This year, with the help of my colleague, Museum Educator, Keonna Hendrick, we’ve created the Brooklyn Museum Teen Night Events Planning Committee. The committee consists of eight high school students who meet two to three times a month to plan teen events. Each Teen Night event is co-lead by two teens who determine the night’s theme based on the Museum’s collections and special exhibitions. The co-leaders plan activities related to the theme and include hand-on arts making workshops, gallery tours or scavenger hunts, and performances.
The committee began in December 2009, and launched its first Teen Night on February 5, 2010. Over 100 teens attended our first event, “Exploring the Arts of Asia.” Throughout the night, teen participants from all over the city partook in various activities: henna tattooing; yoga lessons taught by artist and yoga instructor Susanna Harwood Rubin; a martial arts demonstration and lesson by Marital Arts USA in Brooklyn; Chinese poker; and tours of the Asian Arts galleries led by participants in the Museum’s Student Guides program.
In March, Teen Night celebrated the artwork of Kiki Smith and her special exhibition in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Sojourn. The main activities of the night included exploratory hands-on art making activities and an open-mic session kicked off by members of the band Prodigy from the High School for Humanities in Manhattan and the hip-hop group ClasSicKids (pictured below) from Benjamin Banneker High School in Brooklyn. Gallery tours were hosted by Research Assistant for the Sackler Center, Sarah Giovanniello, who led a tour of Kiki Smith: Sojourn, and Molly Surazhsky, a former Senior Museum Apprentice, who led a tour of the Museum’s contemporary exhibition, Extended Family: Contemporary Connection.
The teens who take part in the Committee were selected based on their previous or current participation in the Museum’s existing teen programs, either the Museum Apprentice Program or the Work/Study Gallery Studio Program. The committee provides an opportunity for teens with advanced museum experience to gain new skills in events planning, promotion, and leadership while they utilize and expand upon their existing knowledge of art, art history, and museum education.
Cheri Ehrlich is a Senior Museum Educator and the Teen Programs Coordinator at the Museum. She is an Ed.D. candidate in Art and Art Education at Teachers College Columbia University, where she also received her Ed.M. Cheri holds a M.A.T. in Art from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and both a B.F.A. in Painting and a B.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Cheri enjoys working with high school students because they are full of energy and great ideas. Since 2006, Cheri has been overseeing the Museum Apprentice Program and coordinating events for teens at the Museum.