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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.

“It shouldn’t be this difficult for artists to thrive” – Interview with Erica Hawthorne-Manon, Founder and Managing Director of Small But Mighty Arts

Photo Credit: www.smallbutmightyarts.org.

 

This past spring, the Bartol Foundation announced a new partnership with Small But Mighty Arts (SBMA) to award ten $500 micro-grants to Philadelphia-based teaching artists. As part of our ongoing Q&A series, we spoke with Erica Hawthorne-Manon, Founder and Managing Director of SBMA, to learn more about her work with the Philadelphia arts community and SBMA’s new partnership with the Bartol Foundation.

SBMA is now accepting applications to award five more micro-grants to teaching artists working on community-based projects. The application will close Sunday, September 9. Access the online application here.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your background in the arts? How did you decide to found Small But Mighty Arts?

I came to Philadelphia as a creative myself. My background is in theatre, writing, and spoken word, which is kind of like a marriage between theatre and poetry. I also have a professional background in public relations and business. I did a lot of “starving artist” things and did my art on the side of my full-time job, even though I wanted to do more. I realized just how challenging it was to be an artist on many different levels, whether it was finding opportunities or being able to expand my skills beyond just performance. I didn’t understand why my peers and I were having such a difficult time—we had talent and skills, but we were always struggling to find the next opportunity. I felt that it shouldn’t be this difficult for artists to thrive, knowing how important the arts are to the community, education, and the creative economy.

Around this same time, a friend suggested I apply for a grant to fund ideas. I pitched three of my ideas, and one was selected—to provide artists with smaller funds during a critical time window. When I was working on my album, I had the experience of being short about $500-1,000 to finish the technical production of the project. I had done the bulk of the work and just needed a little bit of funding so that I wouldn’t have to stop. I pitched this idea to small firms and got awarded a challenge grant, and that’s what brought me to start Small But Mighty Arts.

 

What is most meaningful to you about SBMA’s work in the community?

The ability to make connections, especially connections that turn into real, tangible opportunities. For me, that’s the whole point of SBMA. Even though we started with micro-grant programs, the purpose is to shorten the distance between an artist and their next career-enhancing opportunity, whether that’s professional development, funding, or marketing and promotion.

Our partnerships with other organizations and programs have also been very valuable. We would not be able to thrive without our partnerships. Many of the artists that we fund through micro-grants we’ve also connected to our partner organizations and other paid opportunities. We always think about what it means to be able to share mission and goals when we partner with organizations in a way that’s powerful for both of us. I think the fact that people are willing to partner with us, even though we’re small, continues to help us expand what we’re able to give back to artists.

 

What’s been the most rewarding moment from your work with SBMA?

It changes, but right now it’s getting emails from artists that we’ve worked with or funded and hearing that our work with them led them to another opportunity or kept their momentum going. We got an email from one of our 2017 grantees, Irina Varina, who worked on a film that premiered at a film festival in New York, and part of the micro-grant funding that we gave her allowed her to finish that project. Another grantee from 2017 is Amy Schofield, who’s a flamenco dancer. We were able to book her for a performance at the Barnes Foundation, and then the Barnes reached out and wanted to book her again. It’s those types of moments that are really powerful for me. Sometimes we also hear that an SBMA grant is the first one an artist has received, and that grant gives them inspiration to apply for other opportunities. That’s the whole point—that they don’t give up and they’re able to persist, and we make it possible for artists to do that right here in Philadelphia.

 

SBMA recently partnered with the Bartol Foundation to award micro-grants to teaching artists and to share a staff Artist Engagement Fellow. What drew you to this collaboration with Bartol?

It started with us first supporting each other’s work and sharing information with our networks. We realized that we have very similar missions and goals. We also saw the value in being able to inform our artists, who are not teaching artists, of the opportunity to develop that skill. Bartol was reimagining their focus, and when they reached out to us it made a lot of sense to work together toward a shared mission goal. Through sharing an Artist Engagement Fellow, we’re able to highlight the artists that we’ve funded, and to make sure that there’s shared information between the two organizations about other opportunities for artists.

This partnership has been five years in the making. Not every partnership takes that long, but I will say that our best partnerships have been the ones that we’ve built over time. That’s encouragement to others who are thinking about building partnerships. You are probably already starting by the relationships you are creating. It’s worth building all levels of partnerships—they get very valuable work done for the communities that we serve.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Program Assessment 101—Interview with Dr. Samantha Matlin, Scattergood Foundation

Photo courtesy of ArtWell.

 

This fall, the Bartol Foundation will be piloting a new series of trauma-informed training workshops for teaching artists. We’ve partnered with our co-working neighbors at the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation to plan assessment tools for this program. Read our Q&A with Dr. Samantha Matlin, Director of Evaluation and Community Impact at the Scattergood Foundation, to learn about the considerations involved in planning a program assessment.

In case you missed it, be sure to also check out this interview with Mindy A. Early, lead facilitator of our upcoming trauma training pilot series.

 

Tell us a little bit about the Scattergood Foundation. How did you come to work with the Bartol Foundation to plan assessment of the pilot on traumainformed practice for teaching artists?

The Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation has been a health conversion foundation since 2005. We’ve had a long-term commitment around behavioral health and the moral treatment of individuals. Really since the beginning of the Foundation, we’ve had a focus on trauma, and later specifically more on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Over the last few years, we’ve been doing more of this work as more people have become aware of the significant prevalence and impact of ACEs and trauma. We have also been part of the Philadelphia Adverse Childhood Experience Task Force and other community coalitions.

