Founded in 2007, The Seattle Art Museum’s Teen Arts Group (TAG) is an intensive program for highly opinionated high school-aged youth who are interested in learning about themselves and the world through art. TAG is designed to cultivate the voice and leadership of diverse young people who share their passion for the power of art to build community.
When the world came to a halt, TAG put that passion into the power of zines. In this publication, you will find creative expressions addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Seattle-area youth. Their responses range from life before stay home orders to the impact of school closures and everything in between. What they created together is a powerful, moving zine titled, Peering Through the Looking Glass: Youth Artists Connect and Reflect on COVID-19.
As the world continues to navigate this pandemic, it is vital that those of us who work alongside, support, teach, and love young folks, do not exclude them in these conversations about the future. Our youth have a big stake in the future and they should be at every table advocating and fighting for it alongside the adults in their lives. They recognize the value and necessity of working together and using this shared experience to heal and move forward. The opening of the zine, created solely by the members of TAG, says it best.
Images: Alex depicts the loneliness this pandemic has caused and finding ways to reach the ones they love and miss. One work in a series of four that Lucia created for the zine. Grae & Zya collaborated to pair Grae’s original poetry on top of Zya’s designs.
Since 2001, South Korean artist Jung Yeondoo has visited six different countries to make people’s dreams come true. In his Bewitched series, he asks local people about their wishes for their future and then makes them come true with a pair of photographs: the first, a portrait of the person in their everyday life and the second, showing their dream or fantasy. Bewitched #2 Seoul shows a Baskin Robbins employee at her job next to her dream of going to the Arctic. Her change in clothing, accessories, and setting changes how we see her and shows us a part of her that we might not know about upon first glance. Jung uses costumes, settings, and props to transform a scene from everyday life into the individual’s dream.
Speaking about his inspiration, Jung said in a 2015 profile, “I started this project with an artist’s curiosity about wanting to know about the lives of people you just pass every day,” he said. “It’s not about a happy perspective or a negative perspective . . . It is more about [my] attempts as an artist to communicate with someone else.”
What’s going on in these artworks?
What do you see that makes you say that? What more can we find?
What words would you use to
describe the person in each photograph, based on what they are wearing? Are
there any words that would describe both of them?
Look closely at the image on the
left. What do you think are some things this person does every day? What do you
see that makes you say that? Now do the same for the image on the right.
Why do you think you see the same
pose in both images? What does it feel like to pose in that way?
Take a moment to close your eyes and ask yourself these same questions: What is your dream? What is your fantasy? Who do you want to be? Think about this dream that you have for yourself. In this imagined future, what are you wearing? What are you doing? What are your surroundings? Time yourself for five minutes and free-write or draw any ideas that you have. Don’t worry about making it look or sound good, this is just to document your ideas.
Create a drawing or collage that represents the daily life and imagined dream of someone you know.
Call a friend and ask each other questions to learn more about your everyday lives, just like Jung Yeondoo interviews the people that he works with. Be sure to write down words that describe what they are saying! Here are some example questions:
Where are you right now? What does it look like there? What do you see around you?
What part of your daily routine happens in this space? Describe that routine.
Who else spends time here? Is anyone there now? What are they doing?
Is there anything else that you want to share?
Now, interview each other about your future dreams. This could be three months from now or far into the future. What is your dream? What is your fantasy? Who do you want to be? Keep digging—ask for more details that can help you imagine their dream. Write down more descriptive words as you listen.
For this next part, you can choose to either
Make a drawing!
Divide a blank sheet of paper in half. On the left side, create a drawing of your friend in their current daily life. On the right side, create a drawing of them in their imagined dream.
Tell a story with your drawing—the more details that you can include from the interview, the better!
Make a collage!
Choose a blank sheet of paper or piece of cardboard for your base. You’ll need: old magazines, newspapers, or other printed papers, a pair of scissors, and glue.
Cut out words and images from the magazines that remind you of what you learned about your friend in these interviews. Divide your cutouts into two piles: your friend’s everyday life and their wish for the future.
