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Bartol Blog

Learn what is happening in the field of arts education and teaching artistry. Past blog posts with links to resources can be found by searching or by clicking on a category below. Check in often as we update our blog and link to local and national resources.

Eric Booth: What is your TA purpose thread?

Eric Booth PhotoWhen asked to describe the field of teaching artistry, those of us in or connected to it usually pause—it’s an unfamiliar question, and an uncertain feeling about how to define this amorphous workforce. As we answer (IF we answer), we usually default to describing where TAs work, or who hires TAs. It doesn’t make much of an impression—I can tell you from having talked about this field a lot over the decades.

In the last five years, I have changed the way I conceive of the field of teaching artistry; and this fresh perspective has had an impact when I share it. It’s more inclusive—now, practitioners with different titles like “teaching artist” and “community artist” and “artist in healthcare” can see their natural connections; new partnerships become evident; and we focus on the value that teaching artists create (which is what everyone cares about) more than the locations that employ them (really, who outside the field cares about that?). I call this view the Six Purpose Threads, and the attached article lays out this landscape. It identifies the six main goals teaching artists (and others with different titles but similar skills and approaches) are hired to achieve. These are the main purposes TAs strive to accomplish in their work.  In brief:

  • Work of art: To enhance the encounter with art works.
  • Art skills development: To deepen the development of art-making skills,
  • Arts integration: To catalyze the learning of non-arts content.
  • Community quality of life: To increase the livability of communities.
  • Social/personal development: To develop personal or social capacities.
  • Other instrumental goals: To achieve non-arts goals important to institutions
  • + Digital: To activate personal artistry in digital media.

It has been adopted by Lincoln Center Education for their Teaching Artist Development Lab as a founding for their intensive, multi-level training. It is prompting teaching artists to rethink their contributions and expertise in the context of a wide and expanding field. As you will read, the six threads are pretty inclusive, and you may find your work has fallen into several, and that you have an interest in learning more about another. As TAs grapple with this vision of the field in workshops or in the luxury of two weeks at Lincoln Center, we recognize a core set of skills that applies in all those threads, as well as the distinct skills, practices, and habits of mind that lead to excellence in the different threads. It is illuminating, often exhilarating to clarify what you know and don’t know, what you want to learn more about, and what areas of special expertise you want to share with colleagues. That is a healthy set of discrimination to bring to a growing field.

At a recent day-long forum hosted by Grantmakers for the Arts, I was convinced it is time to add a seventh thread that is not adequately housed in the original six—arts activism: to foster political change. So, you will read a living inquiry not a set theory.

What do you think?

Read about the Six (Plus) Purpose Threads:.EricBooth.Teaching Artist Purpose Threads-essay

Learn more about Eric Booth’s work here.

News from the (TA) Field: Pay Rates For Teaching Artists

Josh RobinsonMeet Josh Robinson, another Bartol Teaching Artist Ambassador, writing on the conversation around pay rates for teaching artists:

I grew up around the music business, playing pots, pans, and eventually drums in the basement in my hometown of Woodstock, NY. Early musical influences include hanging around the Woodstock Recording Studio for sessions, sitting in on “Blues Break”, my father’s weekly radio show, and getting to sound check Levon Helm’s drum set while my father worked as a sound engineer for “The Band” with whom he toured the U.S and Japan.  My music is filled with the instruments and rhythms of Latin, Brazilian, and Afro-Caribbean music.

I am currently a member of “Alo Brasil”, a 14 piece Philadelphia based Samba group, and “ The Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra” a group that blends drumming traditions from Cuba, Brazil, Africa, and India. I have worked with a variety of populations of children and adults as a teaching artist using percussion as a tool for teaching aspects of communication,self-expression, teamwork, creativity, leadership, discipline, and cultural awareness through music and instrument making. I am devoted to my work with grieving children through organizations like T.A.P.S. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), The Moyer Foundation, and NAGC (National Alliance For Grieving Children).

At the National Conference for Community Art Education, I attended the working group exploring teaching artist pay which addressed the realities of teaching artist pay rates from both the organization and teaching artist perspective. We had a candid and transparent discussion about pay rates, amount of hours, cost of living, sustainability, expectations, and possibilities for regulating or generating a model or guide that could be a universal reference for all working in the field. We talked about the amount of hours/programs required to make a decent living as a teaching artist. We discussed the trends around the country based on data and research provided form several sources and did comparisons. I was impressed by both “sides” arriving at an agreement for the need/value of consistency and setting up a guide or guidelines for organizations and teaching artists around the country to utilize.

Note: This working group has been hard at work developing a prototype for the TA Payrate Calculator. Stay tuned for updates.

You can learn more about teaching artist pay rates in Philadelphia here.

News from the (TA) Field: Funding the Teaching Artist Field

AlvarezMy name is Belle Alvarez and I am a Philly-based dance artist. I love changing lives through dance and facilitating meaningful experiences with movement that instill confidence, foster artistry, and build community. I am an Education Outreach Program Coordinator and Teaching Artist at BalletX and I am also a Teaching Artist for Dancing Classrooms Philly. I have performed for independent choreographers and companies such as Sean Thomas Boyt, JDY | dance, and Jessica Warchal-King/The Embodiment Project. I do what I love and I love what I do.

