NEW YORK, N.Y.-
This September the Whitney Museum of American Art
has been awarded a $200,000 National Leadership Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services for a three-year research project to investigate the long-term impact of its teen programs. For this research project the Whitney is collaborating with the Walker Art Center, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. All four institutions offer teen programs that have been in existence for more than a decade and provide a diverse group of participants the opportunity to learn about art, go behind the scenes at each institution, and take on leadership roles within the museum and in their community.
Program staff have witnessed the short-term, immediate benefits that the teens experience during their tenure in each programthe programs broaden students perspectives and sense of self, introduce them to new careers, and spark a connection to the arts. However, these institutionsand art museums across the countryhave yet to undertake an in-depth inquiry into the ways in which these experiences manifest themselves in the long term in their participants lives. To further explore program benefits, staff at the four museums will reach out to their program alumni to explore how their participation in a teen program at an art museum has shaped their personal, professional, and academic lives.
This national research project will have important implications for both the art museum community and arts educators. The study will address a critical need within the greater IMLS community, enabling practitioners to understand the long-term effects of arts programming for teens and will yield highly useful information about program features and frameworks that generate high impact outcomes for participants, by offering comparisons of multiple programs.
The Whitney will publish information about the study progress regularly on its website, allowing others to follow this unique collaborative research endeavor and submit comments, questions, and relevant resources to project organizers. The four partners will also host a program at each site at the conclusion of the project, making lessons learned from this collaborative research project and information in the final report available to multiple communities.