Saturday, December 26, 2009

Eric Booth: Why I Support ATA

Why I Support ATA

by Eric Booth

I just snail mailed my support check to ATA in thanks for all they do.

A few years ago, I was in a discussion at Harvard Project Zero about whether teaching artists should try to create a non-profit national service organization. We thought about what those service organizations actually do, and what it takes to sustain them, and it kept not adding up as a the right next step for our growing field. We asked ourselves, "What is it that we really need, and how can we provide that without creating another institution that doesn't feel like 'us'?"

The answer that arose was that for now what we needed most was information, ways to communicate with one another, and a responsive lead group that can prompt us as needed. We need time to authentically grow into what we want to become. At that time I realized that the ATA was doing exactly what the field needed, and doing it well. If we can support it well (and we haven't done that well to date--our ATA leaders work heroically without adequate support), we can grow authentically to become what we want to be as a field. Thank you ATA--my check is in the mail.

Eric Booth

Editor's Note:

Contributions to ATA are tax-deductible, and may be made here.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why I Support ATA

Why I Support ATA

By Phil Alexander

The soloist enchants us, while the choir provides us with incomparable depth and richness.

The poem delights us, while the book creates an entirely new universe for us.

The sculpture engages us, while the museum opens us up to brand new understandings.

The lesson teaches us, while the whole course transforms us.

Simply put, collective action reaches us deeper and lasts longer than individual experiences.

ATA is the embodiment of collective action, it's a collective voice, a unified chorus of individuals who often cannot be heard. The incomparable listserve , the ATA website, and the blog are just a few of the most obvious tools in which ATA collects and shares the voices of teaching artists. The
board and staff of ATA are committed to hearing the needs of teaching artists, and sharing your concerns with the world at large. We have plans to provide more opportunities and events for teaching artists in the future, such as the first Teaching Artists conference, but with assorted financial challenges, everything must be reconsidered and no opportunity is secure.

During this period of appeals and gift giving, it's hard to claim that one cause is more worthy than others. So I'm left asking this question: What will be heard, if ATA"s voice is silenced?

Philip A. Alexander, Ph.D.
Senior Program Officer
ESP Office of Partnership Support and Research

Editor's Note:

Contributions to ATA are tax-deductible, and may be made here.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Support Group

Sometimes, a teaching artist needs a break, and today is that day. Before it's all over, please consider making a donation to the Association of Teaching Artists.

If you have utilized ATA's treasure trove of resources, including the ATA Listserv and Facebook Page, then making a donation is a spectacular way to help make sure those sites are still around next year.

Your gift celebrates ATA's vital role as a support system for teaching artists just like you. Give an amount that is meaningful and significant for your circumstances. Every dollar helps Executive Director Dale Davis, Glenn McClure and the entire Board of Directors of ATA continue to advocate on behalf of teaching artists everywhere.

Contributions to ATA are tax-deductible, and may be made here.

Thank you.

Memo: Until the new year, postings will occur with less regularity, because all work and no. Thanks for reading ATA Blog!

Our text for the day is from The Pillow book of Sei Sh┼Źnagon, translated by Ivan, I. Morris:


It is delightful when there has been a thin fall of snow; or again when it has piled up very high and in the evening we sit round a brazier at the edge of the veranda with a few congenial friends, chatting till darkness falls. There is no need for the lamp, since the snow itself reflects a clear light. Raking the ashes in the brazier with a pair of fire-tongs, we discuss all sorts of moving and amusing things.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Support ATA!

A Note from ATA Board Member Georgia A. Popoff

Support ATA

The messages on the listserve are such a value to the community of teaching artists who are members of this forum. The information that ATA Executive Director Dale Davis provides daily creates a tool for constant professional development and opportunity for us all. The listserve, with the daily comprehensive blogs by Michael Wiggins, the various links to so much to support each of us in pursuit of our careers as artists who teach, all of these aspects of the service that ATA provides to each of us are extremely valuable.

If each member of the listserve donated just $10 to ATA in some way (the Pay-Pal option on line, a check sent via standard mail, etc.), ATA could increase its budget by 50%, leading to greater longevity and more that could be provided.

Please consider ATA as one of the organizations you will include on your list of gifts this season. It is a gift that will offer each of us a daily return.

Georgia A. Popoff

Poet & Teaching Artist
Board Member - Association of Teaching Artists

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Message from ATA

A Message from ATA

I'm writing to you as the Board Chair of ATA.

ATA could not work without you. At the heart of ATA's accomplishments are the ideas and efforts of Teaching Artists across the country. We need your continued help to keep ATA responsive and vital.

