YI Spring 2012 Graduation was a well-attended, celebratory end to an incredible term. The event included an exhibition of student work by YI Artists and Writers, as well as documentation showcasing the efforts, tours, and public events hosted by YI Leaders throughout the year. Artists-in-Residence K8 Hardy and LaToya Ruby Frazier were on hand to say a few words about working with their groups this semester. Teens from all three programs were also in attendance, as well as a very special guest –the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney, Adam Weinberg who shared his thoughts and expressed pride in the accomplishments of all YI participants. Throughout the evening, family, friends, artists, and museum staff roamed between the new Whitney Studio and the Sculpture Court to enjoy the artwork, food, and conversation.
The exhibition included the culminating projects from both YI Artists and YI Writers. Zines combining artwork and text by YI Writers were spread out among tables in the center of the studio. The Writers worked with Artist-in-Residence K8 Hardy to create alter-egos that they captured through writing, photographs, and, finally, their zines. Each writer developed a unique character that became the voice behind their projects. The collection of altered personas included a robot struggling to find a home, an activist, a party girl, a monster who could regenerate parts of his body, and a child with a special ability to fly and spin unusual tales for her listeners. Writers printed multiple copies and traded and shared them with family and friends.
YI Artists also included work in the culminating Spring 2012 exhibition. These participants had been working with Artist-in-Residence LaToya Ruby Frazier to explore the ways that race, gender, and social class influence our future and current perceptions of ourselves. They discussed Frazier's work in the Museum’s galleries and watched documentaries that expanded upon these ideas throughout the term. Armed with digital cameras, teens photographed the city, their neighborhoods and themselves to capture the strong but sometimes unexpected connections between each of these components. It was a great evening even if we were sad to say goodbye. We hope to see everyone again over the summer and next year!
By Carda, Youth Programs Coordinator