A few years ago, we worked with Bartol on some smaller trauma-informed training workshops for artists. Since that time, we have been an advisor and partner around these conversations. In terms of this specific pilot project, it’s really an extension of that history of working together in this area. With my role around evaluation and program planning, through conversations between the leaders of Bartol and Scattergood we talked about how we could support this pilot.

 

When thinking about how to assess a pilot program, what are the first questions you ask?

Pilot programs should be thought of as a learning opportunity, first and foremost. The focus should include the initial impact that you are hoping the program will achieve, but more about understanding what you are working to implement, and how that can be documented and understood so it can be improved upon in the future.

It’s also very important to consider who your participants are, especially when you’re implementing a program for the first time. You consider who are the participants, what is the contact going to look like, what methods will you be using to track any information—but more initially on the implementation side than on the outcomes. Some people talk about that as more of a formative evaluation, really asking questions and figuring out what kind of information you need to be able to understand how to improve the program and then track outcomes.

 

What are some ways to incorporate assessment into a pilot program that are not too cumbersome for a small organization?

I think assessment has to do with both the size of the organization and the size of the program. Sometimes pilots are smaller in scale even at large organizations, so it may not make sense to do something that’s too cumbersome then either.

Understanding who your program participants are is critical, but it doesn’t have to mean doing large-scale surveys. Assessment could take the form of asking questions in the beginning to understand participants’ baseline knowledge: How familiar are they with the topic? What kind of training have they experienced in the past? Or, in the case of teaching artists, how many students do they potentially reach through their teaching, or do they already have exposure to these kinds of concepts? This type of information can really shape what a program can look like and help you understand what kinds of changes to anticipate, that then can be measured.

In determining what type of data will be most useful, it’s important to consider how you plan to use the information. It’s often good to have some measurements and scales on quantitative surveys so that you can look at averages and even change over time, but I think that has to depend on the culture of the program participants and the organization. Qualitative data and narrative is really important, and this may be sufficient with a smaller group and even help inform learning with a larger program.

 

When can an organization do its own assessment of a pilot program, and when/for what purposes should they hire outside assistance?

That’s a great question, and I don’t think there is a black-and-white answer. A lot of it depends on why an organization is doing an assessment, and what kind of capacity they have to it themselves. If an organization has staff that are able to do an assessment, then that could make a lot of sense. It is important for an organization to be able to assess their programs as part of their work. But if the goal of the assessment of the program involves more rigorous evaluation research, that could be a reason to hire externally. There are still benefits of having someone do assessment that is part of that organization and closer to a program, because they can really understand that program in a different way.

 

Anything else youd like to add?

We’re really excited to be involved. It’s fantastic that Bartol is using the available information and training around trauma and ACEs to think about the benefit that can bring to teaching artists and students. Our role in helping to support learning around that is a pleasure to do.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Announcing the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 Grantees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 24, 2018

CONTACT:

Beth Feldman Brandt

Executive Director

256-519-5311 (office); 610-513-2668 (cell)

bfbrandt@bartol.org

 

STOCKTON RUSH BARTOL FOUNDATION AWARDS

22 GRANTS TO PHILADELPHIA ARTS AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS

 

Five Micro-grants Also Awarded to Teaching Artists through 

New Partnership with Small But Mighty Arts

 

Philadelphia, PA—The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation announced today that it will distribute $125,000 in grants to 22 Philadelphia arts and cultural organizations. The Foundation supports organizations in a range of artistic disciplines with an emphasis on arts education and community-based arts programs. A complete list with information on each grantee is available here.

In addition, the Foundation approved $2,500 in its first of two rounds of micro-grants. Grants of $500 each were awarded to five individual teaching artists through a new partnership with Small But Mighty Arts (SBMA.) SBMA supports members of the creative community by connecting artists directly with resources and networks. Information on these grantees is available here.

The 2018 roster of grantees reflects the Bartol Foundation’s commitment to supporting cultural organizations that provide exceptional, sustained arts experiences to children, teens and adults throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. The Bartol Foundation supports diverse organizations from large to small, established and emerging. The Foundation made 18 grants of $5,000 each.  Four grants of $7,500 each were made to:

  • Sister Cities Girlchoir for their Saturday Girlchoir Academy that builds singers and leaders;
  • PhillyCAM for their development of “people-powered media”;
  • The Tibetan Association of Greater Philadelphia for programs which preserve traditional Tibetan dance, music and song; and,
  • Warrior Writers to bring together veterans and members of the Iraqi community to collaborate.

Three first-time grantees bring new perspectives and audiences to the roster of grantees:

  • ArtSphere for their pre-school program in Philadelphia neighborhoods;
  • Dehkontee Artists Theatre serves the Liberian community with a project that will address issues of domestic and gun violence; and,
  • Power Street Theatre Company, a collective of multicultural and multidisciplinary artists that empowers marginalized artists and communities of color.

“Bartol has a new strategic vision through which we are re-affirming our commitment to organizations which engage and amplify voices that might otherwise be marginalized or silenced,” said Toni Shapiro-Phim, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Director of Programs for the Philadelphia Folklore Project.  “We are also pursuing new partnerships such as our micro-grant program with SBMA that will increase our impact through collaborations.”