I encourage you to visit and check out the comprehensive spectrum of tools for Teaching Artists we offer.

In addition to the website:

The listserv

The blog

ATA on Facebook

ATA's surveys are critical resources for communicating and supporting Teaching Artists.

We rely on you to support our efforts. Please make a donation today.

Happy Holidays!

Glenn McClure

Board Chair, The Association of Teaching Artists

Friday, December 18, 2009

Outside Artists

At CAN, an essay by artist/educator Jerri Allyn examines the "tension between community arts and the academy", posing the hard questions like "Who are the experts?" and "What's good enough?"

The essay segues into a fun interview, in which Ms. Allyn asks her brother Peter McCracken, a musician who dropped out of Tufts and thrived nonetheless, if any colleges have started to offer "a degree in the blues?"

The answer seems to be no, but the notion gets funnier the longer I think about it.

In any case, with or without the imprimatur of colleges and universities, teaching artists are managing to do this work, every day, without fail.

Finally: Chaka Khan - I'm Every Woman.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Behavioral Problems

Classroom management issues can be debilitating. When Monday rolls around, anticipating the arrival of a "difficult class" can rob your entire practice of a sense of joy. Of course, since there is no quality teaching without a sense of joy, the problem is compounded. If there is no colleague in the building to commiserate with, or no time to problem-solve classroom management issues, a bad situation can get worse.

How do we encourage young people to participate? How do we proceed when student behavior is disruptive? How can we transform our relationship to students so that classroom management is not about discipline?

In his book Encouraging Children to Learn, Rudolf Driekurs presents a radical re-thinking of our relationship to the concept of discipline. Instead of reward and punishment, he argues that children should be made aware of logical consequences for their behavior.

A radical idea.

In the news:
Detroit's unemployment rate nears 50%.

The number of people applying for Food Stamps is rising fast.

Uncertainty grows about whether the Imperial Senate will be able to pass a health care bill before 2010.

Goldman Sachs is having the best year ever!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Artists in Communities

The University Settlement's Performance Project cultivates new audiences for live performance by reaching out to those who have little access to the arts, and providing opportunities for community members to engage with working artists.

Teaching artists at the Settlement's relatively new Houston Street building, facilitate arts workshops in a variety of disciplines including visual arts, dance and theater.

The Performance Project also has a Curated Rental Program. Selected productions are marketed as part of the organization's season.

The application process for both the Artist-in-Residence Program and the Curated Rental Program is below:
  • Mail or send an email to the arts program curator, Alison Fleminger at
  • Please include the lead artist(s) bio, resume and one page description of your current project. Highlight how you use the arts to engage with diverse communities.
  • Please provide either links to performance footage or a DVD of a past performance.
  • Please be sure to follow up with a phone call to Ms. Fleminger at 212.453.4532

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How To Do That

Most professional teaching artists are freelancers. If a TA is lucky and has a lot of clients, this can mean a considerable amount of time in the field, and little time to manage the flood of paperwork and emails that are the millstones of success. Over at her excellent blog Minutiae & Flux, professional teaching artist, and colleague, Carla Ching posts on this very topic.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is a book by David Allen, but the GTD Cheat Sheet @ summarizes the book in a page or two, because who has time?

Over at Unlocking the Classroom, professional teaching artist Lizzie Hetzer writes on Freire, bell hooks, Radical Love and Buddhism, all of which can make time management issues seem like background noise.

In the News: The Teaching Artist Union has meetings, and the deadline for proposals to the Common Ground Arts Education Conference is fast approaching, which means it is today.

Unemployment hovers at just above 10%. Make those dollars before the winter break! Luckily, many jobs are posted on the Yahoo Listserv, courtesy of ATA Executive Director, Dale Davis.

Finally: Consider Disco. KC & the Sunshine Band - I'm Your Boogie Man

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our America

Thanks to El Machete, I have had my awareness raised about an issue that is undoubtedly affecting young people we work with in New York City schools--deportation.

Did you know that some of our young people are considered "undocumented", and that these children face deportation the minute they turn eighteen? Teens who have spent their entire lives in the United States are subject to arrest and criminal proceedings--the purpose being to send them "home" to countries they might not even remember.

A related article in the New York Times notes that immigrant students have recently taken high profile advocacy roles around this issue, risking much.

A group of young filmmakers responding to this issue have produced a CD of topical songs, sales of which will benefit the production of their issue-oriented movie "Papers".

Finally, A recently issued report from a New York State review panel says our system of juvenile prisons is broken, with "young people battling mental illness or addiction held alongside violent offenders in abysmal facilities where they receive little counseling, can be physically abused and rarely get even a basic education..."

