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Youth Insights


Artists and Youth: A Dialogue is a series of public programs organized by teens for teens where contemporary artists are invited to participate in open discussions about their work. Youth Insights teens hosted Artists and Youth: A Dialogue with Robert Lazzarini, Larry Krone, Paul Pfeiffer, and Kiki Smith. The band, töshöklabs provided music for the first teen event, What's up at the Whitney? A Teen Night Out.


Hey, my name is Adam. I go to The Dalton School in Manhattan, and live in the West Village. My mother's family is from Belgium and is Jewish, while my father's family is Italian.

My interests lie for the most part in the arts. I concentrate mostly in printmaking and painting, but also enjoy working in other mediums. I find that expressing myself creatively is very therapeutic. I also enjoy theater and film, although only as a spectator since I lack any kind of skill when it comes to drama. My favorite thing about any art is that it provides a kind of escape from the world and an outlet for emotions. Another great thing about art is that everyone takes something different away from it, and there is no correct way to see something

The Youth Insights program at the Whitney is a wonderful experience. Events like Family Day have been so much fun, getting to meet little kids so eager to have fun with art. I don't have much experience working with senior citizens, but I think it is important to reach out to this often ignored and fast-growing community.

I have no idea what I'll be doing a couple of years from now. All I can say is that hopefully I'll be doing something that has to do with the arts, and hopefully I will also still be in touch with everyone from Youth Insights.


My name is Amy. I was born in downtown Manhattan and have lived there all my life. Currently, I attend Friends Seminary, a small Quaker School in the Gramercy area of Manhattan. My parents are native New Yorkers too. My father was born and raised on the Upper East Side and my mother is from Queens. Our family tree is rooted in Romania, Poland, and Russia.

My parents have always encouraged me to take advantage of the resources that New York City provides. Living in New York City has given me the opportunity to explore many different cultures as well as learn more about my own. I also have the chance to experience many different types of art. Visual art, art history, and foreign languages, are some of my main interests. I work in paint and video and I love to incorporate my love of languages into my artwork. Working at the Whitney, I've encountered many artists who enjoy exploring the same themes as I do.

The most important part of Youth Insights to me is being able to learn through my peers about art forms and cultures that I wouldn't have normally been interested in. Before I came to Youth Insights, I thought about museums as places for looking and observing. Now I think of them as centers of communication.


My name is Christina. I reside in Manhattan and attend an all-girls school. I was also born and raised in New York City. I am Chinese and enjoy learning about Chinese culture. I am interested in Amnesty International and forensics.

I like art because there is no "right" or "wrong" form of art. There is no one way to make or do art. Art is very safe and the ways of expressing yourself are endless. Last year, I made a Cornell shadow box, and it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to clip pictures out of books and magazines, glue sentimental objects in it, and the end result would be something I could treasure for years to come. It still hangs on my wall today.

I like Youth Insights because of the many people involved with it. It is a very welcoming environment. I enjoy working with younger children because they are so creative and smart. They make you realize life can be so fun and carefree. Older people also show you how great life can be by sharing their stories and experiences with you. They are filled with wisdom. In three years, I see myself graduating from high school and going on to college. Besides that, the future is unknown.


My name is Denisse and I'm a senior at the Art and Design High School. I was born and raised in Peru until I was ten, then my family and I moved to Woodside, Queens, where I continue to reside.

I grew up in an artistic environment, where my two favorite uncles were a cartoonist and an opera singer. From the two of them I acquired my love of art. I like art because it gives me the freedom to express my feelings on how I view the world. I'm currently majoring in architecture. Architecture allows you to learn about people's needs in a certain environment. My high school has allowed me to explore different kinds of art such as fine arts, sculpture, and photography.

Youth Insights has given me the opportunity to get to know the work of American artists and a basic knowledge of how to view contemporary art. Working with older people is interesting because they have so much to offer and share from their experiences. I also like working with children because whatever knowledge they gather in their early years will have an impact on their adulthood, and I would like to be part of that development. After high school, I plan to major in architecture at college.


