The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has appointed Kyla Searle as Managing Director. Searle is a writer, producer, curator, and educator. She has worked in arts education for more than 10 years in Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago and, for the last six years, in New York City.
Author: Roundtable Managing Director
By Lauren Jost, Teaching Artist
A few weeks ago I was sitting on the subway and, at one of the express stops, moved my bag over to make room for another commuter in a business suit. She sat down next to me and glanced at my bag, which was overflowing with juggling scarves and puppet legs. She raised her eyebrow, turned to me, and said, “Looks like you’re going to have more fun today than I am.”
Being a teaching artist means always being on the go. We work at several sites a day, often for several different employers, and this means when we leave the house, we have to be prepared to switch hats several different times throughout the day. Here is a handy checklist to help you pack for a full day as a teaching artist:
- – Water bottle
- – Leak-proof coffee thermos
- – Phone charger
- – Back-up battery
- – Breakfast
- – GPS-enabled apps and a robust data plan
- – Your favorite way of carrying your lesson plans. Some TAs swear by index cards. Others carry accordion folders. I keep mine digitally on Evernote.
- – A warm layer for cold schools
- – Deodorant for hot schools
- – A change of clothes for your third gig of the day, where they require you to wear the t-shirt with the company logo
- – An unlimited-ride MetroCard
- – A back up MetroCard in case your other one expires
- – A wallet with IDs for the seven different schools and non-profits for which you are teaching this week
- – Lunch (I recommend a wrap with high protein and fiber contents that you can eat in the 10 minutes between your morning classes)
- – A bundle of scripts for your middle school residency
- – A bag of puppets for your early childhood class
- – A guitar for the afterschool program
- – Bluetooth speaker with back up cords because it hasn’t been working so well lately
- – Movement clothes for the choreography rehearsal you are leading after after-school
- – The hula hoop, package of peacock feathers, and bundle of juggling rings that you used in yesterday’s circus workshops and which need to be returned to the office today
- – A power bar
- – Laptop, or tablet with Bluetooth keyboard to take notes at the production meeting after rehearsal
- – A frequent buyer app (with rewards!) for your favorite coffee shop so you can refill your thermos between after-school classes
- – Reading for the subway (Your dog-eared copy of “Asking Better Questions“, and your kindle loaded with “For White People Who Teach in The Hood” because you are FINALLY going to get to it this semester…)
- – Some plastic silverware so that you can pick up a salad at the PAX and eat it on the way to your evening seminar
- – Earrings, heels, and lip gloss for the networking seminar this evening featuring a speaker from the DOE updating us on yet another change to the state standards
- – A jar of Advil for your mysteriously recurring back pain
- – And make sure to leave space to pick up the set of 24 tambourines for tomorrow while you’re on your way home!
By Heleya de Barros, Co-chair of the Roundtable’s TA Affairs Committee
Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving is around the corner, and that means that it is time for open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace! I know, for some this might inspire more dread than doing your taxes, but I’m here to share that it doesn’t have to be so terrible. There are some fantastic resources out there to help you navigate the marketplace and get coverage as a freelance artist!
This will be the fourth year I’ve enrolled in individual health coverage through the New York marketplace. The ACA can be cumbersome and confusing to begin with–then add in being a freelance artist into the mix and the equation gets more complicated. To help you avoid throwing your hands in the air and walking away without any coverage (I’ve been there), I wanted to share some resources I’ve found helpful as a freelance artist searching for healthcare in New York.
First, let’s get the dates straight:
- November 1, 2016: New York State of Health open enrollment begins
- November 16, 2016: Renewal enrollment begins for those with existing New York State of Health coverage
- December 15, 2016: Enrollment deadline to get coverage by January 1, 2017
- January 31, 2017: Deadline to enroll in or make changes to a 2017 plan
Note: If you qualify for a special enrollment period, you may be eligible to enroll at a later date.
Whether this is your first year navigating the ACA, or not, I encourage you to check out the Actor’s Fund Artist Health Insurance Resource Center Site.
