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Teens Are Curators of Culture

By Ini Inyang – Cornell ILR Intern, Summer 2012 at Young Audiences WNY:
What is a curator? A textbook definition would be something along the lines of an individual who dictates what pieces become a part of a collection meant for display. In the case of the teens participating in the Curators of Culture: Buffalo Style! summer program, it seems that a curator is an individual who takes an active role in their future. By discovering the varying aspects of art, architecture, culture and more, students discover why and how the city of Buffalo became the historical treasure that it is today.
It sounded pretty similar to school when the idea was first explained, but the actuality of the program simply made me jealous that I couldn’t be a participating student. These teens are given the opportunity to see locally owned businesses, organizations and arts projects first hand and to intertwine their experiences with the different perspectives of others.  This is the teen summer program being piloted by Young Audiences WNY with support from Erie County Primetime this year.
The launch of the program included group activities to build ties of trust amongst the students. Throughout the following weeks the teens have been blogging about their experiences, exploring their creative intuitions and formulating novel trains of observation.
The program focuses on a different theme each week, with topics such as marketing promotion, architecture, theatre and dance. Our partners, which include Buffalo First, Western New York Book Arts, and Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, are helping to coordinate activities, meet and greets, and formulate creative prospects for the teens involved.
Every week provides a new outlet with the ability to appeal to each child’s unique talents. This also allows for synergy. Building off of one another is a great way to easily suck up knowledge and skill and when interacting with one’s age-mates the maturity barrier is greatly lessened.
These teens understand one another and after the icebreakers, they discovered shared experiences and circumstances. The curators are therefore a team working together to build a collective vision for the future.
Look out for next summer’s program because it only gets better from here! 
To learn more about Young Audiences, visit our website at
Photo: Learning about Letter Press @ WNYBAC

Written by Mike Puma

Mike Puma

Writing for Buffalo Rising since 2009 covering development news, historic preservation, and Buffalo history. Works professionally in historic preservation.

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