Q&A with Youth Muse

Every Maker Party we get the opportunity to connect and learn about cool new organizations that are doing inspiring work around the world. Youth Muse is an organization that is activating young people by getting them involved with campaigns for social change.  This year they are working with Smithsonian Museum Day to run a Maker Party event that will encourage teens to explore their inner-artist. We had a chance to catch-up with Debra Kerr from Youth Muse to learn more about the organization and how they are participating with Maker Party this year.

What is your organization and what do you do?

YouthMuse helps cultural organizations more deeply engage teens by involving them at the program design and development stage (not just at implementation and delivery) and by facilitating teen-led, museum-based change campaigns. Intuit promotes understanding of art made by self-taught artists and helps teens and other audiences discover their inner creativity.

What is the event(s) you will be hosting or running during Maker Party?

Our next event is a teen-led Maker Party on Sept. 27, 1-4 p.m. at Intuit, 756 N. Milwaukee Avenue, in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live! All are welcome to visit the museum, but teens are especially encouraged to participate in the making of cool fashion accessories with upcycled materials. In addition, teens will have the opportunity to earn the Urban OWNer badge from OWN and YouthMuse and try out Intuit’s Raw Draw app.

Why did you choose to get involved with Maker Party?

Teen-led making is the heart of our Intuiteen program: helping teens find their inner artist—even if they have never created art before.

Tell us what you’re most excited for at the event?

Teens teaching teens. We love to see the teens try something new and find they can create something cool and fun. Having teen mentors makes the teens really comfortable to give it a try.

Why do you think is it important for youth and adults learn to make things with technology?

The technology piece comes into play when we digitize images of the objects, and the Intuiteens curate those images in their online gallery. That gallery is a place where teens can talk about creativity as well as current issues of acceptance, violence and environment.  What is the feedback you usually get from people who attend or teach at your events?  The parents want to know how their teens can do more with us, the teens want to make more, the teen mentors want to try new activities next time, and the adult leaders are just trying to figure out how to increase our bandwidth.

Why is it important for people and organizations to get involved in Maker Party?

When we started doing making a year ago, we saw how accessible it is for teens to get started. Sometimes they are hesitant to approach an adult with a computer, but they never seem hesitant to approach a pile of paint, old T-shirts, bottle caps and glue. Once they get their feet wet with making, then they are ready to take on more sophisticated technology.

How can people get in touch with your organization?

Deb Kerr: deb@youthmuse.me
Joel Javier: jjavier@art.org