Draw a line dividing your base in half. On the left side, create a collage using the cutouts related to your friend’s everyday life. On the right side, create a collage using the cutouts related to your friend’s wish for the future.
When you are done, send each other photos of your artwork or exchange them the next time you see each other. What are some things that you learned about yourself and each other in this process?
– Yaoyao Liu, SAM Museum Educator & Lauren Kent, SAM’s Museum Educator for School Programs & Partnerships
Image: Bewitched #2 Seoul, 2001. Jung Yeondoo. C-print photograph. 62 5/8 × 51 9/16 in. (159.1 × 131 cm) Purchased with funds from the Estate of Rosa Ayer, 2016.8.1–2.
This past summer, 10 teens from the Rainier Vista community joined Seattle Art Museum staff, Olson Kundig Architects, and Sawhorse Revolution for SAM’s one of a kind Design Your [Neighbor]hood Program. Each Design Your [Neighbor]hood program is unique, but this one was truly special because it was the first time that the youth participants got the chance to collaborate in the full design and build process. The teens worked with designers, architects, and builders to take their ideas from the visioning and planning stage, to ideation, refinement, and finally to building.
Design Your [Neighbor]hood is a hands-on program run by Seattle Art Museum that exposes youth to all facets of design, and the connection between design and community change. From architecture to graphic design, fashion, and photography, youth have the opportunity to understand the breadth of this field, meet professionals through trips and office visits, and engage in design thinking and studio processes that give first-person experience.
This year’s group of teens living in the Rainier Vista community, near Rainier Vista Neighborhood House recognized a need for a community sound booth and recording studio. With so many budding performers and musicians in the neighborhood, they were often renting spaces for recording.
The design and build process involved a number of field trips during which the teens gathered ideas and inspiration from notable architectural spaces, and met with various professionals for advice. They visited the Bullitt Center on Capitol Hill and the Olson Kundig offices in Pioneer Square. They also worked to gather input on design ideas from their peers in the community, making sure to be inclusive of all voices and needs as they finalized their design.
After multiple refinements of the process through input from Chris Landingin, project manager at Batt + Lear, and Jesse Kingsley and Chris Poules, architects at Olson Kundig, the youth got to building. Collaborating with Sawhorse Revolution, the teens learned the essentials of power tool safety and introductory carpentry skills. Between the design refinements and the building time, it took them a little over seven weeks to complete their project.
The culminating celebration featured presentations from each teen on their favorite part of the program, specific skills they picked up throughout, and how they envision the space will be used by their peers and the community. Families, friends, and community partners all got a chance to participate in the celebration on a job well done!
Thank you to our partners, Seattle Housing Authority, Delridge Neighborhood Development Association, Olson Kundig Architects, Sawhorse Revolution, Christine Landingin from Batt + Lear, and Hearst Foundations for all of their support.
– Sarah Bloom, SAM’s Associate Director of Education
A new school year often welcomes crisp air, spiral notebooks, and pumpkin deliciousness. This school year brings one other exciting change: Seattle Art Museum school tours will now be free for all public schools at all SAM locations! Bus subsidies are also available for Title 1 schools. Offering free tours for public schools grew out of SAM’s mission and strategic plan to champion access and equity for all. The museum firmly believes every student deserves access to high-quality arts education and creative learning.
Even though the arts remain a required school subject by Washington State law, arts education is often one of the first programs to be cut. According to ArtsEd Washington, “In Washington State, 75% of elementary students receive only two hours, or less, of arts education each week.” Not only that, but Create Advantage Seattle notes, “Race, family income, and home language are all predictors of a students’ access to arts education in Seattle Public Schools.”
Research reveals that consistent arts education improves high school graduation rates, empathy, motivation to stay in school, critical thinking, voter turnout, and even raises math scores. Arts Impact says, “Arts-infused learning in reading and math eliminates the achievement gap between children of color and poverty and their white upper/middle-class peers.” Also, SAM’s Kayla Skinner Deputy Director for Education and Public Engagement, Regan Pro, strongly believes in furthering arts education. “Everyone talks about how they value things like creativity and innovation. If we are saying that but aren’t supporting arts in schools, then how do we expect those muscles to grow?”
tours at SAM start with a warm welcome from a trained docent or tour guide and a
teaching artist. The docent or tour guide leads the group into SAM’s galleries
where students and teachers might stare into the eyes of a giant mouse
sculpture, learn the history behind Kwakwaka’wakw house posts, or discover a
treasure chest lock in the Porcelain Room. With three locations and art from
all over the world, tours can complement and enhance any curriculum.
