Rich in Rewards – Why Teaching Artists Teach

Posted by Milly Hough On March - 13 - 2014
Milly Hough

Milly Hough

Why do some artists decide to teach? For many, the attraction is a desire to connect students to a creative process and to the larger arts community. For others, teaching fuels their work as artists. The South Carolina Arts Commission’s Roster of Approved Artists includes more than 900 artists who have been approved to conduct residencies and performances in schools. Many have been teaching for as long as they’ve been artists. We wanted to know more, so we asked four Roster artists about their experiences.

 

The artists, the number of years they’ve been teaching, plus a brief description of their work with students: Read the rest of this entry »

Teaching Artists: The Need to Reach Wider Audiences

Posted by Rosalind Flynn On March - 13 - 2014
Rosalind Flynn

Rosalind Flynn

Everyone I know who works as a teaching artist has amazing success stories of student learning experiences with, through, and in the arts. There are stories about reaching the “unreachable” student, motivating whole groups of resistant learners, creating breathtaking products, deepening understandings about curriculum subjects, and engaging the minds, bodies, and imaginations of young people in extraordinary ways.

This is great stuff. This is the kind of information that should be shared.

  • How do effective Teaching Artists get the results we get?
  • What are our methods?
  • What precisely do we do in a class session or series?

We know that what we do works and we know why it works. But are we sharing this information with a wide enough audience? I don’t think so. Read the rest of this entry »

How I Learned to Love Those Who Oppose What I Do

Posted by Sabrina Klein On March - 13 - 2014
Sabrina Klein

Sabrina Klein

It’s good to shut up sometimes. – attributed to Marcel Marceau

Many years ago, I was at a dinner party peopled mostly by academics (graduate students in the humanities and newbie assistant professors) and their life partners (I was one of the partners). I was relaying a set of dramatic stories about the education theater program I’d been working with, aimed at high schoolers and focused on HIV prevention. This was in the late 1980s, when teens had recently been identified as having different risk factors than adults and were identified as a fast-growing at-risk population.  Read the rest of this entry »

Four Tips From a Teaching Artist to Make You a Better Arts Administrator

Posted by Lori Sokolowski On March - 13 - 2014
Lori Sokolowski

Lori Sokolowski

Being a teaching artist is hard work. There are the sticky, dirty germs and the immune system that can’t keep up at every new school site. Then there’s those Friday afternoons with a hyper class of third graders. Sometimes, there’s the not so great classroom teacher who sits disengaged in the back of the room grading papers, eating, or even worse, napping. Yes, I said napping. But it’s not always like that. The teacher napping incident was a one-time thing. Most of the time being a teaching artist in a school setting is an inspiring and invigorating experience. I learn from my students and their classroom teachers as much as I hope they learn from me.

At San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts I split my responsibilities as a teaching artist for CARE (Collaborative Arts Resources for Education) with other administrative responsibilities. The pedagogy of teaching artistry has made me a better administrator and I would like to share these four tips with you. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Become A Great Teaching Artist

Posted by Jeff Antoniuk On March - 13 - 2014
Antoniuk and his sudents

Jeff Antoniuk

Gang banger or set designer? Bored and disconnected, or improvising jazz on a Duke Ellington tune? YOU are in a position to change a life, and maybe one day save a life with art. So let’s look at five important ways to maximize your potential, your influence and your long term success as a Teaching Artist.

1) You Gotta Have Chops

2) Hit The Gym (aka Professional Development)

3) Autopilot is a Killer

4) Strong Relationships With Teachers and Administration

5) Keep Your Inner Artist Alive Read the rest of this entry »

Teaching Grit through the Arts

Posted by Katie Keddell On March - 13 - 2014
Katie Keddell

Katie Keddell

On Saturday, February 1, I had the wonderful opportunity to watch Young Audiences/Arts for Learning teaching artist, Max Bent, work. We were not in a classroom and we were not in an official Young Audiences program at a school or community organization. Instead, we were joining our neighbors, Single Carrot Theatre, in welcoming the neighborhood to our new home at 2600 North Howard Street in Baltimore. Max was offering a musical demonstration to anyone who walked in to say hello and hear more about Young Audiences. After an hour of recording sounds visitors played on a small steel drum and various other eclectic instruments, Max created a symphony of sounds by layering impromptu measures of four beats on top of each other. As he taught, I was struck by one phrase he kept repeating: “We have to re-harness the things that happen by accident.” I instantly connected this idea to my research as a graduate student. Read the rest of this entry »

