Guest Blog: A Year in the Life Of Teen Art Gallery 2012-2013 @TeenArtGallery

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tagDirector Charlotte Lee shares what life at Teen Art Gallery for a year was like.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  Thanks for sharing and the honesty! 

September

We have our first meeting of the year with our new T.A.G. Team. We don’t know each other that well yet and haven’t figured out how to work smoothly as a team. We need to decide out who will work on which aspects of the organization. Matthew Pasquarelli has already been improving the website. We set the date for the submissions period and all of us have the role of reaching out to different schools and art programs to solicit submissions. Chaya Howell will create fliers to put up in schools.  Everyone has interesting ideas It is a lively discussion; we talk about the website, fundraising, a possible TAG Zine, and the exhibitions.

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Putting Heart into Art History: by Teenage Blogger Emily Zauzmer

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All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is a book by Robert Fulghum, and for me, the titular phrase is quite true. I learned to tie my shoes, I learned to share – and I learned that I have a passion for art history.

My kindergarten teacher introduced the class to the wonders of art history in a delightful way: She had each student paint his or her own rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Perhaps my artistic skills were not on par with those of the legendary painter – why did I leave out the cypress tree anyway? – but my love of art history was ignited with more fire than van Gogh’s glimmering stars.

Femilyvangoghollowing this art project, five-year-old me begged my parents to take me to New York City to see the Post-Impressionist masterpiece at the Museum of Modern Art. (This must have not come as much of a surprise to anyone, as I had dragged my family to Plymouth Rock after the teacher’s Thanksgiving lesson on the Mayflower.)

About a decade later, in a seemingly unrelated turn of events, my family made plans to vacation at the Iowa State Fair to experience that quintessential slice of Americana. A week or so before the trip, I happened to come across the Wikipedia page for the Dibble House, the white home with the iconic Gothic window that Grant Wood immortalized in American Gothic. My fates were aligning: the Dibble House was in Iowa. “I see an amazing photo op!” I gushed to my family in an email asking if we could add the Dibble House to our itinerary.

That explains why on August 21, 2011, I found myself in a quaint town called Eldon, where a small house with a steep roof serves as the center of attraction. The American Gothic House Center supplies replica pitchforks and costumes so that visitors can pose as the famous man and woman in front of the actual house that Wood depicted.

americangothicAfter my brother and I snapped our own keepsake photograph, I wanted to have a use for my American Gothic re-creation – after all, what fun is a re-creation if it serves only as a unique Facebook profile picture? It dawned on me that I could make an art history blog.

At first, I was a bit wary.  Would anyone read my blog? Would I essentially be writing for myself? Nevertheless, with a year of AP Art History under my belt, I decided to enter the blogosphere by creating Heartwork.

On Heartwork, I blog about my creative adventures in art history. These adventures have included picture re-creations (American Gothic, Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, James McNeill Whistler’s Whistler’s Mother) and edible artwork (The Starry Night in cupcakes). I have also blogged about my visit to a nearby park with sculptures of famous paintings, and posts about my trips to museums are coming.

The response to Heartwork has been incredibly rewarding, and many individuals have kindly tweeted about the blog. Excitingly, within its first few weeks of existence, Heartwork has been viewed in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

My great wish is that Heartwork will continue to grow not only through me but also through my visitors. If they email me (emilybz@comcast.net) photographs of their endeavors in art history like picture re-creations, I will be thrilled to post the photographs on the blog.

In my mind, there are two possible paths for the future of art history: If we fall prey to the notion that art history is comprised merely of antiquated relics with no importance to today, both museums and societies will suffer. But if we embrace art history as a meaningful and vibrant subject matter, we will find that works of art can reveal profound truths about us and our cultures.

To choose the latter option, we each need to forge our own connections with artwork – to make art history our own. I sincerely hope that Heartwork inspires viewers to make art history a fun and relevant part of their lives. After all, putting heart into art history is really what Heartwork is all about.

 

Diamond Friends Forever Guest blog June 17th @DFF_DiaMu

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By Claudia Demaeght (youngster of DFF)

As mentioned in the last blog of Nathalie and Brent I, as a member of the group communication, will elaborate on the subject of social media.

