Friday, February 26, 2010


The Annual Face to Face Conference is over, but you can read about it on Twitter.

Updates (sans snark) from conference attendees were posted throughout the event, and you can read through them at your leisure.

Go to Twitter.

Find the box that says SEARCH.

Entering one of the popularly used search terms for the event, like #facetoface or #whyartsed, will bring up Tweets from teaching artists like @dennisbaker, @yeacollective, @ediedemas, and @BCBMcCarty among others.

Also: ATA's Board of Directors has a meeting today. You should get to know them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cultural Calendar

I am not here. I'm at the annual Face to Face AIE conference, which is held this year at the spectacular Park Avenue Armory.

If I can get a signal, I'll post comments on Twitter.

Also, someone sent me this email announcement about a play by Teaching Artist Judith Sloan, whose work has been featured in the New York Times.

I have been meaning to tell you, because I think you'll want to go:

Yo Miss! Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide, Volume 1.
Conceived, written and performed by Judith Sloan
Directed by Michael Dinwiddie

What happens when a middle-aged teaching artist survives a near fatal car accident and collides with the oncoming traffic of Hip Hop culture?

At the Nuyorican Poets Café
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, March 4th, 5th, 6th
All shows start at 7 PM.

Address: 236 East 3rd Street Between Ave B & C
New York City

$15 adv/$20 door/$10 groups of 10 or more
Please call the Cafe at 212.505.8183 for group sales.
Proceeds to benefit EarSay’s Youth Education project for immigrant and refugee teenagers in Queens.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Face Time

Most of the teaching artists are at the Park Avenue Armory on 67th Street and Park Avenue, attending the annual Face to Face Conference, which starts today!

If I ever manage to get there, I'll post updates on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Play On

According to her official website, teaching artist Elizabeth Swados has written 3 novels, 2 works of non-fiction, a book of poems and nine children's books. She's also a musician, director and composer, with 5 Tony Award nominations.

I can't imagine where she finds the time, but I'm so glad she does, because I find her book At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater to be terrifically useful and illuminating. In the introduction, she explains that the book is meant to guide educators who need to do some of my favorite things, such as:

1. make a show outside of school
2. make a show in school
3. train young actors in a community or drama school environment
4. train young actors in a classroom or after-school environment
5. use one or two exercises in a limited class time

Also: The annual Face to Face Conference starts tomorrow. Tweet.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How I Got Over

Poet Lucille Clifton has passed over, but she left us all of these amazing poems and ideas.

Video: Lucille Clifton reads her poem Won't You Celebrate With Me @ Poetry Everywhere.

Won't You Celebrate With Me

by Lucille Clifton

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

Lucille Clifton, "won't you celebrate with me" from Book of Light (Copper Canyon Press, 1993). 

Source: Book of Light (Copper Canyon Press, 1993)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Learning to Stretch

Sometimes, Teaching Artists have to take a multi-disciplinary approach to the work; moving beyond a specific expertise. It can be challenging. For instance, a playwright working as teaching artist might find the need arises to weave music, dance, or even visual art skills and concepts into a residency.

TAs who are looking to advance their knowledge and understanding of the visual arts, might be interested to know that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers a slew of art history courses, many of which are sold out.

Among the courses still open for registration:

German Expressionist Prints

Five Mondays, 6:30–8:20 p.m., 3/15, 3/22, 4/5, 4/12, 4/19 (no class on 3/29)
$260; $220 for members
Instructor: Iris Schmeisser

1960s Art in Japan (1954–1974)

Five Mondays, 6:00–7:50 p.m., 3/22, 4/5, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26 (no class on 3/29)
$260; $220 for members
Instructors: Reiko Tomii and Midori Yoshimoto

Conceptual Photography

Eight Thursdays, 7:00–8:50 p.m., 3/11, 3/18, 3/25, 4/1, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29
$415; $355 for members
Instructor: Béatrice Gross

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What Did You Learn?

Teaching Artists on the subway may have noticed that a recent advertising campaign for the School of Visual Arts Continuing Education program profiles its faculty with full-color portraits; photos captioned with a surprising slogan that reads "I Teach and I Do."


I was so shocked, I missed my station stop.

Also: SVA CE has a cool blog.

A song to teach someone: Pete Seeger - What Did You Learn in School?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No Sleep Til Brooklyn

If you are not yet a card-carrying member of the Teaching Artist Union, now's your chance. The regular monthly membership meeting takes place on the 3rd Sunday of each month, and a peek at the calendar says it's nearly time.

Details below:

Sunday, February 21st


Bring your stories, curricula in development, your ideas, your laptop or your knitting project and come for the afternoon. Normal meeting time and place! Come discuss and co-work. It's a great time to catch up, and we'll be back to skill-sharing and the regularly programmed schedule in March!

Christopher Kennedy will be your guide from 3-5pm.

Splinters and Logs || 4th Floor
1013 Grand St. |Brooklyn| L Train to Grand St.



Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Love

In his book, The Art of Loving, philosopher Erich Fromm writes:

"The first step is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering.

