generationext returns this Sunday 22 April from 6.00 to 8.00pm.
Since 2005, the MCA has opened its doors to thousands of young people aged 12 – 18 for generationext – an event that provides free after-hours access to the Museum’s exhibitions, music, conversations with artists, art-making, free food and more.
Supported by The Balnaves Foundation, generationext has become Sydney’s biggest and most anticipated contemporary art event for creative teens. The MCA supports a group of 16 young people aged 14 to 18 (from areas spanning Sydney’s north, east, inner west, Casula, Campbelltown and Penrith) who make up the generationext Youth Committee, to brainstorm, develop, and run each event. The unique creativity and enthusiasm of the Youth Committee greatly contributes to the event’s reputation for being an inspiring, relevant and fun space for young people to connect with the MCA’s exhibitions and each other.
MCA Youth and Programs Coordinator Nicole Austin tells us more about this great event.
How would you sum up generationext in three words?
Big! Creative! Messy!
If you had to pick three colours to describe the event what would they be?
Orange (the zest of the MCA Youth Committee who put the event together), green (mysterious – you never know what you’ll find yourself getting into at generationext), gold (high quality art, high quality people. And sometimes shiny pants make an appearance).
I couldn’t think of an appropriate One Direction song, so I’m going to say Janelle Monae’s 'Tight Rope’ because she likes to bust a move and stand out from the crowd.
Some sort of up-do, so you can be sure your locks won’t be soiled when you’re getting messy with paints and glue.
A pair of shoes?
Converse. And just one. Because you lost the other in a particularly hectic 'stacks-on’ episode.
How often do you meet with the Youth Committee?
We meet monthly. Sometimes we meet and talk about serious things like booking artists and musicians or preparing the art activities for generationext. Other times, we visit offsite galleries or artist studios, have picnics, or go for ice-cream. We also get together for special training from time to time. For example, we recently spent time learning how to give guided tours of the exhibitions to the public through the Young Guides program.
What are your fondest memories of past generationext events?
During our temporary closure, we harnessed the opportunity to work with some exciting offsite venues and partners like Queen Street Studio’s FraserStudios and Casula Powerhouse. Also, hearing young musicians Aliza Waxman and James Leahy perform at generationext was a highlight, and then having them back to perform during the MCA’s opening week was very special.
Did you have any surprises?
Absolutely! It’s always a surprise when you prepare an event with a tiny group of people, and then open the doors to hundreds of teenagers. Young people always surprise me – they’re phenomenal.
Have you picked up on the young vernacular? Any favourite expressions?
Well, I only got my head around One Direction last week. And the Youth Committee laugh when I say groovy. So I can’t say I’m totally with the times.
What will be the highlights of the upcoming event?
Yesterday, my colleague Jilly and I experimented with creating light sculptures with long-exposure photography in the new Multimedia Studio. I think that’s going to be brilliant. Also, we’re running three-minute speed-drawing competitions in Foundation Hall which should have some interesting outcomes. Oh, and we chose all of the prizes from the new MCA Store! Now I just need to win.
And how many people do you expect?
There are always at least a few hundred.
Posted by Kelly Stone