We are invested in the artists, leaders, and thinkers of tomorrow by providing opportunities for teens to engage with contemporary art and museum careers through Aldrich Teen Fellows and Internships.
Aldrich Teen Fellows is an immersive fellowship for area high school students hosted by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. There is no cost to participate.
Fellows work directly with exhibiting artists, Museum staff, and leading professionals in the field to design unique opportunities for creative engagement with the exhibitions on view, while managing a working budget.
This immersive fellowship provides autonomy and support for the Aldrich Teen Fellows to produce special events and programs based on their interests and in response to the current exhibitions at The Aldrich, including: 'zines, videos, public performances, art installations, and more.
The application for the Spring 2024 session is closed. If you're interested participating in future Teen Fellows sessions, please submit an application below.
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Who We Are
Comprised of teens from across the state, the Aldrich Teen Fellows are a diverse group of passionate and creative local youth dedicated to expanding the reach and impact of The Aldrich's exhibitions.
What We Do
The Aldrich Teen Fellows work directly with exhibiting artists, Museum staff, and leading professionals in the field to design unique opportunities for creative engagement with the Museum’s exhibitions. This immersive fellowship provides the autonomy and support for our Fellows to produce special events or programs including media, 'zines, public performances, and more in response to the Museum’s current exhibitions.
When and Where We Meet
The Aldrich Teen Fellows meet weekly on Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 pm in the Museum's Studio for either or both of our annual Fall and Spring sessions during the academic school year.
Spring 2024 (February to June)
Spring 2024 Teaching Artist: Julia E. Matrejek
Julia E. Matrejek is an illustrator based in New York. She recently graduated from the School of Visual Arts, having received her Bachelor of Fine Arts focusing on Cartooning. Ms. Matrejek started working at The Aldrich as a Museum Attendant in 2021 and is excited to continue growing in her career as a Teaching Artist for the Aldrich Teen Fellows program. She aims to educate teens in museum work and encourage them to pursue their aspirations in the arts, especially as they continue into adulthood.
The Aldrich Teen Fellow program connects area youth with each other and the Museum to form a lasting community for years to come. Future opportunities for engagement, professional development, and mentorship are among some of the life-long benefits shared with Teen Fellows.
Generous support for Aldrich Teen Fellows is provided by the David T. Langrock Foundation and the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation.
This Fall, the Aldrich Teen Fellows worked with exhibiting artist Susan Chen on a project that challenged them to connect deeply with a member of their community and create an interpretive portrait of that person in a medium of their choosing. The Fellows were tasked with identifying a person they did not know well, interviewing them, and making a reflective creative piece representative of this person or encounter.
Each Teen Fellow’s interview questions guided them to a theme that they explored in their final artwork. Strangers in Conversation is a presentation of the Fellows’ exploration of themes such as reconnection with old friends that have become strangers, the idea of a “last meeting” rather than a “first meeting,” making new friends, and amending missed opportunities.
As a culmination to this project, the Fellows invite viewers to come into the Studio space to participate in their collective mini-project, Questions to Inspire, in order to spark thought-provoking conversation and create a bond between viewers and artists. Visitors are encouraged to fill out the reflective prompts located on the tables and share their responses by adding a sticky-note to the wall.
The Aldrich Teen Fellows collaborated on a thoughtful, engaging, community focused ‘zine this semester. We are extremely proud to present, The Ultimate Museum Field Guide: By Teens, For Teens (And Everybody Else). This ‘zine reaches towards anyone, especially teenagers, who have ever found museums to be a bit daunting, or have struggled to see themselves reflected in a museum. The Aldrich Teen Fellows, by utilizing their own personal stories and reflections, have intermingled drawings, collage, and writing, to paint a welcoming picture of the Museum and what it has to offer young people.
For this project, The Aldrich Teen Fellows created a “mockumentary” film reporting on the events and trends of the year 2020 in the U.S. from one hundred years into the future, through the lens of three fictional historian characters and an interviewer during a televised broadcast. The characters were scripted to represent American political stereotypes and social archetypes of the time via sarcasm and humor, while unpacking the global Coronavirus pandemic, U.S. presidential election, Black Lives Matter protests, racial and political injustices, and social unrest. Featuring an original script and animations, the film was written, played, and produced by the Fellows themselves under the mentorship of racial justice activists Kirsten Ivey-Colson and Lynn Turner of The Anti-Racist Table and Museum Educator Susie Buckley. The project was first inspired by artist William Powhida’s Possibilities for Representation in Aldrich exhibition, Twenty Twenty and later informed by feedback from Aldrich exhibiting artist Clarity Haynes.
Our Reign Brings Glory: Responses By Generations
For this project, The Aldrich Teen Fellows explore art's role in activism inspired by our current exhibition, Twenty Twenty. The Aldrich Teen Fellows will collect responses from women-identifying individuals to create visual representations of their experiences with power – either a time when they felt powerful, or a time when they felt disempowered. Submissions will be posted on the Aldrich Teen Fellow's project-specific Instagram: @ourreignbringsglory.
The Aldrich Teen Fellows collaborated with Piti Theatre Company on Hindsight is, a three-episode podcast series of "radio plays" inspired by a range of local and regional historical figures from Connecticut. Actors, including some fo the Teen Fellows, portray these figures as they witness the year 2020 and dramatize social and political issues surrounding voting rights and racism. The Teen Fellows produced and recorded Episode Three: How Worried Should We Be? Hitler on Trial at Ridgefield High School, 1934.
An Interview with Zoë Sheehan Saldaña
Artist Zoë Sheehan Saldaña shares the premise behind her work from The Aldrich's galleries. This is an excerpt from a larger project produced by The Aldrich Teen Fellows.
Tree Spa for Urban Forest Healing Zine
Aldrich Teen Fellows worked with artist Colin McMullan to create a 'zine exploring the artist’s creative process. Download the 'zine here.
High school and college students gain valuable work experience in the arts while building professional skills by working with various departments within The Museum as interns. The program supports career and college readiness focused on students’ self-directed interests.
To apply or learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume and letter of interest.
Generous support for Education and Public Programs is provided by Bank of America; Connecticut Humanities; Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation; The Cowles Charitable Trust; David T. Langrock Foundation; Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts; Fairfield County Bank; Gage Fund; Goldstone Family Foundation; The Leir Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Pamela F. and Robert J. Morganti Charitable Foundation; Ridgefield Rotary Club; Ridgefield Thrift Shop; The Ruth Krauss Foundation; Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation; and Wadsworth Russell Lewis Trust Fund.
Generous support for Aldrich Teen Fellows is provided by the David T. Langrock Foundation and the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation
Top image: The Fall 2023 Aldrich Teen Fellows. Photo: Gloria Perez