Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago’s 21Minus Program

unnamedThe Teen Creative Agency (TCA) is a rigorous two-year program at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago for individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 who are interested in becoming active civic leaders and interpreters of contemporary culture. As part of the program’s focus on cultural participation, the TCA is curating a day of teen-led art experiences and interactions called 21Minus. The event takes place on Saturday, May 17, 2014, with ongoing activities from noon – 5 pm. The event is free for people age 21 and under and their families. Visitors are encouraged to use#21Minus to share photos and thoughts with @mcachicago on Twitter and Instagram.

The TCA members invited Chicago-area teens to submit proposals for creative experiences such as performances, conversations, and interactive projects to present at 21Minus. The participating teens represent the vibrant diversity of Chicago and come from many neighborhoods including Bridgeport, Bronzeville, Chatham, Edgebrook, Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, South Loop, Washington Park, and several surrounding suburbs.

21Minus includes activities and performances that showcase the energy of contemporary art, including experimental music, dance, poetry, video installations, and a skill-share to engage museum visitors. The day also features the TCA Living Room, an ongoing MCA initiative led by teens to create a comfortable environment in the galleries for conversation. Projects take place throughout the museum and invite visitors to explore MCA exhibitions, including: Unbound: Contemporary Art after Frida Kahlo; Isa Genzken: Retrospective; William J. O’Brien; and MCA DNA: Warhol and Marisol.

The goal of TCA is to support teens in developing their critical interpretation, public expression, and cultural participation skills. The program positions contemporary art as a catalyst for conversation, exploring themes and topics that are authentic to teenage life and to MCA. Launched in September 2011 by the MCA’s Education Department, TCA is led by local artists who guide the conversations and projects at the program’s weekly sessions that analyze the stories behind art. TCA members also work with MCA staff, lead in-gallery activities, and take monthly trips to cultural organizations, Chicago neighborhoods, and artist studios.

Image Credits: Participants at 21Minus, May 2013. Photo: Matt Austin, © MCA Chicago.

The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust is the generous sponsor of Teen Creative Agency. Major support is provided by Exelon. Additional support is provided by Lewis S. and Anne Neri Kostiner, and Luminarts Cultural Foundation at the Union League Club of Chicago.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization accredited by the American Association of Museums. The MCA is generously supported by its Board of Trustees; individual and corporate members; private and corporate foundations; and government agencies including the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.  Museum capital improvements are supported by a Public Museum Capital Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Chicago Park District generously supports MCA programs. Air transportation is provided by American Airlines, the Official Airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art. The MCA is located at 220 E. Chicago Avenue, one block east of Michigan Avenue. The museum and sculpture garden are open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm and Tuesday from 10 am to 8 pm. The museum is closed on Monday. Enjoy free admission every Tuesday. Suggested general admission is $12 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Children 12 years of age and under, MCA members, and members of the military are admitted free. Information about MCA exhibitions, programs, and special events is available on the MCA website at or by phone at 312.280.2660.