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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 Sue de Beer, Rico Gatson, and Matthew Ritchie.


The name of this man is Alex. He is merely sixteen years of age, and no more than a tiny speck on the face of the earth; yet a god among men. I jest. He attends the High School of Art and Design. He majors in fine art and illustration; the main purpose of which is to hone his skill, since he is indecisive. Currently his life can be divided into three components: music, art, and other stuff.

Alex is also a patron of the arts, in the loosest sense of the word “patron.” He enjoys such artists as Francis Bacon, Thom Mayne, Thomas Ott, Romare Bearden, Sam Logan, and John Allison. Finally, Alex joined Youth Insights for the kids. Your kids, my kids, all kids; because they are the future.


I’m Ariel. I’m seventeen and currently a senior at Townsend Harris High School, a place where the rules are vague, yet strict, sort of like the Patriot Act (only kidding, really). I love kiwi fruit, ultimate frisbee, and wandering around New York City. Besides ultimate frisbee, I like sports in general. I like to watch basketball—although I don’t play, and running cross country is the best.

I applied to Youth Insights because I love art history and I was interested in YI’s diverse community. However, I’m not sure whether the enjoyment of art history is completely of my own volition. In school my favorite classes are Spanish and Japanese. I just enjoy looking at language in general. My favorite place to volunteer is the Central Park Youth Corps that has lots of hands-on work and science integrated in a cool way. Yes, I think that’s about it.


I am from Yemen, a country in the Middle East. I moved to the United States when I was eleven years old. Over the years I’ve experienced and learned to adapt to diverse people, cultures, and environments. I am in eleventh grade at the Heritage High School. My parents have been really supportive of me and they have helped me learn the value of education and how it can change my life and the world. I have three brothers and three sisters and they are all younger than me. I consider myself a role model to them.

I love philosophy and global history. Ayn Rand is one of my favorite authors, so is George Orwell. I am very opinionated, I love to paint, cook, and dance. I enjoy listening to different types of music, especially Arabic music. I like to decorate my room and our house. I design cloth with my mom. In the future I would like to be a politician and help the economy and people. I am determined to accomplish all my dreams, no matter what obstacles I face.


I don’t do greetings so I’m just going to move on.

This was supposed to be the most amazing bio you’ve ever read. My name is Diane. I’m seventeen. I’m a senior at Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School. I like to eat it in front of the television. Reruns of Dawson’s Creek make my life complete. I hate rhyming, but I do like senioritis! I’ve been trying to catch it since September, but my doctor said I’m immune. My family is from Haiti. I don’t speak Creole. I like anything with a good beat, but only the elite make me tingle.

And now, a special appearance by my future. Enter indecision. I’m pretty sure that I want to writeFor now, I’ll just dance! I started studying the Martha Graham technique three years ago. It's out of control! I’d consider it as a career option, but I’m really lazy; ironic, isn’t it? If you miss me already, just read my bio again.


My name is DM (David-Michael), I'm eighteen years old and go to the Calhoun School. I've been in the city for about ten years; before then, I lived in California, near San Diego. I live in Lower Manhattan with a dog, a cat, two fish, and a mom.

I love writing—mostly poetry, but I'm currently working on a novel, photography, composing music—I play piano and guitar, and film. You can see some of my work on my website.

This is my first—and unfortunately, my only—year with the Whitney, but I love it! It's been a tremendous opportunity to learn, and a lot of fun too. Leading tours and discovering new work—not to mention discussing and debating the pieces with people from all over the city—is a great experience. So yeah, that's me in a text-based nutshell.


My name is Hemamset, Hemz for short. I was born on a dark and stormy night, somewhere in the streets of New York. As I was being carried home, lightning struck me, giving me the basketball skills of say, Michael Jordan, the writing skills of William Shakespeare, the piano-playing skills of Mozart, the competitive soul of a wild tiger, the game-playing skills of [insert master gamer here], the luck of the Irish, the Native Americans, and the Africans, and a passion for spaghetti, mangoes, grapes, pineapples, and the colors orange and blue.

