Power Street Theatre Company is home to a collective of multicultural and multidisciplinary artists.

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.

Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Taller Puertorriqueño

A Bomba y Plena performance from Taller’s Summer Camp. (Photo courtesy of Taller Puertorriqueño.)

 

As part of a new Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. Taller Puertorriqueño preserves, develops, and promotes Puerto Rican arts and culture, grounded in the conviction that embracing one’s cultural heritage is central to community empowerment. They received a $5,000 Bartol grant for arts and cultural education programs.

These questions were answered by Katerina Lydon, Development Associate, and Carmen Febo-San Miguel, Executive Director and CEO.

 

What revs you up to go to work in the morning?

At Taller we are motivated constantly by three things:

  1. The ever increasing needs our programs fulfill for the children, youth, and community we serve.
  2. The depth of the commitment, friendships and connections that the organizational members have with each other.
  3. The amazing children and the dynamic communities we serve.

 

What about your work keeps you up at night?

An ongoing concern for us at Taller is that we receive the funding we need and deserve, commensurate to the work that we do and in equal support with other organizations in the city. Equality and diversity in distribution of donations and funds are critical to our mission to provide programming with the best possible execution and implementation methods.

 

When do you know your work is making a difference?

A few wonderful daily reminders help us stay grounded at Taller, helping us not to forget that our hard work and commitment to our mission is making a daily difference. One is the smiling faces of the parents who come to pick up their children up after school. They walk into Taller’s bright beautiful atrium filled with Latino art, artifacts, crafts and literature. Their contentment reminds us that the children we serve bring the pride in their culture back to their families and communities; communities who oftentimes face encroachments on this sense of pride in their everyday lives. Then, of course, is the laughter we hear every day of the children who are participants in the program. Their confident and happy faces are a daily reminder of the safe space that we provide.

 

What is the coolest thing a participant in your program ever said to you?

Recently a participant said “I am going to be the first Latino President who has Autism.” This is cool on a few levels, one is that he believes another Latino president may precede him, and the other is that he sees neither his Latino heritage nor his Autism as holding him back or disqualifying him from being president.

 

What is the most important thing you do to help your teaching artists do their best work?

Communicating with them. Our programs at Philadelphia schools are dynamic and responsive, in addition to structured and adhering to a curriculum. We constantly communicate with both our teachers and the staff at the schools in which we visit, drawing feedback from our collaborators and implementing it into our activities.

  

What is the best tip you can give to someone doing arts education programs like yours?

When approaching working with at-risk youth, one thing to keep in mind is to surround them with positive energy and positive people. Everyone at Taller has some experience with the struggles and obstacles that program participants face. What keeps them coming to Taller is the exuberance and positivity that the staff and teachers bring to their classrooms and to their activities.

 

If you could magically change one thing to make your program better, what would it be?

ABRACADABRA! To increase the visibility of the program so that there would be more exposure for the teachers and curriculums to others in their fields, but also our organization and the community we serve.

 

What is your favorite field trip? (Real or imagined.)

Please. Puerto Rico, of course!

 

Share a book you read that changed how you think about your work.

Recently, a staff member read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a graphic novel that is a memoir of a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, and her and her parents’ ultimate emigration from their turbulent homeland.

The book helped readers to understand the deep ties that cultural experiences can have to peoples identities, the impact of political and diasporic struggles, and also how a child’s viewpoint can have such a poignant and genuine perspective on adult events. It reminds us that knowledge of culture, history, and immigrant and migrant struggles are experienced every day in Philadelphia, and the attention we pay toward nurturing the children who encounter these life paths is the investment we make in the literary, artistic, and leadership currency of our future world.

 

Best.  Snack. Ever.

Rice & Beans.

 

“Social media is one of the primary ways that many people receive information” – Interview with Lauren Scharf, Bartol Foundation Social Media Coordinator

Photo courtesy of Lauren Scharf.

For this post, we are going to turn the tables and interview Lauren Scharf, Bartol’s Social Media Coordinator and a recent graduate from the University of the Arts Museum Communication master’s program. 

 

We found you through an internship fair at UArts a year and a half ago. Can you tell us about your program and why you were interested in working with us?