The Actor’s Fund (not just for actors!) is a nationwide human services organization that helps professionals in all performing arts and entertainment. They are an amazing resource in this city. They have assisted me with healthcare navigation, affordable housing, finding a therapist, and tax information over the years. Their ACA FAQ Tutorial is a really great place to start. It even includes a glossary of healthcare terms.
If you’re looking for a little more guidance The Actor’s Fund also holds in-person “Every Artist Insured” seminars twice weekly at their offices in Times Square.
“Every Artist Insured”
Every Tuesday at 6pm and Thursday at 1:30 pm from November 1, 2016- January 31, 2017
No need to register, just show up! Find out more here.
I attended one of the sessions last year. It was helpful to walk through the whole system step-by-step with a person to answer questions right there with you. I also learned a lot about the kinds of questions I should be asking and thinking about from the other artists in the room. Especially when it came to how to enter your income as a freelancer.
If you want one-on-one guidance through the process that is also free and available! New York State of Health offers free In Person Assistance (IPA), or navigators, who are well versed in the system to walk people through the enrollment process. This assistance is available in over 40 languages. More information, click here.
The Actor’s Fund also has their own set of certified IPA’s/navigators with specific knowledge of artists budgets and lifestyles (available here). I used one of their navigators last year. I was able to better understand the coverage I was signing up for, and as a result, actually used my health insurance a lot more this past year!
We’d love to hear from you. Please share other resources in the comments below! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017!
By Elise May, Theater Teaching Artist
How often do you ask yourself why you do what you do?
When I started as a Teaching Artist, long before that term was coined, my work consisted of sharing my expertise in a particular area with a particular audience. My measure of success was whether or not I was asked back. If I was, it meant a job well done; if not, I took on the no call-back mantra of “they must have wanted someone taller, shorter, thinner, you name it.”
I don’t think I questioned why I took these jobs; it was something one did to supplement income while pounding pavement. The “gig” mentality was what helped to pay the rent. I wasn’t a teacher in the same classroom every day with the same students. I could justify the gigs while I was pursuing making a living as a performing artist.
Through the years, my interest in and practice of teaching artistry developed dramatically. Somewhere along the way, working a teaching “gig” wasn’t good enough anymore and a career path was born. I can’t tell you exactly when this happened but I found it harder and harder to let go of a gig. I would reflect on what I had done, what landed with the students and what the classroom teachers’ feedback was long after the gig was over. I wondered what I might do differently to achieve a desired goal. Working with a wide range of participants, teachers, administrators, corporate executives and non-profit administrators helped me focus on what I saw as a need to clarify my practice. In a world that demands quantifiable results, I found myself constantly defending the process-based ideal of my work and the value of the arts for those who may not seek a career as a performing artist but could benefit from what experiential arts training could do for them in any field they pursued.
I started assessing the quality of my programs from the points of the view of all involved. Did the program meet expectations? Were there noticeable changes in the participants? Was the number of sessions sufficient? Were there benefits seen outside the program, in other classes or social situations? I ended up with a mass of information from diverse perspectives; teachers, students, parents, administrators, participants, assistants, audiences and more. I used this information to evaluate, adjust and reflect on my programs.
While this “outside looking in” approach helped me analyze my efficacy (and certainly helped me get more funding and work), I still felt something was missing. At first, I thought perhaps I wasn’t asking the right questions. Perhaps I needed to take an “inside looking out” approach. No one ever questioned my passion or expertise, but I felt the need to question my purpose and clarify why I was doing what I was doing.
While taking the Advanced Teaching Artist Lab at Lincoln Center Education, one of the areas of focus was exactly this: the why of teaching artistry, defined as Teaching Artist Philosophy. It is easy to tell anyone who asks what a teaching artist does and how important it is. However, going deeply into personal philosophy about why we do it requires introspection.
Looking across the expanse of my years of work, honing a single philosophy felt like a mammoth task.
