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

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Today is Tuesday.

It's Election Day.

Take sides.

Beautiful Things

At some point, you wanted to create art, or we wouldn't be having this conversation.

New Residencies at The FAR Space: Applications due Friday, November 13

Field Artist Residency
❀ 45+ hours of rehearsal space
✿ One individual consultation

Emerging Artist Residency
❀ 65+ hours of rehearsal space
✿ Creative and career workshops
❀ Performance at The Kitchen

Guidelines & Application Form

Also: Community Arts Network promotes information exchange, research and critical dialogue within the field of community-based art.

And: What is a Teaching Artist?

Finally: What is a budget?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ready, Set

It's Monday and, sometimes, you're rushing to get it all done.

Last Friday, I promised that this week's set of posts would be all about the joys of finding work as a professional teaching artist in the middle of a "jobless recovery."

Are you ready? Today, we're not really going that far. Our destination is a page on the resource-laden website of the Association of Teaching Artists, which has a slew of tips that have been compiled by ATA Executive Director, Dale Davis.

You might start with this useful introduction; or you could call it a review. It depends on how long you've been around:

What Do I Need to Know to Become a Teaching Artist?


Nearly everything is more fun when there's dancing.


Music: Stand by REM