New York’s Museum of Modern Art Creating Safe Space for LGBTQ Teenagers
A Relaxed and Playful Environment
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of New York’s most esteemed museums, is creating a safe and free program for LGBTQ teens.
Open Art Space (OAS) is a drop in group for LGBTQ High school kids and their allies, that will meet at 4:30pm most Thursdays in MoMa’s Louis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building. Not only is the program itself free, but they also provide free food, drinks and Metro passes each week to those who attend. In an effort to keep it as incredibly accessible as possible, no advanced registration or previous art-making experience is necessary.
Encouraging Teens to be themselves
Although the program is being facilitated by two artists, the objective is to keep the program relaxed. OAS is insistent that the experience be shaped more by the teens who attend and encourages them to be themselves and explore their ideas.
“Open Art Space’s role is to offer space for teens to explore their own identities as well as the opportunity to operate within a community,” Mark Joshua Epstein, an artist and one of the facilitators of the program, said while being interviewed by the Huffington Post about the OAS program.
“We endeavor to create a space where LGBTQ teens feel heard, supported, and recognized and we hope they can take that feeling of support with them through their daily lives,” Epstein concluded.
creating opportunites for lgbtq teens
OAS is set to feature talks and lectures by artists, include guided walks of MoMA’s galleries, and the opportunity to work on projects along side of other LGBTQ teens with similar interests. “Gay Jungle Galaxy Prom,” an LGBTQ prom-themed photo shot, is one of the projects that teens attending OAS have already collaborated on.
“Teens wanted at least a taste of a prom they couldn’t have in their own schools, where they could bring whomever they wanted, dress however they wanted, and explore whatever gender roles felt right to them at that moment,” Epstein wrote about the event on the MoMA/MoMA PS1blog.
The prom photo session turned into a mini prom with attendants dancing, eating, laughing, and having their photos taken. Epstein describes the event in his blog as ‘relaxed and playful’ as everyone was able to just be themselves and not worry about things like having to mention their same sex crushes or stressing out about their chosen gender pronoun.
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