Fortunately, Jean E. Taylor, Lincoln Center Teaching Artist, was there to guide the process. A Master TA with Lincoln Center, Jean spoke of her profound admiration and joy of knowing philosopher Dr. Maxine Greene, who played a substantial role in the shaping of Lincoln Center Education’s teaching philosophy from the very beginning, in 1976, when the organization was known as Lincoln Center Institute. Jean stated, “Dr. Greene believed deep personal engagements with works of art served as catalysts—causing us to perceive in new ways. She thought that if we (and our students) could see more possibilities in works of art, we might see more possibilities in our own lives, and eventually in the world around us.”
On a more personal note, Jean shared: “When Maxine passed away, in May 2014, I reflected on the importance of her philosophy in my life and work as a teaching artist. I realized that Maxine’s deeply held belief in the power of the imagination (poetic, ethical, and social) had become part of my personal philosophy. Maxine’s call to action, “to imagine the world as if it could be otherwise,” has led to greater rigor and sustainability in my teaching artist practice. I am convinced that a personal teaching artist philosophy is one’s true north.”
While feeling very inspired, I didn’t know where to begin. Sharing that our philosophy is informed by our own experiences, Jean set us on the first task: finding an example of our practice, a single teaching experience that had resonated and had meaning. “Practice is philosophy in action,” Jean asserted, “so focusing on one example of your practice will help you define your philosophy.”
Choosing one example would be difficult. I have many programs for diverse populations and never thought one size fits all. How could I craft a single philosophy from disparate experiences? I opted for a residency where one elementary and one high school ESL teacher brought their students together to create a mentorship program and charged me with creating a theatrical performance for the group. One goal was to build capacity for communication confidence in English. This involved scripting a play from a picture book about diversity and including personal individuality statements. It was an amazing experience, which was later included in a book called In It Together: How Student, Family and Community Partnerships Advance Engagement and Achievement in Diverse Classrooms by Debbie Zacarian and Michael Silverstone (Corwin Press, 2015).
Jean then asked us to identify three behaviors or actions we applied to enhance or reach goals. Mine were:
1. I learned some Japanese and Spanish.
2. I journaled about the mentor/mentee relationship.
3. I met with the students at each school independently and together (when budgets and busses allowed).
We were then asked to create statements starting with “I believe…” based on the actions outlined above. Mine were:
1. I believe that I need to be able to express myself in someone else’s language to be able to help them express themselves in English.
2. I believe understanding the interpersonal, multicultural relationships in a classroom helps create a safe, respectful, and productive environment.
3. I believe that high school ESL student capacities for expression in English can be enhanced by structured play with younger children, supported by follow-up and reflection on their own turf.
The next part of this exercise to create a personal TA philosophy was to complete the sentences below:
Because of my beliefs I
The field of teaching artistry is (or the arts are)
And because of this I aspire to
I am a socially conscious, entrepreneurial Teaching Artist who uses theater to enhance vocal empowerment and communication skills.
I believe every person has the need to connect and communicate with others. I believe every person has a story to tell, however, those who have different communicative abilities than the majority of the community in which they find themselves, sometimes feel judged as less worthy. I believe every person has the right to be heard and understood.
Because of my beliefs I use theater, voice, speech, and personal writing techniques to open up communication pathways to all populations in the hope of giving them the ability to feel the power of expression.
The field of teaching artistry is (or the arts are) necessary to create a more humane society of problem solvers who can make the world a better place to live in.
And because of this I aspire to help the voiceless to be heard, help the misunderstood and the challenged to express themselves, and help build communication confidence so all feel valued.
There, I did it! I actually wrote down why I do what I do.
I wondered if I would have arrived at the same conclusion if I had initially chosen a different teaching experience. I was intrigued enough to start over—with a program I created for students with special needs. My actions were very different, as were my reasons for taking them. But, to my great satisfaction, my philosophy statement still worked. It offered solid ground for my varied practice.
