Looking to tap into the energy and insights of local teenagers while also giving them a chance to become more deeply involved in the arts, Guild Hall is establishing a Teen Arts Council whose young members will be paid to develop fresh programming for their peers this spring.
Applications for the council, which are available on Guild Hall’s website, will be accepted through Jan. 31. Members, who must be between the ages of 14 and 18, will be expected to attend all Teen Arts Council meetings, take part in programs developed as a result of the meetings, and volunteer at at least one Guild Hall event. The positions require a commitment of about two hours a week.
“This is something more than just an internship,” said Andrea Grover, the museum’s executive director, “it’s a paid position that will create a generation that feels aligned with and connected with Guild Hall.”
Ms. Grover is excited about the program both for what it can offer teens and for what they can bring to the museum. “They have a street-level perspective on culture. Teens adopt culture and technology at a very rapid pace. They help us open our eyes to new platforms, new technology, new music.”
The Guild Hall Teen Arts Council is modeled after a similar one at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis that was later adopted by arts institutions around the country. Ms. Grover’s husband, Carlos Lama, ran the teen council at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, where she got a close-up view of the kinds of programming council members came up with.
They organized a fashion runway show, battles of the bands, and film nights at neighboring institutions. “They curated an exhibition of teen art and were involved in every part of it, from concept to hanging,” and because participants were paid, “they had kind of a deeper focus,” Ms. Grover said. “Right away you’re saying they’re valued by the institution.”
Corey Jane Cardoso will coordinate Guild Hall’s teen council.
“Since I’ve been out East, everyone is saying ‘Bring out the young people.’ ” The problem with that, Ms. Grover said, is that so many young people leave the area after high school for school or work and do not return, “but we have so many teens here. . . . East Hampton High School has something like 750 students.”
Guild Hall will choose 10 to 12 high school students for its Teen Arts Council and expects them to be content producers, programmers, and curators, working with one another and the Guild Hall staff. The spring session will run from March 7 through June 6 and will result in at least one night of programming in the theater and one in Guild Hall’s education center, “but there may be more,” Ms. Grover said. “We will ask them to look at the existing programming at Guild Hall and see how they might find some tie-in.”
Meetings will be on the first and third Thursday of the month from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.