2013-05-18 12.45.59To introduce the project and make our target group enthusiastic to visit our museum, the group communication received a budget. The budget wasn’t very large, but that was rather a challenge than a threat to us. One of the cheapest ways to communicate these days is through social media and because youngsters are very present on the social media, this was one of the main elements of our communication plan.

We divided our plan into 4 subgroups, namely: online communication, guerilla marketing, offline communication and press. I will tell you a bit more about these parts that integrate social media.

communicatie 2In our group, Justin, Jacob and I discussed al lot on the subject of social media. Eventually we confined ourselves to the 2 most popular among youngsters: Facebook and Twitter. We thought this was the most efficient way to reach our target audience. Brent and Nathalie made a Facebook-account for DFF at the beginning of the project, and with more than 250 likes this was already a good medium to reach a lot of people. We want to use Facebook for both information and fun.  You will find information like where, when, who and why but also pictures and crazy facts about diamonds bearing in mind the ‘ like and share principle ‘. We want to make sure that people like our page and share things they like with their friends. Starting from the launch of our guerilla marketing campaign we want to use our campaign image as cover image on the page. That way the campaign image will be well-known by our visitors.

89b0f2541b87432d4806e2017bfabde9Twitter was the second social networking site we decided to use. We use Twitter to reach more international audience. Therefore we deliberately communicate in English. Because you are restricted to 140 characters we will use it to post short informational messages but also short fun facts about diamonds. Other social media we thought about to use were Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. In Belgium our target audience is not as present on these social media as in America and the UK so we decided to just focus on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter are not the best channels to tell the whole DFF-story, that’s why a WordPress website is being created right now. My co-worker Justin is a handyman when it comes to graphic design so I am already curious to see the result!

fashionableBecause we were encouraged by Nathalie and Brent to think outside the box we wanted to create something fun and unexpected for the guerilla action, something that people will talk about. The winning idea was to distribute a lot of saddle covers for bicycles on places that youngsters and tourist will visit during the period before and during the launch of the museum. Kind of a saddle cover raid! On these covers the DFF-website will be mentioned and here the visitors can participate in a contest to win a real diamond!

The DFF-Facebook and Twitter page will also be present on all the offline media like on beer mats, posters, postcards, flyers and on trams. I hope by the launch of the museum we have a lot of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’… and that our efforts will be rewarded!

You can still visit us on Facebook (DFFDiamondFriendsForever) ,Twitter (DFF_DiaMu) and soon on www.diamondfriedsforever.be!

Guest Blog: Mindspot – Make It Your Library in Denmark

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LogoBy Lisbeth Mærkedahl, Librarian and Coordinator for Mindspot, Aarhus, Denmark

How do we involve young people in our program?

In The Main Library in Aarhus, Denmark we work with the questions above. We want to turn the library into a relevant and interesting partner in the lives of young people (between 14 and 25 years old). We want to be a creator of opportunities and an initiator of conversations. To do that we realized, that we needed to hire young people (mindspotters).

Banner 043Our intention is to involve young people in the whole process from the idea-generating over the planning to the execution. And we want the library to be the producer and the young ones to be the innovators and performers.

We have done a lot of activities fx:

–       AFTRYK

  • A portrait book of young people in our town – made by mindspotters and volunteers

–       Tattoo at Den Grimmeste Festival

  • Try to tattoo on pigskin. Creativeness arise when context and materials are new and different

Groupwork–       AUSFAHRT 12’

  • 8 concerts around in the city  from a van bed  – with one winner band

–       Information seeking and retrieval

  • Visit school classes and do exercise with them – with roots in their needs

–       Workshops fx scratch, drawing and cup cakes

AusfahrtThe outcome for the library is manifold;

–       External partners and branding

–       Engagement, professionalism and constant challenges for the employees

–       Library transformation

You can read more about Mindspot at http://www.aakb.dk/files/file_attachments/2012-07-10_1356/mindspot_rapport_eng_web.pdf or www.mindspot.dk.

