Editor’s Note: In Spring 2014, Cynida’s artwork was included in the Teens Curate Teens exhibition “Rose From the Concrete,” a collaboration between ArtsConnection teens and the non-profit organization No Longer Empty. Cynida went on to be an ArtsConnection all star, participating in Summer TRaC and even interning for the Student Art Program! This is Part 1 of Cynida’s ArtsConnection story. Learn more about Teens Curate Teens and apply to become a teen curator of the spring 2015 exhibition.
My story starts out as an artist. My partner Cleon and I designed a project for the 2014 Teens Curate Teens exhibition Rose from the Concrete. It was based on the reflection of the space that we were exhibiting in, which was located at 155th St. Nicholas Ave in Harlem, New York.
We decided to build our version of the Statue of Liberty because it would reflect the theme of the Sugar Hill community (more about our artwork in Part 2!). The installation of the piece at the Sugar Hill site gave me a greater appreciation of how art is viewed. During the installation I was able to meet and interact with both student and professional curators. This became a part of the art exhibition process for me because I was able to freely give my opinions to the curators and help them create the experience for Rose From the Concrete. I also came back on other days to help the curators prepare for the opening reception. While doing this I met the other artists and talked to them about their work and how they approached their art process.
The opening reception was so different from what I had imagined because it was loud, exciting, and very entertaining. There was a long line snaking in front of the building of people waiting to come in. Since ArtsConnection collaborated with the organization No Longer Empty there was a diverse amount of art work as well as artists, who ranged from early teens to professional adults.
A few weeks after the opening of the exhibition, the curators and teen artists met up for a day of reflection. This was interesting to me because we got a chance to get to know each of the artists. I got insight into the process they went through towards creating their work and how they arrived at the final product. Something I found really cool was how each artist had come upon their inspiration for their piece. I thought this was awesome because I got to experience how other schools’ art programs work and I was amazed by how Rose from the Concrete had so many different pieces made of a variety of mediums. After the discussion we had a workshop in front of the site and had to create our own city out of a variety of found materials.
My experience as an artist in the Teens Curate Teens program has led to so many new opportunities and connections that I can’t even being to describe it. The entire experience gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of new people and I was able to expand my knowledge of the concept of art.