Teen Creative Agency



The Teen Creative Agency (TCA) was founded in September 2011 and is the MCA’s intensive, immersive creative youth development program.

TCA is made up of a group of 25 curious, creative, committed young people, age 15 to 19, from all over the Chicago area who meet at the MCA every Saturday for two years. Led by two artists, TCA members learn about the museum; immerse themselves in contemporary art and ideas at the MCA and elsewhere in Chicago; collaborate with museum staff, other artists, and young people; and hone their collaboration, communication, and leadership skills.

With this new knowledge, they curate exciting, unexpected, critical, and creative programs with and for their peers, as well as the general public. This includes the Living Room, a monthly pop-up program, and 21Minus, our annual festival of contemporary art and experiences developed by artists under 21 years of age.

TCA’s goal is to build a generation of connected, creative collaborators.

Featured image

TCA members inside Alexandre da Cunha’s Figurehead, 2015. MCA Chicago Plaza Project: Alexandre da Cunha, Jul 18, 2015–Jul 24, 2016 Photo: Mikayla Delson © MCA Chicago

Apply to join TCA!

Apply to join TCA!

Want to be all-in and join our group of 25? We accept a new batch of members each year.

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Nominate a Teen

Know a teen who you think would be a good fit for TCA? Fill out our nomination form.

Our application cycle:

  • Jun 13: Applications due
  • Jun 28–30: Interviews conducted
  • Jul: Applicants notified
  • Sep: TCA begins and meets every Saturday afternoon through June

Who is eligible?

You must be between the ages of 14 to 18 years old to apply to TCA.

Who should apply

Apply to TCA if you are:

The TCA is for teens who enjoy asking questions and making sense of things.

Young people who have an interest in the arts in any form. This does not mean that you must be an artist!

Individuals who can commit to participating every Saturday afternoon from September to June, plus time over the summer, for two years. TCA members also commit to work in the program during the week between Saturday sessions.

Curious to see the program in action?

TCA hosts events throughout the year.
Come check us out!


Please contact us.



The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust is the generous sponsor of the Teen Creative Agency. Major support is provided by Exelon. Additional support is provided by Lewis S. and Anne Neri Kostiner, and Luminarts Cultural Foundation at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust Exelon Luminarts

The Teen Creative Agency’s Living Room program is generously furnished by Room & Board.

Room & Board