Fifteen teens from across the Kansas City Metro band together each year with one mission — to make art more accessible to youth.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Teen Council is a dedicated group of unique individuals who create events for teens, by teens. This year’s crew is made up of students from 12 schools across the area.
Yasmeen Mir, senior at St. Teresa’s Academy, explains that their charge is to “Create inclusive programming at The Nelson that brings the teen community in Kansas City together for free events that are available to everyone and are relevant to youth right now.”
Antonio Hoskins, senior at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, boils it down further and simply says, “We work hard and we have fun.”
That hard work goes into monthly open mic nights, regular social media posts that help make art at The Nelson-Atkins relatable to teens and an annual Battle of the Bands. Battle of the Bands is a special event that features teen bands selected by Teen Council. The winner of the battle gets to perform at the Middle of the Map Festival.
The fun they have is when these events come to successful fruition.
“There’s a sense of community at the events,” Mir said. “It’s really amazing to be a part of a successful event. And people will keep coming because they have good experiences.”
Logan Crompton, junior at Raytown High School, agreed.
“Going to open mic was super fun and I asked, ‘How can I become involved?’”
While all of Teen Council’s events are open to teens ages 13 through 18, becoming a member of the council requires going through a competitive application process. It’s open to juniors and seniors. Only a few spots open each year because members can serve up to two years. And new members are selected by the existing council.
Negin Amouei, senior at Olathe East High School, enjoys how the council brings together different types of people with different personalities who create different types of art.
In 2017 alone, the small, but mighty group was able to reach more than 2,500 teens through their programming.
It’s an effort that Hoskins says helps broaden his horizons as well as those of the teens participating in the programs.
When asked if they would continue to volunteer in other ways once their terms on Teen Council were up, each of the council members nodded an enthusiastic yes.
“There are a lot of opportunities at this museum to do more,” Mir said.
Crompton added, “I won’t stop the volunteer streak anytime soon.”
And to other students who want to be involved in their communities, in any way, and haven’t taken the next step yet, Mir offered: “You can be involved in the community and you can make a difference.”
Above: image provided by the Nelson-Atkins museum of Art