What has been traditionally understood as “arts education” at other institutions stands apart at Eyebeam, as our youth programs put aspiring young artists together in a collaborative, project-based learning environment with emerging and established practitioners from the community. Participants in youth programs are eligible for the Student Residency. 

Jessica Calderon for Our Net


Led by alums Joanne McNeil and Dan Phiffer, OurNet teaches middle school students a basic understanding of the key components of network infrastructure by enabling students to develop their own private internal networks that are independent of the Internet.

The FREE workshops show students how to create a website with shared hosting where students can learn how simple it is to start their own social network and edit pages with a shell account. Furthermore, they learn to create a “darknet” or private network independent of the Internet. Using a simple wifi router, students will be able to communicate in an anonymous forum.

The goal for this project is to make network infrastructure less scary for people without technical backgrounds. We want to develop a new conversation around technology and ownership. We want students to name the networks and decorate the hardware because it is so important to understand how much independence you have — or don’t.

Image: a drawing by Jessica Calderon, as she imagines the internet at the beginning of the Our Net program.

Rap Research Lab

Rap Research Lab is a free youth program that engages teens in exploring hip-hop as cultural data through research and creative processes in order to produce visual communications and new understandings of the world around them.

The program was founded by Eyebeam alum Tahir Hemphill based on his Rap Almanac, a searchable database built from the lyrics of over 50,000 hip-hop songs, which generates reports on searched words, phrases and ideas. Hemphill and his co-teaching artists will teach design, cultural analysis, media criticism, data mining, and data visualization to teens in order for them to conduct research and create their own final data visualization project.  

RRL’s goal is to increase participation of underserved NYC youth, especially youth of color, immigrant, female and transgender youth, in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through culture, design, and digital media in a project-based learning environment. Teens thus become both content producers and knowledge interpreters.  By developing self-directed projects, students from these marginalized groups move to the center as knowledge experts. This project encourages interest in STEM by introducing technological tools, data analysis, research techniques, and media criticism using a subject—hip hop—that is central to the culture and identity of youth.


Playable Fashion

Playable Fashion is a free teen program that explores the intersections between Fashion, Technology and Gaming. Youth learn the concepts and techniques behind them in order to create their own digital games and wearable technology projects.

This program was developed and is taught by by former Eyebeam Fellows and professional game designers Kaho Abe and Ramsey Nasser. This program explores game design, coding, wearable technology, and game modification.

Critical support for this program is provided by: