Aug 24, 2017

Teen arts education is central to the ICA, but we also know being a teenager is no easy task. It is a time of both growth and uncertainty. So, we asked our teen education staff look back on their experiences as teenagers and the lessons they’ve learned to get them where they are today!

Carlie Bristow as teenager

Carlie Bristow

Teen Programs Associate

“Listen to yourself more. Also, you are dope and beautiful.”

  1. What were you like as a teenager?
    Confused! I really had no idea where I fit in. I went to a small school in New Hampshire where sports were very important. However, I couldn’t run a mile if I had to and I always found myself in the art building. I fell in love with photography in high school and really found my passion of making things.
  2. If you could tell your teenage-self one thing what would it be?
    I would probably say, “Failure is ok. Low points are important. The universe will guide you. Listen to yourself more. Also, you are dope and beautiful.”

3. How was art important to you as a teenager?
Picking up a camera senior year of high school actually changed my life. No really, it did. At the time, I was applying to liberal arts colleges with no idea what I wanted to study. After I began to take pictures and learn about art history, I decided last minute to apply to art school. I ended up studying (and devoting the rest of my life) to art. Discovering art was the best thing that ever happened to me. It has led me to some of the best people and places – including the ICA!
 

Cliften Bonner-Desravines as a teenager

Cliften Bonner-Desravines

Teen New Media Program Associate

Chill out…no one cares that you like David Bowie AND Tupac at the same time. 

  1. What were you like as a teenager?
    I was a total jock who was a big softie on the inside that liked to play piano and sing in choirs. Basketball took over a majority of my life, but my secret life was filled with all kinds of art, until I got to college and made it more of a full-time thing.
  2. If you could tell your teenage-self one thing what would it be?
    Chill out…no one cares that you like David Bowie AND Tupac at the same time. 
  3. How was art important to you as a teenager?
    It was my only other real release of self-expression. Because of my family, I got pulled into all kinds of art form. It showed me that I could do more with myself and my thoughts. 
Anthony Febo as a teenager

Anthony Febo

Head Coach of ICA Slam Team

I decided I was going to be happy for a living.
 

  1. What were you like as a teenager?
    In high school I was a hip-hop artist but I was also on the wrestling team. I feel like holding simultaneous identities has always been a part of me but it wasn’t until high school that I allowed them to shine.
  2. If you could tell your teenage-self one thing what would it be?
    Join a youth organization. Experience more art. Poetry Slam is a thing, DO IT! Romantic relationships are great, but explore relationships without making them romantic. 
  3. How was art important to you as a teenager?
    I made music. It was bad but I had fun and it paved the way for the rest of my life. I discovered that being on stage made me happy and I decided I was going to be happy for a living.
Gabrielle Wyrick as a teenager

Gabrielle Wyrick

Associate Director of Education

Be kinder to yourself.
 

  1. What were you like as a teenager?
    A study in extremes.
  2. If you could tell your teenage-self one thing what would it be?
    Be kinder to yourself.
  3. How was art important to you as a teenager?
    Essential for survival.

 

Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah as a teenager

Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah

Assistant Coach of ICA Slam Team

Like actually, things are going to be okay. Like you have a lot of learning to do, and growth, and it’ll be great I promise.

  1. What were you like as a teenager?
    I think just generally I had a lot to figure out still when I was a teen. I don’t know, I was growing into myself, I guess. I had spent most of middle school as this awkward chubby kid, and I had this growth spurt in high school, and was literally figuring out how to negotiate life now in this very different body, while still also doing high school, and friends, and social things. Everything felt really hard. Everything still feels kind of hard, but I was definitely a lot less sure of myself then.
  2. If you could tell your teenage-self one thing what would it be?
    “BRUH, chill…” Like actually, things are going to be okay. Like you have a lot of learning to do, and growth, and it’ll be great I promise, but for now, chill – shoot your shot, there’s plenty of life ahead. “Also PSTTT…don’t buy into forms of toxic masculinity. Everyone should be a feminist. Look up intersectionality. Shout out to Audre Lorde, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Lucile Clifton *Insert Lazers* Let me grab one of mom’s meat pies before I go. Kaythanksbye.” 
  3. How was art important to you as a teenager?
    I was a voracious reader when I was a teen; as in most likely not to be paying attention in Latin class because I had my head in a book. Me and my close friends would get together on weekends and just watch movies. I was really dedicated to curating my “aesthetic.” I rolled up my pants and wore colorful socks. I had tumblr before tumblr was tumblr, and reposted EMOTIONAL poems and stuff. I memorized poems and waxed poetic about love. I FELT THINGS, and struggled to communicate them, and so wrote sort of angsty poems – yeah, that was basically my thing.