Using the Whitney’s collection and special exhibitions as a resource, the Youth Insights curriculum included a series of American Art & Culture seminars by artists Byron Kim and Bill Viola.
Hi, I’m Alexis and I’m eighteen years old. I live in New York City and attend the Harvey Milk School. I like art because it has the ability to express whatever the artist is feeling at the time he or she created the work of art. Art can help you with your problems—it’s a relief in a way. Your response to art shows how you feel in a strong and powerful way. You know what you feel right away—as soon as you see it. Youth Insights is a program that will teach me more about something I love—art and people. Participating in Youth Insights is teaching me about history through art. Older people do the same thing. They teach you about history, only instead they use their lives like art work. I think it would be cool to talk to older people about art. Although we are from different age groups, the art could make us have something in common. I think the same is true for little kids.
Hello. My name is Charles. I’m fifteen and I attend the School for Legal Studies. I was born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I am interested in video games and comics. I like art because it’s like a fantasy of life. Art is emotions, feelings, and beauty placed in an art piece to make us think. It makes you slow down and think about what the particular work of art means to you. Youth Insights is a way to learn about art and culture and teach others about what I learn. I’m looking forward to working with older people because they are taken seriously. By working with them I think I will be taken seriously—this is my chance to be seen as an adult. I think I’ll like working with young people because it will be like teaching school. I will have to come up with a fun and clear way to answer their many questions and ideas. Working with art and children will be a challenge but I welcome the experience.
Hello, my name is Crystal and I’m eighteen. I go to the Harvey Milk School in Manhattan. I was born in Spanish Harlem, but raised in the Bronx. I am interested in music, life, and fun. I like art because it allows people to express their different viewpoints. I also like the colors used to make paintings and the meanings behind art. I am interested in the Youth Insights program because I want to gain experience in art at a reputable museum. This program gives us exposure to different things: to art, different kinds of people, cultures, all types of stuff. More importantly I enjoy the discussions that are generated when we talk about different artists, their art work, and what was going on in the world when they made the art. I like working with older people due to their maturity and intellect. Younger people are also a pleasure because of their immaturity and fun energy.
Hi! I’m Eddie. I go to school at William E. Grady High School and I’m sixteen years old. I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Barbados. My interests are in songwriting, shopping, and fashion. I like art as a means of self-expression. I am interested in Youth Insights as a way to show kids from the ghetto about art. This program will broaden my horizons and build on my current skills. Youth Insights is going to expose me to new and different things and better my public speaking skills while working in a field that most teenagers don’ t get the chance to. I am learning to appreciate some of the greatest artists of all time. I feel like this is a chance for me to learn things I don’t learn in school. I feel that I will like working with older people because they have a lot of information to share. On the other hand I think it would be just as fun to work with children because I feel that there is a lot to learn from young people.
What’s up? I am Irene. I’m a nineteen year old student at City-As-School in Manhattan. I was born and raised in New Jersey. I fled to New York City when I was sixteen years old. Art supplies us with a different way of looking at the world. I like art because you can re-imagine the world from different viewpoints. When objects are placed in the context of art they have to be seen and reckoned with. They have to be contemplated from various angles. Youth Insights, for me, is a way of learning the behind-the-scenes workings of a big museum and a way to interact with twentieth-century American art and artists. It’s a program where young people can assert their views about life and art. It’s good to see how our lives are or aren’t reflected back to us in the art works. I feel that I will like working with older people because I get a chance to hear their stories and learn from their mistakes. I think it could be exciting connecting their life experience with art work. I see older people as living resources—vaults of knowledge. My grandfather was born in 1899 and I learned American history from his life experiences. Working with young people could be pretty phenomenal. We could learn a lot from one another and gain new perspectives.
Hi! I’m Jerome. I’m a fifteen year old African American male and I go to the Harvey Milk School in Manhattan. I was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Flatbush, Brooklyn. I am interested in film and writing. I like art because it shows many feeling and emotions. When I look at some of the artwork at the Whitney, I think I can really understand what the artist was feeling or thinking when he or she made the work of art. I like how artists talk about what’s going on in the world only they don’t use words, they use other stuff like paint, wood, collage. . .Youth Insights is a way to learn about art and how to better communicate. I think I’ll like working with older people because they always have so much to say about everything. I have a lot to say too. I think that would be a pretty good conversation. Kids are funny. I think I could easily work with kids because I’m not that much older than them.