How useful is social media for raising awareness about the Holocaust and genocide #WLdebate

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Guest Blog from Katy at Wiener Library

wldebateTo mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2013, the Wiener Library’s Young Volunteers hosted a special debate about social media. Ten young people aged 16-25 came together to discuss the question ‘How useful is social media for raising awareness about the Holocaust and genocide?’. Chaired by the Library’s Community and Outreach Officer, the following questions formed the outline of the debate:

1)    If it’s ‘social’ media, is it suitable for raising awareness of a sensitive topic such as the Holocaust?

2)    Are there differences between the ways social media can be used to raise awareness about the past as opposed to the present?

3)    Memorialisation, learning and taking action? Can social media do anything more than awareness raising?

4)    Where should social media be placed amongst traditional methods of raising awareness of the Holocaust (eg school teaching, museums, films, literature)

gabriella_julia copy

Credit: Ben Turner and The Wiener Library

5)    Are certain types of social media better than others for raising awareness of the Holocaust and genocide?

6)    If we can’t control what gets written on Twitter, is it actually useful at all?

7)    Where do you see the role of social media in the future in terms of raising awareness of the Holocaust?

Some of the key points from the debate were published on the Wiener Library twitter account so the wider public were able to engage with the debate. The responses can still be seen (and replied to!) by searching the hashtag #WLdebate.

Credit: Ben Turner and The Wiener Library

Credit: Ben Turner and The Wiener Library

Lots of interesting points were made but the overall consensus was that social media was a useful ‘way in’ for people in terms of raising awareness. They argued that it had the potential to capture people’s attention and inspire them to learn more as well as take action. One attendee was less positive and worried that social media was a ‘shallow form of engagement’, but that didn’t mean it was not useful, just that it was useful for catching attention rather than deep and meaningful learning. Someone following the discussion on Twitter argued that writing a survivor story in 140 characters (regarding the Holocaust Education Trust’s ‘ask a survivor’ Twitter chat for Holocaust Memorial Day) would lose the historical context, but the group argued that the fact people were asking survivors questions at all via twitter showed some level of positive engagement.

After the debate finished, it was suggested by the attendees that a new online presence was created for them to carry on their discussions. The Library consequently created a debate group on Facebook for those young people and others to discuss ideas and put forward potential future debate topics. We will be holding another debate in the autumn so keep following the #WLdebate!

 

Using Online Courses to Connect Teens to Museums @NCMATeens

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ncmateensContinuing with our ‘sharing of social media and other online activities’ to engage Teens and Young People, Michelle H. Harrell, mharrell@ncartmuseum.org, Coordinator of Teen and College Programs at North Carolina Museum of Art shares their online courses available in North Carolina.

If you’re reading this blog, you may already know the challenge museums face reaching local teens. When given the challenge of reaching teens across a state spanning 560 miles (900 km), the issues are challenging. Our museum has discovered how online courses can offer a tool to connect teens to their state art museum in rich and meaningful ways.

As a statemuseum, the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA has initiated a variety of concept-driven programs for teachers and schools across the state. Through a grant-funded collaboration with the North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS), we have created a series of online high school credit courses at no cost to students enrolled in a public school in NC. Rather than offering traditional art history courses, we offer a variety of popular subjects, such as game design, videography, fashion, advertising, and photography. Visit http://ncartmuseum.org/virtual_public_school/ to learn more about each course.

These online courses combine object-based approaches in the galleries with project-based applications. Works of art are used as catalysts for learning. Each course meets the following goals. Students will…

  • Build learning and innovation skills while increasing media and technology skills.
  • Engage with the art collections of the NCMA regardless of their geographic location across NC.
  • Participate in educational programming at the NCMA, both during and after enrollment in the courses.

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Videos of artists and curators combined with exciting projects and discussion forums create authentic experiences for students to construct meaningful connections to the work. Each week, students learn new concepts, connect these concepts to a work of art, and then create original work that synthesizes what they have learned. For instance, in our “Art of Photography” course, students master technical agility of photographic processes while developing aesthetic perception and creativity. In the first module of the course, students learn about artist intent while understanding how a camera’s lens operates. Students watch this video featuring Chris Drury’s Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky to hear his artistic approach and watch a timelapse of how the small aperture projects the outside of the park to the walls of the sculpture.