My name is Emily, and I am a senior at Townsend Harris High School. I am a third generation outer-borough Jew. I live in Jackson Heights, Queens, but spend my weekends crashing at friends' houses around the city.

Interests? I have many. I like art, splattering paint around, listening to music, painting to music, writing cheesy geek rock lyrics, movies (anything 80s), films (indie), bad sitcoms (I'm not proud), anything visual.

I like art where you can see the artist's struggle. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture with visible brush strokes and under painting is worth two thousand. I like Youth Insights because I not only get to see so much different work, but I am also able to become involved with the pieces. I get to have my own relationship with the work in the Whitney and with the Museum itself. I really like the Museum because it has a history of showing works that other museums might not show. I love giving tours, I'm psyched to do more, and everyone reading this should come to the next tour.

In three years I'll probably be in college. I'll be either painting or sleeping, depending on what time of day you're reading this.


Hey there. My name is Evie, and I am a junior at LaGuardia High School (you know, the Fame school where everyone supposedly breaks into song and dances on the lunch tables) where I am a fine arts major. I have lived in the same house in Park Slope since I was born. My mother is Jewish, and the first member of her family to be born in America, and my father is Italian.

Art has always been a big part of my life. I began scribbling on the walls of my bedroom when I was old enough to hold a crayon and have been drawing and painting ever since. I love art because it is my own pictorial language that I use to express myself--especially the things that are difficult to put into words. In addition to drawing and painting I have a great love of music (just listening) and reading.

I wanted to be in Youth Insights because of the exposure it would give me to the art world. I've learned so much already about the dynamics of how a museum works, and how an artist gets shown at a museum. It's really opened my eyes to the many different jobs there are in the art world. I really enjoy working with people of all different ages. Little kids are great because of their honesty and fresh ideas which many older people seem to miss or forget. I think it is rewarding to work with my elders because of their history and wisdom.

In three years I hope to be studying to be an art therapist at a good art college, living on my own, and having a good time.


Hi! My name is Jacqueline, but I prefer to be called Jackie. I'm an Asian American, born in the city, and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens. I'm currently a senior at Townsend Harris High School.

My interest in art has never wavered. By the time I was able to pick up a crayon, I was drawing. I drew on everything, including the house. Needless to say, my parents were not too happy about that. My parents took me to art classes for children at a neighborhood art center when I was six. They couldn't have imagined the delight I took in drawing, and since I was introduced to the skill, my passion for art has flourished.

But as I get older, and hopefully wiser, I also realize that the art world consists of so much more than what I can do. Art is about communication, interactions, interpretations, imagination, and creations. That is why my experience at Youth Insights is one of such significance. I feel like I'm already growing so much by learning about different contemporary artists, and most importantly, having the chance to share my knowledge with children, adults, and my peers.

In three years, I see myself still working hard to achieve whatever aspirations I may have at the time. I will be working my way through college and taking on any challenges in my path.


Hey, my name is Jasmine. I attend Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, where I also live. My hobbies are dancing, hanging out with my friends and family, and working with Youth Insights at the Whitney Museum. I enjoy helping others and learning new and different things, which is why I joined Youth Insights.

I enjoy Youth Insights because it is a program where teenagers of different races, from different boroughs and schools, get a chance to learn about artists and their paintings, and share our information with our peers. I have begun to appreciate art more now, than I ever had before. Being a part of Youth Insights helped me realize that art does not necessarily have to be a picture or a painting, it can be a sculpture, building, a piece of clothing, even myself. The tours are so much fun. The interaction from the audience is amazing. You get to see what other people think about art.


My name is Kiran and I'm a seventeen-year-old senior at Susan Wagner High School in Staten Island. I've spent most of my life in Staten Island, but I was born in Queens and come from a Pakistani and Indian background. I enjoy handball, going to the park, hanging out with friends, going to museums, reading, and writing poetry. I enjoy working with photography and mixed media, but fashion is my main interest. Fashion gives people opportunities to express themselves and make a statement.