“There are many organizations, especially representing communities of color, that have a vibrant cultural life but do not have the same access to resources,” added Beth Feldman Brandt, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are committed to supporting the organizations and teaching artists who are part of these communities.”

The $5,000 George Bartol Arts Education Award, given annually to an organization that exemplifies the Foundation’s priorities, will be announced in the fall of 2018.

Grants distributed to organizations this year also include $10,000 in funds from Waterman II Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation.

Updated guidelines and applications for the next round of grants will be available in the winter of 2019 on the Foundation’s website at www.bartol.org with an application deadline of May 1, 2019.

The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation works at the intersection of arts, education, community and philanthropy, grounded in our belief that deeply meaningful arts experiences strengthen people and communities. The Bartol Foundation advocates for and facilitates partnerships in which cultural organizations, teaching artists, community partners, and funders work toward the common goal of providing high-caliber, equitable arts education to people in Philadelphia, especially those in the most under-resourced or under-served communities. We utilize our knowledge and resources to create to generate more resources and opportunities for all.

 

Organization Brief project description 2018 Grant
1812 Productions In-school theatre residency program $5,000
Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture General operating support $5,000
Art Sphere Inc. General operating support $5,000
Art-Reach General operating support $5,000
ArtWell General operating support $5,000
Asian Arts Initiative General operating support $5,000
Centro Nueva Creacion After-school Bomba Classes $5,000
Dehkontee Artists Theatre Inc Theatre program based in Liberian community $5,000
Enchantment Theatre Company Theatre Residency at PASchool for the Deaf $5,000
Koresh Dance Company Koresh Kids Dance $5,000
Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble General operating support $5,000
Musicopia Musicopia Percussion Network (MPN) $5,000
Philadelphia Folklore Project General operating support $5,000
Philadelphia Photo Arts Center Teen photo program $5,000
Philadelphia Public Access Corp dba PhillyCAM Community Video Training $7,500
Philadelphia Dance Company General operating support $5,000
Philadelphia Young Playwrights Core Program of in-class playwriting residencies $5,000
Power Street Theatre Company Free theatre program for diverse adults. $5,000
Sister Cities Girlchoir Saturday Girlchoir Academy $7,500
Taller Puertorriqueno Arts and cultural education programs $5,000
Tibetan Association Of Philadelphia Tibetan cultural dance and song program $7,500
Warrior Writers of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia Veterans and Iraqis video project $7,500

“A great exercise for my teacher brain” – Interview with Teaching Artist Stephanie N. Walters

Photo courtesy of Stephanie N. Walters.

 

Last month, the Bartol Foundation awarded scholarships to nine local teaching artists to attend a symposium about teaching in alternative spaces. As part of our ongoing Q&A series, we spoke with one of the scholarship recipients, actress and playwright Stephanie N. Walters, about her work as a teaching artist and experience at the symposium.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your work as a teaching artist? What kinds of spaces have you taught in?

I started teaching theatre in Philadelphia a few years ago. I was working with local theatres and going to visit public elementary schools to discuss children’s theatre. I loved working with students so much that I explored other avenues of educational theatrical engagement. I worked with a southwest Philly high school ELL class to create a theatrical response to a local professional performance. I also have spent a few years working with young adults with autism on writing their own plays.

My biggest joy is working closely with Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Through their Core Residency program, I am able to frequent local high schools to teach playwriting. I have also served as a mentor for the Resident Playwrights at PYP, an application-based group of high school students. Giving personalized feedback and mentorship impacted me so deeply that I explored more opportunities with PYP. This coming fall, I will begin a two-year fellowship as the Special Programs Fellow.

Over the past year, I also began working with a local synagogue preschool/playschool. Working with tiny humans in the mornings and high school students in the afternoons has been my daily routine during the school year, and it’s a great exercise for my teacher brain! During the summers, I teach dance at a local theatre camp with elementary school students—my own version of “play creation”—and playwriting to high schoolers. This year, I will be developing a theatre/play creation camp for preschool-aged students.

 

Why were you interested in attending the symposium?

I was interested in the symposium because I did not go to university for teaching or education, so I saw the symposium as a professional development opportunity. Working for PYP has allowed me to participate in trauma-based professional development. Through these opportunities, I am able to give myself a larger knowledge on the ever-changing pedagogy of teaching.

 

Can you share something you found particularly valuable and/or surprising about the symposium?

One of my favorite aspects of the symposium was the icebreaker/warm up lead by Koresh Dance Company’s teaching artist, Teresa VanDenend Sorge. It was movement-based and completely engaging. I have since adapted the exercise and utilized it with my own students. They have loved it so much and it has proven extremely valuable as their creative autonomy blossoms.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

“Teaching opens the door to the arts”—Interview with Teaching Artist Angela Arrey-Wastavino

Photo courtesy of Angela Arrey-Wastavino.

 

Last month, the Bartol Foundation awarded scholarships to nine local teaching artists to attend a symposium about teaching in alternative spaces. As part of our ongoing Q&A series, we spoke with one of the scholarship recipients, visual artist and writer Angela Arrey-Wastavino, about her work as a teaching artist and experience at the symposium.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your work as a teaching artist? What kinds of spaces have you taught in?

