Smithsonian’s ARTLAB+ Teens Invited to White House Superintendent Summit

D.C.-Area Teens Advise Superintendents on Integrating Tech into Classrooms
November 20, 2014
News Release

Six local teen participants from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s ARTLAB+ after-school program were exclusively invited by the U.S. Department of Education to attend the White House Superintendent Summit Nov. 19. Dzhoy Zuckerman, Jamilah Stith, Virginia Walker, Diamond Towler, Carlos Campbell and Amadi Umi met with school superintendents from across the country to share their thoughts about how technology has helped them grow, learn and prepare for their future. Drawing on their experience learning digital-media skills informally through the ARTLAB+ program, the teens advised superintendents on what schools and districts can do to better integrate technology into formal learning environments. In addition, ARTLAB+ teens met with senior staff members from the Department of Education to discuss the Maker movement, which encourages a small-scale, self-directed approach to technological problem solving.

The White House Superintendent Summit invites superintendents from all over the U.S. to commit to the Future Ready District Pledge, which establishes a framework for achieving goals related to digital-media integration. President Barack Obama, through the Department of Education, has committed to providing district leaders with guidance, online resources and support needed to transition schools and classrooms into environments where effective digital learning takes place and tangible outcomes are reached. The splash page for the event is

The six ARTLAB+ teens invited to the White House Superintendent Summit represent a range of technology-related interests and skills. Zuckerman is an avid tinkerer who uses 3-D printing and software to create original designs. Stith has developed leadership and digital-photography skills and is now interested in an education career. Campbell uses ARTLAB+ resources to make music. Umi, who recently started attending ARTLAB+ programs, is working on a podcast project that explores the behind-the-scenes workings of museums. Walker, a talented illustrator, creates digital drawings, and Towler is focused on robotic engineering. All teens have approached their projects according to an ARTLAB+ philosophy that puts teens’ interests first, allowing self-directed learning pathways to emerge, each unique to the individual learner.

About the ArtLab and ARTLAB+ Programs

The ArtLab is the studio space, located on Jefferson Drive in the Hirshhorn’s Sculpture Garden, where ARTLAB+, the Hirshhorn’s signature drop-in, after-school youth program, happens. Through workshops, clubs and special events, ARTLAB+ gives Washington-area teens the space, resources and technology they need to explore their creativity while developing important visual- and digital-literacy skills. Teens from across the region take on unique roles in a design-studio environment, often using the museum’s modern and contemporary art collection, as well as other Smithsonian collections, to inspire their own creative projects. Guest artists and mentors offer support and guidance throughout the creative process, nurturing the next generation of artists and innovators.

ARTLAB+ programming is supported by funds from the Smithsonian Institution Youth Access Grants program, the Keith Haring Foundation, the Estate of Frank B. Gettings in memory of Nancy Kirkpatrick and Frank Gettings, the Goldberg Family Fund, Kathryn Gleason and Timothy Ring, and Aimee and Robert Lehrman. The ArtLab was made possible by early support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pearson Foundation and the Knight Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Vivian and Elliott I. Pollock.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of international modern and contemporary art, has nearly 12,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs,

mixed-media installations, works on paper and new media works in its collection. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs that explore modern and contemporary art. Located at Independence Avenue and Seventh Street S.W., the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission to the galleries and special programs is free. For more information about exhibitions and events, visit Follow the Hirshhorn on Facebook at, on Twitter at, on Tumblr at and on Instagram at Or sign up for the museum’s eBlasts at To request accessibility services, contact Kristy Maruca at or (202) 633-2796, preferably two weeks in advance.

# # #