Late Nights at the Whitney
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On Friday, October 25, the Youth Insights Leaders program hosted their first free Teen Night of the year—a Halloween-themed event entitled, "Ooo! Ahh! Zombies!!" The event took place throughout the galleries, in the Whitney Studio, and the Sculpture Court. Teens from all over the city were invited to participate in the event’s activities.
Since the event took place on the Friday before Halloween, Leaders chose to give it a zombie/post-apocalyptic theme. The idea what life might be like in New York City after the downfall of society and the rise of zombies influenced most of the activities. For instance, teens were asked to design a post-apocalyptic New York skyline in and invited to have their faces painted with zombie scars. There was also a scavenger hunt tour that led participants throughout the Museum’s exhibitions, starting on the fifth floor in American Legends and working its way to the T.J. Wilcox: In the Air installation on the second floor. Leaders were stationed at each artwork on the tour and facilitated discussions with the teen guests who found their way there. After the tour, teens were encouraged to contribute to the post-apocalyptic project in the Whitney Studio, get their faces painted, and decorate cookies.
During the tour, I was stationed in Robert Indiana: Beyond Love on the fourth floor, discussing Indiana’s piece The Brooklyn Bridge (1964) with groups of teens. I found that the best discussions included the whole group. The most challenging aspect of the event for me was getting teens to contribute to the discussion. As the evening went on and teens became more comfortable, discussions became easier and more in-depth. Ultimately I thought the event was successful—we had a great turnout, and it seemed like the teens felt more at home in the Museum. It was also a wonderful opportunity to practice what we’ve been learning about giving tours and to plan a public event for the Whitney.
By Shane, Youth Insights Leader