The Teen Advisory Council (TAC) is a group of 18 high school students from across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro area that collaborate with the Dallas Museum of Art’s education staff to develop experiences for museum visitors, with a focus on their fellow teens. The Council meets twice a month for planning meetings.
TAC has been operating since 2013, under the direction of Jessica Thompson, Manager of Teen Programs. “Having a dedicated teen group that we can collaborate with has been invaluable to shaping our teen initiatives.”
Together, the group explores the museum’s galleries and special exhibitions, works with visiting artists, and discusses ways to make the museum more accessible and approachable for young people.
“By working at the DMA, [teens] form institutional knowledge of what the Museum already offers, while offering a perspective that is linked to our community and not beholden to the same experiences and ideas about Museums that we, as educators, might have. This year, the Teen Advisory Council had a voice in training our adult docent class, and also contributed their perspective when selecting our visiting artists for the upcoming year. “
This July, the Teen Advisory Council is hosting their third Disconnect to Reconnect teen night.
The goal of Disconnect to Reconnect is to encourage participants to disconnect from their devices and reconnect with the world and people around them. The upcoming Disconnect to Reconnect is themed around the city of Dallas, and how the city's different neighborhoods shape identity during our formative years.
The Council will be working with community partners to explore how the history of the city has shaped the museum. They’re also working on a packed schedule of artmaking and gallery experiences that give teens spaces to share their experiences and memories of Dallas.
TAC just finished up a project with two recent visiting artists, xtine burrough and Sabrina Starnaman. The artists’ project, 'The Laboring Self', investigates unregulated labor and its effect on workers’ bodies, and gives a voice to workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk online job platform.
This project struck a chord with TAC, who found parallels in today's college admissions process. Working with burrough and Starnaman, the teens started the We Regret to Inform You project, which aims to create a dialogue between colleges and students to rethink what's expected from young people as they plan for their futures. You can visit their work at projectinformyou.tumblr.com
To hear more about DMA's Teen Advisory Council, check out this short podcast with Jessica Thompson.