Defining Roles in Arts Education Delivery: A Healthy Discomfort

Posted by Talia Gibas On September - 4 - 2012
Talia Gibas

Talia Gibas

On my first day of my Ed.M program in arts education I was asked to reflect on a simple series of questions:

Do you consider yourself an educator? Why or why not?

Do you consider yourself an artist? Why or why not?

I’ve gone through a few ‘Nervous Nelly’ phases in my life, one of which coincided with my starting graduate school. These questions threw my ‘Nervous Nelly’ into an existential panic. It seemed crucial that I find a satisfying “yes” to both questions. If I couldn’t, well, clearly I was some sort of fraud.

At the time, that exercise seemed like a really big deal. Today, I can’t even remember how I answered the questions. My ultimate takeaway came later, when I compared my classmates’ reflections to my own.

I was one of a diverse group—classroom teachers, musicians, museum educators, arts administrators, etc. We had different skills, backgrounds, and inclinations that would lead us to go on to play different roles in the arts education ecosystem when our program was over. Whether we agreed on a definition of “artist” didn’t matter. What mattered was that we honor the broad and deep skill sets in the room and support and complement their differences.

My personal “artist-and-or-educator” identity crisis was an experience with healthy discomfort. I hope the broader arts education community can find the same in the recent white paper put out by the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SAEDAE).

Roles of Certified Arts Educators, Certified Non-Arts Educators, and Providers of Supplemental Arts Instruction attempts to unpack the “shared delivery” model of arts instruction that many arts education initiatives, including Arts for All, state as their ultimate goal.

It describes strengths and limitations of the three key partners involved in teaching the arts in public schools—named as certified arts educators, certified non-arts educators, and providers of supplemental arts instruction. Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, And?

Posted by Anamika Goyal On November - 10 - 2011

Anamika Goyal


It’s really the only word to describe my reaction to all of the previous posts. As a newly-minted, 21-year-old college graduate, I become quickly overwhelmed by the plethora of next steps available to me.

And, after reading the posts from all of this week’s bloggers–socially responsible, creative, like-minded people doing good and interesting work–I felt exactly that.

It’s odd to me that being presented with so many interesting and feasible options elicits such angst. I would imagine that many people in the same situation would be excited, elated even. I can’t help but feel immediately burdened by the inevitable ‘choice.’ I immediately start thinking that I need to pick one and begin to fear that I might pick wrong.

So yesterday, after Googling all of the organizations and projects mentioned in the posts and finding a number of groups doing things that intrigued me, I jotted down keywords of particular interest on Post-Its and stuck them on a wall in my apartment.

‘Community’, ‘arts’, ‘engagement’, ‘interactive’, ‘installation’, ‘industrial’, ‘design’, ‘redesign’, ‘urban’, and ‘group’ were all words that kept popping up.

It felt good to write them down, but then I found myself a little stuck again. I feel like this process tends to leave me with more questions than answers, which I will now pose to you all: Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Bateman

Lately, it seems that every conference I attend, classroom I enter, or art forum I participate in is fixated on the notion of transforming those in the arts field from just merely that of an artist or an administrator to that of a community leader.

While the arts have been recognized for over two decades as a way to revitalize our neighborhoods, it seems like now more than ever before people are reaching out as a way to ignite community engagement and inspire change. But if we are to depend more and more on the arts as a way to transform not only the structural but the psyche of our communities, if we are to elevate from simply artist to organizer, how do we train the next generation who will be stepping into these roles?

Colleges worldwide have the answer through a new breed of degree being offered behind the walls of academia. Or I should say, outside. Breaking artists out of the solo studio experience, placing administrators in the community, and creating programming that reaches beyond the college boundary, colleges are offering an educational experience that focuses on engagement and activism through the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Seeing a Future in Your First Job

Posted by Alyx Kellington On September - 14 - 2011
Alyx Kellington

Alyx Kellington

Orlando is sixteen and gets bored easily. He receives mediocre to low grades, lives in the lower socioeconomic range, is being raised by a single mother and has a tendency to get in trouble.

How many of you work with students like Orlando?

Although Orlando does not care much for school, he enjoys going to an afterschool program where he hangs with his friends and gets to be creative. Twice a week, a visual art teaching artist comes in and the students study the history of their south Florida town, including the architecture, the cultural activities, the cars and clothing, and compare it to today.

On 12×12 plywood, the students create background, glue down fabric and copies of photographs, paint details, and add text, creating a collage of their community, past and present. Orlando worked on three of the boards, learning technique, an art vocabulary, and an appreciation for history that was relevant to his world.

Because of Orlando’s participation in this project, when I was looking to hire a temporary employee to help deliver educational materials over the summer, the director of the afterschool program recommended him.