Friday, December 11, 2009

What To Do

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) has so many exciting programs and offerings, a person could literally hang out all day. Really, I bet they wouldn't mind. For example, the schedule for Saturday, December 12th basically invites patrons to have fun from 1pm onward.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recommended Reading


A reminder that ATA features a growing list of blogs by Teaching Artists, Arts In Education Professionals, and Grantmakers.

Recently posted and definitely worth reading:

Michael Wiggins' ATA Blog (December 7) on the Teaching Artist Resource Guide developed by Teaching Artist Phoebe Zinman Winters

Richard Kessler's Dewey21C (December 7) "Did You Miss David Brooks on Arts Education???" David Brooks' "The Other Education" was published in the New York Times on Thanksgiving Day and was featured in an ATA listserv

Janet Brown's Grantmakers In The Arts (November 17) on Building Infrastructures for Artists and Arts Organizations

Lizzie Hetzer's Unlocking The Classroom (November 22) "I walk, I fall down, I get up, Meanwhile, I keep dancing." Rabbi Hillel

Carla Ching's Minutiae and Flux (November 17)
"The Nature of Professional Development"

Please let me know if you have a Teaching Artist blog that we can include on ATA's homepage.


Dale Davis
Executive Director
The Association of Teaching Artists

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Art Is Work

Art Work A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics is a web page, a newspaper, and an exhibition.

The forty page newspaper features writing and images by artists, art workers, curators, interns, volunteers, writers, and activists who have been invited to examine how the current economic crisis impacts artists' creativity and earnings.

Produced by Temporary Services, the newspaper is freely distributed in places like Brooklyn.

You can also visit the project's website and download a copy of the newspaper here.

The exhibition at Spaces Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio is scheduled to close on January 15th, 2010.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good Company

Common Ground, the annually exciting New York State arts-in-education conference will take place on March 24-26th, 2010 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany, NY.

The website of the NYS Alliance for Arts Education promises "three days of policy setting, planning, exchange of skills and inspirational speakers." Teaching artists who are interested in things like "fresh curriculum design, school reform and new models for classroom learning" should definitely plan to attend.

Aside from the NYS Alliance for Arts Education, Common Ground is co-organized by a "who's who" of allies in the field, including Partners for Arts Education, the Empire State Partnerships, the NYS Department of Education, the BOCES Arts in Education Network, Capital Region BOCES, and the Association of Teaching Artists!

Common Ground is currently seeking workshop proposals in three areas:




Deadline for Submission - December 15, 2009

Presenters will receive a free single-day conference registration, which means you can totally afford it.

To read the RFP visit the NYSAAE website.

For information, contact:

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Light On

Teaching Art in Alternative Settings in N.Y. is a teaching artist resource guide developed by professional teaching artist Phoebe Zinman Winters. I have read it, and I can honestly state that this might be the most thrilling Power Point presentation I'm going to experience for awhile.

In 18 brisk slides, Ms. Zinman Winters nimbly manages to describe just what you've gotten yourself into, and provides skillful insights on a wide range of important topics, like:

What kinds of jobs exist?

• How to find jobs?

• What to do with your jobs?

• Creating a Teaching Artist Community

Ms. Zinman Winters' presentation is posted here. It is accompanied by a useful handout, and the sense that working as a teaching artist is awesome, fun and only occasionally difficult.

A must read.

Also: The Book of Right On - Joanna Newsom and her magic harp.

Friday, December 4, 2009

More Amazing Stories

Over at Glitter & Razz--anecdotes about the company's recent theater camps are a lovely way to end the week. Founder Lynn Johnson has been posting updates about her company's teaching artist work. I am reading a good post now about the team of professional teaching artists working around issues of leadership and identity with a group of girls and boys:

Love ‘Em & Lead ‘Em | Tales from Veteran’s Day Play in a Day Camp I'll Lead The Way...Follow Me!

The mood was calm and excited. One of these special Play in a Day Camps where each and every 4 year old makes it all the way through the long day and no one says “I don’t wanna do the play.”

Read the rest...
Plus: The New York Times profiles a group of kindergartners who are getting their early childhood education by spending three hours each school day in a forest. It's kind of amazing.

Also: It's Friday, which means all your cool friends and colleagues are hanging out on Yahoo and Facebook and Twitter exchanging messages and sharing all that information that you didn't even know you needed when you started out, but gosh wouldn't it have been useful?