I’ve been working with a variety of organizations, but mostly with children—I would say 70% of my participants are all children. I’ve also taught in some more non-traditional settings. For example, years ago I taught at a rehabilitation center for young inmates and first offenders. We were working with what was called Paño Art in the Southwest. It consists of having white handkerchiefs that people draw all over with ink—and that’s it. That was practically the only medium that we could use with inmates because of all the security protocols that we had to go through. At that time, not even pencils were allowed. So, it was very difficult for artists to accommodate their requirements. But it was very interesting and creative. Many inmates were very happy to participate because they had a wonderful talent.

These types of experiences are incredibly satisfying for me. Maybe that’s the reason why I’m so happy to be a teaching artist, because with the people I encounter, I can see the transformation through the arts. It’s incredibly rewarding. People who have never had access to the arts before, and having a first experience that is really positive for them—it’s really transformative. Teaching opens the door to the arts.

 

You first participated in a Bartol teaching artist workshop when they presented their marketing series in NYC. How did you wind up coming to Philadelphia?

I was living in Syracuse, New York at the time, which is a small city relatively close to the border with Canada. I was very active over there, participating in a number of different organizations—I was president of Onondaga Art Guild, I was doing public relations for Associate Artists of Central New York, I was a member of a number of communities supporting youth. But when you are a big city person and you’re living in a place like Syracuse, it can be frustrating.

I went to Bartol’s marketing workshop in New York, and I decided at that time that I had to move from Syracuse. When I became aware of what the Bartol Foundation was doing, I was surprised that it was coming from Philadelphia to be in New York City. And I was very curious. So, I started doing my own personal research regarding what the Foundation was, what it was doing, and I thought that it was really great and I would like to be participating. Therefore, I decided to visit Philadelphia for several days. And after being here and talking to people and visiting places, I felt very much at home from day one. And I decided that this was the place to be. And that was practically because of being informed of the Bartol Foundation. So, I made my decision, and here I am.

 

Why were you interested in attending the symposium?

There were three main reasons why I really wanted to participate: making connections, sharing experiences, and learning from other people. There were also some topics that were of great interest to me—for example, working in alternative spaces. Being new to Philadelphia, I’m actively looking to associate with other artists and to continue learning. And I think I was really welcomed into the community at this program.

 

Can you share something you found particularly valuable and/or surprising about the symposium?    

I was surprised with the figure cited by one of the panelists that 19% of the American population has been diagnosed with some type of disability. It made me think about the percentage who has NOT been diagnosed, adding to the official percentage. These figures preoccupy me. Are teaching artists prepared to effectively integrate special needs people in activities we offer in our communities?

Why it caught my attention is because when I work on projects sometimes, I have to explain that I’m not an occupational therapist—I’m a teaching artist. And being a teaching artist is still a term that the general population is not familiar with. You have to explain that you are not a teacher, you are not a therapist—you are a little bit something in between. I tremendously identified with what the speaker was saying at that point.

 

To learn more about Angela’s work as a teaching artist, visit http://aaartatelier.blogspot.com/.

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

“Witness, archivist, activist, and creator” – Interview with Bartol Board Member Sannii Crespina-flores

Photo courtesy of Sannii Crespina-flores.

 

As part of an ongoing Q&A series, we will be learning more about the Bartol Foundation’s artistic community. Sannii Crespina-flores is a teaching artist, advocate, and activist for youth and women. She is a board member of the Bartol Foundation, currently serving in her third year on the board.

  

Can you tell me a bit about your work as a teaching artist?

I’ve been an artist and community activist for over 20 years, both for women and youth. My artwork was birthed as a result of me being a woman of color—specifically a black woman—and my advocacy comes from me being a mother. So, although I use the title “teaching artist,” I’m really an artist that shares a connection to the experiences of the people in my community. As an artist, I have the honor of being a witness, archivist, activist, and creator in my community. And it’s interesting, because my community has grown from just the people that I grew up with—my family and friends—to artists in the city, artists in the country, youth in the country, other advocates and activists, and also globally. I’ve had the privilege to go and share what I’ve learned and experienced with other folks, and then learn from them as well and create something beautiful from it.

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

Fellow board member Rebecca Fabiano actually introduced me to the Bartol Foundation. I really loved the fact that it was a diverse board of women who, individually and collectively, have made changes to the arts education landscape in Philly. How could I not want to be a part of that?

What’s been the most rewarding moment from your time working with the Bartol Foundation?

I think I became a member at a really, really good time in the history of the Bartol Foundation. Because I’ve watched Bartol create this family—this living, breathing entity—by creating a platform for teaching artists and connecting teaching artists to organizations, and then partnering with organizations to grow this movement of art, education, and connectedness. So, that is what I find most rewarding, to be able to be a part of it. I don’t have specific any moments that stick out—I just have one ongoing positive, impactful experience.

 

To learn more about Sannii’s work as an artist, visit http://artistecard.com/SanniiCrespinaflores.

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

 

“I don’t believe in starving artists”—Interview with Bartol Administrator Melissa Talley-Palmer

Photo courtesy of Melissa Talley-Palmer.

 

As part of an ongoing Q&A series, we will be learning more about the Bartol Foundation’s artistic community. Melissa Talley-Palmer is Administrator at the Bartol Foundation, joining the team in November 2017. Outside of her work at Bartol, Melissa is Administrative Assistant at Philadelphia Jazz Project, and an event planner and dance teacher.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your role at the Bartol Foundation?

