Kalia Asencio, Brooklyn
For me, this youth art exhibition that I helped to curate means sharing a glimpse into the lives of my fellow teen artists. Going through an unprecedented period of a global pandemic and socially distancing, it is difficult to see how other people are coping. Creating this show gave me the opportunity to share my community’s voice. Filled with diverse youth artists throughout NYC, my hope is that people see that there are common themes within the different types of approaches, mediums and concepts in their work. I also hope that the main message is clear: we are all in this together.
Jordan (Isaac) Bowen, Brooklyn
II would describe the exhibition as a representation of a “collective NYC family” because, even though we are each going through a hard time right now, we all support each other in many ways. The exhibition is also a reflection of the YAC program, which was personally helpful for me. The group taught me how to have more passion for my work and boosted up my curatorial drive to create and show more work in the future. I believe the impact of the show is that it is going to help people be aware of what we’re working on as youth and how art can be a form of information, even if it’s not through written communication.
Hailey Delvalle, Manhattan
This exhibition that we curated is a representation of the thoughts, emotions, and struggles that today’s youths are experiencing. In the wake of a global pandemic and being in the midst of an uprising for equality, there are too many things to process at once. It is only natural that we reach for creative expression as a way to deal with the present state of the world. We have felt lost, overwhelmed, and powerless, and we have been trying to cope. I hope that this beautiful and striking collection of artwork can serve as a time capsule for our children and our children’s children, so that they can know where our minds were at in 2020.
Karilyn Duran, Bronx
This exhibition has compiled the viewpoints of people my age during COVID-19, an unprecedented and emotionally trying time. We have ideas, we have emotions, we have struggles, and the pandemic has deeply impacted our extremely socially-driven generation. It has created such a massive sense of loss, and it’s important to give young people a place to grieve and express themselves. A lot of people tend to diminish the viewpoints of the younger generations. Since we’re not adults, our opinions seem to matter less. This exhibition amplifies the voices of young people to a larger audience beyond traditional demographics. I hope people see the value in our voices, our capability to create change, and recognize the validity of our emotions.
Givienna Geneva Gordon, Brooklyn
Being a curator of this youth art exhibition means a lot to me. From day one, we’ve all been working hard to make it the best show possible, despite the current, challenging circumstances. This exhibition is a chance to use art in order to connect to the problems we are to facing now and the emotions we are experiencing in dealing with COVID-19. The impact I want to have is to demonstrate, through the arts, how NYC youth feel when it comes to COVID-19. I want to make sure that this exhibition offers others a chance to experience our emotions and share our powerful insights. Also, to hopefully understand that the difficulties we are going through now are just a temporary part of life, and will pass.
Ayah Hassan, Brooklyn
Being part of this youth art exhibition means a lot to me. It taught me so many important lessons. I learned about ways to be inclusive of all people–whether it be in a piece of art, a label, or a caption. I also learned how to represent and make everyone feel equal and welcomed. In addition, organizing this show open my eyes to the idea that everyone portrays things differently, even if they are going through a similar experience. Everyone imagines things differently and understands different artworks from different perspectives. Being a curator includes the ability to share your ideas with the majority of viewers and I learned that a good label and caption must be added to the artwork in order to have that happen. This exhibition has been a very creative process and, considering the moment we are in, it is even more inspirational still. I just hope that when viewing this exhibition, people understand that creativity can arise even in the worst of times.
Emilia Palegano-Titmuss, Manhattan
No one has seen or experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic. It is something that many of us will look back on and learn from. What we are experiencing right now–being away from friends and family, while trying to stay safe–is always on our minds. It is important to document our feelings and emotions when something unprecedented happens because our generation, as well as older generations and the ones to come, can reflect and learn something from us. Teenagers and young adults are this world’s future. Through sharing our unique experiences and insights, we can help others see things in new ways. For example, I have learned that when you are stuck at home and inside your own head all day, with just your mind for company, that this can be the best time for you to create meaningful artwork that is influenced by your own thoughts. I hope whomever our audience may be, they will use this exhibition to learn, to experience the pandemic from a different perspective, and even to relate to the messages of our participating artists.
Julian Sharp, Brooklyn
This exhibition captures a unique and difficult moment in history that the entire world is going through together right now. Collectively, the participating artists reveal how young people are feeling about the pandemic as a whole. It means a lot to me to be able to curate this show because of how interesting the artwork is and because of how hard we have been working as a group to collaboratively make it happen. I hope that people are able to look at the art and feel a
connection to others who are feeling similar to them or be able to sympathize with the artists’ viewpoints and insights. Additionally, it would be very interesting if people could look back at the exhibit in the future as capturing an important time in history.
Shonnae Imei Teel, Brooklyn
This youth art exhibition is a vivid representation of the various interdisciplinary works created by artists in different spaces throughout NYC. Creative expression in times of hardship provides
a sense of tranquility and clairvoyance by allowing emotions to be connected to the inner self. As youths, utilizing mindfulness in curation has been an important part of selecting the art created for this exhibition. Inclusivity and understanding the cultural dynamics of our work has helped build a sense of unity throughout this journey. The grief within our communities, regarding the current state of the world, is a starting point in amplifying the voices needed for change. Action comes through movement and this exhibition has helped put into motion opportunities for many of us young individuals in the art world.
Kenisha Terry, Brooklyn
This youth art exhibition means a lot to me. It showed me that not only are there people of all races acknowledging what’s wrong in the world and what needs to be fixed, but they are also being proactive and standing together for change. It taught me a lot. I hope the exhibition impacts others and their mindset so that they can see why the artwork was created and have a better understanding of the social injustices happening now. In addition to awareness, I hope it encourages people to help change things and support those who are already working to make things better.