Multiple Perspectives on Teen-Centric Art Museum Programs: A Recent Emergence

By Ilona Szekely.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Subjected to the social, political, economic and artistic events of the day, the need of the art museum has shifted with time. As part of that shift the museum has had to reflect on their goals as an institution, updating their mission, revising their content, and identifying who should be served. This paper will look at the recent emergence of teen-centric Art Museum programs as part of a historical trend that began to center attention on audiences. Since the needs of teens are different than any other age group, to engage them has caused museums to further transform their connection to the public in many ways. The paper will explore the historical context in which museums have come to include a teen audience, tracing the emergence of the art museum’s mission from collecting and preserving objects of art to public engagement, and the shift from focusing primarily on school children and art appreciation to including a teen population and its particular needs. As a key characteristic of this engagement, there will also be a discussion about the change in art museums from being ‘temples’ for contemplation to ‘rocking community centers,’ wired for technology.

Keywords: Teens, Audience, Museum Mission, Technology, Community Center, Education

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.25-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 475.433KB).

Dr. Ilona Szekely

Professor of Art Education, Art Education, Eastern Kentucky University, Lexington, KY, USA

For almost a decade, I have shared my love of art with others. A career in art education has enabled me to share this enthusiasm in varied settings. I have taught students in college, as well as in public schools, both urban and rural. I have shared my love of art and knowledge of art education in leading museums and in one of the nation’s top private schools in New York. During my career I have helped to establish several community arts organizations. I worked to obtain funding, as well as promote growth. In my studies of educational policy, I have expertise in school reform initiatives as they pertain to the arts and the museum. Additionally, I have expertise in reform initiatives concerning policy and leadership in visual arts education. Currently, I am finishing my Ph.D. in the department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky. The focus of my doctoral research is art education in museum settings and its relationship to school art programs. I hold a full time teaching position in Art Education at Eastern Kentucky University.

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