My program at UArts explores the various audience-building and communication areas of museum work, such as marketing, development and fundraising, audience research/evaluation, and digital media. The program has a strong practical focus; nearly all of our courses involve some sort of hands-on project, often working in collaboration with local museums or cultural organizations.

Back when I first applied to my program, I was specifically interested in learning more about how museums can more effectively serve their surrounding communities. When I learned about the Bartol Foundation, I was immediately drawn to its mission to make the arts accessible to people of all walks of life, funding small organizations that have a big impact on their communities. The position also seemed like a terrific opportunity to hone my social media and digital marketing skills, supplementing my coursework at UArts. Because Bartol is such a small organization, I’ve been given a lot of responsibility and have been able to work on a wide variety of projects—I handle all of Bartol’s social media, I get to attend board meetings, and I even got to work on a big grant application last year.

 

What role do you see social media playing for a foundation like Bartol? How do you think your work with Bartol has expanded its visibility and impact?

For a small organization, social media is a cost-effective approach to marketing our workshops and events. Social media also allows you to target audiences based on both geographic regions and interests, which provides a fair amount of control in reaching our intended audience—teaching artists in the Philadelphia area. In this day and age, social media is one of the primary ways that many people receive information and stay in the loop, so it’s an important strategy to keep in touch with our audiences.

My predecessor, Elizabeth Clay (a fellow UArts Museum Studies alumna!), did an excellent job setting up all of our social media platforms and establishing guidelines. Since this initial groundwork was done before I got here, my role has been focused on continuing her work and thinking of new strategies to extend Bartol’s impact. As one example, I started an ongoing Q&A series on our blog where we interview different individuals in the broader Bartol community—staff and board members, grantees, teaching artists, workshop leaders, and so forth. This has been a great way of getting to know the Bartol Foundation on a more personal level and communicating the importance of our work.

 

What advice would you give a teaching artist or grantee who is thinking of expanding their social media presence to spread the word about their programs?

In my Museum Studies courses, we constantly talk about the importance of knowing your audience—and social media is no different. For instance, if you’re using social media to promote your work as an artist or organization, think about who you’re trying to reach and what type of content they’re interested in seeing. Since Bartol’s primary audience is teaching artists, I try to focus on content that will be relevant to their work, such as professional development/job opportunities and resources that they can apply to their teaching practice.

Our fabulous social media consultants at ChatterBlast are also huge advocates for social media as a storytelling platform. If you’re working on a long-term project, it’s important to document the process from start to finish so that your followers have a vested interest in the end result. This doesn’t have to be a hugely time-consuming effort—it can be something as simple as sharing occasional photographs and/or short social media posts over the course of the project.

 

Anything else you would like to tell us?

Thank you to everyone at Bartol for giving me this amazing opportunity! I’ve immensely enjoyed being a part of the Bartol team over the past year and a half, and I couldn’t have asked for a better learning experience or more collegial work environment.

 

Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO)

PHILADANCO’s Six-Week Summer Intensive with participants from the Bartol-funded Instruction & Training Program. (Photo credit: PHILADANCO.)

As part of a new Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) builds the skills of emerging and professional dancers and choreographers in a nurturing environment, while increasing the appreciation of dance among its many communities. They received a $5,000 Bartol grant for their Instruction & Training Program.

These questions were answered by Veronica Castillo-Perez, Administrator.

 

What about your work keeps you up at night?  

The one thing that keeps me up at night is always the lack of funding for the arts especially for the organizations of color that are blatantly excluded from any real funding sources.

 

When do you know your work is making a difference? 

When a 10-year-old child says she doesn’t mind coming in early because she is determined to be a dancer.

 

What is the coolest thing a participant in your program ever said to you?

“I’m determined.”

 

What is the most important thing you do to help your teaching artists do their best work?  

Provide master classes from visiting choreographers that are world-renowned artists in their field.

 

What is the best tip you can give to someone doing arts education programs like yours?

Be consistent.

 

If you could magically change one thing to make your program better, what would it be? 

Make it eternally sustainable.

 

What is your favorite field trip? (Real or imagined.) 

Visiting a foreign country and learning about a new culture.

 

Share a book you read that changed how you think about your work.

It hasn’t been written yet.

 

Best. Snack. Ever. 

Popcorn.

 

“Movement allows us to see ourselves in new and different ways” ­– Interview with Shavon Norris, Artist, Educator, Facilitator

Photo courtesy of Shavon Norris.

