Guns, justice, and the roots of violence—three things ArtsConnection’s Teen Advisory Council have been spending the last few weeks observing in preparation for the upcoming Teen Curate Teens exhibit based on gun violence. As TAC prepares to host the best opening day for the exhibition as possible, myself and others TAC members are aiming to get the best understanding of gun violence as possible.

My name is Nya Eaddy. I’m a senior TAC member in 11th grade. My second year in TAC brings to me to my third year of attending the Teen Curate Teens opening; each year being wildly different from the last. Gun violence has always been a interesting topic to me as it is present in micro forms (violence on the streets) to macro forms (massive, hateful school shootings). And the media is not shy about stories detailing the violence in graphic nature.

Our study of violence began with a visit from Edward who is a part of the community-building organization Neighbors in Action. Neighbors in Action works to promote community cohesion in the central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, and provides support to youth struggling with the challenges of drugs, violence and poverty. Through our conversation we analyzed the roots, causes, and effects of violence through an analogy of a “violence tree” where the the roots were literally the “roots,” the causes were the “trunk,” and the effects were the “leaves.”

Our discussion on gun violence continued as we met up with the curators responsible for curating the upcoming Teens Curate Teens exhibition of teen artwork. After some icebreakers, we delved deep into what our expectations and hopes would be for this show and opening day event. From the discussion we had, it was apparent that TAC teens and curators alike weren’t afraid to step outside the box and address the issue without beating around the bush. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the curators choose a wide variety of eye-catching, eyebrow-raising artworks to display in their exhibition. They hope to create an exhibition that best represents the climate of violence in our current society.

While the curators are busy putting together an amazing show, the other Teen Advisory Council members and I are thinking about gun violence as a whole and creating opening day activities that will help attendees think more deeply about the topic. It’s important that the Teen Advisory Council and curators work together in order to keep the overarching theme of the exhibition symbiotic.

As the submission deadlines come to a close and the date of the exhibition opening approaches, I hope to see the curators working together to create a meaningful exhibition that they are proud of. I hope to see an array of artworks that truly embody the teen perspective on gun violence in our own communities. The other TAC members and I are excited to work on opening day activities for this well-attended event. I KNOW that my third TCT opening will be as exciting as the last, especially since it’s in the hands of our thoughtful teen curators and my counterparts in TAC. I hope to see all of you on Saturday, May 11, 2019!