New Art in the Neighborhood: How to Change Yours̶e̶l̶f̶ World

New Art in the Neighborhood (NAN) is a high school-level art course that combines project-based learning with studio practice and exploration. This program introduces new art practices to creative teens while also responding to each student’s individual interests and curiosities. Artwork made in the 2022–2023 academic year with Resident Teaching Artists (RTA) Lillian Gardner and Mee Jey is presented in this exhibition. Gardner asked students the question: what do you want to change in the world? Using a variety of materials, including wood, collage, sand, and fabric, students engaged with meaningful issues and found inspiration in themes such as identity, environment, and legacy. They also had the opportunity to participate in workshops with 2022 Great Rivers Biennial artists Yvonne Osei and Jon Young. Similarly, Mee Jey asked students to be deeply reflective in order to find their strengths. Using fabric and found items, the students created artworks that were just as much about the woven intricacies of human identity as they were about the materials.

While some of the artworks featured here share similarities in their use of materials, the exhibition as a whole highlights students’ diverse approaches and individual paths undertaken throughout the program. 

2022–23 NAN artists include: Gray Baker, Lev Burmeister, Jay Elvert, Will Fendler, Hank Fosdick, Sofia Gleissner, Jesse Heater, Josie Hoskins, Finn Kanak, Ivy Kanak, Audrey LaBeaume, Summer Lewis, Cayan Moore, Cozette Mothershead, Sanai Todd, Tariq Upchurch-Bey, Mars Vance, Jovi Vaughn, Kevin Werts, Frankie Williams, Jacob Williams, and Yaa Williams.

New Art in the Neighborhood: How to Change Yourself World is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Brandon Barr, Teen and Adult Programs Manager.


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