As part of our effort to create resources for trauma-informed practice, the Bartol Foundation will be hosting two workshops this month that explore artistic expression as a path towards healing. On March 26, teaching artist Shavon Norris will lead a participatory workshop about incorporating movement into lesson plans in ways that meet the needs and abilities of participants.

Read our Q&A with Shavon to learn more about her teaching artist practice and how she views movement as a tool for self-expression and healing.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your teaching artist practice?

The sharing and exchange of the art with other people informs how I make art. As a teaching artist, I am offering an opportunity for people to have a better understanding or a new experience with themselves, which in turn offers me a lot of information about the type of art I am making and what type of educator I want to be. That teaching moment is an amazing experience for me, and that exchange goes into my art as well. It’s a cyclical relationship, which I really love. I think that I learn just as much from whoever’s in the room with me as I’m trying to offer learning for them.

At the root of my practice, I am interested in creating moments and opportunities of pleasure. I’m always interested in people trying things in ways that feel good for them. A lot of people worry about wanting to please others or do things in the “right” way, and I always counter that by asking them if something feels pleasurable versus uncomfortable.

 

How do you see movement as a path towards healing?

I love that question, because I believe that there’s a way that our experiences and identities—our history, heritage, and culture—exist on and in our bodies. For me, movement offers an opportunity for us to explore those things and reinvent, rewrite, rearrange, or celebrate them. There are ways that trauma definitely has an impact on our bodies, and offering people an opportunity to move with that gives way to healing.

We have a habit of thinking about ourselves and our bodies in certain ways, and movement allows us to see ourselves in new and different ways, which can then offer healing to past hurt, harm, or trauma. Because then we create a new narrative, and we’re able to experience our bodies in ways we didn’t know was an option for us. I think that moving can help us reprogram, address, or redefine new ways for us to see ourselves, and giving ourselves these new options can offer potential for healing. More options means that I can move towards the pain and/or have a conversation with the pain, and offer myself a new way of moving through it or experiencing it.

 

So many people are self-conscious about their body and moving. As a teaching artist, how do you create spaces where everyone feels comfortable with movement?

I don’t know if I create spaces where everybody feels comfortable with movement. I think I create invitations for people to participate with permission and freedom to have some agency over their bodies. I try to use language along the lines of “I welcome you, I invite you, I encourage you” so that people feel like they are making a choice to participate and not being forced. I celebrate being goofy or making mistakes so people know that this is okay. When the person in charge is demonstrating the things that are going to be practiced, that really helps put people at ease. I often say things like “trust me when you trust me” so that people know that my expectation is not for them to immediately love or enjoy what we’re doing, but to go on an adventure.

If people are not into moving at that moment, I also give permission for them to sit down and take a moment. Having this option allows people to feel that they have the power to step into the room in ways that feel good for them and take risks in a healthy way. That takes time, and maybe the 45 minutes that I have with a person doesn’t allow for them to feel completely comfortable, but if they have been in the space and stay in the space, then that feels like a win for me. I don’t have a lot of expectations for everyone to do exactly what I’m offering them, and I try to make that clear so that when they do participate, I’m celebrating each step forward. I acknowledge when things might feel uncomfortable or strange, as opposed to having people feel immediate shame or guilt about not liking it or wanting to participate. I welcome all of the feelings, all of the discomfort, all of the joy, all of the humanity.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

 

“Learn how to be not just consumers but creators of their own media” – Interview with Gretjen Clausing, Executive Director of PhillyCAM

Photo courtesy of Gretjen Clausing.

At the Bartol Foundation, we strive to connect teaching artists with resources to help them develop their skills and build valuable relationships within the community. 2018 Bartol grantee PhillyCAM is a community media center that brings together the people of Philadelphia to make and share media that promotes creative expression, democratic values, and civic participation.

Read our interview with Gretjen Clausing, Executive Director, to learn more about PhillyCAM’s resources and how you can get involved.

 

Can you tell us a bit about PhillyCAM?

PhillyCAM is a community media center. We operate the public access television channels for the city of Philadelphia, and we also are the license holder of an FM radio station, WPPM 106.5. At the core of what we do is providing Philadelphians—particularly those who have not typically had access—with opportunities to express themselves, tell their stories, or cover an issue in their community through media.

