Leaders

2015–2016

Youth Insights leaders and staff pose in front of an artwork.

Photograph by Filip Wolak


In 2015-16, YI Leaders collaborated with performance collective AUNTS to host Halloween Teen Night. They also hosted two gallery-based events: Frank Stella Teen Night and Teen Event: Collected.  During the spring, Leaders participated in artist workshops and talks with Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Steve McQueen. In April, YI Leaders hosted a screening of academy-award winning documentary CITIZENFOUR followed by a Leader-moderated Q&A with artist Laura Poitras in conjunction with her exhibition Astro NoiseThe year culminated with Teen Night: Human Interest . The night included an art-making workshop led by Mirror Cells artist Elizabeth Jaeger and a performance by independent music artist Junglepussy.


Anderson

Anderson is currently a senior at School of the Future High School in Manhattan. He was born and raised in Brooklyn and is of Caribbean/West Indian Descent. His experience in the Youth Insights Program helped him develop a better perspective on art and writing. To Anderson, art is the freedom to express yourself in whatever way you choose. One of his favorite artists is Ai Weiwei. His interests are traveling, writing, and architecture. Anderson is inspired by interacting with different people and cultures. In the future he hopes to graduate from college and be successful in whichever field he chooses.


Andrea

Andrea was born in Mexico City in 1998, and moved to New York City in 2005. She is the younger of two siblings. Andrea has two birds, two fish, and one dog. She is passionate about all types of arts. Some of her hobbies are painting, writing poetry, cooking, and going out on spontaneous adventures with friends. Andrea has participated in Youth Insights programs since 2013. She has also made a lot of individual works. Andrea is an Aquarius. She is very caring and loving and hopes one day to be a dairy-free pastry chef as well as an immigration lawyer.  


Gia

Gia is a native New Yorker, raised in Brooklyn. She identifies as an American, but since her family has no unique/defining culture, she is who she wants to be. After her first visit to the new Whitney, she fell in love with the art, space, and positive atmosphere. Gia’s main interests are fashion, music, activism, empowerment, and art. She does not like to confine herself to specific genres; instead she has adopted the philosophy of trying anything once. Gia has been inspired by seeing her peers going after the things they are passionate about and doing so in a way that is generating attention and success. She hopes to inspire others to be comfortable with whom they are.


Iga

Iga is a junior at the Lycée Français de New York. She describes herself as: an activist, Polish, Scorpio, traveler, feminist, and French fry enthusiast. Art has always played a huge role in Iga’s life—she has taken art classes since elementary school. Whether she is producing a watercolor painting or playing her guitar, art is a form of cathartic release for her. Some of her favorite artists include Andy Warhol, Gustav Klimt, Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, and Frida Kahlo. Iga is so excited to learn more about the Whitney and to meet new people from all around the city that share the same passion for art as she does. Youth Insights has been great so far, and she cannot wait to continue!


Jocelyn

Jocelyn grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently a senior at St. John Villa Academy and she hopes to study fine arts/illustration after she graduates. Art has been a part of Jocelyn’s life for as long as she can remember—whether she’s learning, creating, or discussing art, she gets a sense of purpose and happiness like none other. Her favorite artists are Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres because they made works that were socially and politically charged, yet also very personal. Jocelyn believes in the power that art has to challenge the way people think, which is her ultimate goal as an artist. She hopes that the knowledge, skills, and confidence she gains as a Youth Insights Leader will help her grow as an artist and open her mind to new ideas. 


Juliana

Juliana is a senior at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens. In her spare time, she likes to practice graphic design or read about astronomy. Being a part of Youth Insights has helped cultivate Juliana’s sense of curiosity and she has learned how to approach an artwork with questions, rather than a stubborn or definitive attitude. Her favorite artists are Edward Hopper and Nan Goldin. By portraying snippets of their lives, these artists create both an intimate and personal experience and a broader interpretation. Juliana hopes to follow her curiosity and become a journalist or a graphic designer for a news publication. 


Logan

Logan was born in November 1998. He has aspirations of becoming an animator. He has been practicing karate for nine years and jujitsu for four years. More recently he has begun to teach karate at the Cathedral school. Growing up around artists he has always had a great interest in the arts. Logan started drawing at a young age and has continued to develop his art. His favorite artist is Damien Hirst—Logan has always admired his crazy sculptures and often uncomfortable exhibitions. This is his second year as a Youth Insights leader.


Shao

Raised in Brooklyn and currently residing in Gravesend, Shao is a senior at Edward R Murrow High School. She is also a sculptor and a visual problem solver. To Shao, art is a method of quantifying existence. It is a way to measure humanity and define nature. Currently, Shao is interested in investigating holes and wholes.  She is interested in places where these two words can define each other. Shao really appreciates the work of David Byrne and Tehching Hsieh. 


Yueer

Yueer is a senior at Stuyvesant High School. She enjoys artmaking and is exploring many different mediums, such as acrylic, oil, pastels, plaster, wire, and wood. She also enjoys dancing, stepping, and playing lacrosse with the boy’s team at her school. On Sundays, she teaches middle school girls at her church. As a former YI Artist, Yueer worked with a Biennial artist and she hopes that as a Leader, she will be able to bring this experience to other teens. Because of her passion for creating, she aspires to be an architect.


Zakiya

Zakiya is a senior at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy and a first generation American who lives in Brooklyn. Zakiya truly loves making art and looking at art. It is therapeutic for her and it helps her temporarily escape from her problems. Her favorite artist is Mickalene Thomas. Zakiya is really interested in painting and sketching the human body in its natural state. In the future, Zakiya plans on becoming an art teacher. 


Alexus

Alexus is currently a senior at Brooklyn College Academy. She has a Caribbean background—specifically from Jamaica and Barbados, but she also has family in Canada and Europe. To Alexus, art is the expression of emotions and the reflection of how we see the world. Art is a tool for not only political activism but also to communicate different messages in various forms. Alexus enjoys visiting art museums and doing art photography. She also likes traveling and reading novels. Alexus hopes to become a museum curator in a museum and also be engaged with the sciences.


Teja

Teja is a seventeen year old artist, writer, and feminist from Brooklyn, New York. She wanted to get involved with an institution that fosters an environment of social awareness, creativity, and learning. Teja defines art as a simultaneously individualistic and subjective experience as well as a channel of human connection. Her favorite artists include Kerry James Marshall, Frida Kahlo, and Mark Rothko. Teja loves visual art (specifically sculpture and collage), and poetry. She is inspired by passionate and innovative people and good conversation. Teja hopes to develop her artistic passion and leadership abilities in the future. 


Auri

Most people call her Auri (Ori-E), though her full name is Auréole. She is Israeli and French. Auri began attending museum programs when she was in ninth grade and they have been a great space for her creativity. She is also into philosophy, specifically epistemology and feminist theory. Auri is in love with her cat and spends a lot of time talking to him. Auri really enjoys Mike Kelley, Nan Goldin, and Harmony Korine, among many other artists. In the future, she hopes to achieve enough student debt to pass onto her grandkids, own a 25 square foot studio in Bushwick, and have 200 followers on her Instagram.