Engage! Teens, Art and Civic Engagement

Engage! Teens, Art and Civic Engagement is program model targeting young adult audiences through dynamic discussions that utilize the visual arts as springboards to civic engagement.
Engage! was piloted in summer 2010 in eight Chicago Public Library branches and the YOUmedia center at Harold Washington Public Library; in fall 2010 by Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library; and in fall 2010 and spring 2011 at Evanston (Ill.) Public Library. Images and program models from many of these sites can be found in the following pages.
How to Use Engage!
These resources have been specifically designed for opt-in youth audiences in public library settings, so if you are a teen librarian, youth library programmer, educator or facilitator who works with youth, the following resources have been created to help you bring art, teen-relevant issues and dialogue into your work:
Program Guide: Through the thematic selection of visual arts resources as points of engagement, participants are led in facilitated discussions on and interactions with the depth and history of American civic life. This downloadable program guide takes you through five compelling themes (American Dreams, Community, Growing Up, Participation, Signs and Symbols) with suggested images of American art with background information, looking questions, ice-breakers, and activity ideas.
Free Webinars: Listen to this series of three free, downloadable webinars as a wonderful compliment to the program guide:

What librarians have said about the webinars:
“This entire series has been very good! All of the presenters were great and I'm excited to implement this program at my library in one form or another!”
““Lots of great information and ideas! I really loved the modeling of how to have the teens look at and respond to the art.””
“Everyone was so enthusiastic, and their enthusiasm was infectious, even in the online environment. You could tell the librarians who did the pilot program had great experiences and were eager to share them. The experts in leading discussions about art and civic themes were knowledgeable and good at demonstrating ‘how to.’”
Background
Engage! was piloted in summer 2010 in eight Chicago Public Library branches and the YOUmedia center at Harold Washington Public Library; in fall 2010 by Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library; and in fall 2010 and spring 2011 at Evanston (Ill.) Public Library. Images and program models from many of these sites can be found in the following pages.
This pilot project builds on the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Picturing America art initiative through the development of supplemental resources that utilize the visual arts as a springboard to civic engagement. The objective for these resources is be to deepen participants’ knowledge and appreciation of American art and its relation to American history and civic life, and to contribute to the development of informed and discerning voters. Through the thematic selection of visual arts resources as points of engagement, participants are led in facilitated discussions on and interactions with the depth and history of American civic life. Resources have been specifically designed for opt-in youth audiences in public library settings.
ALA is grateful to the Engage! pilot sites that first explored and applied these resources. These pilot programs were implemented in cooperation with the Chicago Public Library, the North Suburban Library System, the Arlington Heights Public Library, and the Evanston Public Library. ALA thanks project consultants Sarah Alvarez, Director of Teacher Programs, Department of Museum Education, The Art Institute of Chicago; Adam Davis, Director, Center for Civic Reflection; and independent art historians Wendy Greenhouse and Lisa Meyerowitz, for their work in shaping the project.
Project funding was provided by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust and from the Terra Foundation for American Art.