We offer training and access to folks who are interested in learning how to use video or audio to create their own non-commercial content, to then be shared on our cable channels or radio station. We offer classes in video, television, and audio production. People can learn how to operate a television studio, how to edit video using Adobe Premiere, or how to be a radio show producer. We also have an after-school youth media program that is open to young people age 14 to 21. Participants can take classes in media-making, and they also get introduced to media literacy concepts and learn how to be not just consumers but creators of their own media.

 

What types of resources are available to PhillyCAM community members, and what’s the process for accessing them?

PhillyCAM is a membership organization. We have over 800 members, both individuals and nonprofit organizations. To become a member, we ask that folks attend a free info session to tour our facilities, which is kind of like a “first date” to see if it’s something that you’re interested in. An individual membership is $30 per year, and a nonprofit membership is on a sliding scale based on budget ranging from $40 to $275 per year. Once PhillyCAM members have gone through the introductory Community Media Workshop, they then have access to our programs and resources, including three television studios and a media lab where folks can learn how to edit their own projects.

It’s important to note that all of the spaces and equipment that our members have access to are in support of them creating content for PhillyCAM’s television channel or radio station. But it is your content, so the exciting thing is that you can then use [the content you produce for PhillyCAM] however you want. We help our organizational members produce content to feature their organization, such as a public service announcement or a documentation of a performance. In addition to building capacity within your organization by teaching staff how to make their own media, we are supporting you in creating something that you can share on your website or social media to demonstrate your work.

 

What are some of the ways that teaching artists can use PhillyCAM’s resources in their practice? How can interested teaching artists learn more?

I think teaching artists would be able to benefit from being part of a creative community. The thing that’s really unique about PhillyCAM is that you have these volunteers who are incredibly passionate about using media to express their ideas, and media is inherently something that you need to do with other people. Folks are oftentimes looking for a crew and support on their projects, and then in turn they can also support you in creating your projects. We really try to create a learning community amongst all of our members.

What I think would be exciting is if teaching artists use our facilities to demonstrate their practice and share that with our viewing and listening audiences. To get a better idea of our resources, I would encourage teaching artists to visit the Watch and Listen sections of our website to acquaint themselves with the content that our members have created. Around 80% of our members identify as creating content related to arts and culture, so there are a lot of really tremendous performances and interviews with Philadelphia-based artists.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Warrior Writers

Photo credit: Warrior Writers on Facebook.

As part of a new Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. Warrior Writers works to create a culture that articulates veterans’ experiences, build a collaborative community for artistic expression, and bear witness to war and the full range of military experiences. They received a $7,500 Bartol grant for their Veterans and Iraqis video project.

These questions were answered by Lovella Calica, founder and director of Warrior Writers.

 

When do you know your work is making a difference?

When people keep coming back, when people are excited about it, when there’s smiles and laughter and friendship growing.

 

What is the coolest thing a participant in your program ever said to you?

This organization/community saved/saves my life.

 

What is the most important thing you do to help your teaching artists do their best work?

Believe in them, struggle with them, grow with them, keep working at it even when it’s hard.

 

What is the best tip you can give to someone doing arts education programs like yours?

Take care of yourself, model it, teach it, do it with each other and participants. Think about and do and embody community care and self-care.

 

If you could magically change one thing to make your program better, what would it be?

More money of course – more staff, programming, less stress and worry!

 

What is your favorite field trip? (Real or imagined.)

The Philippines with my whole family, still dreaming…

 

Best.  Snack. Ever.

Fresh cold cherries and mangos.

“I realized just how transformative performance could be” – Interview with New Bartol Board Member Catzie Vilayphonh

Photo courtesy of Catzie Vilayphonh.

As part of an ongoing Q&A series, we will be learning more about the Bartol Foundation’s artistic community. Catzie Vilayphonh is an award-winning writer, spoken word poet, and multi-media artist. We welcomed Catzie to the Bartol team in January 2019 as part of our cohort of three new board members. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram to learn more about her work.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your background in the arts?