All forms of art are the same in that they tell a story and evoke emotions. I like art because no two people interpret it in the same way. Because of various experiences, art strikes different nerves with different people. It's a beautiful form of self-expression and no matter how many layers you shed, there's still always more depth to it.

I became interested in Youth Insights because it gave me an opportunity to work with people who also have a passion for art. Youth Insights has not only introduced me to other children, teens, and adults who love art as much as I do, but also helped me see things from their perspectives.

In three years I hope to be in the process of pursuing my goal of becoming a fashion designer. One day I want to be recognized in the fashion industry and own a label.


Hello! I'm Nahid. I am a senior at the High school for Health Professions and Human Services. As a third-year participant of the program I feel confident when it comes to talking to an audience. It also feels good to say that I work at the Whitney Museum.

The best thing about art is that there is no right or wrong; it's all about your perception. I love drawings, paintings, and animations. Though I have no talent in those areas, I do know how to make henna tattoos, and I create henna designs.

I am interested in Youth Insights because it enables teenagers to explore American art and really helps build communication skills. The perfect evidence of this is me, come see me give a tour and you'll know what I'm talking about! Besides that, it helps one to grow as a person in a professional environment.

Working with senior citizens is great, and teaches you a lot about history! They have great information about some of the artworks that were made during their time. However, nothing is more exciting to me than working with little kids. They are amazing! Their ideas and imaginations soar.

In three years I see myself in college studying to be a registered nurse because I love helping people. It makes me happy to know that I can comfort others!


As an Asian American, I always wanted to break away from the conservative values, to be my own person, and to find a true meaning in life. I attend high school in Staten Island, where I am the vice president of the Indian/Pakistani Club, a member of the Key Club, and the editor of the school newspaper. Aside from being a Youth Insights participant, I am also an intern in a congressman's office.

Art allows people to express themselves. Nothing is ever wrong or right. Art can be a place to find common ground. One can always communicate their emotions through art. My curiosity in the philosophical aspect of art encouraged me to become part of the Youth Insights program. The most valuable experience is gained when you truly get to know people and what they think, regardless of their background.

In my free time, you can catch me on the Internet, surfing or chatting away. I enjoy shopping, singing, and dancing, relaxing and sleeping, going to the movies, and bowling. I have a huge interest in philosophy as well. I also love meeting new people. In the near future, I would like to pursue a career in law, perhaps as a criminal lawyer, or with some type of government position. I am really interested in the liberal arts and social sciences.

So far, my experience as a Youth Insights participant has helped me express my own observations with clarity and imagination. I am now captivated by a world that I tended to overlook and not give enough importance.


Hey, my name is Nelson. I am from Spanish Harlem. I am Puerto Rican. I attend the High School of Art and Design. My interests are drawing, reading comics, Japanese animation, and playing sports. To me, art is anything that a person thinks of and brings to life for people to see.

My main interest is animation, especially Japanese animation because of the art and technique. One Japanese animation I like is Dragon Ball Z, because to me, I think it's the best action series that was ever made.

I enjoy Youth Insights because of the people and my fascination with art. It's cool to work with all age groups because I learn, and gain knowledge and wisdom from working with them. The people in Youth Insights are the greatest people you will ever meet.

In the future I really hope to be a cartoonist or a comic artist.


Hello my name is Ranya. I attend Central Park East Secondary School (CPESS) in Manhattan. I am in the twelfth grade. I live in Queens Village, New York. My father is Egyptian and my mother is Jamaican.

My interests include taking care of children, making them feel good, and making them laugh. I am also interested in marine biology; I like sea animals, especially turtles, and I like swimming. I think it would be really cool to be a synchronized swimmer, so I want to take classes. I also enjoy dancing, shopping, and going out with my friends.

What I like about art, is that you are expressing your own feelings, and when you do that you can never be wrong. I also like art that I can relate to, and that creates feelings as soon as I look at it.

I enjoy Youth Insights because it gives me the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their culture. I like working with older people because they might have been living at the time that the picture was made. They also might have a better understanding of the pieces, and are usually not too shy to speak their minds. I also like how they are impressed that high school students can give a tour and are eager to see more. I like working with younger people because they always seem to see something that you overlooked.

