Hales explains that today, teens communicate with technology that has ultimately created a new language through abbreviated words, phrases and emotions that are mainly understood by their own generation. "I encouraged students to create something with the prompt on a less-literal basis," says Hales. "And in a variety of media, they expressed what TXT Msgs meant to them."
Students from Central, Coronado, Marcos de Niza and McClintock high schools participated in this year's VISIONS program. Each of the 42 students was nominated by a high school visual-arts teacher, and once chosen, was given the opportunity to participate in yearlong activities and workshops with each other and SMoCA's visiting artists.
They met with each other monthly and ultimately created exhibitions based on ideas, conversations and themes chosen by SMoCA staff. Now enter Microsoft.
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Hales worked with Microsoft's community partnership program this past spring on the exhibition "Healing Expressions," which highlighted the benefits of art therapy for children who have been victims of abuse or trauma and had attended Childhelp sessions.
When Microsoft community partnership representatives heard about TXT Msgs, they jumped back on board. TXT Msgs has since been promoted within the Microsoft stores, on telephone displays and store fliers.
"It's a really great partnership and a rare one because we're not often approached by large corporations," says Hales. "We're really appreciative and excited by national and local partnerships that ultimately benefit the local arts community."
More pieces in the Txt Msgs exhibition are on display now in the young@art gallery at 7380 East 2nd Street in Scottsdale. Admission is free and for more information, visit SMoCA's website.