I began my career as an artist when I was 18 and had just graduated from high school. My first foray into the arts outside of school was through a workshop at Asian Arts Initiative (a longtime Bartol grantee) where we wrote monologues based on our own stories and performed them on stage. Once I performed as part of that group, I would go to more practice groups or anything improv or theatre arts-related, and we also got to perform at Fringe Festival. That experience was an eye-opener in terms of what performing arts could be, because in my mind it was always just acting, rather than actually writing our own scripts. I realized just how transformative performance could be for a person. That experience set the trajectory of me constantly finding different art forms to express whatever I was trying to say at the time.

When I was growing up, there also wasn’t a lot of representation of Asian-Americans in media, so it was really empowering to be able to share my story with audiences. I felt a responsibility to do my part to make sure the stories that are told about us are authentic and true to ourselves and by real people.

 

What attracted you to becoming involved with the Bartol Foundation as a board member?

I had been following along with the Bartol Foundation’s email newsletter for a while. I learned that Bartol was looking for new board members through Gayle Isa, who, up until recently, was the Executive Director of the Asian Arts Initiative. Gayle is somebody who I’ve known for a long, long time and was one of the first people I met when I became involved in the arts, and knowing that this was something she recommended made me want to participate. Being an artist who sometimes has to work another job, I’m not able to be involved in the arts as much as I would like. Participating with Bartol is a great way for me to stay connected to that network and learn more about the kind of support that’s out there for artists, even if it doesn’t come from Bartol directly.

 

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your time on the Bartol board?

I’m looking forward to learning more about the different organizations in Philadelphia and seeing what they have to offer, regardless of whether or not they get the grants. As someone who runs an art organization myself, I’m always interested in learning what other organizations are doing. I’m looking forward to seeing how teachers teach a hands-on class, how organizations offer youth and adult programs, or even what kinds of art forms are being highlighted.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m really happy to be part of this group of women. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

 

Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Power Street Theatre Company

Photo credit: powerstreettheatre.com.

As part of a new Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. Power Street Theatre Company is home to a collective of fierce, multicultural and multidisciplinary artists dedicated to the mission of empowering marginalized artists and communities of color throughout Philadelphia and beyond. They received a $5,000 Bartol grant for their free theatre program for diverse adults.

These questions were answered by Gabriela Sanchez, Founder and Managing Director, and Erlina Ortiz, Playwright, Performer, and Director.

 

When do you know your work is making a difference?

Gabriela: As the founder of Power Street Theatre Company, I produced our first production MinorityLand, an experimental piece in response to overwhelming gentrification occurring on Temple’s campus. To encourage new theatre audiences to engage with this work around gentrification, I canvassed the surrounding neighborhoods and built relationships with other social-justice organizations within the community to bring their participants to see the play, and through these actions, I opened conversations around what theatre is and could or should be. Stay tuned for MinorityLand 2019!

Erlina: I know my work is making a difference when a group of young Latinas came up to me after one of my shows, and they were all so emotional and excited to see a show that showcased their lives and their struggle in an honest and humorous way.

 

Best. Snack. Ever.

Gabriela: Carrot cake from the Carrot Cake Man in West Philly.

 

What revs you up to go to work in the morning?

Erlina: Sometimes when I wake up in the morning the characters from my plays are just freely talking to me. Most of it won’t end up in the play, but it helps me get to know them better. So sometimes, it is just exciting to wake up and listen, then that perfect moment will make itself clear, and I hop out of bed to my computer and write it down.

 

What is your favorite field trip? (Real or imagined.)

Erlina: My favorite field trip would be a trip to Mars! On the way there, we would have required readings on Space and Time and Science, and we’d stay for a week on the planet writing and learning how to be an alien before we head back.

 

“Mapping the careers of teaching artists requires a very complex system” – Interview with WT McRae, New Victory Theater Teaching Artist

Photo courtesy of New Victory Theater.

Plan the next steps in your career with the Bartol Foundation! On Monday, February 11, our colleagues from the nationally recognized New Victory Theater will be traveling down from New York City to share their Teaching Artist Pathways Tool with us.

Read our Q&A with one of the workshop leaders, WT McRae, to learn more about how this tool can serve your TA practice. More info and registration details can be found on our workshops page.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your work with New Victory Theater?

