Museum educators and teens from across the country join forces for landmark conference to advance teen arts education

(Boston, MA—October 15, 2018) The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) announces its first-ever national teen conference, Building Brave Spaces: Mobilizing Teen Arts Education, an unprecedented gathering of educators and youth from around the country. Ten years ago, the ICA galvanized a movement for teen arts education with the first national Teen Convening, an annual conference bringing together teen arts leaders and museum educators from around the country. Building Brave Spaces gives an opportunity to reflect and build upon the knowledge and field-wide progress made in teen arts education over the past decade. The conference will take place at the ICA from November 2–4, 2018.

Keynote speakers and presenters include:

Arts organizations participating in the conference include the Andy Warhol Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Artpace San Antonio, Brooklyn Museum, Creative Action, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Culture Thrive, Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, Museum of Modern Art, Park Avenue Armory, Seattle Art Museum, SITE Santa Fe Center, and Smithsonian Latino Center.

Functioning as a catalyst, Building Brave Spaces will serve as a forum for collaboration and understanding across institutions, generations, and geographies. Through keynote sessions, workshops, and panels this conference will address three key areas: what we know about the impact of arts education on teens; innovative programs that museums are doing and the leadership required; and how to mobilize a broader field.

Conference sessions throughout the weekend will explore the field of teen arts education through workshops, panels, and group discussions on topics including innovative teen programming, creative youth development practices, teens in the museum and beyond. The conference will also include a performance by Berklee City Music Boston led by Boston-area teen Danny Rivera; and gallery tours led by members of the ICA Teen Arts Council, a year-long creative youth development program comprised of 15 teen ambassadors.

For more information about registration, schedule, and breakout session topics, visit

About the ICA Teen Arts Programs

The ICA has a strong institutional commitment to teens, stemming from the recognition that teens are our future artists, leaders, and audiences. The museum serves more than 6,000 teens each year, and has emerged as a national leader in the field of museum arts education for teens. The ICA introduces adolescents to contemporary art through drop-in events such as Teen Nights and school tours of ICA exhibitions. Enrollment-based programs such as Teen New Media courses offer instruction in digital photography, DJing, film, music production and more, while yearlong programs such as Fast Forward provide an immersive experience where teens can create films and gain real job skills using cutting-edge technologies. In partnership with Boston-area schools, the ICA hosts WallTalk, a multi-visit art and writing program designed to improve the critical thinking and verbal literacy skills of middle and high-school students. The ICA’s Teen Arts Council is a group of motivated high school students who meet weekly to take part in and develop and implement creative programming, including artist interviews and Teen Nights.

In 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the ICA with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the highest honor awarded to youth programs in the U.S.  More information about the ICA’s Teen Programs can be found at

About the ICA

An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for 80 years. Like its iconic building on Boston’s waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. The ICA, located at 25 Harbor Shore Drive, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 AM–5 PM; Thursday and Friday, 10 AM–9 PM (1st Friday of every month, 10 AM–5 PM); and Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM–5 PM.  Admission is $15 adults, $13 seniors and $10 students, and free for members and children 17 and under. Free admission for families at ICA Play Dates (2 adults + children 12 and under) on last Saturday of the month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our website at Follow the ICA at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Wagner Foundation logo

Lead support for Teen Programs provided by Wagner Foundation.

Institute of Museum and Library Services Logo

Teen Programs are made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Award Number MA-10-17-0447-17.

Additional support is provided by the Surdna Foundation; the Rowland Foundation, Inc.; The Corkin Family; the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation; the William E. Schrafft and Bertha E. Schrafft Charitable Trust; the Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; the Jean Gaulin Foundation; the Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation, Inc.; and The Willow Tree Fund.

The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed at this conference and in related materials do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.