Also, places:

Association of Teaching Artists
Teaching Artist Union
Dennis Baker

Carla Ching's Minutiae and Flux
Teaching Artist Judith Tannenbaum
Lizzie Hetzer's Unlocking The Classroom
NYC AIE Roundtable
Empire State Partnerships
Prison Arts Coalition
Urban Arts Resources

Finally, Joanna Newsom - Sprout and the Bean

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Results

The Teaching Artist Research Project (TARP) is perhaps the most significant ongoing study of its kind ever conducted, and it's all about us.

At a recent gathering hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts, a few early pieces of data were presented by project director Nick Rabkin, including these:

  • 69% of the respondents were women
  • The Median age is 44
  • Mean income from teaching is about $17,850
  • Mean total personal income is about $36,200
The rest of the presentation is posted here.

In the news: President Barack Obama gives a speech announcing that he has decided that more soldiers must be deployed to Afghanistan.

Also: Shirley Bassey - Don't Cry Out Loud

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cultural Findings

The exciting mission of the Mediamatic Travel Agency is "to stimulate international collaboration."

If you visit their website, you will find a quirky set of online City Guides, along with contact information for artists in a city you may wish to visit. For a fee of 45 €, a local artist can be contracted to act as a travel agent--providing information about the "unseen or underground culture in their city."

If you would rather be one of the travel agents, or if you just have something to share, the site has multiple ways for artists to join and communicate.

Cultural workers are invited to create a profile, and post images and text.

Information is here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Charter For Compassion

In 2008, writer Karen Armstrong won the Technology Entertainment Design (TED) Prize. During her speech, she wished for something she called a "Charter for Compassion." The Charter, which was drafted by a "multi-national council of thinkers", was unveiled on November 12th of this year.

The full text is below:

The Charter For Compassion

24903 have affirmed so far. A call to bring the world together…

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

Individuals may choose to affirm the Charter by signing their name.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Culinary Classroom

Have you heard of Chef Ann Cooper, the Renegade Lunch Lady? She is possibly best known as the co-author of the useful book Lunch Lessons, and her mission is "to ensure that kids everywhere have wholesome, nutritious, delicious food at school."

To accomplish this, Ms. Cooper advocates for us to change the way we are feeding our children, and she backs up her case with humor, passion and terrifying health statistics.

I think bad food is one reason why many of our children do not succeed.

Also, she has this spectacular recipe for banana bread.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Holiday Message From ATA Executive Director, Dale Davis

A Holiday Message From ATA Executive Director, Dale Davis

On Friday, November 20 the National Endowment for the Arts presented a live webcast on of a forum about America's artists and other cultural workers who are part of this country's real economy. Academics, foundation professionals, and service organization representatives came together to discuss improving the collection and reporting of statistics about arts and cultural workers, and to develop future research agendas and approaches. The agenda

The Archive will be available on this week.

Today Ian D. Moss blogged on Fractured Atlas on the NEA Cultural Workforce Forum:

"The format was more academic research conference than industry gathering; each of the three “panels” actually consisted of a 10-minute presentation from each participant followed by a Q&A period at the end. The primary discussion took place among the invited researchers and several other guests granted spaces at a very large U-shaped table setup, but Sunil Iyengar, who ran the show for the NEA,made sure to solicit regular questions from the 30-40 onlookers aswell. The panelists hailed from a mix of academic institutions and nonprofit organizations of various types, though curiously only one, Ann Markusen, was from west of the Mississippi (and she made it byless than a mile)."

He highlighted some facts, including:

"We also had Nick Rabkin talking about his research on teaching artists. Quoting Eric Booth, he said that teaching artists are “experts in the verbs of art” - the process, rather than the product.

His survey showed that:

50% of teaching artists had a master’s degree or higher, and a majority worked for nonprofit arts organizations. Half of respondents had over a decade of experience. The median compensation was $35/hr, but the number of paid hours was not that high.

Median total personal income was $36,200, while the median income from teaching was just $17,850. 20% had no health benefits. On the other hand, they love teaching and see it as a calling."

When we take a close look at all the above, what is the message Teaching Artists are receiving? I would love to hear from you on this?

ATA's survey Teaching Artists and Their Work clearly demonstrates Teaching Artists know what is necessary for the work of Teaching Artists to become sustainable. If you have not taken the survey, please do.

How many roads must Teaching Artists walk down

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dale Davis
Executive Director
The Association of Teaching Artists

I and Thou

Hey, we started blogging exactly one year ago! Thanks for reading, it's been fun.

Also, an excerpt from I and Thou. Thank you Martin Buber:

"When I confront a human being as my You and speak the basic word I-You to him, then he is no thing among things nor does he consist of things.