But seriously, from my sneakers to the ‘fro on my head, I’m full of goodwill, good humor, and usually good food. And as a shout out to all you people, peace! Thanks to Ma and Ba, couldn’t have done it without you! To my brothers, I love you, all four of you! My sister too! And a shout out to my aunt . . .(Gets kicked off stage).


Hello you people, I am the one and only James. I love movies, comedy—especially jokes with my friends, and video games. Well my life is okay, it goes from school, to work, to home. One of my hobbies is designing clothes, from hats to sneakers. To close this little tale of "my life story" here's a poem by me:

Day after day opportunity after opportunity.
Don't let it pass you by.
Life, opportunities, miss them and there is no
point in living.
Trials, problems, it really doesn't matter
in the end.
Because once you succeed, all your problems,
Trials, and yes even the "haters," will all cease
to exist.
Then you'll be left with the ones who believed
and your hard-earned cash. Then you'll know
it was faith, work, and yourself
who got you to the place where you are now.
Never give up and keep your dreams, someday
they'll take you to your own dream paradise.


Hi, my name is Jessica and I am a junior at a small high school named the Academy of American Studies. Youth Insights is like an escape from everyday life. This program is a great way to meet new people. It helps you learn about different cultures, perspectives, communities, and lifestyles as well as learning about art in a working museum environment. Living in Queens my entire life, my mother would drag my brother and me to museums, with pre-packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I detested having to look at paintings or mummies etc., however, getting an inside perspective on art changed my outlook.

Other than spending my time at the Whitney, I love to get lost and then find my way back home. It’s a great way to catch up with friends, learn new areas, and get some exercise. When I am not getting lost, I’m usually on the train trying to go home. Long train rides are great times to listen to music. Which brings me to my next love, listening to music and attempting to play it. I am a big fan of everything.


My name is Jing, originally it was Jing JingI was very tall when I was young but after my mom shortened my name, I never seemed to grow anymore. My last name, by the way, means tall in Chinese. I was born in Chang Le, Fuzhou, China, which is a small town in the hills. It’s a beautiful place, and I had a really huge family. Almost everyone in my town was related to me and ninety-nine percent of us had the same last name. Now, I am a senior at the High School for Humanities. I live in Chinatown. New York City is different in every way from my homeland.

This is my first year in YI and I am going to college next year. I joined this program because I didn’t know much about art. If you asked me last year to name one artwork that I liked, I couldn’t answer. Now, I would have many answers. This is an easy and fun way to learn about art. So far I think YI is a great place to find your talents and meet new people. I like art and now I am learning about it every week.


Kendall, that’s what I am: kind, engaging in doing all of life’s levels. That spells Kendall. I’m what people say is positive. I laugh everyday and every minute. At times I think I have a problem. They say laughing is healthy, but it has almost killed me many times. I laugh at all the rough times, but keep it cool on a professional level at work. I’m like sun on a rainy day, just not with the extreme heat.

I go to the movies a lot and the ones I see are all action, they don't have an inner story to them. I find life an adventure that brings you a chapter with a new beginning. I’m an artist, but not a Manga artist. I draw things similar to Marvel and anime. A game helps me when I am having a bad day. I’m finding myself in Youth Insights. This program has changed my life for the best. It’s like a game that never turns off.


Hi, I’m Lee, a senior at the Bronx High School of Science, and this is my second year as an “insightful youth.” YI has has managed to keep someone as easily distracted as myself, involved and engaged in the program. A heavy dose of art, friendly people, free food, and interesting discussions proved to be just what I needed two years ago, and I’m happy to say it is something I still need today.

I love writing, reading, gambling, and saving the world. I do not actually participate in compulsive gambling, but I love it nonetheless. I continue to think llamas are cool. I recently received talking socks. I believe creativity strikes best late at night, so maybe I should have written this at three in the morning. Overall, I am a content person, although sometimes I am angry about how they raised the price of gum. Gum should never be more than twenty-five cents, ever. In the future, I would like to be me, but more so. I would love to travel around the world, so that I can tell everyone that New York City is better than any other place—whether or not this is true. I think I have bestowed enough insight upon the world for tonight.