Could it be that only those things are considered worthy of being learned with which one can earn money or prestige, and that love, which "only" profits the soul, but is profitless in the modern sense, is a luxury we have no right to spend much energy on?"

On her excellent blog Unlocking the Classroom, Lizzie Hetzer posts a 5-part series on radical love as an aspect of our teaching practice. If you haven't read it yet, you should.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Separated at Birth

It is February 15th, 2010, and, according to the always reliable Wikipedia, the student population of New York City Public Schools is 36.7 % Latino/a, 34.7 % African American, 14.3 % Asian, and 14.2 % White.

In contrast, the latest census figures say New York City's resident population is 27.4 % Latino/a, 25.2 % African American, 11.65% Asian, and 44.1% White.

Also: In 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision on Oliver L. Brown et. al versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, that dismantled the doctrine of "separate but equal" and toppled the legal apparatus that supported a system of public schools segregated by the notion of race.

Now, that's history.

Friday, February 12, 2010

We Do the Work

On ATA's Yahoo Forum, a member mentions A Teaching Artist at Work by Barbara McKean.

It's a terrific book. For example, in an excerpt posted on ATA's website, the author gives some useful background and context for the term Teaching Artist:

"The term teaching artist first appeared in the 1970s through the work at the Lincoln Center Institute and its arts education programs. I began working in classrooms and in education programs with professional theatres, the term artist-in-residence or artist-teacher was used to set us apart from the arts specialists employed by school districts or artists who did not participate in teaching. Today teaching artist has be come the term to used to describe the wide range of activities for those individuals who both practice their art form and engage in teaching others the knowledge and processes they employ as artists.

Teaching artists are distinguished from those who dedicate most of their time to teaching the arts in schools and are licensed teachers and from master-teachers who share specific knowledge and techniques from their won work in a limited workshop-type environment.

Teaching artists in education are expected to work as artists as well as invest themselves in the creation and implementation of project in collaboration with other teachers or education staff. The modifier—teaching—highlights the pedagogical nature of the work. It helps the individual conceive of teaching as the activity that modifies and drives the education approach of the art form."

From Barbara McKean, A Teaching Artist At Work: Theater with Young People In Educational Settings, Heinemann, 2006.

Finally, it is Friday and ATA is on Facebook. That's 800 teaching artists who have information, knowledge and resources for teaching artists.


Also: The People In Your Neighborhood - Sesame Street

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Face to Face

ATA's allies at the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable would like to remind you that the annual Face to Face arts education conference, the city's largest, is only two weeks away. If I were you, I would register now. All the other teaching artists will be there.

Details are below:

The pre-registration deadline for Face to Face 2010 is Friday, February 12th. In order to take advantage of the discounted pre-registration rates ($80 for individuals, $70 each for groups of 5 or more), you or your organization must submit your registration information online no later than 6:00 pm Eastern Time on this date.

Register Online Today!

Face to Face is an invaluable part of New York's arts in education landscape. It provides an unmatched opportunity to:

Meet, Share Ideas & Network with Colleagues at All Levels of the Field
Make Valuable Contacts With Potential Partners and Employers

Support Your Professional Development By Learning From & Conversing With Leading Practitioners and Administrators

Attend sessions hosted by influential arts in education figures including:

Sarah Cunningham,
Director of Arts in Education Programs, National Endowment for the Arts

Paul King,
Executive Director, Office of Arts and Special Programs, NYC DOE

Andrew Ackerman,
Executive Director, Children's Museum of Manhattan

Jessica Hoffman Davis,
Founder, Arts in Education Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Bennet Reimer,
Professor of Music Education Emeritus, Northwestern University

This year's Face to Face Conference will take place at the Park Avenue Armory on Wednesday, February 24th and Thursday, February 25th.

Register Online Today!

Click here to access the online brochure & registration form through the Roundtable's new and improved website!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Killer Storm

Today is a snow day.

Overheard on the way out of school yesterday: Mother to child, "Mayor Bloomberg's friend has decided it's a snowy day."

Also: Did you know that professional teaching artists don't usually get paid for canceled classes? It's the policy, and perhaps we should look at it again?

Plus: 1 out of 8 Americans depends on Food Stamps. That is 25% of the nation's children.

And: 3.3 million New Yorkers have trouble buying food. Many depend on the direct services of the Food Bank for New York City.

Finally: Because you have all the time in the world, a cartoon - The Cat Came Back

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Axis Mundi

Education Week reports on a new study that finds that "achievement gaps between students of different genders and racial, economic, and linguistic groups are large and persistent...even as they seem to be narrowing for K-12 students as a whole."

Also: An excerpt from How Do We Think About Our Craft?, an essay by Maxine Greene published by Teachers College, Columbia University.

