Teen Time

It’s a Thursday night at the DMA, and conversations fill the galleries. A group of friends joins a discussion led by a Visiting Artist, who is hosting a workshop later that evening. Total strangers are chatting in front of their favorite work of art, bonding over shared thoughts and interests. A great band is playing in the Center for Creative Connections, and a small crowd is jamming along with them. Upon closer inspection, all of these visitors are teenagers, and – remarkably – there’s not a cell phone in sight!

This is the vision of the DMA’s Teen Advisory Council, a group of highly motivated students from around Dallas-Fort Worth. Since 2013, the Council has worked with DMA Education staff to develop programs and activities for visitors. If you’ve attended a Late Night in the last few years, you’ve likely experienced their work firsthand. From scribbling robots to life size board games, they never fail to creatively interpret the Museum’s collections and exhibitions in new and exciting ways.

This year, the Council has turned their focus toward their peers in an effort to share the Museum with their fellow teens. At a brainstorming meeting earlier this year, the discussion turned toward a common stereotype of young people: that they are glued to their cell phones 24/7. There are benefits to being connected all the time. In my experience, teens today are much more involved and knowledgeable about current affairs than I was at their age, thanks in part to having information so easily accessible. However, teens know there are consequences: a friend is just a text away, but so are bullies, school pressures, and global politics.

Because Teen Council members are at the Museum so often, they know it as a place where they can take a break from being connected. It’s a place where they can learn at their own pace, find calm within themselves, and open up to new perspectives and experiences without being judged. To share that feeling with others, the Council has worked hard planning Disconnect to Reconnect, a night of free, fun activities for teens.

Disconnect to Reconnect invites teens to discover what the DMA can offer them, from solving an Escape Room themed after the history of the Reeves Collection to creating art with Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker in the Center for Creative Connections. The Teen Council also invited teens to showcase their own talents – the two musical acts of the evening, R.A.G. and Aloe Sara, are high school students, and short films made by local teens will also be playing in the C3 Theater. All of the Council asks is that visitors be fully present, with cell phones silenced and put away while participating.

We hope you’ll be able to join us this Thursday, July 20th for Disconnect to Reconnect from 5:00-9:00 p.m.!

Jessica Thompson is the Manager of Teen Programs 


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