Photography: Néstor Pérez-Molière at the Open Art Space Prom
Now that the Trump Administration has become a reality, the arts and LGTBQ communities are in danger. That’s why MoMA has decided to step in, creating Open Art Space, a sanctuary for LGBTQ-identifying teens and allies to make and learn about art in peace. Free for any New Yorker “of high school age,” the museum has launched a weekly drop-in program that provides teenagers with snacks, Metrocards and the access to art and culture, through guided tours and technical classes.
“Open Art Space is a place where we aim to go way beyond acceptance,” said co-creator, artist Mark Joshua Epstein. “Acceptance alone is lazy, it’s passive, it’s begrudging. At OAS we aim higher. Let us celebrate, appreciate, and admire our LGBTQ teens, they are, as we have learned this past year, worthy of all those things and more.”
With a deep understanding of the alienation LGTBQ teens experience, Epstein wanted to create a safe haven, and in our current political climate, programs like Open Art Space are more integral than ever. With LGBTQ rights under attack and impending cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts, safety and access are both limited and vital. Through Open Art Space, MoMA has afforded young New Yorkers the opportunity to not only feel safe in their own city again, but also the ability to freely express themselves. If only everyone was still 16.