A Teaching Artist in Learning Through Art at the Guggenheim

Posted by Greer Kudon On March - 12 - 2014
Greer Kudon

Greer Kudon

The role of a teaching artist is often different in every organization. Here at the Guggenheim teaching artists are at the core of the Learning Through Art (LTA) program. As a non-artist who has now spent 20 years in the arts, working with teaching artists, is without question the best part of my job and I hold them in the highest esteem. LTA teaching artists are a dedicated bunch and their commitment to the program goes well beyond the one day a week they technically “work” at their assigned school. Jenny Bevill, who has been with LTA for 10 years, says the following:

“I feel my main role is that of translator, using all the resources I have to teach students to speak visually. First I try to connect my students with artwork that they will be interested in and curious about. Then I give them materials and teach them techniques that they can master and use in service of their own ideas. In collaboration with their classroom teachers and museum staff, I try to ask good essential questions so that students will be inspired to respond creatively rather than correctly. Lastly, I act as their guide through the art making process, reflecting their thinking back to them and offering suggestions to deepen their learning.” Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Hired: Teaching Artist or Music Teacher?

Posted by Jennifer Kessler On March - 12 - 2014
Jen Kessler

Jen Kessler

In preparation for the launch of our new Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s – a music for social change initiative inspired by El Sistema—the Community & Education department of Orchestra of St. Luke’s was looking for a team to teach string instruments to a group of 10 year olds, to shape the students’ leadership, focus, and collaborative skills, and to help build a sense of community among OSL and participating families.

This was a tall order, but we were optimistic. After all, we worked in New York City, where extraordinary music teachers abound. But as we finished the job description, we were stuck: Is this a Music Teacher position, or a Teaching Artist position? Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Trahey

Dan Trahey

My colleague, educator, lecturer, and etymologist, Eric Booth, defines a teaching artist as “a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills, curiosities, and sensibilities of an educator, who can effectively engage a wide range of people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.”

At the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program we define our staff as Teaching Artists and look for three qualities:

1. Effective Pedagogy

2. High Level Artistry

3. Ability to ADVOCATE for the musical art form.

My mission in the following paragraphs is to create a series of arguments that may lead to other questions growing out of the query – “Are universities doing enough to train performers to be Teaching Artists?” Read the rest of this entry »

Maureen Murphy

Maureen Murphy

Whether we are working on education policy or we are teaching Art Education in the classroom we face chaos, frustration, isolation, and uncertainty every day. The statistics for teachers to abandon the profession after just one year are staggering. We are all racing to keep up with the new technologically-plugged-in-student, new tests and standards, and to find the time to actually teach. We feel like there isn’t anyone there to catch us when we fall and yet we have this untapped source: each other.

Collaboration and building partnerships in our field can provide the support system that we need. It has the capacity to end isolation and frustration, and to provide experience and resources. As a collective, we have the capacity for rapid advancement and a more powerful reach. The importance of interaction and interdependence whether in the classroom or a county, a state or a nation, is a simple idea but generally not sustainable – unless we model it on what has proven successful in today’s market. Read the rest of this entry »

Investing in Teaching Artists: What Arts Organizations Can Do

Posted by Lynne Silverstein On March - 12 - 2014
Lynne Silverstein

Lynne Silverstein

One of today’s challenges for arts organizations is to bring our teaching artists’ best work to the “shared endeavor” of making the arts a part of every child’s PK-12 education. My experience suggests that arts organizations can offer the best work to that shared endeavor when we invest in long-term professional learning for our teaching artists.