My role here at the Bartol Foundation as the Administrator is primarily to support the Executive Director in granting applications, organizing teaching artist workshops, and general office support. I also like to do a lot of outreach, just letting the whole world know what’s happening at Bartol and extending it to new audiences.

As a dancer and teaching artist, what is most meaningful for your work in the community?

What’s most exciting for me as a teaching artist is the education component in the communities where I live and work. I’m passionate about preserving the history and culture of dance in our communities, particularly the African-American community where I learned to dance, and where that is such a deep connection to my history and family traditions. It’s really important for me to spread that joy, because it was such a joyful experience for me. With all that’s happening around the world through media, there’s such a divide amongst people. And for me, that’s disheartening. If we don’t teach our children the importance of humanity, then they lose a really valuable experience, especially when they’re young.

The demand for teaching dance in the community actually came from a lot of my peers inquiring during social events—like class reunions, family reunions—that I teach them the dances that my children and I were doing. My husband loves music and he DJs our dance classes, and my sons grew up learning how to dance, and we dance together all the time at social functions. I was taught how to dance back in my childhood in the 60s—so imagine how far back that goes for me. It takes me to my youth, and I like to give that to other people.

What would you like to contribute to the work of the Bartol Foundation?

I’m looking forward to expanding Bartol’s audience, and applying my administrative and technical skills to figuring out how we can deepen the experience for people at Bartol—whether that’s through a workshop, a grant that they receive, or whether that’s through teaching a workshop. It’s very exciting.

The Bartol Foundation experience, for me, is a new approach to the work that I’ve been doing for the last 20 years. I started doing nonprofit community arts and education work as a volunteer back in 1997 at the Village of Arts and Humanities. As a certified arts administrator, I think the work at Bartol puts me in a position to be able to make Bartol’s resources more known to a wider community. There are a lot of people who know of the Bartol Foundation, but I’m not sure if they all understand what are the ways they can engage in its resources. So, sharing the information about Bartol’s resources with the teaching artists I know.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am a two-time Art and Change Grantee with the Leeway Foundation. Because of the similarities to Bartol’s work, that’s another resource that I can bring to teaching artists, as an opportunity for them to consider applying for money to support their interests. All of these things are interconnected, and I’m looking forward to how that supports Bartol in fulfilling its mission to build teaching artists who can be more economically sound in their work—and not starve. I don’t believe in starving artists.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

“Becoming trauma-informed is a journey”—Interview with Teaching Artist Mindy A. Early

In the fall of 2018, the Bartol Foundation will be piloting a new series of trauma-informed training workshops for teaching artists. Mindy A. Early is the lead designer and facilitator for this series. She is also Director for Education and Program Services at Philadelphia Young Playwrights, where she manages in-class residences, out-of-school programs and special projects, and productions.

To learn more about Bartol’s upcoming trauma workshops, read our Q&A with Mindy.

 

How did you become aware of the impact of trauma on the students you were working with?

There’s a twofold answer to that question. The first, which may be the more obvious one, is that my teaching artists and myself would go into classrooms and use playwriting and monologue writing as a vehicle to encourage students to use and express their voices. As an organization, Young Playwrights never censors students, so they are allowed to write about whatever they would like, from completely fictional all the way through biographical. So, as you can imagine, many of our students take that opportunity to write about things that touch their lives directly, and some of those topics suggested that they had intersected with some trauma in their lives.

The secondary reason is that, for a long time, my teaching artists and I have believed that some of the behaviors encountered in classrooms that would be labeled as “unwanted” or “challenging” aren’t coming from a place of the students rebelling against the artist who’s in the classroom. A lot of these responses are coming from a different place. We were looking towards trying to find a model that could reframe our views of that behavior, and also equip us better to meet students where they were and to help them rather than discipline them.

 

What does it mean for teaching artists to be trauma-informed, and how were you trained in these practices?

The majority of my training comes through the Lakeside Global Institute. They have a three-part, 72-hour training for people who work with potentially trauma-impacted populations. I took those three courses in addition to some other readings and professional development sessions that I’ve attended.

Being a trauma-informed teaching artist is a process. The first step is realizing what trauma is, its causes, and its effect on the brain, body, and behavior. And then what its potential impact is on a person’s ability to forge positive relationships, to trust, or to be able to comfortably learn because of where they’re at in their brain state.

The second part is being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma based on exhibited behaviors. This involves looking at how they interact, how they forge relationships, and how they’re responding physically, emotionally, and socially.

The final part is responding by fully applying knowledge about trauma into workshop practices and student encounters and, by so doing, seeking to actively resist re-traumatization. In other words, choosing responses that, rather than discipline or punish the individual, actually help to calm them and give them tools to heal, to build resiliency, and to learn how to develop positive relationships and other things that can help them through the impact of their trauma.

 

As the lead facilitator for the Bartol Foundation’s new training in trauma-informed practice for teaching artists, can you tell us about this training and what you hope it will achieve?

This training is interdisciplinary—artists of any art form can take this training and find the information valuable and directly applicable to their work.

The training will start in trauma theory—looking at what causes trauma and how it affects the brain, behavior, and ability to learn. You can’t talk about trauma without talking about the theories and getting a little scientific, so you really understand what it’s doing to the brain and body.