After the tour, SAM’s
teaching artists facilitate an art-making experience based on the works that
students just saw in the galleries. Students walk away holding their own work
of art, such as a three-dimensional sculpture, a two-point perspective
painting, or a self-designed family crest. Plus, teaching artists provide
students with an opportunity to view potential career paths in the arts.
“Being in the art museum was a new experience for many of my students. They were intrigued and, to my surprise, were able to connect with some artists. I feared they would find the museum too “high-brow,” but the variety of art allowed most to connect in some way.”
In addition to free school tours, SAM has continued to develop school partnerships. One of those partnerships, called “Drawing from Nature,” is now in its fourth year. Through this partnership, SAM offers all second graders in Highline School District a chance to explore the Olympic Sculpture Park. Building off these field trips, SAM provides lesson plans and professional development sessions to teachers. Furthermore, SAM is partnering with Seattle Public Schools on a new program at the Seattle Asian Art Museum when it reopens in early 2020. This partnership supports third through fifth-grade teachers as they build connections between art and social studies.
“This was an amazing experience and many of the themes were continued to talk about and apply in other subject areas.”
SAM’s Senior Manager of School & Educator Programs, Anna Allegro, says school partnerships provide students with a sense of ownership of SAM. “We’ll work with a school for five years, the kids will come every year, and they just have this sense of ownership and comfort. It’s so different from when they first walked in where SAM might have felt like an intimidating kind of space. Our goal is that students know they can be seen and heard here.”
With SAM’s partnerships and free school tours, the
museum is honored to support arts education and creative
learning for all young people whilst continuing the goal to promote equity and
access for all. As much as art museums play a role in advancing arts education,
this mission extends beyond our four walls to everyone in the community.
“Everyone can be an advocate for arts education. If you’re a parent, talk to your principal. Talk to your PSA. Ask them how they are supporting the arts. How is that a part of their classroom? If you’re a grandparent or if you live in a neighborhood, understand what the public school is in your neighborhood and how you can help support it.”
If “legacy cultural organizations” want to grow their audiences, they need to adapt and transform to meet their needs. “If arts organizations can leverage that new understanding in a way authentic to them and on-mission and without abandoning their core purpose,” she says, “all audiences benefit.”
Way back in the 1980s, when photographs were made with film, and gas was less than a buck a gallon, the Washington State High School Photography Competition began as the brainchild of a few photography instructors committed to elevating their students’ skills, and celebrating their creativity. Since then, this competition has blossomed into the largest event of its kind in the United States, receiving nearly 4,000 entries every year.
The competition is open to students enrolled in grades 9–12 in a public, private, or alternative high school in Washington State. In 2017, there were twelve categories in which students could enter. The exhibition includes the top three photographs from each category. The categories and rules are reviewed every year and approved by our advisory board of five active high school photography instructors.
Our event relies on the volunteer efforts of high school students and instructors, and the support of a handful of dedicated sponsors including Museum Quality Framing, Kenmore Camera, Canon, Jones Soda, Photographic Center Northwest, Key Bank, and Seattle Sounders FC. We also enjoy a wonderful partnership with the Seattle Art Museum. Since 1995, SAM has showcased our annual exhibit to help celebrate the exceptional talent emerging from our high schools. This collaborative effort helps us achieve our mission to provide a prestigious public platform for student photography.
This year our judges were photographers Chris Bennion, Claire Garoutte and Spike Mafford. They dedicated an entire day to review the thousands of entries. We very much appreciate their time and expertise.
The intensive multi-session workshops are focused on visual art, design, and community change. Students receive hands-on experience and become change-makers within their community by exploring architecture, design software, urban planning, and social activism.