I’ve been a teaching artist with The New Victory Theater since 2008. During that time, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching ages 0-100, doing audience engagement in various public settings, and developing curriculums in collaborative ways for a number of programs. The New Vic is a remarkable organization! They have really embraced the talents of teaching artists and apply our work to programs at all levels. Some examples include administrative think tank (enrichment team), internal training and professional development design and facilitation, research strategy planners, and arts education field research. I feel lucky to be in a place where my artistry, expertise, and intellect are valued in such an exciting way.

 

Can you explain what the Teaching Artist Pathways Tool is and how it can benefit teaching artists?

A few years ago, I participated in a convening on the Sustainability of the Teaching Artist, led by Eric Booth and hosted by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. Working alongside people from all over the country engaged in this work, we took on the particular task of mapping career trajectories for teaching artists. We found that teaching artists come into the field from so many different backgrounds and entry points—and teaching artistry has always been housed in different institutional settings, funded for different purposes, and called so many different things—that mapping the careers of teaching artists requires a very complex system.

What we developed is the Teaching Artist Pathways Tool, which is somewhat like a professional development board game and coloring page. We imagined a tool that could function like a map of their careers—teaching artists could map out where they’ve been and plan where they were going next. This effort helps them understand their work as a career, instead of a series of discrete experiences. The tool has now been through several stages of iterative design, and we’ve had the opportunity to run many groups of artists through the process. What we’ve found is that early-career artists find that the tool illuminates where they can go, while more experienced artists really enjoy piecing their career path together, talking about common trajectories, and dreaming for their own future.

 

What is the most surprising or interesting thing that can happen when teaching artists consider their careers using the TAP Tool?

Immediately? They can start to see their work as a career. That alone can be a transformative experience for many people who have found themselves doing mission-driven work that is often not exactly what they’d planned to do in their careers. But it really develops a sense of community. It allows you to see how your colleagues and friends have moved through the field to arrive at this point of adjacency, and to hone strategies for dreaming, collaborative accountability, and advocating for ourselves and each other in the organizations we work with.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Tibetan Association of Philadelphia

Photo credit: Tibetan Association of Philadelphia on Facebook.

 

As part of a new Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. The Tibetan Association of Philadelphia strives to preserve and promote the unique Tibetan culture, traditions, and language within the Tibetan Community and further the just cause of Tibet. They received a $7,500 Bartol grant for their Tibetan cultural dance and song program.

These questions were answered by the Tibetan Association’s Sunday School teachers and directors.

 

When do you know your work is making a difference?

When the kids perform well on the quizzes and when they seem enthusiastic about learning Tibetan.

 

What is the coolest thing a participant in your program ever said to you?

When the students said, “It is so fun. Need to do again.”

 

What is the most important thing you do to help your teaching artists do their best work?

To provide good resources and create a positive and healthy environment. I make sure to give them assignments regularly and also switch up the teaching methods often such as giving them an art projects or tests or assignments, discussions and such. This ensures that they are not bored with the monotony of the traditional method of teachers talking and students listening.

 

What is the best tip you can give to someone doing arts education programs like yours?

Have fun, learn, and enjoy. Having fun while learning helps to retain information better because the process is enjoyable and memorable. Keep the students engaged. Keep it interesting. Give them breaks. The average span of attention these young children is very short so trying to drill information for hours on end will not be successful. Find ways to encourage them whether it be in encouraging words, little toys, or treats (these do not have be expansive). If they can relate to you and like you, they will listen and learn.

 

If you could magically change one thing to make your program better, what would it be?

Having a community center will help with the effectiveness and quality of all the programs that we undertake. More resources and more hands-on projects.

 

What is your favorite field trip? (Real or imagined.)

My favorite field trip was a Sunday School field trip to Wissahickon Valley Park Trail during summer camp. Children got to learn about the environment and its related words in the Tibetan language. They got to play and learn.

 

Save the Dates! Announcing Bartol’s Winter-Spring 2019 Workshops

You asked and we delivered! Check out the Bartol Foundation’s upcoming workshops. Registration opens 4-6 weeks in advance – sign up for our email newsletter and like us on Facebook and be the first to know when you can register.

 

Books and Words: Bookbinding and Poetry Workshop

Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 9:30am-12pm

Join Candy Alexandra González (a Latinx papermaker, printmaker, book artist and young poet) for this hands-on session for teaching artists who want to incorporate simple bookbinding and poetry writing into their teaching practice. Register here.

