Still alive!

I promise I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth!

Now that I’ve got a handle on things after a recent move from Kentucky back to New England, more frequent posting is next on my list! And that will begin… soon.

In the meantime, I leave you with a recent discovery of mine. I found this text on the website for the Association of Teaching Artists, and it is the most articulate description of goals for a teaching artist to strive for that I have come across. It breaks down the job into three aspects: artistic, teaching and business. That third one is so often neglected… more on this later.

The specific skills and knowledge of those aspects (artistic, teaching, business) of the work of teaching artists include:


Teaching artists should work towards acquiring the following:

  • Have formal training and/or years of experience in arts discipline or traditional arts practice.
  • Demonstrate professional practice: performs, exhibits, publishes, maintain a healthy body of work as appropriate to the art form and cultural community.
  • Provide authentic model for power of artistic thinking, creating, perceiving, reflecting, and attending.
  • Take risks as an artist (model behavior).
  • Develop self-assessment/critique/evaluation skills.
  • Model flexibility and adaptability.
  • Possess artistic skills to deal with any situation that might arise.
  • Use components of art form to teach in new ways.
  • Transform passion for own art form and motivates participant to push their own aesthetic experience.
  • Synthesize and make connections.
  • Knowledge Base:
  • Historical and societal context of own art form.
  • Wide range of materials and methods within art form.


Teaching artists should work towards acquiring the following:

  • Collaborate with teachers, administrators, staff, students, parents, community.
  • Conduct a needs assessment in collaboration with the classroom teacher or site contact person.
  • Engage a roomful of people who have different abilities.
  • Teach across gender, age, race, and cultural boundaries.
  • Create successful sequential lessons that are developmentally appropriate.
  • Assess participant learning and evaluate overall program effectiveness.
  • Be flexible, assess progress and success of classroom in progress and make any necessary adjustments (in teaching style, materials, equipment, timing, sequencing, teacher/staff involvement).
  • Model behavior and best practices.
  • Access resources to support own teaching, e.g. people, organizations, literature.
  • Use the arts to foster and build healthy self esteem.
  • Share genuine affection for the audience/population that one is teaching.
  • To build community through art.
  • Knowledge Base:
  • Classroom management skills.
  • Multiple intelligence theory and its integration into teaching practice.
  • Current state curriculum standards and an ability to link them with teaching practice.
  • Developmental capabilities of their participants, and child development in general.


Teaching artists should work towards acquiring the following:

  • Manage time and schedule effectively, not over-booking, ability to be on time.
  • Communicate: to talk with teachers, staff, administrators, parents; ability to follow up on conversations.
  • Manage an office: administrative skills, book keeping.
  • Be organized and prepared.
  • Be professional in demeanor: respect for school/community space environment, materials, rules, schedule, and property.
  • Use good presentation skills: using voice and body language to captivate audience.
  • Be able to write workshop descriptions, promotional literature and more: literary skills.
  • Plan and promote own work as an artist-educator.
  • Write grants and raise funds.
  • Understand how to access different communities and to facilitate meetings with a diverse group of people.

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