Project Curate provides a class of local high school students from Juan Morel Campos School an opportunity to experience contemporary curatorial practices by working closely with a professional curator for the entire school year, culminating with an exhibition at NURTUREart Gallery. The 2016-2017 Project Curate team is led by PJ  Gubatina Policarpio, in partnership with classroom teacher Laura Pawson.

This collaborative process includes lessons in art history, contemporary art, conceptualizing a theme, selecting artwork, writing a curatorial statement, art handling, exhibition design and installation, writing a press release, event promotion, and hosting a public reception. Throughout this process, students meet with professionals in different facets of the arts while visiting museums, galleries, and artist studios, connecting with the thriving arts community in their own neighborhood. More importantly, Project Curate gives the students a critical voice and professional work experience, promoting leadership, responsibility, and confidence. The culminating exhibition will feature emerging artists and be on view at Nurture Art in May 2017.

"This class helped me be open to the connections between different artworks. This class also helped me with public speaking, explaining a story, and overcoming my anxiety. I learned art handling and how math is important for hanging artworks." Joseph, 2016-17 Project Curate Teen Curator



Over the course of over 18 weeks, 16 Youth Docents participated in a 21-session course designed to gain knowledge of site-responsive art exhibition and trained to lead and facilitate guided tours for a variety of audiences. Additionally, they developed multifaceted engagement strategies to engage the public. The Y. Dots gained valuable work experience learning under the guidance of Art historian/administrator Sara Guerrero, NLE Education Director and PJ Gubatina Policarpio, NLE Education & Public Engagement Fellow. A large majority of Y.Dots were Queens-based students with most of them living in Jamaica, Queens and attending high schools located within walking distance of the exhibition site. The teens learned about the program through NLE education outreach with art teachers, school announcements and presentations. The 2016 edition of the Y.Dot Youth Docent Program more than doubled the number of youth served from 7 to 15, and increased the duration of the program from 4-6 weeks to 18 weeks. The curriculum was explicitly aligned with state and city standards, including the Common Core and the NYC Blueprint for the Arts. 

Public Engagement

  • Y.Dot curriculum focused on designing interactive gallery tours of the exhibition for the public, referencing the rich local art scene and histories of Jamaica, Queens. Students gained knowledge and vocabulary such as site- specific art, urban vernacular, installation and performance art. Y.Dots were trained in leading gallery tours using a variety of strategies and techniques such as thematic, inquiry-based, multi-sensory tours and visual thinking strategies. 
  • Early in the program, Y.Dots expressed the need to develop their public speaking and presentation skills and advance their skills and knowledge of working with the public in an arts environment. Through a rich variety of activities (i.e. public art walks and discussions, writing and design workshops, and gallery tour trainings), the Y.Dots were able to create and implement strategies by their own design, aimed at engaging the public with artworks, art making, artists, and local history. Teens offered samples of Zapatista coffee and Jamaica tea from Cafe Patolli, handed out balloons and programs flyers to promenade shoppers, connecting with neighborhood shopkeepers and their children. They brought in visitors to engage with artists and interactive project such as Margaret Rose Vendrye’s African Diva Project, Antonia Perez’ Crochet Corner, Ezra Wube’s Words of Wisdom, and Azikiwe Mohammed’s Jimmy’s Thrift. A favorite greeting among youth docents was “Welcome! This is an art exhibition about the history of our neighborhood. Can I show you around? May I show you my favorite artwork?” 
  • Teens documented each of their class and work sessions with a collective iPad, as well as many of the happenings and events at Jameco Exchange. They created a digital archive and video shorts chronicling their adventures and progress. A media campaign for Jameco Vibes on Facebook and contributed to the Y.Dot Instagram content and strategy, helping teens to build media literacy skills. 

Young Arts Leaders 

For the majority of the teen participants, experiencing this leadership position was also the source of their first job and first paycheck. In this new role, Y.Dots learned to be leaders in the following environments:

  • At school: Teens gave guided tours to their peers, educators and school community.
  • In their communities: Y.Dots designed and implemented public engagement strategies, taking into account their interactions and conversations with arts leaders, NLE staff, and other visitors.
  • Within NLE: Y.Dots interviewed exhibition artists about their projects, process, and biographies, and incorporated this information into their work as cultural ambassadors. Y.Dots were a huge help in facilitating art-making workshops within Jameco Story Salon and orienting guest artists. 

Mentored by artists and Education Fellow PJ Gubatina Policarpio, NLE teens created a teen lounge called Jameco Vibes in response to community need, gave tours, curatorial talks, and public programs. Participants received stipend upon successful completion of the program - for 90% this was their first time receiving a paycheck.

“I felt so inspired during my time at Jameco Exchange that I went on the hunt for more programs that have something to do with curating!” – Nudrat, 16. 

“Every time I come to Jameco Exchange I feel free and happy, I enjoy being myself. The people here made me a better person socially and creatively.” – Raymone, 15. 


In this intensive six-week summer arts program, youths work closely with artist educators to conceive, develop, and produce their own art projects. In addition, participants critically study current exhibitions at the Queens Museum, visit other art institutions in New York City, while practicing and enhancing foundational skills in the visual arts such as drawing, design, mixed-media, and sculpture. 


  • Spend summer at a world-class art museum
  • Work closely and learn from professional artists
  • Develop arts, academic and social skills through fun art projects and workshops
  • Go on art field trips around NYC
  • Exhibit work in a two-week public exhibition at the Queens Museum
  • Learn about high school art programs at the Queens Museum and around NYC


In this paid internship, teens learn about the ins and outs of event planning in the arts! Teen Night Planning Committee members collaborate with New York City teens to design, coordinate, and promote Teen Nights—free events that feature music and dance performances, workshops, art-making, friends, and food.


  • Design, plan, and execute three free large-scale events for New York City teens
  • Meet educators and curators to learn about visual art and our collections
  • Promote Teen Night to teens across New York City, especially Brooklyn
  • Communicate with emerging artists and performers
  • Assist with programs like Target First Saturdays
  • Build and strengthen communication, teamwork, time management, organizational, and event-planning skills