Enrollment in these courses has doubled each year. The pilot course offered in Fall 2010 had only 60 students, but the current semester has over 300 students enrolled. By the end of next school year, we expect the enrollment to exceed 500 students each semester. In only three years of offering these online courses, over half of NC’s school systems have had at least one student enrolled in our program.

ElizabethMOn-site educational programming draws upon the themes of these courses. From symposia, residencies, field trips, and events, students have multiple entry points to engage with our museum. We just celebrated the debut of the Art of Photography course with ArtScene, which is our teen event  held each spring at the NCMA. Students enjoyed photography activities, a polaroid photo booth, live entertainment, and a student exhibition from the course.

As our program grows, we are interested in collaborating with other museums to contribute to the field of online learning. How has your museum incorporated online learning to connect to teens? What other museums can be used as examples to engage teens through distance learning? Join the conversation by adding comments below or contacting me directly (mharrell@ncartmuseum.org).

NCMA Social Media
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Museums, Teens and Social Media: @TeenArtGallery

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tagRecently, I’ve been asking for Teen groups to share how social media fits into their program.  If you would like to share your views, please let us know.

This is a response By Charlotte Bravin Lee, age 17 Director and Curator of Teen Art Gallery.

I don’t particularly embrace technology. Most of my friends are better with computers than I am. I have always preferred a pencil and pad or a paintbrush and canvas.  I was the last to give up my flip phone in favor of a smart phone. But a year ago, when I became the director of Teen Art Gallery, I realized I wanted to increase awareness about our group. At the time we had about 350 “likers”.  My goal was to double this number within a year – and we have succeeded. I found that the more posts we created with images attached really helped. We used pictures from our various openings. We posted young teen art work. Every time we share a post from another museum group, we earn new “fans” and increase our profile. Continue reading →

Diamond Friends Forever Guest Blog: third follow-up @DFF_DiaMu

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by Nathalie Brejaart & Brent Blockx

I2013-04-02 13.23.03t’s been three weeks since our last blog and there’s a lot going on right now.

In March we submerged our DFF youngsters in the world of Diamonds. They visited the Diamond museum in Grobbendonk and we took them on an exclusive tour through the ‘Diamond Square Mile’. So it can be said that the youngsters now have a lot of impressions and theoretical input.

Because we want to bring participatory tools into our museum we did some inspiration visits with the DFF’ers.

2013-04-02 14.11.41The first long trip was to Eindhoven where we visited the Van Abbemuseum, a contemporary art museum. On their website, they make it appear as if they’re a ‘curious museum’ and they want to convey this to their visitors. Therefore, we went out! Unfortunately, we found little curious elements in the exhibits on display. We learned later on that the curious (participatory) elements vary strongly from exhibit to exhibit.

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Diamond Friends Forever Guest Blog: second follow-up @DFF_DiaMu

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by Brent Blockx and Nathalie Brejaart

DFF-logoLast time we elaborated on the matter of selecting our youngsters. Our DFF-crew has been selected and now we’re submerging them in the world of diamonds. We took them to the Diamondmuseum of Grobbendonk. That museum displays a lot of materials that are used in the process of cutting and preparing diamond. There are a lot of personal stories to be found in the museum as well. The museum really shows the impact of the diamond industry in the province of Antwerp (diamond wasn’t only a big industry in the city of Antwerp, but in the province as well).

Next week we’ll take them on a tour through the “Diamond Square Mile”. That’s a neighbourhood of just one square mile (obviously), but it can be considered as the epicentre of the global diamond industry. There are a ton of companies, institutions and jewellers situated in that area, all occupied with just one thing: diamonds. Normally it’s pretty difficult to get an inside view of those companies if your not an initiate. So, that we’ll be an interesting experience for the DFF-crew.

With the input they got at Grobbendonk and the Diamond Square Mile we’ll start the difficult process of deciding on which story/stories to tell in the pop-upmuseum. More on that process in the following blogposts.

