Since 1995, The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM)’s flagship teen education program, New Art in the Neighborhood (NAN), has exposed St. Louis and Illinois-area high school students to training, teaching, and development opportunities from veteran artists around the world.
The free program provides program participants between the ages of 14-18 with more than 50 hours of studio time each semester where they immerse in the principles and tools of contemporary art-making and art history.
“Some of the students go to schools with great art programs, while others’ schools may not have strong art programs,” Michelle Dezember, CAM director of learning and engagement, said. “We want to make sure whether this is students’ first exposure or if it's a bonus for them they have access to things they wouldn’t otherwise experience.
Dezember said some of the past projects young artists have worked on are painting, drawing, abstract writing prompts, print magazine writing, and social practice artworks, where the material they’re working with is the community.
CAM’s NAN program was recently awarded a $15,000 grant from Bayer Fund, the philanthropic arm of Bayer, a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening the relationships between customers and employees in food and nutrition resources.
“Throughout the years, the grants given through Bayer Fund have helped strengthen our communities across the United States,” Al Mitchell, president of Bayer Fund, said. “We’re proud to be able to provide support to develop programs that help combat challenges such as food insecurity, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and support services to patients and families managing an illness or disease.
Dezember expressed gratitude for CAM being awarded the grant and said the honor comes when artists return to the museum studio following a period of virtual learning.
“By supporting these young creatives and helping them apply their skills in a variety of fields, we are investing in a better future for us all,” she said. “NAN supports the expansion of recognized leadership and career skills for teens, such as critical-thinking skills, creativity, and adaptability. Program graduates have gone on to careers in a variety of sectors, as professional artists, teachers, engineers, healthcare professionals, researchers, analysts, and more.
Applications for the winter/spring 2022 New Art in the Neighborhood cohort are available until Jan. 10, 11:50 CT.
More than 700 high school students have participated in the program, and more than 100 local, national and international artists have partnered since its inception.
“It's a space where we really think about the great opportunity we have as a museum to see the next generation artists and the magic that comes from them,” Dezember said.
Learn more about the Bayer Fund, here: https://www.fund.bayer.us.
For more information and to apply, visit CAM’s website: camstl.org/programs/teens/new-art-in-the-neighborhood/.