He is no longer He or She, limited by other He's and She's, a dot in the world grid of space and time, nor a condition that can be experienced and described, a loose bundle of named qualities. Neighborless and seamless, he is You and fills the firmament. Not as if there were nothing but he; but everything else lives in his light.

Even as a melody is not composed of tones, nor a verse of words, nor a statue of lines--one must pull and tear to turn a unity into a multiplicity--so it is with the human being to whom I say You. I can abstract from him the color of his hair or the color of his speech or the color of his graciousness; I have to do this again and again; but immediately he is no longer You.

* * *

The You encounters me by grace--it cannot be found by seeking. But that I speak the basic word to it is a deed of my whole being, is my essential deed.

The You encounters me. But I enter into a direct relationship to it. Thus the relationship is election and electing, passive and active at once: An action of the whole being must approach passivity, for it does away with all partial actions and thus with any sense of action, which always depends on limited exertions.

The basic word I-You can be spoken only with one's whole being. The concentration and fusion into a whole being can never be accomplished by me, can never be accomplished without me. I require a You to become; becoming I, I say You.

All actual life is encounter."

From I and Thou by Martin Buber translated by Walter Kaufman

Check back here on Monday.

Also: Babette's Feast directed by Gabriel Axel.

Learning Is Sharing

Once again, I am thankful for places like Open Educational Resources, a useful site that offers free links to content that teaching artists can use to get things done. For instance, here is a 20-hour course on "approaching poetry."

Meanwhile, over in free association, a debate over whether teachers should be allowed to sell their lesson plans rages at the New York Times, and a proposed new cultural policy framework has its own website.

Finally: Frank O'Hara reads aloud Political Poem On A Last Line of Pasternak's (Audio recorded at Lockwood Memorial Library, SUNY - Buffalo 1964)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bohemian Raphsody

The New York Times reports on a new survey which finds that slightly more than half of American artists experienced a drop in income from 2008 to 2009. Two thirds of artists earned less than $40,000 last year, and while most of us have have college degrees, only 6 percent earned more than $80,000 per year.

Despite the gnawing feeling that creativity may not be an effective form of currency, the article goes on to quote unnamed artists who blithely report "I live in a recession all the time, so this downturn has really not been so different for me," and a Manhattan architect who is "enjoying" his unemployment because it is "allowing me to pursue things that I really want to pursue.”

Also: Joe Hill - Paul Robeson

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lasting Beauty

Monday should always start with something good.

Here's one.

Groundswell Community Mural Project creates high quality works of public art in under-represented neighborhoods across New York City. Groundswell's teaching artists work within communities to help people learn how to organize service projects themselves.

Take a look at this year's amazing public arts projects here.

Image attached to this post: What We Want, What We Believe (Acrylic on Brick Wall) Artists: Chris Beck & Clare Herron. Complete list of mural credits here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hands On

MOMA is offering free hands-on artmaking workshops in conjunction with the exhibition Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity

"Bauhaus Lab is a new interactive space that reimagines the historic Bauhaus classrooms in which students and teachers of many forms of art experimented with innovative pedagogical approaches. Led by artists, educators, and art historians, an ongoing series of hands-on art-making workshops offers participants of all ages the opportunity to engage in techniques and processes integral to the Bauhaus, such as drawing, collage, graphic design, color theory, and mechanical construction."

On Saturday, November 21st, the workshop will cover Paul Klee and Johannes Itten: Bauhaus Curricula. Students will create works on paper using the artist's theories and techniques, including automatic drawing, which is fun, as I recall.

Admission is first come first served.

Join ATA on Facebook.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Edward Clapp is the editor of 20UNDER40, an anthology of 20 essays by "emerging leaders" in the field of arts education. In connection with the project, Americans for the Arts hosted a marathon blog conversation around the theme of "emerging leadership" earlier this fall.
Listen to a podcast interview with Mr. Clapp, here.

Also: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet 3.2

Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus' lodging: such a wagoner 1720
As Phaethon would whip you to the west,
And bring in cloudy night immediately.
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaway's eyes may wink and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalk'd of and unseen. 1725
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties; or, if love be blind,
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match, 1730
Play'd for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:
Hood my unmann'd blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night; 1735
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven's back.
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars, 1740
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess'd it, and, though I am sold, 1745
Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Administration Is Creation

Sometimes, you have a big idea, and all you need is the funding. It happens all the time.

But how?

There are people who know about these things.

For instance, the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training promotes the "connection between fundraising, social justice and movement-building." At their website, you can find free resources, as well as information about their workshops and consulting services.

