The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is accepting applications through July 15 from art enthusiasts between the ages of 15 and 18 for its newly formed Teen Art Council, which will launch this fall.
The advisory council will be made up of 12 teens from high schools across San Diego County representing diverse backgrounds and interests. The organization's purpose will be to work with museum administrators to develop programs for teenagers.
"Here at the museum we have a range of programs for youth audiences as well as adult audiences," said Gabrielle Wyrick Bridgeford, education curator. "We didn't have a whole lot of programs for those middle ages, 14 to 18. We didn't really have a suitable program for teens interested in contemporary art."
With teens attending other events such as TNT and film showings, Bridgeford realized there was an entire population not being served.
The museum decided to form the Teen Art Council, which will be charged with looking at exhibitions, meeting with contemporary artists, meeting peers and then developing, marking and implementing programs for their peer audience.
The council will parallel the school year, with teens meeting weekly for two to three hours at the downtown location from September 2008 to June 2009.
Applications are being accepted through July 15 and are available online and at MCASD.
Bridgeford, who will be overseeing the council, said it would function on two levels: "One level is that it's a program in and of itself. On another level, we'll be working with them to give them a budget and freedom and space to develop their own program. The challenge is to work within the institution. It really is like a job."
The council has wide-open parameters and may develop content such as components for the museum's Web site, teen events, artist lectures and hands-on workshops.
High Tech High student Zack Small, 17, has been named to the council following an internship with the museum. One of his assignments at the time was to shoot, edit and produce a documentary about an artist that is now being shown on the museum's Web Site.
"I think it's a good idea to have something like this," Small said, adding that it gives teens a social outlet as well as an opportunity to explore their creativity.
With teens at a point in their lives where they are challenging the status quo, dealing with identity issues and developing awareness of global issues, social norms and politics, Bridgeford said art as a form of expression is particularly well-suited for them.
"As a contemporary art museum, we're really excited about offering such an in-depth program for this age group," Bridgeford said.