The training will then segue into how we can shift our practices as teaching artists. So, looking at what the considerations are as we plan our lessons, give directions, facilitate the classroom and transitions, and give students assignments and guideposts. As we’re teaching this portion of the workshop, we’re also teaching class facilitation practices—how to deal with students one-on-one and as a group.

We’re hoping to close out the sessions by looking at vicarious trauma and how to integrate self-care even in your busiest moments. Teaching artists who are working with trauma-impacted students on a daily basis are having a lot of heavy conversations, which can be a lot to take on. This has been coming up frequently as I’m in trauma-informed spaces as a teaching artist.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

The act of becoming trauma-informed is definitely a journey and a process. In order to be truly trauma-informed, you have to be willing to dig into a lot of theory and reading. And then as you apply it to your practices, you have to be willing to dig into yourself—your biases, habits,strengths, and weaknesses—and really commit yourself to a bit of a paradigm shift and maybe letting some things go that have been part of your practice for many years. So, it is hard work and rigorous work, but it’s really important work. And it’s really rewarding when you have a workshop or a one-on-one interaction when you see that these principles make a huge difference and impact.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

“Work that changes people’s lives”—Interview with Bartol Board Chair Toni Shapiro-Phim

As part of an ongoing Q&A series, we will be learning more about the Bartol Foundation’s artistic community. Toni Shapiro-Phim is Director of Programs at the Philadelphia Folklore Project. She is currently chair of the Bartol Foundation’s board, and is beginning her second three-year term on the board after taking a break while living in Cambodia.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your work at Philadelphia Folklore Project?

Philadelphia Folklore Project is a nonprofit arts and social justice organization. We work to sustain vital and diverse cultural heritage in our communities through collaborative projects, research, documentation, and education. We prioritize folk and traditional arts in service of social change. To that end, we identify local traditional artists and community organizations and support their artistic growth. We produce public programs (exhibitions, performances, forums, workshops, etc.) advancing cultural traditions significant to Philadelphia communities, and we also document outstanding practitioners and practices.

We’re particularly committed, at the moment, to engaging in informed, respectful, and sensitive ways with community members who have experienced trauma given their histories of displacement, violence, and loss, or even their current circumstances here in Philadelphia. Part of what keeps communities strong and vital is their local cultural knowledge. This is reflected in traditional cultural practices including rituals, food, and stories shared through performance, words, images, etc. So, each of the communities with which we engage has valued ways of making meaning in the world that, with some nurturing from our collaborative efforts, might help deepen and expand community cohesion and constructive action in the face of pressing local concerns.

 

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

Philanthropy, I believe, has the potential to have a profoundly constructive impact. I also believe in the Bartol Foundation’s mission, and I’ve long appreciated the respectful way in which Bartol staff engages with communities in Philadelphia, and with applicants for and recipients of Bartol funding. The Folklore Project has been a recipient of Bartol funding, so I’ve had the experience from that end.

The Bartol Foundation has a unique niche here. It’s in a position to recognize and support organizations doing work on the ground—work that changes people’s lives through creation of and participation in meaningful arts programs and activities—and also to provide thought-provoking and skill-building professional development trainings for teaching artists and others working in community-focused arts in our city.

 

What’s been the most rewarding moment from your time working with the Bartol Foundation?

My experience thus far at the Bartol Foundation has been packed full of so many rewarding moments, it’s hard to choose just one. But here’s an example: I went on a site visit to observe a choir program for second and third graders coordinated by a local arts organization. The organization offered a truly inspiring and holistic approach, interpreting the term “instrument” to be voice, in terms of sounds and utterances that come out of one’s mouth, and also in terms of say or presence in the world. They also interpret “instrument” to be one’s entire body and one’s demeanor as well. So, in addition to the development of singing skills, the focus is on understanding that one has control over how one proceeds and presents oneself in the world, and that that matters—that the say/presence/self-presentation of each of them all matter. The students were engaged wholeheartedly, from the start of the classes to the end. Brilliant. It was truly rewarding to see innovative arts education in action.

 

To learn more about Philadelphia Folklore Project, visit www.folkloreproject.org.

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Project Stream Grant—Interview with Allison Vanyur, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

Photo: People’s Emergency Center, 2016 Project Stream grantee. (Courtesy of Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance)

 

The Philadelphia region offers a wide range of funding opportunities for community-based artists and organizations. One example is Project Stream, a grant administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. Learn more and get application tips in our Q&A with Allison Vanyur, Grants & Events Manager at the Cultural Alliance.

 

Can you explain a bit of background information about the Project Stream Grant?

Project Stream is a program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), a state government agency. They run a number of different arts funding opportunities, but two of them—Project Stream and Program Stream—are facilitated by regional partner organizations, so this gives the decision-making power to local communities. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance facilitates Project Stream in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. This opportunity is open to any individual, nonprofit organization, or fiscally sponsored organization in Pennsylvania. The grants support any type of arts-specific projects, including exhibitions, performances, poetry readings, and art education programs. The maximum amount you can request is $2,500.

 

Do individuals need to have a fiscal sponsor or can anyone apply?

Individuals do not need to have fiscal sponsors. Any individual over the age of 18 who lives in the five-county Philadelphia region can apply. If an organization wants to apply and they do not have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, then they would need a fiscal sponsor.

 

What impact do you hope that Project Stream will have on Philadelphia’s cultural landscape?

