A Night of No-Phone Fun
The DMA’s Teen Advisory Council has been hard at work brainstorming new ways to connect our visitors with our collection and exhibits. You may have already experienced their handiwork for yourself: from Late Nights to alternative bite-sized tours, members of the Council never cease to amaze with how creatively they interpret works of art at the Museum.
This year, the Council is taking a deeper, experimental approach to making the DMA a comfortable place for visitors–especially teens–to be themselves. In an initial brainstorming meeting, the Council reflected on the stereotype that millennials are connected 24/7 to technology: that they can’t put their phones down and prefer texting over face to face conversation.
However, teenagers know that always being connected has consequences. While their friends are always a text away, they’re also connected to people and things they wish they could get away from. Leaving school for the day will not keep a teenager safe from bullies anymore. Apps allow teachers to text students after hours and on weekends. Young people are bombarded constantly by international tragedy and injustice on their social media feeds. Constant access to technology leaves teenagers without a safe space, so the Teen Advisory Council decided to create one.
On January 5th, they hosted Disconnect to Reconnect, an event that encouraged visitors to put away their cell phones and engage with the art and each other. Council members designed activities to encourage conversation and reflection. Visitors started dialogues on our atrium tables, and contributed to a zine that reflects their personal aesthetic.
The Teen Council also led their own tours, scavenger hunts, and workshops. True Colors tours took visitors on a journey of self-discovery with artwork that shared their personality, while Kendra Greene’s Spoken Word workshop used art as a catalyst for poets to say something about themselves.
Watching the Teen Council plan Disconnect to Reconnect has been an amazing experience. The programs presented at the event were written entirely by Council members and required minimal staff feedback or oversight. During the planning process and the night of, they had to make decisions about content and logistics that would be difficult even for adult educators – and handled it all with their typical optimism and cool. We’re very proud of them, and can’t wait to see what they do next!
If you or a teenager you know is interested in volunteering at the DMA, more information is available on our website. And don’t miss the Teen Advisory Council at Late Night Creations this Friday, February 17!
Manager of Teen Programs