Teen Programs

A group of 12, half standing behind a black couch and half crouching in front on a black and white checkered floor pose for the camera in a space that was once the studio of the artist Keith Haring.

SI believes that contemporary art can provide a platform for self-exploration, discovery, and creative risk taking for young adults. SI Teen programs provide a safe space to grow individually and collectively, and to make meaningful artwork and teen-centered programs together.

Past program topics have included: the art of wandering, rituals and magic, the artistic processes of making/doing/thinking, the architecture of education, time based media, site specific artworks, posters as artworks, and more.

Launched in 2019, SI’s Teen programs invite students from NYC’s high-schools to participate in after-school sessions, whether in our self-directed Teen Council, our exploratory Teen Classes , or our summer intensive in partnership with NYC’s Department of Youth And Community Development. All participants are paid for class hours. Please find more information below, including how to apply.


SI’s after school teen classes are offered in the fall and spring semesters for teenagers aged 15-18 years old. As with all of SI’s teen programs, teens are paid $16/hr for their completed hours. Each of SI’s teen classes are centered around a theme related to contemporary art, with lectures and discussions, close looking activities, art making, and individual and collaborative projects inspired by the theme.

Winter/Spring 2024: Environmental Relationships, Part 2

Where is “the environment” and where does our environment start and a person, a family, a community end? What does it mean to be environmentally conscious, and how is this expressed and explored in contemporary art? 

This program examines the interconnected nature of our relationships with our environments. We will explore environments as sources of materials and catalysts for storytelling. We will also explore how art is used as a platform or tool for advocacy on behalf of and with our environments and their roles in our lives past, present and future.

We will approach this subject matter through scientific, cultural, and community-based lenses, challenging the idea that we as people are separate from our environment and redefining our relationships with the environments we inhabit, work, play in, and visit.

Weekly classes will involve discussions, art making activities, and deep exploration into artistic practices that integrate, advocate, and represent our natural and built environments. We will get a chance to take a tour of Swiss Institute’s current exhibitions and meet guest artists who will share their journey and process with us.

Registration for this season is closed. If you want to be notified when applications re-open, please fill out the following form.


Swiss Institute Teen Council (SITC) is a paid ($16/hr) opportunity for teens of all backgrounds (ages 16-21 years old) to share their ideas and create original content centered on a teen audience. With the support of SI as our home base, SITC members can manifest shared ideas and bring them to life. SITC provides a safe space to grow individually and collectively, and to provide an environment to make meaningful work together. 

SITC’s goals include: planning events and programs centered around a teen audience, to foster a creative environment and engage with the arts, including the visual and performing arts, design, and architecture, playing an advising role in future SI teen programs, and creating opportunities for SITC members to grow professional skills to help with future endeavors in various career paths.

Teen Council gives priority to former participants of SI’s teen programs, but others are also welcome to apply.

Registration for this season is closed. If you want to be notified when applications re-open, please fill out the following form.

SI’s summer teen program is presented in partnership with NYC’s Department of Youth And Community Development’s (DYCD) Summer Internship Program. This program is a paid opportunity offered to juniors and seniors in DYCD’s program, and aimed to foster career-readiness and exposure to contemporary art institutions and art professions. Students gain exposure by visiting art institutions around the NYC area, meeting with a variety of arts professionals, and participate in workshops designed by guest artists. Throughout the summer, students create independent and collaborating projects around a program theme.

Please email education(at)swissinstitute(dot)net with questions about any of our teen program offerings.

*Note: Teens are welcome to apply to and participate in both Teen Class and Teen Council for the same semester if accepted.

Image: SI Teen Summer group on a trip to the Keith Haring Foundation.