This is the online stream for sharing conversations that happened throughout the Greater Bay Area from March through June 2012 around the question:

How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone?

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Hello from Teaching Artists Organized

Name Teaching Artists Organized
Date of conversation Sunday, June 3, 2012
Conversation Participants Sabrina Klein and Belinda Taylor, TAO staff; Jessica Mele, Dave Maier and Lynn Johnson from the Executive Committee; plus members Rica Anderson, Robert Frazier, Wendy Bushery, Kathy Brandenburg, Shiela Trieble et al.
Meeting Topics? Mapping the Changing Landscape for Teaching Artists, identifying new opportunities and persistent hurdles.
Attach an image from your conversation (optional, but highly encouraged)
Where are we now? Share key takeaways
A small group of us gathered to map the current environment for Teaching Artists, starting with an overview of the groundswell of attention and calls to action from outside the field for Teaching Artists to play a more integrated role in returning the arts to schools and communities as core to successful education and neighborhoods. At the same time, many in the group noted that it’s harder for Teaching Artists to get sustainable work.

Reflecting on a series of articles, reports and research-based recommendations, the group discussed vocabulary–arts learning and arts engagement versus arts education, for example-and the power of joyful and passionate language about our work. We ruminated on the Montalvo Arts Center’s “artist-centered teaching artist” framework, positioning the artist’s work as key to the value the teaching artist brings to classrooms. With no desire to replace or become classroom teacher, teaching artists are equal partners in the efforts to improve teaching and learning in schools, community settings and social service settings.

We noted that some in our conversation work with parents and families, some in the school system, others in community settings, which reminded us that the work is broad and deep with many points of entry. Leadership in the field needs to grow from amongst this diversity of providers.

Grounded in this conversation, we worked in small groups to create three different “maps” of our changing field. In the accompanying photo Robert Frazier and Jessica Mele work on the group map.

Where should we go, and why? Share key takeaways In education we want to go where hands-on, experiential, arts integrated learning is available for every student. Where reaching artists are called upon to make this happen by partnering with classroom teachers and where the arts learning experience is as equally values as the academic content.
How Should we get there? Share key takeaways As a membership organization, TAO can provide training, can identify pay and benefits standards for TAs, identify professional pathways for the field, provide methods (a database) for TAS to hook up with schools, teaching artist hiring organizations and other opportunities.
Next Steps? Design and offer professional workshops; articulate a shared vocabulary that represents the goals and values of the field of teaching artistry; encourage TAS to use vivid and passionate language and be able to say to a parent “This is how your child grew today.”

2 Comments on “Hello from Teaching Artists Organized”

  1. Ann Wettrich says:

    I applaud your work. I am grateful for the work of TAO–a vital and necessary organization, important to generating high quality arts education opportunities for schools and community organizations, while cultivating professional learning and raising the bar via opportunities for exchange that reinforce best practices that pro-actively develop a professional network of art education providers, as well as an infrastructure for teaching artists. TAO’s work is essential to the viability, growth and sustainability of art and art integrated teaching and learning in the Bay Area.

  2. lmusic says:

    At the Integrated Learning Summer Institute “Inventing Our Future” August 7-9 at the Chabot Space and Science Center – the day one plenary will focus on “Our Profressional Practice”. Teaching Artist and Perfromance Artist/Artivist, Violet Juno, will perform a part of her one woman show on the teaching artist in the classroom. Shakti Butler will help the audience think about how the arts and collaboration with community help educators overcome bias and teach all children with deep love and respect. I hope we can build collaborative relationships where classrooom teachers are telling parents – “Do you know what a teaching artist did to improve my practice today? And… to improve your child’s learning experience today?”

    Teaching Artists Organized is partnering to bring this regional institute to 7 Bay Area Counties and is modeling a collaboration of organizations and teaching artists with credentialed educators that can be replicated across California through TASC.

    What do you think?