GIFT says there are "three key things" to know about raising money. Paraphrased, these are:
  1. People give when they are asked, and rarely give when they are not.

  2. Donors are not ATMs. You need to thank them.

  3. You can't raise all the money your group needs by yourself. You need a team.

GIFT offer some free articles that you can download, and others that can be purchased for $3.

Also: Learning One's Body - A Talk With Bill T. Jones in which he talks about what it meant to receive one of those mythical NEA Fellowships in the early 1980's. The program has since been eliminated.

NEA: What did it mean to receive the NEA Choreographers Fellowships in the early 1980s?

Bill T. Jones: There was a sense of suddenly being a part of the club—that literally, at the federal level, someone thought what we do was important enough to be funded. And on a psychological, emotional level, that was certainly a lift, and one begins to walk a bit more straight and upright and to think more seriously as an artist…. So that was what I think it meant. It also meant that we could begin to plan. We could begin to look for and attract administration [staff], which was rudimentary. We made lots of mistakes: we didn’t really know how to get a board of directors. We didn’t know how to get the next piece made. We were just going to do it on sweat and enthusiasm. But the NEA imprimatur was definitely important to us. And the perception in the funding world that you were somebody that should be funded was very important.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Message From Dale Davis

A Message From Dale Davis, ATA Executive Director

As part of the Arts and Humanities Month and October as Arts Education Month, ATA asked you to help us celebrate the importance of arts and cultural organizations to the work of Teaching Artists. Thanks to the many, many e-mails and the responses contained in ATA's Teaching Artists and Their Work Survey, ATA has compiled a list of New York State and national arts and cultural organizations who you have let us know put the Teaching Artist first,understand the role of the Teaching Artist in education; honor Teaching Artists' contributions to education and the skills they bring to the classroom; offer competitive wages; are always looking for new opportunities for work for Teaching Artists; provide professional development opportunities. The list includes organizations from around the country, from Alaska to Connecticut, from Hawaii to Georgia, from California to New York!

Please help us spread the word and celebrate and thank those organizations paramount to the work of Teaching Artists

ATA is committed to making Teaching Artists visible and educating schools and communities on their contributions. One way we do this is publishing writing on Teaching Artists' and their work on the website.

There are two new reflections on the website. Kristin Rapp of Rochester, New York reflects on founding ArtPeace five years ago and what it takes to establish, fund, market and maintain a small not-for- profit organization. This month Kristin, with ArtPeace, produced Nilaja Sun's "No Child" featuring Rochester poet, performance artist, and Teaching Artist Reenah Golden for a week's run at Geva Theater Center in Rochester. There is also essay by New York City Arts In
Education veteran Andrew Salgado, "Rediscovering Ourselves in Tumultuous Times."

If you would like to write a reflection for publication on please contact me

Responses to ATA's Teaching Artists and Their Work survey continue to come in. If you have not completed it, please do and please let everyone know about it! The responses are powerful.

ATA, like all non-profit arts organizations, has felt the results of declining public funding in the current economic climate. Thank you to those who have contributed this fiscal year (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010), and we ask Teaching Artists, arts and cultural organizations and Arts In Education consultants who work with Teaching Artists to donate to ATA to help us with our mission to advocate, strengthen, and serve Teaching Artists from all disciplines in New York State and beyond. ATA needs your help as we look ahead.

Make a contribution.

Thank you,


Dale Davis
Executive Director

Monday, November 16, 2009

Save the People

Yesterday, card-waving members of the Teaching Artist Union gathered for the regular monthly membership meeting and open-house, which is held on the 3rd Sunday of each month at the Teaching Artist Union Hall at 1079 Grand Avenue in Brooklyn.

TAU's co-founder, Cassie Thornton, presented the organization's beta mission statement, which reads, in part:

"The Teaching Artist Union is composed of New York City artists who teach as a part of their creative practice. With this union, we aim to define the role of the teaching artist through developing a supportive community, celebrating and exhibiting the work produced in teaching situations, and advocating for the rights and needs of the teaching artist."

TAU membership is free for artists who teach.

Hey, that's you!

Also: Laura Nyro - Save the Country

Friday, November 13, 2009


A recent issue of Time Magazine reports that Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who has never been a regular classroom teacher or school principal, visited Columbia University Teachers College and gave a speech in which he said to the students in training "By almost any standard, many if not most of the nation's 1,450 schools, colleges and departments of education are doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the realities of the 21st century classroom."