INVEST (in-vest) verb

to use, give, or devote (time, energy, funds, etc.),
to achieve something that offers potential appreciation in value

When we invest in the knowledge and skills of our teaching artists, we increase the value of their work with schools.  But, what kind of investment is needed?

Over many years, I’ve watched the Kennedy Center invest in professional learning for its teaching artists and have seen that investment’s positive impact on the quality of the work that is offered to schools. Their investment in professional learning includes five components:

Intergenerational Collaboration: Making Meaning Together

Posted by Lauren Jost On March - 11 - 2014
Lauren Jost

Lauren Jost

Three years ago, I made a significant shift in my teaching artist career. After a decade of TA’ing in K-12 settings, I felt stuck in a rut and wanted to try something new…I just wasn’t sure what that was. I threw a lot of new options up against the wall, and the two that stuck were an unlikely pairing: working with older adults on memoir-writing, and leading creative play classes for babies, toddlers, and their caregivers.

My days are now a mix of encouraging parents to get down on the floor and create acrobatic tricks or dance routines with their one-year olds, and nurturing the creative impulses of older adults who have always believed that they had a story to tell – but until this point, never felt ready to pick up a pen. While the energy, laughter, and frequent tears in these two settings are very different, one common theme ties them together:

We are all artists, and we can help each other create art. Read the rest of this entry »

ARTS = LITERACY

Posted by Katherine Irey On March - 11 - 2014
Katherine Irey

Katherine Irey

The next time you hear yourself justifying inclusion of the arts in an educational setting stop and ask if this could be true:

 

ART IS THE MOTHER OF ALL LITERACY.

EACH ARTS DISCIPLINE IS A DISTINCT LITERACY IN ITS OWN RIGHT

Then back up and ask yourself:

  •          Is my art form a vehicle for communication?
  •          Does my art form support personal engagement and community participation?
  •          Does it distill my insights and synthesize my meanings?
  •          Do I use a symbol system that emerged to support my art form?
  •          Does my discipline support idiomatic expression for me and my community?
  •          Does my art form invite engagement and gain meaning from critical interpretation?
  •          Is it guided by particular structures, rules or agreed-upon [cultural] customs?
  •          Does my discipline adapt with relocation or change over time?

Let us assume, for now, that the answers to the above are all yes! Read the rest of this entry »

Teaching Artists as Equity Warriors

Posted by Tina LaPadula On March - 11 - 2014
Tina LaPadula

Tina LaPadula

I facilitate arts education workshops and conversations nationally. Teaching artists often ask me why it’s important to discuss arts education and social justice. I’m still honing my response, but here’s my current thinking:

We live in a country with undeniable barriers in education and the arts. I’m not even going to get into the differences between private and public schools, or the historic divide between formal arts training and cultural and community arts in this post. (Although, you should take a moment to read this great piece from the The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and Helicon which makes the case that more foundation funding in the arts should directly benefit lower-income communities and people of color). If we accept the idea that social justice is a vision for a society in which all people, of all identities, are treated equitably then we also have to admit the landscape is currently inequitable.   Read the rest of this entry »

Dramatic Possibilities

Posted by Lenore Kelner On March - 10 - 2014
Lenore Blank Kelner

Lenore Blank Kelner

I have been a teaching artist for many years—long before the profession had this name.

I work with students and teachers in all grade levels integrating drama with oral language development and reading comprehension skills and like all teaching artists try to stay abreast of educational shifts and trends so that my work can be relevant and meaningful to students and to teachers. I have written two books on drama and the classroom and one book on integrating drama with reading comprehension skills.

After 35 years of performing, directing, presenting, writing, and teaching, I am still amazed by the joy and passion I still find daily in my work.  When a student tracked as “low ability” unexpectedly utters a jewel of dialogue during a drama that demonstrates the student not only understands the text explicitly but implicitly I still often get the feeling that I had better sit down quickly or I may fall down. When a teacher after a professional development workshop or after observing a demonstration lesson looks at me in amazement and says, “This is the way I know I can reach my students.”  I again feel so lucky to be able to do this– amorphous, hard to define, and difficult to quantify– work.  Read the rest of this entry »