This season, SAM has tailored the DYH project for Seattle’s Park and Recreation Department’s Youth Employment and Service Learning Program (YES). This program focuses on providing hands-on experiences for youth that will allow them to develop well-rounded skills, especially in terms of job readiness.
YES students have an opportunity to search for, identify and examine free youth arts opportunities in Seattle and create a space using models that they propose and design.
As part of the program, students participate in a series of field trips around the city to investigate art and design strategies. These experiences have been designed to inspire teens in their own design work as well as expose them to the diversity of professional art and design practices.
The workshop features community partnerships with Seattle Architecture Foundation, Bassetti Architects, The Wing Luke Museum, The Beacon, The International District, Panama Hotel, Olympic Sculpture Park, The Bullitt Center, Asian Art Museum, Volunteer Park and Amanda Bryan Architect.
These organizations lead tours, facilitate discussions, and provide tutorials and workspace for the youth designers. They are able to utilize the expertise of professional designers and development officials to make informed decisions about their own projects.
All of this will come to an exciting conclusion on December. 20, where students will articulate their proposals through a presentation, showcasing their process, design and 3-D models at the Miller Community Center with an awards ceremony following.
–Bianca Sewake, Seattle Art Museum Communication’s Intern
What better way to end the year than with a banging celebration? The Seattle Art Museum is hosting its popular Teen Night Out this Friday, December 5—an action-packed night of live music, art-making workshops, and art tours—just for teens.
You can dance the night away to DJs and bands in Seattle, including a headline performance from the all-female surf rock group, La Luz. Wander around on an art tour to see all of SAM’s collection, including the two featured exhibitions. Pop Departuresis an electrifying bold collection of pop art commentary on American culture over the last 50 years with works from iconic artists such as Andy Warhol.
Seattle’s hottest contemporary artists will lead fun art making workshops based on the two exhibitions. Have your face painted to look like one of Roy Lichtenstein paintings, complete with a speech bubble or get your hands painted with beautiful henna designs.
You can also create your own art, which will be made into a collage that will be on display at the Teen Center at the Seattle Central Public Library.
The best part? That’s just the beginning and the entire event is free! You don’t even have to register.
So join us for an unforgettable night!
-Bianca Sewake, Seattle Art Museum Communication’s Intern
May 1, 2014, 4-7 pm
Seattle Art Museum
Chase Open Studio
Teen Night Out
May 2, 2014, 7-10 pm
Seattle Art Museum
Teens are taking over! I am so excited to announce details about the upcoming Art Lab and Teen Night Out!
Want more access to studio art making? Join us for a FREE Art Lab on Thursday, May 1, the day before Teen Night Out! This month’s Art Lab is Epic Sketch: Comic book design inspired by Salish art and symbols with Jeffrey Veregee. Stop by the drop-in lounge in the Chase Open Studio. Supplies and snacks provided. Check out more details here on SAM’s calendar.
Then, on May 2, drop by SAM for an amazing Teen Night Out featuring the musical act Tacocat as the headlining performer. Not only is Tacocat a local pop punk band, but Tacocat spelled backwards is still Tacocat—yay for palindromes.
Other Teen Night Out highlights include music from DJ Sharlese, henna by Junior ASHA, and art activities by Xavier Lopez Jr. and Ryan Henry Ward from local “Henry” street art. And don’t forget about the Naramore 2014 Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Middle School and High School Art Show in the Community Corridor on the first floor—join us for the Naramore closing reception and awards ceremony at 6 pm before Teen Night Out starts.
There will be many other awesome activities inspired by our current special exhibition Miró: The Experience of Seeing. Teens will receive FREE access to Miró, as well as the rest of SAM’s galleries.
As a Teen Arts Group (TAG) member turned communications intern, I will be walking around the event updating SAM Teens social media. Stay tuned on the Seattle Art Museum Teen Night Out Facebook page and SAM Teens Instagram for more updates. Show us your best #SAMselfie in our photobooth. If you post pictures from Teen Night Out, don’t forget to use our hashtags #TNOmiro and #SAMteens.
– Maddie Thomas, Seattle Art Museum communication’s intern