Jean says our personal Teaching Artist philosophy is both foundational and inspirational. It is the base we stand on as well as the heights we aspire to. Defining our personal philosophy nurtures our sustainability in the field.
I don’t know that anyone who wants to hire me will ever ask me what my philosophy is. If they do—I’m ready! Every time I enter a space with my Teaching Artist hat on I will know exactly why I am there. And my clarity of purpose informs everything I do.
Elise May is an independent Teaching Artist, educator, actor, singer, writer and storyteller who has performed and taught in the U.S. and internationally. Elise works with school districts, libraries and corporations on communications skills, community development and developing educational programs using theater arts for vocal empowerment. Elise developed Storytime Theater, Expressive Elocution, Multicultural Voices, Creative Readers (an arts education inclusion program for students with disabilities) and more. Elise is on the board of several arts organizations including Stage the Change: Theatre as a Social Voice, a Teaching Artist for the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, and a Steering Committee member of the Arts in Special Education Consortium. She was a contributing writer for the Teaching Artist Journal and Teaching Artist Guild Quarterly, and a contributing author of In It Together – How Student, Family, and Community Partnerships Advance Engagement and Achievement in Diverse Classrooms (Zacarian, Silverstone; Corwin Press). Elise has presented at many conferences, including Balanced Mind, the Annual Conference of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, NYSTEA Educator and Student Conferences, as well as to school administrators, teachers, and parents. www.expressive-elocution.com
Professional dance companies and teaching artists based in New Jersey joined together this week to participate in the annual Dance to Learn Community Day. Participants engaged in a range of activities to learn new ways to teach the Dance to Learn curriculum.
Dance to Learn is a four-year interdisciplinary dance curriculum with the goal to advance dance education in schools and community settings.
The Dance to Learn curriculum is both arts-based and truly arts-integrated that:
♦ Encourages students to explore, internalize and transform classroom learning and the elements of dance while developing their individual creative voices.
♦ Offers opportunities for students to reflect, critique and connect personal experiences to their learning of dance and in their classrooms.
♦ Is adaptive to any dance style, genre, or culture.
♦ Provides an inroad to kinesthetic learning and connects to language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, physical education and music curriculums.
♦ Offers formative and summative assessment and documentation tools to help measure the effectiveness of student learning and facilitator impact
Among the teaching artists participating was Roundtable admin staffer Maeve McEwen, who is an apprentice with New Jersey-based Nimbus Dance Works. McEwen said of the day-long event: “the Dance to Learn Community Day was a wonderful and inspiriting way to learn about the Dance to Learn curriculum through exploration and creativity. I enjoyed meeting and collaborating with other professional dance educators working in the New Jersey schools and learning new techniques that I’ll be bringing into my classrooms this semester.”
Participants explored ways to use dance for an integrated learning appraoch. For example, in improvisational exercise focused on how movement can connect to and explore a text, using the poem Walkers with the Dawn, by Langston Hughes:
Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
Walkers with the sun and morning,
We are not afraid of night,
Nor days of gloom,
Being walkers with the sun and morning.
New Jersey schools can find out more about bringing the Dance to Learn to their students by contacting Lees Hummel at email@example.com.
Arts Partnership Programs
The Department of Education Office of Special Projects has announced the 2016-17 cycle for arts partnership grants. The following are details and deadlines for the three initiatives.
Arts for English Language Learners & Students with Disabilities
Proposal deadline: Tuesday, October 11, 2016
The Arts for ELLs and SWD program supports new or expanded partnerships that create arts education opportunities for diverse groups of student participants, with a focus on English Language Learners (ELLs) and Students with Disabilities (SWD). Schools may request between $3,000 and $15,000 to support Blueprints-aligned, arts residencies designed to increase student achievement in and through the arts among diverse groups of learners, while developing, implementing, and documenting best practices in arts education. For application information, please click on the program guidelines below.