"Gradually becoming aware of all this, we are beginning to recognize that every young person must be encountered as a center of consciousness, even as he or she is understood to be a participant in an identifiable social world. Each one may be encountered as a being who is at once a distinctive individual and someone whose consciousness opens out to the common, an intersubjective world in which he or she is inextricably involved."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Adult Education

Teaching Artists who work with adults with developmental disabilities may be interested in joining the ATA Yahoo Forum to find ways to:

(1) network with others who are doing or are interested in similar activities;

(2) facilitate more opportunities for the individuals that they work with to be active creatively in the community;

(3) affect the public's perceptions of people with disabilities;

(4) affect policy makers/voters/legislators whose actions affect the lives of members of the disabled community

If you have an interest in working around these issues with other teaching artists, click through to join the conversation on the ATA Yahoo Forum.

Also: An excerpt from FIRST LOVE a duet by Charles L. Mee. This play is available, along with Mr. Mee's other works, online at the (re)making project. The website invites visitors to "feel free to take the plays from this website and use them freely as a resource for your own work", which is kind of spectacular.

FIRST LOVE by Charles L. Mee

Shove up.

HAROLD [awakened from sleeping--still half-asleep, disoriented]

Shove up I said shove up.

What what?

I want to sit down here.

Click through to continue reading...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sufficient Funds

If you want to get it done, perhaps you should apply for a grant or something?

The Jerome Foundation, created by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972), seeks to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists. The Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit arts organizations and artists in Minnesota and New York City.

General Program Focus...

Download General Program Grants Guidelines (pdf).
Download Application Requirements for nonprofit arts organizations (pdf).
Download Application Requirements for artists applying with a fiscal sponsor (pdf).


The Regional Arts & Culture Council of Oregon recognizes individual artistic achievement and excellence through its annual Individual Artist Fellowship award. The Fellowship, which includes a cash award of $20,000, helps individual artists of high merit sustain or enhance their creative process. Fellowships are awarded in rotating disciplines that include Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Media Arts and Literature. For 2010, a Fellowship will be offered in the Performing Arts (dance, theater, music).

Visit Deadline: 3/31/10.


Workspace 2010–11 Applications Due

Dates & Times
March 25, 2010 5PM–5PM

Workspace is a nine-month studio residency program for emerging visual artists and writers focused on the creative process. Residents receive free studio space in Lower Manhattan for nine months, a modest one-time stipend (depending on funding), access to a community of peers, meetings and studio visits with arts and literary professionals, and exposure to new audiences through open studios and other public programs.

More information about Workspace, including complete Application Guidelines, is available here.

Also, it is Friday and there are about 800 teaching artists on ATA's Facebook page!


From William Shakespeare's Cymbeline

Act III, Scene 6

Wales. Before the cave of Belarius.

[Enter IMOGEN, in boy's clothes]

Imogen. I see a man's life is a tedious one:
I have tired myself, and for two nights together 2145
Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick,
But that my resolution helps me. Milford,
When from the mountain-top Pisanio show'd thee,
Thou wast within a ken: O Jove! I think
Foundations fly the wretched; such, I mean, 2150
Where they should be relieved. Two beggars told me
I could not miss my way: will poor folks lie,
That have afflictions on them, knowing 'tis
A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder,
When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fulness 2155
Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord!
Thou art one o' the false ones. Now I think on thee,
My hunger's gone; but even before, I was
At point to sink for food. But what is this? 2160
Here is a path to't: 'tis some savage hold:
I were best not to call; I dare not call:
yet famine,
Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant,
Plenty and peace breeds cowards: hardness ever 2165
Of hardiness is mother. Ho! who's here?
If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage,
Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I'll enter.
Best draw my sword: and if mine enemy
But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look on't. 2170
Such a foe, good heavens!

[Exit, to the cave]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Feel Real

Sometimes, after an in-class workshop, an adult in the school will come over and say something astounding like "Wow, you guys were great with those kids. What's your real job?"

Just smile, and wonder who it is they think they're talking to.

Also: From The Reflective Practitioner by Donald Schön:

"In each case, the practitioner gives an artistic performance. He responds to the complexity, which confuses the student, in what seems like a simple, spontaneous way. His artistry is evident in his selective management of large amounts of information, his ability to spin out long lines of invention and inference, and his capacity to hold several ways of looking at things at once without disrupting the flow of inquiry." (page 130)

Plus: Ms. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta - Poker Face

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


No, most Teaching Artists don't get paid sick days, and many of us don't have health insurance.

Those of us who do, are lucky.

Also, it's Wednesday.

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center is New York City's only primary health care center dedicated to meeting the health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and people living with HIV/AIDS - regardless of any patient's ability to pay.

We are welcoming to all, regardless of sexual orientation or insurance coverage.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In the Archives

Magnum Photos is an artist cooperative whose members are some of the most distinguished journalists in the world. The group has recently announced that its archive will be opened to the public. A bonanza of arresting images is now available online, and the organization's website lists upcoming opportunities to experience the work up close.

I am there now, through the wonders of modern living, and wow.

See fifty years of amazing photos after the jump.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Certify My Love

"Hi, I'm trying to figure out how to become a part-time art teacher..."

If only it were that simple.

Join the Association of Teaching Artists Forum on Yahoo to find zillions of questions like the one above, and answers. Subscribers get ATA's daily email newsletter, with notes from Executive Director Dale Davis, FREE.

As you know, today is Monday, and this is Whitney Houston with the anthem - The Greatest Love of All