Thesis Update: Teen Participation in Out-of-School Art Programs


NYC Together teen artist and myself at our mural reveal block party!

Hi, Hello! My name is Elle Sauer. I am proudly born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and received my B.F.A. in printmaking and book arts at SCAD Atlanta.  This is currently my last semester of graduate school in the Art Education Department at CCNY. Over the past few years I have worked as a teacher’s assistant, created a community mural with NYC Together, as well as co-founded Young Artist Zine Alliance, (YAZA).

When I am not teaching, making zines with teens, or writing a thesis you can find me baking pies of the fruit variety, mastering my famous chocolate chip cookie recipe, watching Catfish the TV Show, sneaker shopping,eating meals with friends, dancing like nobody’s watching and visiting museums/art galleries. IMG_0893

As a recipient of the 2016 and 2017 Connor’s Fellowship, I teamed up with fellow graduate student Jackie Du, to create a free zine program for NYC high school students called YAZA, as mentioned previously in this post.  YAZA has opened my eyes to the beauty of out-of-school art programs and the impact they can have on identity searching teens. Check out the YAZA instagram and tumblr to learn about more all the cool things we do!


Printmaking and zines go hand-in-hand!

Ultimately my work with YAZA has lead me to my Master’s Project. I am interested in out-of-school arts programs, how teens are recruited, and the decision process when choosing a program.

So far in my research I am finding a great deal of articles about the benefits of out-of-school arts programs but not how the students actually apply, choose, and attend the wide variety of offered programs.  

I want to take a step back and look into how teens even first discover these programs as well as the recruitment and application process. Teachers are often the direct source of information when it comes to teen participation in out-of-school arts programs. Which lead me to my question of finding out what are the factors that contribute to teachers recommending certain teens.  As I delve in deeper, I have decided to interview teachers, survey teens, and conduct a focus group of program coordinators to see how each role plays a part in teens participation. I am anxious to share with you my findings and build a stronger connection between out-of-school art programs, teens and teachers!


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