A Renaissance of Teen Programs

North Carolina Museum of Art Teen Event 2011 from The North Carolina Museum of Art on Vimeo.

In January 2011 a group of Museum educators presented a charge to our new Teen Advisory Council: create a renaissance of teen programs at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

What does “a renaissance” mean? Well, it is all in the capitalization. A renaissance with a lowercase r refers to a renewal or revival. The Renaissance with a capital R was the rebirth of classic Roman and Greek art, literature, and philosophy in Europe between 1400 and 1600. Learning and innovation were celebrated, which led to new discoveries, inventions, and great advances in technology.

The past 20 years have also been a time of tremendous change, as the information age unfolds a steady stream of technological advances that enable us to communicate with thousands instantaneously. With support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, for example, the NCMA is offering a new series of online courses in collaboration with North Carolina Virtual Public Schools. The renaissance theme presented to the Teen Advisory Council was an outgrowth of the first course in this series: Videography with a Renaissance Twist. Regardless of geographic barriers, students have the opportunity to take these courses that foster critical inquiry and thinking skills for the 21st century. The Museum’s first Teen Event introduced this course along with other exciting programs for high school students.

Considering both the capital R of the Renaissance’s artistic innovation and the lowercase r of the renaissance of vibrant teen programs, our Teen Advisory Council brainstormed about what high school students want from their state art museum. Over the course of five months, these students planned an evening to celebrate the newly resurrected teen art competition and the Museum’s first online course.  Thanks to a gift from Tekelec, the Teen Event was preceded by a symposium including a talk by Michael Gelb, author of How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci. Students and teachers explored the mind of Renaissance genius through the galleries of our permanent collection and returned to the studio for hands-on exercises in creativity.

Our new series of inventive course-related programs is just the beginning; we are piloting our second course, The Art of Game Design, and planning a third, Art of Persuasion, in the fall of 2012.

Watch the video to see how the NCMA Teen Advisory Council began this renaissance for teens at the Museum. And save May 19, 2012, on your calendar for the Spring Teen Event, and see what this passionate group of teens will plan. Finally, come visit the new Teens Inspired site to learn more.

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