“Hi Orlando.  Have you had a job before?” I asked.

He mumbled and looked down at his feet. “No ma’am. This will be my first.” Read the rest of this entry »

Having a Girl Living in a Bubble Inside My Apartment for a Week Changed My Life

Posted by Philippa P.B. Hughes On July - 29 - 2011

Art Really Can Change Your Life! from The Pink Line Project on Vimeo.

“For one week, artist Agnes Bolt moved into the home of the very sociable and curious Philippa Hughes to playfully explore the dynamics between an artist and an art collector. With a naive optimism and subtle social critique the project manifested itself with a large obtrusive structure situated within Philippa’s home in which the artist lived.

The presence of the artist was impossible to ignore. A series of rules, exercises, communication systems, and bonding experiences dictated the interactions between the two and video cameras were given to both parties. Both were required to follow the rules but mischief and expectations of an open spirited dynamic was highly encouraged. Read the rest of this entry »

Entertainment is Survival (and a crowbar?)

Posted by Robbie Q. Telfer On July - 28 - 2011

Robbie Q. Telfer

I often encounter so-called “serious” artists who scoff at the idea that what they’re doing is entertaining. Art should raise up its audience, not stoop to meet them.

I certainly agree that art must challenge audiences, but if you’re not considering the entry points for your audience, then you’re not a serious artist at all. You might just be an insecure gatekeeper.

Essentially, entertainment is a contract of considerate communication with strangers. Entertainment is not a distraction or empty goal. Entertainment is noble; it is the way we survive our mortality without slipping into depression.

To produce events with entertainment in mind means you are interested in your audience enjoying and receiving the messages you want to proffer. This is what I’ve learned from the initial concept behind the poetry slam created by Marc Smith, and used as a foundation for the Encyclopedia Show: if you are not creating art to commune with an audience, then you are creating art that you think people should be obligated to digest. Read the rest of this entry »

The Visible Movement: Art That Challenges Us to Respond

Posted by Naomi Natale On July - 25 - 2011

Naomi Natale

For me, great art works challenge a viewer’s initial perspective and enables her or him to look at something in a different way, aesthetically, culturally, possibly politically.

That may be enough. But in my own work, I want to do more. I am specifically fascinated by the relationship between art and action and how it can effectively be applied to create social impact.

Each work I make has three stages: the creation of a visual concept; sharing that concept through hands-on workshops, education, and personal interactions; and collecting the individual artworks created during that process for a resulting public installation.

My work functions at that tipping point where an individual is so moved by a visual concept that the new, challenged, or changed perspective compels him or her to action. The action is to make an artwork that supports the visual concept. And all these actions piled one on top of another transforms my visual concept into a collaborative public work. Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from a Resident Artist: The Final Chapter

Posted by Leo Berk On April - 13 - 2011

This is the final Leo Berk post describing his experiences as an embedded artist with King County (WA) Bridge Division.

Have you heard the one about the biologist, geologist, engineer, and artist who hiked up a relic stream bed together?

I hadn’t either until last November when I headed to the Money Creek Bridge with King County Roads’ Erick Thompson (biologist), Julia Turney (geologist), and Rich Hovde (engineer).

These three were on their way to the Skykomish area to visit this bridge in order to solve a complicated problem together.

Put simply, bridges are made to stay put, and creeks, by nature, don’t.   Read the rest of this entry »

Bridges, Archaeology, & Public Art

Posted by Leo Berk On April - 12 - 2011

In King County, WA, building roads and bridges gets us closer to understanding our region’s prehistoric time.

I found this out by taking a drive with Tom Minichillo who is the archaeologist for King County Road Services Division (which insiders just call “Roads”.)

As we were driving out to the active “dig” that Tom needed to check in on, he explained that whenever the county does road work in an area that could be an archaeological site, they dig a scattering of holes and sift through the dirt to see if anything comes up.

If they do find something, typically it’s little shards of rock that are the remnants of tool making.

These pieces can be very small, so they sift lots of dirt through ¼” screens to see what they can find. If they find enough of these shards in the test holes, then they dig a larger hole where they think they’ll find the most objects.   Read the rest of this entry »

Resource for Artists: What they didn't teach you in art school

Posted by John Abodeely On July - 15 - 2009

Are you an artist? Do you work with artists?

Art/Work is a book for the working artist, replete with the business and legal information one needs to be effective while navigating all the parts of art that have nothing to do with being creative: intellectual property, financing, taxes, etc.

Their website has more information such as artist opportunities  and further resources not included in the book. The authors are giving talks around the country now, so you could even talk one-on-one.  Check it out:

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