The main goal of Project Stream is to promote access to the arts in every county in Pennsylvania. The PCA distributes Project Stream grants in every county of Pennsylvania. So, our goal is always that the pool of applicants represents the diverse communities that make up the region. Every Project Stream grant must have a public component of some sort—such as an exhibition or something that the public can come to—so that anyone in the community can experience or participate in the project.

I think another thing that makes Project Stream really unique is that it’s open to organizations that don’t necessarily have a specific arts focus. So, a church or a community center that does not typically present arts programming can apply for the same opportunity as a ballet company or a museum.

 

What advice would you give someone applying for the first time?

I think the most important thing to remember when you’re writing a Project Stream application is that these proposals are reviewed by a volunteer panel of your peers. Anyone who lives in the region can volunteer to serve as a panelist, and they all have varying degrees of arts expertise. We really want the stakeholders in the community to have a voice in what is presented in their communities. For this reason, I always tell people to assume that panelists are not familiar with your work, or even with your artistic discipline—to really over-articulate and be very, very clear when you’re describing your project and identifying the goals you hope to reach.

 

How can interested individuals learn more information?

More information can be found on our website, or by emailing me at allisonv@philaculture.org.

 

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

“As artists, you never stop learning”—Interview with Teaching Artist Gigi McGraw

As part of an ongoing Q&A series, we will be learning more about the Bartol Foundation’s artistic community. Gigi McGraw is an author, teaching artist, and creative entrepreneur. She holds an M.A. in Theatre from Villanova University, and has over 15 years of experience in community outreach and learning development, with particular focus on intergenerational programming.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your work as a teaching artist?

I see myself as putting myself out in the world as an author and social artist. I use multidisciplinary arts practices to address social issues, or even just universal themes like love, legacy, and family. With the social issues, the focus is more on Philadelphia and what’s going on in some of our marginalized communities, such as gun violence and mass incarceration. I see myself as using art to engage, entertain, and inform, but also to connect with the community.

With my intergenerational programming, a current area of interest is using my art to create Memory Cafes, which are creative experiences that help mature adults who are dealing with dementia and memory loss. The cafes are little sit-downs that might have different objects, music, or newspaper clippings from a certain time period. The purpose is to have the individuals interact with the objects, pick them up, talk about them—and the hope is that it will spark a memory. A lot of times with people who are dealing with memory issues or cognitive decline, something that makes them think of their childhood can initiate conversation and spark memories, even though they might not remember what they did a couple of hours ago. So, I’m really interested in seeing how I can use social art to address this issue in a creative way.


You attend a lot of professional development opportunities at Bartol and other organizations. What would you tell other teaching artists about how this supports your work as a teaching artist and entrepreneur?

The fact that Bartol is providing this free resource for artists is a wonderful thing! I also look at these workshops as a wonderful networking opportunity. Not only are you being connected to experts in the field, but you’re also meeting fellow peers in the arts from all kinds of disciplines—dancers, rappers, poets, authors. A beautiful thing is that after the workshop, the facilitator will send out a list of everyone’s contact information so you expand your base of contacts and people that you know. It’s an opportunity to create friendships with people who are like-minded.

As people, and especially as artists, you never stop learning. As teachers, educators, and artists, you should always be looking for ways to evolve. I think that the Bartol workshops give you that opportunity. They’re really interested in finding unique or clever workshops, or just giving people foundational tips and advice—all of it is really good.

 

What do you see in the future for your teaching artist work in the community? How do Bartol’s professional development workshops feed your growth as a teaching artist?

For my future, I really want to get serious with my social art and have that be my primary source of revenue. I want to be able to connect and engage not only with the community, but with movers and shakers around the world. What I see for my future is really establishing my brand, but also fine-tuning my model of creating an artistic project around a theme or issue.

I also want to make sure that I continue to engage with the community, whether it be over issues like gun violence and mass incarceration, or dealing with mature adults with Memory Cafes. I don’t think that my projects and activities will always be this large, grandiose thing. A lot of the work will be on the micro level, and I think that you can definitely make change even if you’re starting from a small place with a group of 20 or 30 people—that can grow and have a ripple effect.

Bartol’s professional development workshops will not only give me the support that I need, but it also encourages me. You’re around other people who understand the importance of the work that you’re doing. I also hope that with my background as a workshop and professional trainer, that in the future I may be able to offer Bartol some workshops for other teaching artists. I’ve received so many wonderful opportunities from Bartol, and I would like to be able to give that back in the form of presenting workshops and trainings.

 

To learn more about Gigi’s work, visit https://1cupofcoffeeblog.wordpress.com/.

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

 

Scholarships Available! Deadline to Apply is May 25, 2018.

Teaching Artist Symposium: Working in Alternative Spaces

Saturday, June 23, 2018, 8:30am-6:00pm
at the University of the Arts

Teaching artists have brought their creative knowledge to K–12 classrooms, but there are many opportunities for artists to engage communities that are outside of the traditional classroom. This symposium will introduce practitioners to experts in the fields of restorative practice in correctional facilities, inclusion and accessibility, creative aging, and even municipal government. We will showcase practical tools and skills to support your development in these areas; through panel discussions and breakout sessions. Join us to consider how your artistic practice can be transferred into these community settings.

The Symposium will feature a keynote address from Eric Booth and a day of programming at The University of the Arts. The event is made possible by The University of the Arts, Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation.

To apply for a scholarship, please email bfbrandt@bartol.org by Friday, May 25 with a brief paragraph about your work as a teaching artist and what you hope to learn from the symposium.