Hey, I’m Joel. I’m seventeen years old and I attend Washington Irving High School in Manhattan. I was born and raised in the Bronx. My primary interests are dance, drama, and acting. Art is an outlet for emotion and it makes you think about things you would normally pass by on the street. I enjoy museums because they are all very different. The Museum of Natural History has interesting things like cave people and animals. A museum like the Whitney shows things like oil paintings, cartoons, and sculptures that tell how people from the 1930s dressed and felt. I think I will enjoy working with older people due to the different personalities and with young people as a reminder of my childhood. I’ve found that little kids have a world of their own that adults can often learn a lesson from—you’d be surprised!
Hi! I’m Lismam. I attend the Manhattan Center for Science and Math and I am seventeen years old. I was born and raised in Peru. My family moved to Manhattan in 1994. I am interested in dance, music, and art as an expression of feeling and as a way to travel. Art, for me, is a way to fly away from this world to a place where people can just be. Youth Insights presents us with a way to learn and share. We are able to use artists’ work to talk about different things. I think art is a form of activism for many people. So many people can’t express themselves through words and art allows them to say what they feel. Working with older people will be a learning experience because they have so much knowledge. At the same time I think I will like working with younger people because they are very lively and happy.
Hi, my name is Mathyas. I’m seventeen years old and I’m a student at Fieldston High School. Although I was born and raised in the Bronx, my view of the world is much broader because of my travels. I am interested in dance and song writing. I like looking for the meaning behind pictures and I like coming up with a way for the observer to learn about the artist from his/her world. I am interested in the Youth Insights program because of the peer education aspect, more particularly the experience and the educational benefits that it offers. Because of this program, I’ve found a new interest in twentieth-century American art—an interest I didn’t know I had. I’m really glad I have this opportunity and I plan on making the most of it. I like working with older people for their stories and what can be learned from them. Their maturity and wisdom can help young people like myself see a different perspective or find a medium between the optimistic altruism of youth and the views of someone who has lived life. I am looking forward to working with young people because they bring an honest and innocent perspective into light. Often, adults are too wrapped up in everyday troubles and maturity to see the beauty that exists in everyday life. Little kids always surprise me. They have remarkable insight.
Hey, what’s up? My name is Melanie. I’m sixteen and I attend school at the Seward Park High School in Manhattan. I was born and raised in New York City. I’m interest in music and writing. The thing I like most about art is that it is for everyone, even those without artistic talent. I’m interested in Youth Insights as an art experience. I want to understand why certain objects art considered art and why they make me think. Youth Insights is a way for me to talk about these things with other people—young and old. I feel that working with older people is a way to gain experience and knowledge. When talking about an art work, older people can give me an opinion based on their own life experience and we would walk away with two different interpretations of the same painting, picture, etc. Younger people are basically developing their own life and just coming into the world. They too can teach me new things.
I’m Shirley and I’m fourteen years old. I go to Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn. I was born and raised in the Coney Island Projects. I’m interested in dance and other kinds of art. To be honest, I like everything about art. I like how fifteen people can look at one thing and see fifteen different things. I think museums are cool because they change. You can visit the third floor of the Whitney this month and two months later go to that same floor and see a whole new setup—the walls could be totally different or even gone altogether! I’m interested in Youth Insights because it will give me the chance to work with many different types of people and learn stuff from history and culture. One thing I like about older people and learn stuff from history and culture. One thing I like about older people is that they always have stories to tell—kind of like history. Kids are always ready to learn and they are always asking questions.
Hi, my name is Yara. I’m sixteen years old and I go to Clinton High School in the Bronx. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I’m interested in music and sports as an energy release. I think art is a reflection of people, life, and reality. I’m interested in Youth Insights as a way to learn and teach about art and life. It is also an opportunity to meet new people and learn about different lifestyles and how they influence the way we see things. I believe I will enjoy working with adults because it will teach me how to be one. I am looking forward to working with younger people as well because of their imaginations. Because they haven’t lived life, they have a different way of looking at the world—I find that fascinating.