like Obama himself, these young people demonstrate an extraordinary ease and open-mindedness in using new technologies to communicate and exchange ideas. Teen participants in Generation O have created an online forum to begin discussion of topics they will continue to address at the conference in August: http://www.icateens.org/forum