Hello, my name is Loura, I love art. My father was a painter and his influence led me to enjoy viewing the medium and history of of artwork and having a moment to visualize each stroke, pattern, and emotion the artist was trying to express. In my opinion art is a mystery within itself. I attend the High School of Art and Design and have a passion for photography. I started telling myself, “What I see, I can make last forever and show it to all.” This was my purpose, to take as many photos about my heritage as a Puerto Rican to represent the multicultural diversity of America.

As well as photography, I like to write poetry. For entertainment, I like everything when it comes to Spanish reggae, hip-hop, pop, and rock. I also like to read. On a more playful note I like to shop, go to the movies, as well as watch reruns. I enjoy spending as much time with my family as possible because we all like to go out, eat, and have a good time. It’s been a blast, I hope to see you soon at the Whitney Museum of American Art so I can happily give you a tour.


What's up everyone?
Listen up and always take notes.
What else can I do than write a poem . . .
My name is Ozzy and I’m a second year,
I like to sing in the shower
and kamikaze pigeons I fear.
I live in the Bronx and traveling is my passion.
One day I’ll leave
This cramped subway car
We call Manhattan.
I won’t repeat what I am about
Just read last year’s bio
and you’ll figure it out.
What more can I say, I put the Whitney in an upheaval
I love to laugh and joke
but sometimes they’re evil.
Friends are the best for singing in the street,
pushing in the garbage,
and going out to eat.
I can’t recall the last time I watched TV alone,
But nick-knack patty-whack
Give a dog a bone.
I’ve lost touch with hearing my music as shown,
But when I do catch a beat,
It’s usually my ring tone.
I love food and it is crazy that I’m not “phat.”
Here we have rats so large
that they scare away the cats.
I can’t express enough that the Whitney is my home,
A place to study, to learn, and occasionally to roam.
The Whitney is the best, it is truly a delight,
But it is time to end this poem.
Peace out bruva/sista and have a good night.
WOOT. Thank You. I’m here Tuesdays (stroke the chin).


Hey, my name is Roxanne, but you can call me Roxy. I'm sixteen, from the Bronx, and I live with my two sisters and my mom. I go to the Bronx High School for the Visual Arts, and I'm a sophomore. My hobbies are: being online, writing poems, reading non-fiction books, playing video games, having time to myself (a lot) and having work to do—yeah, its true, which is why I like going to school, it keeps me busy.

This is my first year in Youth Insights. I joined because I didn't know much about art, I wanted to learn more, and I wanted to give tours. Before I joined YI, I was participating in another program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, its just like YI, but I attended it during school hours as a club we had. I hope to return next year to YI. We'll just have to wait and see.


My name is Victoria and my eyeball hurts. I like long walks in the park, frolicking in the snow, and cheese on Tuesdays. Due to numerous bribes and the shaking of fists, I was lucky enough to be able to participate in another year of Youth Insights. We lurk behind your walls, eat all of your food, and get excited over twenty dollar paychecks. Why, you may ask? Because we are Youth Insights: lovers of scrabble, dancers on Tuesdays, and smiling fanatics.

Not only do we get paid to learn about art, but we eat the Whitney out of house and home as well. Right now I’m listening to Loura denounce Red Bull, and watching DM drinking it like a fanatic. This is just an example of some of the spiffy things we discuss, other than our normal talk of world domination!


Hi there! My name is Will and I attend LaGuardia High School as an art major. I live with my mom, dad, and brother in the juicy borough of Brooklyn and I am fifteen years old. Since my days of furiously drawing in pre-school, I have always been very intrigued by art and what makes art. Actually, I wasn’t too keen on museums as a kid, but now I can’t get enough of this one! You’d think taking four trains to get to the Upper East Side of Manhattan in the snowy slush on a Saturday morning without shoes, while carrying a mule and a loaf of bread, would be quite the burden, but somehow knowing that you’re traveling to the Whitney, it becomes quite a pleasure.

In my spare time, I like to draw, doodle, ride the train to explore a new stop, meet new people, and eat. My favorite subject is either art or English, because I like to read and to be creative. Youth Insights is an opportunity for me to meet new people while being creative and has transported me to an environment of artists and communities that I never thought I would have the honor to be a part of. It’s great to belong to such a welcoming group of people who are now like family.



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

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