In three years I will be a junior in college. I will be having fun, probably taking math, science, liberal arts, and language classes, fulfilling my goal and dream of being a pediatrician.


Hi everyone, my name is Shabana. I'm eighteen years old, and I live in Jamaica, Queens. I attend Hillcrest High School. I was born in Guyana, but I only lived there for three years. I've lived in New York City for almost fourteen years now.

I have a wide variety of interests that range from watching sports to painting. I value diversity and think we can learn so much from individuals who have experienced different things than us. Art lets you be creative and challenges your mind. Once my pen hits paper, be it to write a poem or draw, I have the opportunity to express myself nonverbally and in a more creative manner.

Youth Insights is a very unique program. I had never heard of one like it before, a program that enables high school students to give tours. I enjoy working with older people because they know so much more than I do and I can learn a lot from them. And little kids are the best! They are so humble, open, and friendly. When I am with little kids I feel like a kid again.

I want to get into a college with a good communications program. As for long term goals, I want to travel the world. Who knows where I'll end up? I just go with the flow and accept what God gives me and what I give myself.


Hello, I am Shahrina, a senior in high school. I reside and attend school in Queens, New York. I have been raised in a very diverse section of Queens.

Many of my hobbies and interests have changed or modified throughout the two years I have spent in this program. But one interest remains constant, and that is archaeology. It is my belief that in order to better understand the present, one has to study the past first; and what better way to do that than through hands-on experience? I have developed a great love for art by working here. I began to realize that everything around us is somehow related to art, in one way or another. I like to analyze, critique, and understand the works of art, especially those which challenge my views. Some of my other hobbies include drawing, traveling, dancing, and shopping.

The experiences I have acquired during the past two years have changed and shaped my personality to an extent. Now, I can actually go on and on about an artwork, just like museum professionals, without being bored or exhausted. After spending so much time here, this museum has become a second home to me, and I have grown attached to the people who work here. This program has taught me to be a more insightful, sophisticated, and intellectual person, which is why I kept coming back for more.

In the coming years I plan to major in archaeology, and hopefully get a PhD along the line. I would like to study abroad for a semester, if possible. And who knows, maybe someday I'll come back to the Whitney as a professional. That's what my friends see me doing years from now!


My name is Shari, and although I attend the Bronx High School of Science, in the Bronx, I live in Manhattan. I was born and raised in Harlem, New York. I love teaching and singing because they make me happy. I also love art because it's a beautiful, nonviolent way of expression. I was interested in Youth Insights because it has to do with two things I like, teaching and art. I like working with older people because I enjoy their company and love learning from them. I love working with younger people because they teach me to look at things in a new way. In three years I will be in college, double-majoring in education and psychology to become a teacher.


Hello, my name is Sophie. This is my first year in the Youth Insights program. I'm really enjoying it. I have always lived in Lower Manhattan. I'm a senior at LaGuardia High School on the Upper West Side where I major in art. I love to make art. It helps me learn about myself, and it allows me to materialize things from my imagination. Learning about artists by participating in this program has expanded my understanding of what art can be and of what art can be used for.

Aside from creating art, the activities I do in my free time mostly have to do with music, specifically rock 'n' roll. I really want a drum set. Currently I practice on the couch with a pair of sticks. I can't really claim to be a drummer, since I've only actually used a drum set about twice. Nonetheless, I practice constantly.


Hello! My name is Ashlee, and I am fourteen years old. I am a sophomore at the Art and Design High School in Manhattan. I was born and raised in St. Albans, Queens. My mother is from Brooklyn and my dad is from Port of Spain, Trinidad. I like to listen to all types of music. I have three main interests. I am really into art, and that is the main reason why I chose to attend the Art and Design High School. I like to draw because it helps me express my feelings. I like to sing and dance because when my favorite song comes on the radio, I automatically start dancing to the beat and singing to the tune. In a few years, I would like to major in the arts. I plan to be famous when I am older. I want people to know me and to know who I am.



A 30-second online art project:
Amelia Winger-Bearskin, Sky/World Death/World

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