TGIF: The Galaxy Song (Monty Python) and ATA is on Facebook.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Viewing Habits

In a recent essay, Andrea Kantrowitz, who is a painter, a professional teaching artist, and the author of the terrific blog Zyphoid, makes a strong case for the inclusion of drawing across the curriculum.

"...the habits of artists, architects and designers, who draw as a means of exploration and investigation, can benefit students at all levels. Mental flexibility, the capacity to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty, to face the unknown with courage and hope, these are all needed skills, perhaps now more than ever. In my teaching practice, I often urge students to begin by drawing what is not there. This basic technique can be expanded into a metaphor that describes an essential part of what artists do: look for the gaps---in knowledge and understanding, between disciplines---taking advantage of those small openings where imagination and invention can thrive. Drawing seems to be a common thread that crosses gaps and connects concepts, themes and disciplines, including what is, for me, a difficult divide between teaching and making art. A person has to slow down to draw, to pause and consider. In so doing, one might notice what would have otherwise slipped by. Thinking through drawing, visualizing as well as observing, one can discover and refine relationships and associations, and invent new possibilities."
Read the entire essay, after the jump.


I think we should consider the possibility that art is the answer, no matter the question.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Voice of Reason

Arlene Goldbard's eponymous website delivers razor-sharp essays on "culture, politics and spirituality." In a recent post, this iconoclastic writer and activist demonstrates, yet again, that she is one of the most persuasive advocates for positive social change working today.

A quote:

First Stop: “Diversity.” Webster’s synonym is “variety,” but when the term “diversity” is used in nonprofit arts circles, it is a euphemism with highly specific meaning: Predominantly white arts organizations should have people of color on the staffs, boards, walls and stages to show that they include and respect everyone. No one is out there urging organizations grounded in Latino or African American communities to put Italians and Irish and Asians on their boards, because it isn’t actually about diversity per se. It’s about addressing the white privilege and racism that have funneled the lion’s share of U.S. arts funding to institutions led almost entirely by white people, especially those with red carpets and marble halls.


Read the entire article, after the jump.

Also: Robert Wilson/Philip Glass - Einstein on the Beach

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Super Models

How We Work is a new journal that will feature "working models of independent art spaces and groups."

Their website says:

How We Work is looking for artists and designers that don't fit into a discrete category...we are looking for text, research, ideas, stories, images and illustrations from artists at the forefront of interdisciplinary practice. This is a collaborative journal - we accept proposals for entire publications, issue thematics and individual articles and ideas for "print-based exhibitions".

The journal is produced by the Institute of Applied Aesthetics, an organization that was mentioned yesterday in a post about the Teaching Artist Union.

Also: William Pope L. from Robert Wilson's Voom Portraits (2:53)

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

It's Monday.

Isn't this exciting?

From the Teaching Artist Union

Dear Teachers, Artists, and People.

Last month we began a series of monthly events in our new Bushwick space in Brooklyn, NY.

From this day forward, save the 3rd Sunday of every month for an afternoon TAU Meeting!

The third Sunday of every month, come to Splinters and Logs (1027 Grand Street, 4th Floor, Brooklyn, New York, 11211) for a meeting at 1pm until 5pm.

NOVEMBER'S MEETING will be in the newly acquired TA UNION HALL. Come inaugurate our new home! (same floor as last meeting, different room)

Every month we will present a new expert who will teach us everything they know. Rain or shine, we will be talking, snacking, and learning great stuff.

LAST MEETING: For the first event in the series, we were introduced to the research of the Director of the Institute of Applied Aesthetics, Christopher Kennedy, as he explained what he has witnessed in his national study of ways that artists and organizations use systems of activating art in education and education in art. For a side dish, we helped him develop sociograms for his new publication called HowWeWork ( Email if you'd like notes on Mr. Kennedy's lecture, or if you have questions.

NEXT MEETING: On November 15, 2009 at 1pm, please join us for the inauguration of the TA Union Hall! At 1pm we will have a reception and welcome ceremony. Bring candles, snacks, pets, and party favors! We will have a meeting at 2 to discuss the TAU Manual, catch up on 'work', and practice, um, protocol. Afterwards, Colin MC Em, Master of None ( will be sharing some kitchen techniques that could result in snacks AND learning. Come for the whole afternoon or for just stop by and say hi!

Until then.

Teaching Artist @ Facebook

|| Splinters and Logs
|| 718-877-5799
|| 1pm-5pm


WE NEED HELP SETTING UP THE UNION HALL! We're starting this week.

We are currently seeking organizers, inventors, teachers, artists, and anyone who likes to teach and learn in their lives or for their professions.

