Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Who Speaks For Teaching Artists?

Who speaks for teaching artists?

Artists don't generally have a problem expressing themselves. After all, art is about the expression of an idea.

Teaching artists generally don't have a problem communicating, since teaching is one of the most fundamental forms of communication.

However, when teaching artists gather and share tales of charming students, grateful parents and helpful administrators, eventually other stories emerge: the frustrations of legal limitations, poor pay rates, and absent medical benefits. A collective sigh is often heard, "Can't someone do something about this? Who can we talk to, who might know what to do?"

Does anyone hear these lamentations? Do these notes from a bitter song find an audience? Who listens to teaching artists?

ATA does.

But who shares these stories, both the charming ones and the frustrating ones? Who lets teaching artists know that they are not, in fact, alone?

ATA does.

How does ATA do it? Despite being a tiny organization with a miniscule budget (with our entire budget, we couldn't afford to buy even half of a 2004 Toyota Prius) ATA is dedicated to helping teaching artists communicate with one another, with potential employers, and with the world at large.

Our website, our listserve, our Facebook page, and our blog are all devoted to presenting the many points of view teaching artists possess. And in 2011, we're engaging in our most ambitious project yet: a Teaching Artists Congress, which will gather key figures from across the nation to address the state of teaching artistry, and hopefully, generate some momentum that will empower teaching artists and strengthen their positions within organizations and community groups.

ATA needs your help to maintain its current projects and to take things forward. Yes, the recession makes donating even more difficult-- but financial challenges are something teaching artists contend with, even during a stable economy. Please consider contributing to the advancement of teaching artists by supporting ATA, with whatever amount you can.

Who speaks for teaching artists?

ATA does.

In everything we do, we try to give a voice to those talented people who help others find expression in their lives.

Who helps ATA?

Now that's a question only YOU can answer


Phil Alexander
Board Chair, Association of Teaching Artists

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