Cape Ann Museum’s first ever Teen Arts Council creates events, Instagram account to attract more local young people

Paid internship opportunity for five local high school students adds youth voice to Museum efforts

This summer, the Cape Ann Museum introduced its first ever Teen Arts Council, a program aimed to help teens develop leadership skills while creating youth-focused events and initiatives that will draw more young people to the Museum. The council’s first five members live in area towns and hope to help the Museum develop an inclusive space which will allow local teenagers to get involved and enjoy what the Museum has to offer. 

The members of the council include: Eleyna Bayer, 17, of Beverly who attends Waring School in Beverly; Olivia Gado, 17, of Manchester who attends Manchester Essex Regional High School; Sophie Zerilli, 16, of Rockport who attends Hamilton Wenham Regional High School; Chandra Lavery, 16, of Gloucester who attends Beverly High School; and Ethan Wood, 17, of Ipswich who also attends Waring School in Beverly. The members each get paid $15 an hour and meet weekly on Wednesdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“Throughout the last few weeks, we’ve learned about the inner workings of the Museum and started brainstorming programs the Museum can implement to get more youth involved,” Wood said. “We believe creating programs and exhibits geared toward teenagers will show them that they are represented in this space and that they can enjoy what the Museum has to offer.”

The Teen Arts Council plans to launch a regular “Teen Arts Night” series starting with an outdoor event on Friday, Aug. 20 for local teens to hang out, make art and view the new Learning to Swim exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum Green, 13 Prospect St. in Gloucester off Route 128 and Grant Circle. The night will be filled with music from a local teen band, lawn games, and stations where teenagers can take place in creating self-portraits for the upcoming exhibit, Quilted Together: An Exhibit of Community Portraits. The show – which features drawings by people from all over the Cape Ann community – will be on display at Cape Ann Museum Green from Sept. 24 to Nov. 5.

The teens are also creating an interactive map for the upcoming exhibit, Learning to Swim, so local visitors can share their memories of learning to swim with artwork and archival photographs from the Museum’s collection that depicts the area’s popular swimming spots. Paintings by Joy Halsted, Elaine Wing, Norma Cuneo, Jessica Tam, Bernard Chaet, Jeff Weaver, and Dorothy Arnold look at the water through the lens of an artist while photographs from our archives capture the joy of swimming through the ages. The exhibit will be on display Aug. 14 to Sept. 12 at Cape Ann Museum Green.

The teens also developed a new Instagram account for the Museum to highlight the work of local teen artists while also promoting activities and events that appeal to young people at the Museum. “Our goal with the Instagram is to build a connection with the teen art community,” Bayer said. “We want to showcase local teens on our page. We hope to encourage teenagers to show off their skills and submit their art to our profile.” Follow the Instagram profile to stay up to date on the Teen Arts Council and those interested in being highlighted can send their work through the Instagram or via email to education@capeannmuseum.org.

The Museum’s Education Manager Miranda Aisling said she hopes this council is the first of many. “Our goal is to continue the Teen Arts Council after this summer,” she said “The council was formed to help the Museum understand what teenagers want to see and how to get them engaged in the Museum. In working with the council, the Museum is committed to the importance of remaining open-minded and highlighting underrepresented voices like younger artists.”

To learn more about the museum and its upcoming exhibits, visit: https://www.capeannmuseum.org/exhibitions/

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