I was thrilled this past November when the Bartol Foundation awarded me a scholarship to attend the National Guild Teaching Artist Pre-Conference. I was proud to represent Teaching Artists from Philadelphia!I was especially energized by meeting people who were like me yet diverse in their cultural and artistic backgrounds from around the country who share similar convictions about the mission of artist citizens. We align with Eric Booth’s definition: “A teaching artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills, curiosities and habits of mind of an educator, who can effectively engage a wide range of people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.”  We bonded over humor, passion for what the arts can do in society, and an eagerness for our work to make a greater impact. I got to connect with peers that I want to collaborate with.

At the conference, I chose to convene with the working group: Funding the Teaching Artist Field. After starting an initial conversation at the conference, we  continue meet through a monthly conference call. In our meetings, we are discussing the role of the entities which fund our programs. So far we have raised questions such as:

  • What is the role of the artist who teaches in the program that gets funded?
  • Do funders look at student impact versus impact on the artist who teaches?

In advocating for the livelihood of artist citizens in the field of Teaching Artistry, we want to explore how funders consider the role of a teaching artist vs. the impact of a program. When the livelihood of a Teaching Artist is ensured, their work has a greater impact. I hope our research contributes to a teaching artist field that thrives. We’re excited for this process to unfold.

When I’m not working with youth, rehearsing, or performing, I lead recreational modern dance classes for adults at the Performance Garage. I am choreographing a new work that will be presented by Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre this June and I am in the process of developing other projects that will be revealed soon. Want to learn more about my work? Visit www.bellealvarez.com

Notes from the Field: Bartol TA Ambassadors

TA AmbassadorsHow do you build a field?  At the Bartol Foundation, we are part of a national conversation on the best ways to build the field of teaching artistry.  Last November, we brought 8 teaching artists with us to attend the National Conference on Community Arts Education.  Here are Bartol TA Ambassadors with TA guru Eric Booth: Jacob Winterstein (poet); Josh Robinson (musician); Monay Washington (visual artist); Beth Feldman Brandt (Bartol/poet); Dana Velazquez (visual artist), Jan Michener (theatre artist): Greg Corbin (poet); Eric Booth;  Belle Alvarez (dancer); and Gabrielle Sanchez (theatre artist).  A fine looking group! Each of them participated in planning session to generate a national movement to build and support teaching artists.  They will be writing in this space from time to time with their updates.  Stay tuned!

 

Five Tips for a Successful Site Visit

Drumming at Taller

A friendly reminder – The Bartol Foundation requires that all applicants schedule a site visit with us before they can be considered for funding. Site visits for our May 2, 2106 deadline must be scheduled no later than April 6, 2016. So, what’s in a site visit? Here are five tips to follow

  1. The right activity:  We value process over product so have us out to see the actual teaching and learning or community activities.  It should be as close to what you will be applying for as you can.  So if you are a dance company doing education programs, we should come see the education programs, not a performance.
  2. The right day:  Pick a point where your program is in full swing – usually midway or towards the end of a process.   Steer clear of days that might have low enrollment like a half-day at school or the day after an extended break.
  3. The right time:  We will usually spend about an hour at a site visit so make that hour count.    You might want us to see one program from beginning to end, or parts of a few programs.  We don’t need to see snack time or homework tutoring before the actual program starts.
  4. The right people:  We do our best not to disturb the program by pulling the teaching artist or program leader away from their work.  We can just observe or if you have someone (e.g. Executive or Education Director, principal, program partner) to meet us and give us background that is helpful.
  5. We understand:  As artists and educators ourselves, we understand that things don’t always go absolutely according to plan.  We know this is just one snapshot of your program and are coming to become more familiar with your work and community.

 To check your eligibility and schedule a site visit, click here.  And watch this quick snapchat video of a recent site visit to Taller Puertorriqueño a Bartol grantee.

Looking Back, Moving Forward Annual Report 2015

In its fiscal year 2015 (October 1, 2014-September 03, 2015), the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation supported arts and culture in Philadelphia through grants, programs and advocacy. The Foundation maintained its focus on in-depth arts education and community-based arts programs, while investigating new ways to engage with cultural organizations, artists and the broader community. To learn more, click Annual Report 2015.

Are you a mandated reporter?

If you are a teaching artist or program administrator who interacts with young people, you are likely a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse. Access this online training (it takes 1-2 hours to complete) that provides an overview of mandated reporting obligations and when you have completed the entire training, you will receive a certification of completion. You can use this in your organization to show your staff and artists have received their required training. The training is free but you need to register when you log on.

Mandated Reporter Training: http://www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu

Fair pay for teaching artists

In 2014, almost 400 teaching artists responded to a survey to share information about pay rates in order to benchmark themselves against others to determine fair pay. These reports show the raw data for all the teaching artists who replied, as well as reports compiled by artistic discipline. This is only a small portion of the full teaching artist community so use this only as a guideline. It should not be taken as a definitive, scientific sample. Stay tuned for new resources percolating in the TA community to determine fair pay based on your location.

Pay Rate Survey 2014 All Responses

Pay Rate Survey2014 Dance

Pay Rate survey 2014 Literary Arts

Pay Rate Survey 2014 Media Arts

Pay Rate Survey 2014 Music

Pay Rate Survey 2014 Theatre

Pay Rate Survey 2014 Visual Arts

Pay Rate Survey 2014 Other

What is a teaching artist?

Are you someone who practices their art and chooses to share this art with the community? While the work of a teaching artist can take many forms and we all may have different definitions, Eric Booth does a masterful job of describing what are the essential elements of a teaching artist.