We need your participation! We are working to:

-explore rights and benefits for NYC Teaching Artists (healthcare, training, backup)

-advocate for fair institutional practices involving art educators

-create a network for support and umm... fun

-develop a web presence so TA's can find us

-offer skillshares at monthly meetings

Mission of the Teaching Artist Union:

The Teaching Artist Union is composed of NYC artists who teach as a part of their creative practice. With this union, we aim to define the role of the teaching artist through developing a supportive community, celebrating and exhibiting the work produced in teaching situations, and advocating for the rights and needs of the teaching artist.

We work in many different kinds of environments: for non profit arts organizations, schools, museums, and other agencies. Because we believe that art can invigorate, agitate, and reorient stale institutional habits, we want to develop a lastingstructure to support the happiness and health of every manifestation of Teaching Artist.

org || 718-877-5799 || ||

Also: Spring Awakening - My Junk

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Loop

It's Friday.

Stay in the loop.

Here's one that will throw you:

Cultural Arts Resources for Teachers and Students

CARTS Web site is a virtual extension of City Lore's educational programs and its National Network for Folk Arts in Education. As you explore the people, places, and traditions that turn communities into classrooms, stock your cart high with the many useful resources available inside.

Become part of the CARTS Education Network! (email contact)

Teaching Artists: If you are interested in City Lore's approach to arts-in-education and are based in New York City, please mail your resume to: School Programs Manager, City Lore, 72 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003. Contracts for in-school programs are dependent on outside funding and school requests. Our teaching artists reflect the ethnic diversity of New York City and we encourage artists from new immigrant groups to apply. We review resumes once a month.

Welcome to Chicago Teaching Artists Collective
The CTAC is a network of artists from all disciplines working together to build the field of the artist as teacher on local, national, and global levels.

The CTAC is equally interested in the material as well as the aesthetic concerns of the Teaching Artist; and living a functional lifestyle as well as pursuing the pedagogical, philosophical, spiritual, and social implications of our work.

Chicago Teaching Artist Collective is on Facebook.

Hey, so is ATA.

Come hang out!

Also: Donny Hathaway - Someday We'll All Be Free

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Birds of a Feather

I mean, where do all the professional teaching artists hang out?


Music Education

Theater Education
Visual Education

In Washington, D.C., the Kennedy Center is Changing Education through the Arts. Their website says:

"Hundreds of TEACHERS in the Washington, D.C metropolitan area learn ways to teach in, through, and about the arts. SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS learn ways to harness the power of the arts for learning. TEACHING ARTISTS learn ways to be more effective in their work with students and teachers."

We are all over the place.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Dollar and a Dream

Perhaps you'd like a little art before you begin your busy day of job hunting? If so, why not visit Contemporary Art Daily. It's bite-size.

Now, to the business at hand:

@ key word "arts in education" brings back 140 results! Isn't that exciting?

@ NYFA Classified we get what I would describe as "a variety."

New York Art Studio
New York, NY, USA
New posting
Part-time permanent
Read Complete Description
Approved on 10/29/2009
Art21, Inc.
New York, NY, USA
New posting
Art21 Development Intern
Internship paid
Read Complete Description
Approved on 10/28/2009
New York, NY, USA
New posting
Programming Associate
Part-time permanent
Read Complete Description
Approved on 10/28/2009

@San Francisco Inside Out, there are a sizable number of local and national listings for jobs in the arts, including these:

Director of Teaching and Learning
New York, New York
The Center for Arts Education (CAE), a nonprofit, public/private partnership, was founded in 1996 to stimulate the systemic return of arts education in New York City's public schools. CAE is committed to restoring quality arts education as an essential part of every child's education.

Part-Time Instructors 2010 Artists in Education (AIE) Program
San Francisco, CA
Southern Exposure is hiring two Part-Time Instructors for its winter 2010 Artists in Education (AIE) Program.

Teaching Artist
San Francisco, CA
Teaching Artist Job Opportunities
Southern Exposure is hiring two Part-Time Instructors for its winter 2010 Artists in Education (AIE) Program.

Sustainability Arts Specialist
Location: San Francisco, CA
Interested in social and environmental change?

Back again, we remember that on the ATA Yahoo Forum job listings are posted nearly every day of the week. Have you signed up?

Also: if you are trying to figure out how to represent yourself online, Professional TA Dennis Baker shows you how it is done. Visit him @ Dennis Baker LLC.

And: The New York Times says incumbent Michael Bloomberg "won" a third term as mayor of New York City, and it only cost him $90 million.

Finally: Angie Stone - No More Rain