This year marks J. Christopher Neal’s seventh year as a staff member at Coro New York where he currently serves as program director for their Exploring Leadership program. As program director, Christopher has engaged hundreds of young people, helping develop their sense of leadership and civic engagement, preparing them to affect policy change, and teaching them how to be thoughtful partners in discussions with adults on policy issues. He also directs the Youth Advisory Council to the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Safety and Youth Development.
Christopher became involved in museum education shortly after his arrival in New York City. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, he seized an opportunity to teach in a visual arts and literacy collaboration with The Hetrick-Martin Institute's Harvey Milk High School and later became the coordinator of Youth and Community Programs there. He went on to work with Studio Museum in Harlem, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and The American Folk-art Museum. Through these institutions, Christopher has taught in classrooms across all five Boroughs and Connecticut.
Christopher has left an indelible impact on many of the young people he has worked with over the years: helping teens realize their ability to make a change and impact their community; providing opportunities for youth to step outside of their comfort zones and find success; and helping young people express themselves in meaningful and effective ways. As one of the youth in his program wrote, “[Mr. Neal] has a desire to help others and uses it to help you grow and mature as a young adult. He provides guidance and constructive feedback to assist you in becoming your best self.”
J. Christopher Neal grew up in Detroit Michigan, the son of two talented artists. He began his formal art training at Mumford High School and at the Center (now College) for Creative Studies' Saturday Workshops. Christopher studied Fine Art, African-American Studies, and Women's Studies at Eastern Michigan University and received a Masters of Fine Arts from Howard University.