 

TA Play Date: Let’s Put on a Show! Theatre in 60 Minutes

Monday, January 28, 2019, 5:30-7:00pm

Led by master teaching artist, Maureen Sweeney and tech teaching artist, Raven Buck, this session will share quick (and cheap) strategies to create a theatre piece in 60 minutes. Register here. 

 

Stop Motion Animation: Creating Community with Animation

Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 5:30pm-8pm

Back by popular demand, media artist Jennie Thwing will lead this workshop focused on simple techniques used to run a community workshop in stop motion animation. Register here.

 

Building your Teaching Artist Pathway

Monday, February 11, 2019, 10am-12pm

In this hands-on, reflective session, you will investigate where you are now in your career and how to intentionally plan for a career for a teaching artist that suits you as an artist and educator. Register here.

 

Marketing: Teaching Artist Statement

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 9:30am-12pm

Led by Michelle Angela Ortiz, former Program Manager at the Bartol Foundation and experienced Teaching Artist, you will draft a teaching artist statement that reflects your unique point of view and the ‘product’ you will be marketing to your potential audience. Register here.

 

Teaching Artist Play Date: Drumming your Story

Monday, March 11, 2019, 5:30pm-7pm

In this drumming workshop participants will explore the power of musical expression, build community, acquire tools for coping with stress, and be granted permission to create and succeed in a fun and safe space without the pressure being perfect. Register here.

 

Trauma-Informed Practice: Movement as Healing

Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 9:30am-12pm

Teaching artist Shavon Norris will lead us through a fully-participatory workshop to experience how to incorporate movement in your lessons in ways that meet the needs and abilities of your participants. Register here.

 

Marketing Yourself as a Teaching Artist: Creating your Signature Lessons

Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 9:30am-12pm

Led by Michelle Angela Ortiz, former Program Manager at the Bartol Foundation and experienced Teaching Artist, you will choose your signature lesson and learn to communicate clearly your curriculum goals, identify your themes, and select your target audience. Register here.

 

Marketing Yourself as a Teaching Artist: Let’s Talk Money

Tuesday, April 24, 2019, 10am-12pm

This session will work through how to set fair prices for your teaching artist activities, budget for all parts of a project, and develop ‘what if’ scenarios to make budgeting a useful tool in your teaching artist life. Register here.

 

Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Musicopia

Photo courtesy of Musicopia.

As part of a new Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. Musicopia reaches thousands of children each year through educational music enrichment programs in schools and communities throughout the Philadelphia Region. They received a $5,000 Bartol grant for their Percussion Network program.

These questions were answered by Drumlines Director Jesse Mell.

 

When do you know your work is making a difference?

When kids approach me with questions about their music practice or life strategies.

What is the coolest thing a participant in your program ever said to you?

Happy Father’s Day!  (I have no biological or adopted children)

What is the most important thing you do to help your teaching artists do their best work?

Provide plenty of information when giving constructive criticism; when they succeed, congratulate them in that moment with plenty of smiles!

What is the best tip you can give to someone doing arts education programs like yours?

Clear your schedule 🙂 Be ready to dedicate as much time as it takes to lead effectively.

Share a book you read that changed how you think about your work.

Tattoos on the Heart, by Gregory Boyle

 

Grassroots Fundraising for Dollars and Engagement

For many community-based organizations, robust individual giving may seem like something only large organizations with wealthy board members can attain. On December 11, 80 grantees of eight foundations joined together to learn from their nonprofit colleagues who shared strategies for community-driven fundraising that brings in both dollars and engagement. Their work was based in practices of community organizing, advocacy and entrepreneurship.

In a panel moderated by Denise Beek of the Leeway Foundation, each presenter shared their strategy for generating income from sources other than foundations. Kirtrina Baxter from Soil Generation Coalition is experimenting with collective funding methods, including service and product fees as a supplement to foundation funding, representing people of color who are often under-resourced. Jonathan Bix from Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson (New York) built $200,000, 3,000-donor annual grassroots fundraising program in 5 years based on volunteer fundraisers making direct, personalized asks of their networks. Aarati Kasturirangan from the Bread and Roses Community Fund’s The Giving Project trained and supported five, twenty-person cross-race, cross-class groups in personal network-based, direct-ask fundraising resulting in close to $1,000,000 raised from 2100 donors since June 2016. Rapheal Randall at Youth United for Change trained and supported young people who conduct seasonal neighborhood canvassing efforts focused on identifying new supporters and monthly sustainers for community organizing groups.

