Title of Museum Ambassadors zine: "Here's Where I Make a Little Space for You"


AK Teens: Museum Ambassadors—

Elio Capasso, Eleanor Collins, Keegan Ficorilli, Gretchen Gwitt, Kayla Kramer, Jillian Kratts, Madison Ralph, Liliana Schmid, Alina Skitzki, Alex Vázquez, Kacie Wiertel, Kendall Wood


Just Buffalo Writing Center—

Abuk Aleu, Elle Bader-Gregory, Theo Bellavia-Frank, Nzingha, Haya E., Bella Lamberty, Lee Maras, Danny Merlino, Faith Natumbwe, Liam Rio, Keira VanDerBeck

Two hand-drawn red-orange roses








Museum Ambassadors' Zine collage page




Two hand-drawn bright orange and yellow flowers








by Faith Natumbwe

Inspired by Phyllis Thompson's Untitled, 1973

I believe that when we take our first breath, we become a blank canvas and along the journey of life, our experiences are the paint brush. Life doesn't use only a single color, it uses all colors in all their different shades and crafts them together into a mosaic upon the canvas. Our experiences, the beautiful, the unexpected and the horrific all lie upon us just as uniquely as the differently shaped and curved strokes of paint on a mosaic piece. Each stroke telling a breathtaking story that ultimately adds on to the wholeness of the artist's intention. If we, however, deliberately choose to only take heed of the potential beauty that is portrayed by a single color then we inevitably run the risk of not only robbing the art piece of its full authenticity that roots in the unison of every color upon it but also the possibility of what it could be that stems from the mere presence of every stroke of paint. We end up distorting the true identity of the art piece.


Bright string of hand-drawn flowers on a chain




Collage page from Museum Ambassadors' Zine




One Single Moment

by Keira VanDerBeck

after Kellie Romany's Can I get a witness, 2019

transported to the infinite ever-loving glade
everything and nothing
all at once

skin on skin
your body is mine
mine yours

a single tear
all encompassing pleasure

this right and true loving
nothing else compares

no control
no regret
no fear

lying cheek to cheek
a silent conversation
our bodies and our hearts


pinkies hooked
we fall into a blissful sleep

Two hand-drawn pink roses


Collage page from Museum Ambassadors' Zine

Hand-drawn red rose







the space

by Liam Rio

after Phyllis Thompson, Untitled, 1974

Did you know what I said?
When the old man, who was already dead,
asked me to talk to him?

I said:
“I live in this space.
An empty space.
A falling space,
A place in which there is no space,
so much space,
too much space.”

And he seemed confused.
I told him:
 “that is my world.
Our world.
But you are dead, and dying, and alive,
and misunderstood.

So you can’t understand.”

And he accepted that, looked beyond me.
And became a shadow.

And I was left in my space.
With no foot to land on.
No solid pigmentation to fall into.
No world to recognize.


And I laughed.
As I had everything anyone had ever wanted.
And yet I had nothing.

Hand-drawn white and purple flowers


Collage page from Museum Ambassadors' Zine


Hand-drawn red flower

can i love you without capitalism?  

by Danny Merlino

after vanessa german’s Can I Love You Without Capitalism? How?, 2019

i am a soul
made of plastic
for your hand
that’s covered in aluminum
and deafening lights
that swallow the stars.

nature is above you
but she is gray
and dying
under the weight of your own

but you are easy to love
and smooth to the touch,
i can’t tell if you really are that way
or if it’s the commercials that
beg me
to believe it.


Collage page from Museum Ambassadors Zine


A bird made of sparkly, plastic beads


Collage page from the Museum Ambassadors' Zine


Hand-drawn yellow flower


Collage from Museum Ambassadors' Zine


Text that reads "Prompts" sits amid a bed of hand-drawn, brightly colored flowers


Inspired by Rhonda Wheatley’s Get Woke to Self’ Elixir Stills, 2020, write your own elixir recipe that addresses a way of being/thinking in the world that you want the reader/viewer to analyze.


Inspired by the process used in Raque Ford’s Said too softly, 2021, create a visual piece that is comprised of text you find from a range of sources.


Read the artist statement of Oluseye’s Hot commodity, 2022, which discusses “the ease with which people (especially non-Black individuals) can tap into, appropriate, and commodify Black culture for their own, often still oppressive ends.” How else do you see this happening in your community, marketing, or in the media you consume?


There are a number of abstract sculptures, paintings, and artworks that are open for your interpretation. How might you take a piece of abstract visual art and turn it into text? Write a poem, story, or song that interprets what you see.


Explore the sculptures and artist statement of vanessa german. Her work is “built up from objects she finds in her neighborhood” and explores questions such as “How can WE be whole here? What role can museums play as spaces of intentional social healing?” Create your own piece of art using materials you find in your neighborhood that respond to some of these questions.


Experience BLACKMAU’s Audacious Black Freedom Dreams, 2022, which explores Afrofuturism as “a lens to talk about equitable futures.” Inspired by this concept, create your own piece that explores an alternate universe “free of racism and oppression.”


Explore Esmaa Mohamoud’s Double Dribble, 2021. Respond (through your own experiences/observations/memories/artwork) to this question in the artist statement: “Do social identifiers (race, gender, wealth, ability) affect our role in play, and how?”


From Theo (JBWC young writer): Look at all the pieces of art in the collection, one by one, and write the first line of a poem inspired by each before going on to the next piece. When you’re done, organize those lines into stanzas to make a new poem. If you particularly like a certain line, feel free to save it to give it its own poem later!

About the Authors

The Museum Ambassadors program provides high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to learn about museum education while creating their own activities, lessons, and programs for all ages. The program culminates in an evening programed by the Museum Ambassadors geared toward teens and open to the public.

Just Buffalo’s Writing Center is a dynamic, creative community of young writers and artists. Along with access to writing workshops, literary events, and individualized assistance with writing projects, JBWC writers get the opportunity to learn from groundbreaking local and visiting authors & are provided platforms to share their work and talents.

Program Sponsors

AK Teens is presented by KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation.

The Museum Ambassadors program is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor.