Dedication Ceremony
Apr 30, 2015

The museum director Adam Weinberg sits with Michell Obama and Mayor DeBlasio.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Mayor De Blasio, and Director Adam Weinberg cheer the YI Leaders on as they proceed onto the stage. Photograph by Filip Wolak

In Spring 2015, Youth Insights Leaders had the unique opportunity to work with the Wooster Group on their performance for the Dedication Ceremony to mark the opening of the Whitney’s new building. Backstage, we huddled together in an attempt to calm our nerves. We were all intently focused on a cell phone screen that was live streaming the event. We listened to First Lady Michelle Obama as she spoke to the audience about the Youth Insights program and its positive impact on New York City teens. It was surreal to hear her quote YI Leaders when addressing how important it is to make all teens—regardless of where they come from—feel welcome in museums. We glanced at each other with excited eyes; I couldn’t help feeling like I was part of something important. As the audience applauded the First Lady, we were called to line up for our procession onto the stage. The Wooster Group performers urged us to “break a leg” and the First Lady warmly waved to us as we walked by her. 

Youth leaders from the museum help cut a ribbon in front of the new Whitney building.

YI Leaders join the Wooster Group in the ribbon cutting ceremony. Photograph by Filip Wolak

Standing in front of a large crowd of nearly 400 dignified guests, we felt the weight of their eyes upon us. We joined the professional actors in their ironic folk song honoring the Museum and its surrounding neighborhood. I couldn’t stop smiling as I looked into the audience to see my supervisor eagerly waving. As we joined the Wooster Group in the ribbon cutting ceremony, I knew this was a moment to remember.

By Holly, YI Leader