For more information about the symposium, visit here.

“Creative and Engaging”—Interview with Bartol/SBMA Artist Engagement Fellow Tezarah Wilkins

As part of the Bartol Foundation’s new partnership with Small But Mighty Arts, we recently brought on board Tezarah Wilkins as Artist Engagement Fellow. Tezarah will be working jointly with Bartol and SBMA to profile the work of teaching artists in the community through video interviews, assist with networking events, and raise awareness of the resources provided by these two organizations. Be sure to follow Bartol’s Facebook page to stay updated as this exciting new partnership unfolds!

Meet Tezarah in today’s Q&A!

 

Can you tell me a bit about your work as an artist?

I’ve always been an artist, and I’ve transitioned through different genres of art at different stages in my life. I started out as a visual artist doing illustration, and then I trained as a theatre actor for a while. In college, I started doing spoken word, pairing my theatre background with poetry to give it that performance element. Now I’ve transitioned into photography and film, which I’ve been doing for the longest—for about the last eight years or so.

What do you focus on when creating a short film to profile an artist’s work in the community? What techniques do you use visually and in the interviews to tell their story?

I try to think about everyone as a character, showcasing the emotion through the interactions between the teaching artist and their community. I like to include aspects of fun as well, because a lot of what we do as artists is creative and engaging and relatable. So, if an artist is at a school, I focus on getting the ambiance, seeing what their community looks like, and creating imagery that showcases their interactions with students—smiles, laughter—and how they engage with their community.

You will be out in all kinds of places that bring artists together, telling them more about resources through Bartol and SBMA (e.g. grants, professional development, networking). What do you think is the most important thing you can tell artists about why they should connect with these resources?

I think artists are always going to benefit from organizations that are trying to cultivate their skills and provide additional opportunities for them. Organizations like the Bartol Foundation provide a lot of professional development opportunities where artists can hone certain skills. Granting organizations are always wonderful to be attached to for the financial support as well, just so that artists can continue to grow their work and have the resources to reach out to a greater audience.

What are you hoping to learn from this fellowship?

I’m looking for the same things, honestly. I’m definitely looking forward to this fellowship and using it as a way to grow myself as an artist—getting feedback from other people who are working as artists every day, being around their energy, and being motivated by the work that they do. Ultimately, I want to use the fellowship as a platform for networking with other organizations and individuals that I can partner with to grow the arts in Philadelphia.

 

To view Tezarah’s work as a photographer, visit https://www.instagram.com/tezarah/.

Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Bartol and Small But Mighty Arts Announce Partnership

The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation today announced a partnership with Small But Mighty Arts of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia (SBMA) to award ten $500 micro-grants to Philadelphia-based teaching artists.

Small But Mighty Arts is a connector organization that creates career-enhancing opportunities for artists. This micro-grant program is designed to give teaching artists the jumpstart they need to advance or complete a creative project in the community.

“By partnering with Small But Mighty Arts, the Bartol Foundation can amplify our impact and directly support individual artists who are working in communities,” said Beth Feldman Brandt, Executive Director of the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation. “Bartol and SBMA share the same ‘can do’ attitude, and both our strengths lie in our networks and our knowledge of the communities we serve, as well as our shared belief that small can be powerful.”

“Ultimately artists win when we partner. By cross-promoting, resource-sharing, and collaborating based on each of organizations’ programmatic strengths, we’re able to shorten the distance between artists and the opportunities that will help them to thrive,” says Erica Hawthorne-Manon, Executive Director of Small But Mighty Arts. As a ‘small but mighty’ organization in an ever-changing non-profit landscape, partnerships are also critical to our sustainability.”

Both Feldman Brandt and Hawthorne-Manon are pleased to be modeling a partnership program, something they and other funders often suggest to the small non-profits they fund.

“As a funder, we often tell our grantees to partner with each other for greater impact,” says Brandt. “Now funders and grantees alike can see how that looks in action. Small But Mighty Arts and Bartol share goals that are aligned and have complimentary resources. We realized we each could benefit from this partnership, as would our grantees.”

Micro-grant guidelines and info session registration will be available the week of March 19, 2018.Applications will be open April 2 – 14, 2018. Grant recipients will be announced the week of May 21, 2018. For more information visit www.smallbutmightyarts.org/sbma-grant.

 

The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation works at the intersection of arts, education, community and philanthropy, grounded in our belief that deeply meaningful arts experiences strengthen people and communities. The Bartol Foundation serves as a hub through which cultural organizations, teaching artists, community partners, and funders work toward the common goal of providing high-caliber, equitable arts education to people in Philadelphia, especially those in the most under-resourced or under-served Through grantmaking, professional development programs and arts advocacy, we utilize our knowledge and resources to create collaborations within and across our own and other networks to generate more resources and opportunities for all.

Small But Mighty Arts of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia (SBMA) deepens engagement between artists and the community through the facilitation of partnership programs, resource connections, information-sharing, funding, and advising. FOR ARTISTS: SBMA provides artists with the “spark” they need to continue or complete projects, maintain creative momentum, and put more work into the community through connecting & informing artists about career-enhancing opportunities, offering access to funding through micro-grants, and providing a range of advisory services. FOR ORGANIZATIONS: SBMA works with organizations and institutions to help them reach their creative project goals through connection and engagement with emerging and established artists.