Teenagers from around the Twin Cities are invited to the January Teen Art Lounge at the Walker Art Center on Thursday, where science and art will collide for an evening of activities inspired by the arctic. Titled Life Along the Fjord, the event will feature the work of Chloe Fouilloux, a senior at Highland High School in St. Paul and a third year member of the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC).
Chloe Fouilloux at at Point 660-Russell Glacier
Started in 1996, WACTAC is a place where high school students from around the metro area can get together to plan programming geared toward youth. The participants are paid a small stipend, and given opportunities to discuss and experience art, and "bring forth art and artistic thinking to the teen demographic" Fouilloux says.
At a recent meeting, the WACTAC members talked about their own projects outside of the Walker, got into an intense critique about Hijack's December performance (the participants were divided over how accessible the show was), and made plans to be part of a youth arts program at Intermedia Arts. They also began the planning stages for a project they'll be doing this spring where they'll be creating an installation in the Minneapolis skyway system through a partnership with Hennepin Theatre Trust.
Made up of young people who have applied to be a part of the group, WACTAC provides a leadership opportunity as well as a chance for high school students interested in the arts to find their voice.
"It's been such an immensely helpful opportunity for me," Fouilloux says. "I'm able to call the Walker home. I have access to this institution, and have a voice in adult atmosphere. It's given me as an artist and academic a lot of confidence."
Photo Courtesy Walker Art Center
Fouilloux says she spent quite a bit of time at the museum when she was little, so when she saw an ad about the program, she applied for the position.
"The resources you have are so amazing," Fouilloux says. "My bosses are really encouraging."
While past Teen Arts Lounge events have featured a professional artist and a teen artist from the council, this week's event will feature Fouilloux as the main artist. This past summer, Fouilloux had the opportunity to go to Greenland with the National Science Foundation to study the effects of global warming. While she was there, she also pursued cultural opportunities. At the end of her program Fouilloux, along with the other participants, made a promise to somehow bring back what they had learned to where they were from.
When she returned, Fouilloux approached her bosses at the museum with the idea of presenting what she'd learned in Greenland at the Teen Arts lounge. She says she got the confidence to pitch her idea from her time on the council.
At Thursday's event, the teens on the council will be creating an aurora borealis room. "Imagine a huge Lite-Brite," Fouilloux says, "where you can make your own constellation."
Visitors will have the option to learn about magnetic fields and how hydrogen concentration changes in water samples based on their distance from a glacier. They'll then be able to create pH mosaics using pH paper colored differently depending on its balance. "It's an interesting juxtaposition between science and artistic worlds," she says.