Go Green to Save Green

Gas prices. They’re on everyone’s mind. Especially among the “young, fabulous and broke” (thank you Suze Orman) and among teaching artists.

Last year as an intern, I logged more than 1200 miles in driving to and from in-school residencies and workshops. I was lucky enough to get reimbursed for mileage I drove that was work-related, but that’s not the case everywhere. At 55 cents a mile, reimbursing artists and employees for mileage is a lot of money for any non-profit organization.

Aside from all that driving, being a teaching artist is a pretty green profession. Even when you add in art projects, I’ve found that teaching artists tend to be very eco-conscious when it comes to dreaming up and finding materials. When I’m in the classroom, I find I don’t need much. Body, voice, and imagination are the main ingredients of what we do. But getting to the classroom is a different story.

Some people might say, “Well what’s the big deal? I don’t get reimbursed driving from my house to the office.” But teaching artists get around! A huge part of our work is done in schools because that’s where the young people are. There is no typical day in the life of a teaching artist, but whether you’re employed full-time or a freelance artist, commuting is a big part of it.

Today I want to share with you a mini personal victory of mine. It’s not huge, (you’ve been warned) but I’m excited about it. I have the luxury of living only a couple miles from the sixth grade center where I’m currently teaching and only a couple more miles from the MTC office. I finally overcame my fear of the multiple and insane-looking hills on my commute and I biked EVERYWHERE today. (Home to school to home to office to home.) In addition to being a “young, fabulous and broke” teaching artist, I make a conscious effort to do everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint and be green, so you can imagine how ecstatic I am with today’s biking accomplishment.

What are some of the ways you can green up your work life?

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