While each had a different approach, there were some common themes:

  • each initiative involved extensive training to get at underlying issues with talking about or asking for money so that people instead felt that it is powerful and righteous to ask for money that benefits their community;
  • it was important to have leaders from within the communities they were serving, including young people, people of color; and coalitions of people with common interests;
  • conflicts arose and it was important that everyone was accountable and grew together through the process; and,
  • it was a time-consuming process that required keeping an eye on the prize – revisiting the intention as well as the outcome.

After the panel, participants had the opportunity to dig deeply into two of the initiatives, learning more about the nuts and bolts of implementation.  With the help of artist Rodney Camarce, we ended the day with a visual map of the conversation (above) that emphasized the loop of relationships and networks that led to success. 

Thanks to our colleagues who collaborated to provide this free professional development event including the Barra Foundation, Claneil Foundation, Douty Foundation, Seybert Foundation, New Century Trust, Nelson Foundation, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation and The Philadelphia Foundation.

Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Kulu Mele

Photo credit: www.kulumele.org.

As part of a new Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble preserves and presents the traditional dance and music of Africa and the African Diaspora, and celebrates contemporary African American culture. They received a $5,000 Bartol grant for general operating support.

These questions were answered by David Harrison, Executive Director.

 

What about your work keeps you up at night?

Knowing that we will never have enough resources to positively impact the lives of all the children who could benefit from engagement with Kulu Mele. But I comfort myself with this story: Every day an old man walked to the shore, where sometimes thousands of starfish lay beached by the strong currents. One by one, he tossed them back into the water. One day a young jogger stopped to talk to the old man. The jogger said, “There are thousands of star fish on this beach. What does it matter if you save a few of them?” The old man threw another fish. “It mattered to that one,” he said.

 

When do you know your work is making a difference?

I hear from teachers all the time that even one single Kulu Mele event such as a workshop or a school assembly performance has a lasting impact on students. Teachers tell me that for days or even weeks after a Kulu Mele service, they can document improvements in attendance, participation/engagement, behavior, attitude, and retention of information.

 

What is the most important thing you do to help your teaching artists do their best work?

The Bartol Foundation does a great job of both programming its own professional development opportunities AND passing along information about other learning opportunities as well. I always pass along any information I receive to our teaching artists. Thankfully, many of the opportunities are no or low cost. The biggest barrier to participation for my artists is time. Many of my teaching artists have full-time jobs (some as teachers) and the rest have to cobble together many different gigs in order to support themselves and their families as working artists, but everyone is always grateful to know how much support exists for the work that they do.

 

What is the best tip you can give to someone doing arts education programs like yours?

“Listen hard, change fast.” — Ben Chestnut, CEO, MailChimp.

 

If you could magically change one thing to make your program better, what would it be?

Without magic but with much thanks to the Youth Arts Enrichment program at the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Kulu Mele was able to hire a very accomplished arts education consultant (Ira Bond, M.Ed., founder of the Cultural Enrichment Institute and Male Rite of Passage Facilitator at Imhotep Institute Charter High School) to conduct a formative and summative evaluation of Kulu Mele’s in-school curriculum and classroom management practices. Upon completion of his research, Bond will revise/improve Kulu Mele’s curriculum and recommend management changes based on his findings. The evaluation process will occur throughout the school year in collaboration with Community Partnership School (CPS), a highly successful private school in North Philadelphia which serves some of the very most economically disadvantaged families in all of Pennsylvania. Kulu Mele has worked in residence at CPS for more than five years. This year Kulu Mele will conduct two 24-week residencies at CPS (traditional West African dance and drumming, and hip hop).

 

What is your favorite field trip? (Real or imagined.) 

As a kid growing up in Los Angeles I got to take several field trips to the La Brea Tar Pits, which became the burial grounds for umpteen animals over many millennia, including dinosaurs who got trapped in the sticky tar that acted like quicksand. It still fascinates me to think I could walk on the same ground as such majestic prehistoric giants.

 

Best.  Snack. Ever. 

Kiddie-sized twist cone at Rita’s. (Which is plenty big even for a big kiddie like me.)