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Meeting up with the Studio Museum in Harlem/
Resumes with Lisa Dowd

JUL 11, 2012

Teens in Youth Insights and Expanding The Walls met for a day of games, discussion, and art investigation at the Whitney. Photograph by Carda Burke

Teens in Youth Insights and Expanding The Walls met for a day of games, discussion, and art investigation at the Whitney. Photograph by Carda Burke

On Wednesday July 11, Youth Insights teens started out the day meeting with other NYC high school students enrolled in Expanding The Walls, a photography-based program at the Studio Museum in Harlem. We played a few name games, and since we are all art-oriented teenagers, the ice was quickly broken. It was very interesting to hear the overlapping aspects of our two programs as well as the differences. Once we had been acquainted, we ventured out of the Youth Insights building and into the Sharon Hayes exhibition Sharon Hayes: There’s So Much I Want to Say to You. Hayes’s work examines free speech, activism, and political outrage through performance, installation, and video. We first gathered around an installation of flyers that Hayes had found and re-created. Each flyer advertised a different event meant to address or protest a social issue. We were asked to gather into groups, pick a flyer and present it as our own cause, as if we were promoting the event to other teens.

YI and ETW getting to know each other in the Whitney Studio. Photograph by Correna Cohen
Teens gathered in small clusters to tell each other about their programs. Photograph by Correna Cohen
Refreshments and ice-breaking before heading inside. Photograph by Correna Cohen
Teens shared facts about their programs, neighborhoods, and themselves. Photograph by Correna Cohen
NYC teens from both programs moved inside the Museum to investigate the exhibition Sharon Hayes: There’s So Much I Want To Say To You.
YI and ETW gather on benches created especially for viewers to use for conversation in the exhibition. Photograph by Correna Cohen
After an action-packed day with ETW, YI teens were still going strong during a session on resume and cover letter tips. Photograph by Carda Burke

After that activity, our groups dispersed throughout the exhibition and closely examined different pieces. We were then given a sheet with questions that provoked discussion. My group looked at a video of Hayes reciting a speech by Patty Hearst appealing to her parents to cooperate with her kidnappers. Hearst was a California-born heiress kidnapped in the 1970s by the Symbionese Liberation Army, who held her hostage until her parents distributed food among Bay Area residents living at or near the poverty level. Hayes memorized the speech, and when she fumbled in her memorization, voices in the background corrected her. My group decided that this gave the piece a feeling of someone else speaking for you, or being forced to speak someone else’s thoughts. We were then asked to think for each other, which very much reflected our reaction to the video. In other words, we were asked to answer questions such as “what would the person to the right think of this piece of artwork?”

After saying goodbye to the ETW teens, we convened in the Whitney Studio. There we met with the Whitney’s Human Resources Manager Lisa Dowd. Ms. Dowd gave us constructive advice on résumé and cover letter writing, interviewing, and the overall process of finding a job. I found this extremely helpful because she geared her advice to jobs in the art world which was more relevant and specific than general advice for interviews and résumés. I know that I will use this advice well beyond graduating high school and college.

by Elizabeth