Room to Rise

The Lasting Impact of Intensive Teen Programs in Art Museums

Danielle Linzer and Mary Ellen Munley

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From the study's website:

"Room to Rise is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, with support from a National Leadership Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Each of the participating museums is home to a nationally recognized teen program that has operated continuously since the 1990s. These programs bring highly diverse urban youth together to work collaboratively with museum staff and artists, developing vibrant activities and events to engage teen audiences, from tours and exhibitions to performances and fashion shows. Lead Research Advisor Mary Ellen Munley and a network of critical friends and expert advisors guided this practitioner-driven research, which incorporates innovative arts-based methods. The study offers a detailed look at the lasting impact of these programs, and highlights key engagement strategies for educators.

Program participants reported that their experiences as teens in museums were transformational, shaping their adult lives in significant ways. This study traces a relationship between high impact engagement strategies, short-term outcomes, and long-lasting impacts for alumni, including:

-Personal identity and self-knowledge -Lifelong relationship to museums and culture -Expanded career horizons -A worldview grounded in art -Community engagement and influence"