A Visit, and Advice


Expanding the Walls 2017 with The Studio Museum in Harlem curatorial staff
Photo: Ginny Huo

The Studio Museum in Harlem is home to both an incredibly talented curatorial staff and a brilliant educational program, Expanding The Walls (ETW), a group of sixteen teens exploring new territory both intellectually and in their worldviews. The product of these two groups working together is the exhibition Impressions, which is on view July 20-August 27, 2017.

For me, as an ETW participant, our final visit with museum curators was both helpful and challenging. I was new to photography when I started this program, and was primarily daunted by how complicated cameras are. It is hard to believe how fast time has flown. From the first visit with Associate Curator Connie Choi—the staff member advising my group—in which she advised me to keep developing my skills with lighting in portraiture, to now, as she helps select my photos to represent my body of work.

Expanding the Walls artist Amber says: “My curator was Dessane and it was really nice, because she's Dominican and I'm half Dominican, so there are a lot of cultural things that we could relate to. Family and religion are really important to Hispanic families; there was one piece that I have that was from the front of a church with the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus and we were able to connect through that.”

The curatorial staff has been providing feedback and advice to the teens throughout the program, and the final determination of which pieces hang on our walls lay with them. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’m both nervous and excited to hear back.

—Chess, Expanding the Walls ‘17

My name is Chess and I am a born New Yorker, Australian-Indian and proudly genderqueer. I am an aspiring artist in a variety of mediums ranging from painting, performance, and photography. My hobbies include writing, knitting, and hiking. I also have an interest in street art and art conservatory.

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