Teens in the Big Picture Alliance's after school program create original films from script to screen.

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.

Powering Connections, Annual Report 2016

Annual Report 2016: October 1, 2015-September 03, 2016

How do you connect? Start with those closest to you—those with whom you share common values or a cultural history. Now expand the circle to those who are trying to achieve the same goals: maybe a friend-of-a-friend or someone whose culture or geography overlaps with yours. Then expand the circle again to people who are allies or could be allies if you could make the case for common interests and long-term benefits.

At the Bartol Foundation, the heart of our work lies in connections. We can only achieve our mission through the work of others. We engage with artists and organizations who themselves are connecting to communities and who share a common vision to bring access to meaningful arts experiences. We look beyond the city of Philadelphia to connect our artists and organizations to others nationally to learn and share our own stories. We engage with partners who share our goals even if they don’t work directly in the arts, but can see its value for advancing their own mission. 

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Grantmaking

The Board and staff of the Bartol Foundation bring decades of experience in arts education, youth development, community advocacy, and nonprofit management. The board and staff visit every potential applicant to see their programs in action (64 visits in 2016) and to build a personal connection of support and assistance, whether or not an organization becomes a grantee.

The Board relies on these conversations and their own expertise as they review requests from arts and cultural organizations, which provide in-depth, hands-on arts experiences that embody exceptional teaching practices and community connections. In June of 2016, Bartol awarded $130,000 to 24 organizations from 51 applications.

  • Ten grantees had budgets under $500,000, with the smallest organization having a budget of $26,000.
  • We welcomed four new grantees: Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, Center in the Park, PhillyCAM, and Sister Cities Girlchoir, representing a range of new audiences and art forms.
  • This year’s George Bartol Arts Education Award went to Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA), which engages the community with education programs focused on Latin American music and culture.

These grants represent the full range of disciplines with programs taking place all over the city. Using a new reporting format developed with our grantees, we know that in 2015, Bartol supported programs in 21 zip codes of Philadelphia.

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Professional Development for Teaching Artists

We believe the most direct way to improve the quality and reach of arts education programs is to invest in the professional development of teaching artists. In addition to teaching artists who work for one (or more) of our grantees, these connections reach out to any teaching artist who wants to invest in their own knowledge while networking with others in the field.

In FY2016, Bartol presented 24 free professional development workshops attended by 400 artists. These workshops—led by peers and Foundation staff—shared teaching practices and entrepreneurial skills. This network has  grown to include almost 1600 individuals on our email list.

Our annual survey of the teaching artist community tells us more:

  • Teaching artists work in Philadelphia public schools (51%); other schools (55%); cultural organizations (52%); and other kinds of non-profits organizations (57%).
  • Teaching artists’ audiences cover the spectrum from pre-schoolers (32%) to K-12 (74%) to young adults/adults (45%). Only 27% have worked with senior adults.
  • The most popular types of services provided are multiple-visit programs in schools (65%) and multiple programs with non-arts organizations.
  • A large majority (63%) have secured work on their own in the past year.

We work hard to develop programs to meet their needs. Our workshops included sessions on curriculum integration; youth development; and building strong collaborations. In addition, we help teaching artists develop strategies to support themselves as creative entrepreneurs through programs on marketing, finance, and digital media.

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A National Presence

Although we provide funding only in the city of Philadelphia, we know that there is power in connections that go beyond the city. As part of the Bartol Foundation’s work to support teaching artists, we established the National Teaching Artist Video Library, a national platform for teaching artists to share their knowledge. These one-minute tips are designed to be put to use in the classroom or community. There are new tips every month, from topics on classroom management and activities for the classroom to explaining commonly used terms in education and youth development.

In 2016, we developed and implemented a digital strategy to share content and networks through social media, linking our work to that of others supporting artists working in communities. If the communities and artists we care about are to thrive, we have to widen our circle of allies and advocates. Our new series of conversations entitled “Artists Plus…” brings together artists and cultural organizations with practitioners from other fields to share strategies for strong partnerships and building a network with common goals. Artists Plus Community Development, co-presented with LISC Philadelphia and PACDC, helped 75 participants map their shared goals and unique strengths.

Creating Safe Spaces Workshop

Artists Plus Trauma-Informed Practice, co-presented with the Scattergood Foundation for Behavioral Health, shared the most current research on strategies for supporting those impacted by trauma through the arts. This has become an ongoing conversation to provide the skills teaching artists need to deal with the most vulnerable people in our community.

The Bartol Foundation continues to be the hub of knowledge and networks for arts education and community-based arts in Philadelphia. Our connections grow deeper and wider each year.

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