Teens take over art

Local museum hosts free events to increase youth arts participation


Julia Nathan

Teenagers were able to appreciate a piece of artwork created completely from denim fabric during the Double Teen Takeover event at the Walker Art Center on Thursday, April 17.

Jackson Eilers

For young people who might find art boring, the Walker Art Museum is searching for ways to change the stigma around art by providing different perspectives. The Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council, abbreviated WACTAC, aims to raise teen participation in local arts by providing them with ways to connect to it, according to council member and senior Owen Dennehy. “Our goal at WACTAC is to organize, design and promote free programs and events at the Walker that engage youth and young adults with contemporary art and artists,” Dennehy said. WACTAC consists of 10 to 15 high school age students who meet weekly to plan the events they host for their peers. Mischa Kegan, the WACTAC adviser, helps the students plan and execute their events. “We bring together a diverse group of kids, in all ways possible, to add differing perspectives,” Kegan said. “Different perspectives adds strength to conversations and ideas and applies to a large range of teens.” According to Dennehy, WACTAC aims for all of their events and activities to catch the interest of the largest range of local teens in order to raise teen involvement with the arts in their community. “We hold teen art lounges every few months where youth and young adults can come and meet with local artists and take place in a lot of hands-on art,” Dennehy said. “We also have two big events a year, called teen takeovers.” This year’s first teen takeover event, called “It’s Happening,” took place Nov. 14 and attracted 700 young people Kegan said. Junior Sam Olson, who attended the event, said it featured an elevator dance party in the Walker’s cargo elevator. The lift went to a different floor with each ride and upon arrival of the random floor, the WACTAC members improvised skits for those watching from the elevator, with a different skit for each floor. “The whole event was very clever the way they had you go into everything with no expectations. It created a different feeling and then blew your mind,” Olson said. “The experience made me feel more connected to contemporary art and the free events are a good way to make teens more aware.” The most recent teen takeover event took place April 17, and Kegan said more than 1,000 people attended. This event hosted performances by local artists and council members, a contemporary art exhibit for students to walk through and allowed students to express their creativity through hands-on art including making maps and even your own flavor of popcorn. “Art is a lens through which teens can discuss and connect with the world and the issues we face,” Kegan said. “The teenage years are a time for questioning the world and art pushes the wheel in terms of questioning.” The next event will be decided by a different WACTAC council, which will be chosen during the summer. Any incoming high school freshmen to senior may apply. Applications can be found on the WACTAC website.