Intensive research began in 2011 on a study led by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles on the long-term effects of art museum teen programs.
Of course, everyone involved in the arts will say that art is good for you, but there hadn’t really been a documented study of these types of programs. All four museums focus on contemporary art and have had rigorous, ongoing teen programs for many years. So the institutions tracked down their alumni to see what was going on in their adult lives.
While the study released this past spring, “Room to Rise: The Lasting Impact of Intensive Teen Programs in Art Museums,” researched practical results (72% of the people surveyed hold jobs in the arts now), it also delved into the results on personal identity development. Yesterday, Houston Public Media (listen here) discussed the study with some great interviews with CAMH Teen Council (TC) current and former members and ends with a quote from TC member Eli Winter: “The skills I’ve learned at being a person… I’ve gotten better at just being. And that’s a weird, new-agey thing to say, but it’s really true.”
(Disclosure: I was involved in the formation of the CAMH TC and in the first two years of the study.)