We all know someone who goes to museums and says, “I don’t get it; I could do that.” What if we started reframing that as, “I should do that”?
The Mexic-Arte Museum, one of Austin’s best-loved art museums, is bridging that gap for teens, showing their mentor-facilitated works in an exhibit called Totally Cool Totally Art (TCTA), named for the City of Austin outreach program that has been connecting youth artists with professionals annually since 1996. The 2023 installment is open to the public until February 28.
The City of Austin and Parks and Recreation Department have organized a long-form art program for students from 7th to 12th grade, who contribute paintings, sculptures, digital art, film, and more, to be shown at the museum. Social media records show that in addition to producing serious works that would look at home in any art gallery, the program also has a sense of humor, especially in its many forays into film.
Although a finished piece is one end goal, TCTA declares a mission to use mentorship to enrich teens beyond the art skills, emphasizing “new experiences … respect and trust,” and giving them something engaging to dedicate time to after school.
There’s plenty of other programming for kids at the Mexic-Arte, which offers a similar program, amArte, that sends artists to local schools for monthly workshops requiring less of a time commitment to engage students.
TCTA is in the middle of its 2022-2023 season, with more classes coming on March 2 and 6, and April 18. Past years have included a summer camp after the regular season, which has not been announced yet. Late registrations are welcome.
Classes are taught at the following locations:
- Dittmar Recreation Center
- AB Oswaldo Pan Am Recreation Center
- Northwest Recreation Center
- Rudolfo "Rudy" Mendez Recreation Center
- Gus Garcia Recreation Center
Visit the exhibit at The Mexic-Arte Museum for inspiration until February 28, or find more information, including registration links, at austintexas.gov.