Besides the input we’re giving the youngsters, we were working on securing a location for the pop-upmuseum. As you can image, a very important task indeed! The location had to meet a few criteria: easy accessible, located in the town centre, spacious enough to display everything, the possibility to add things to walls, ceilings,… and off course safe enough to display valuable museumartifacts. You would think that it would be easy to find such a place in a big city as Antwerp, at least that’s what we thought. How wrong we were! It turned out to be a pretty difficult task, but we can now say: we found the perfect location! And the location is… KAVKA.

logo_kavka_cmykkopieKavka is an organisation that exploits a big infrastructure (an old schoolbuilding) that youngsters can use/rent to organize parties, courses, small events,… They are open to all sorts of initiatives. During summer there is a lot less on their calendar, so the coming of the pop-upmuseum is an ideal opportunity for them to fill up a quite period in their working. In Antwerp, Kavka is well known among youngsters, so that’s a big plus as well. The location definitely meets our demands (provided we change a few small things) and Kavka is very excited, as are we! We’re pretty confident that this collaboration will work out great.

The selection of the location was one of the elements of the project that the youngsters didn’t have a say in. The main reasons for this choice were that we started the search for a location before we had selected the youngsters of the DFF-team, due to limited time. Besides that, the location had to meet certain demands, as mentioned earlier, concerning safety and accessibility. This was something we ourselves, Nathalie and me, were limited by as well. The safety-coordinator of the province had to screen and investigate every location. When you’re working with diamonds, you just can’t take any chances. Eventually the decision was made by Nathalie and me, our mentors from AmuseeVous and the Diamondmuseum and the safety-coordinator. We went over the different possible locations and based the decision on different pro’s and con’s concerning every location. Eventually, Kavka came out on top.

For now we’ll continue preparing our youngsters and preparing ourselves for the tasks still ahead of us. And you can still follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Next time we’ll elaborate on the subject of social media a bit more as well. How and why we use it and if it helps our project.

Feel free to ask questions or share your ideas on the project! We would love to hear them!

 

 

Guest Blog: Jeugd en Poëzie Youth and Poetry

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ondertekening-roxWelcome to the living room in your head, where everyone is welcome for some afternoon delight or skyrockets in flight.

Jeugd en Poëzie (youth and poetry) is an organization in the Flemish part of Belgium who is trying to open the doors of imaginary living rooms everywhere.

By using metaphors you can tell your story without giving away everything immediately.

The poet doesn’t always want you to analyze his every word so you can discover the true meaning. Truth of the matter is, the writer wants you to fill the poem with your very own background and life as it is. Read and pour all you have in the poem.

Take for instance, this poem, written by Silke Vanhoof:

You, the undefined purpose of my lingering

You, the unfulfilled labor of my wandering

You, my tend to commit a crime in the cry of my demanding mind

You, my unrevealed rebel of pleasure and pavement in rewind

You, the undivided army of my wrecked out wrists

You, the unconsciousness of my worn out fists

You, the unsayable sourness of forced out smiles

You, my unwillingly running of nights endless miles

You, the unbearable transparency of my shouting skin 

You, the unreadable silence of speaking

You, my undone harm you unchosen road

You the caressing rope around my throat

Who that ‘you’ is, is up to the reader. If you use the poem as a mirror of your own relationships it becomes more then just words. The poem becomes you, or do you become the poem?

Silke is one of the many youngsters we guide in their journey from writing in their real living room, to writing books and performing on stages.

Youth and poetry is the negotiator between poets and their audience and developed a poetic collective called Brandmerk, especially for poets between the ages of fifteen and thirty years old.

If you consider writing your own poem after reading this, don’t think it’s only for the smartest ones among us, or the most literate. Poetry is in fact, fairly easy to get written down on paper. All you need is a pen, some paper, a dictionary and something to say. A secret (a white lie or a real lie) is always a good start. And don’t forget about metaphors. Look for inspiration in as many different shapes as you can find. Poetry is everywhere, you just need to get your poetry-goggles on. Good luck!

While we set up skyscrapers of language wherein junkies sided by judges mirror mirror themselves and finally find

all of our own worn-out appearances and so-called conducting make-believe constructions to be

(A fragment of another poem by Silke Vanhoof.)

If you would like a professional eye to read your poetry, don’t hesitate to mail us at dichter@jeugdenpoezie.be

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