Proposal deadline: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Arts Continuum fosters new partnerships that bridge arts learning between the elementary and middle school grades. Through this program, middle schools and their feeder elementary schools work together, in partnership with arts and cultural organizations to sustain and advance arts learning for students as they transition from elementary to middle school. Each pair of schools shares a grant of up $24,000 to support the development of innovative residency and curriculum plans to achieve these goals, along with the school-based arts residencies that will help bring schools’ curriculum plans to life. For application information, please click on the program guidelines below.
Arts + Family Engagement
Proposal deadline: Monday, November 7, 2016
The Arts and Family Engagement program leverages schools’ existing arts partnerships to create more family connections to the arts programs offered at their schools. Through this initiative, schools and their current arts partners receive grants of up to $5,000 for interactive family workshops or events that showcase students’ school-based arts experiences, draw connections between student art and other academic learning, and offer innovative art-making or learning experiences. By creating new opportunities to engage around the arts, this program helps students, family members, and the school community experience the power of arts education in the school setting. For application information, please click on the program guidelines below.
Click here for guidelines and grantee lists from previous rounds.
Note that applications come from the schools and not the arts organization partners.
LMCC, Manhattan’s Arts Council, has introduced a new program to support teaching artists and small arts orgs for projects in community settings. Grantees also receive $200 for PD – which could be used for Face to Face registration or RT membership!
After a year-long planning process LMCC has refocused its arts education funding to support projects and activities that take place in community-based settings such as afterschool programs, senior centers, and community centers through Creative Learning.
Creative Learning is a grant program designed to support and develop the capacity of Manhattan’s teaching artists and small arts organizations to provide in-depth, communitybased arts education and enrichment projects and programming to participants of all ages including youth, adults, and seniors.
The program aims to support effective and innovative approaches to artist-led, age- and skills-appropriate instruction outside of the school setting, as well as education-based approaches to participatory arts projects. Emphasis is placed on quality and depth of the creative process through which participants learn through and about the arts. Creative Learning strongly supports the payment of artist fees.
The program is comprised of two funds: City funds, provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ Greater New York Arts Development Fund, and State funds, provided by the New York State Council on the Arts’ (NYSCA) Decentralization program. Funding is intended for artists and organizations that are not able to apply directly to the City and/or State for arts funding. Creative Learning often provides the first grant that an applicant receives, which can help leverage additional support.
The program is accompanied by technical assistance to applicants, and networking and promotional opportunities for funded projects.
Past Creative Curricula applicants, some important factors to consider when deciding whether to apply to Creative Learning:
- Creative Learning supports arts education and enrichment projects for all ages
- Activities supported by Creative Learning must be promoted to and remain open for public registration
- In-school, K-12 arts education activities are no longer supported
- This year, all Creative Learning applicants are required to attend an information session in the summer of 2016 before applying.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 13 AT 5:00 PM
The NEA and NEH has announced that they are sponsors of a study on the integration of education in the sciences, engineering, and medicine with the arts and humanities.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced that they are sponsors of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study on the integration of education in the sciences, engineering, and medicine with the arts and humanities.
An ad hoc committee overseen by the Academy’s Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) in collaboration with units in the Policy and Global Affairs Division, the National Academy of Engineering, Health and Medicine Division, and Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education will produce a consensus report that examines the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the humanities, arts, and STEM lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students.
The committee will convene for its first meeting July 27-28, in Washington, D.C. Check out the meeting’s public agenda to find out more information about this meeting. To RSVP, please contact Ashley Bear.
The committee will produce a report that will summarize the results of this examination and provide recommendations for all stakeholders to support appropriate endeavors to strengthen higher education initiatives in this area.
The committee is chaired by Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton. You can find the full list of committee members here.
Over the past 50 years, the NEH and NEA has awarded many grants that utilize technology to preserve and present the humanities and the arts as well as promote the history of technology, medicine and engineering.
“We can’t grasp the experiential impact of technology without humanities-based questions and perspectives,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “A holistic education provides students with a wide range of skills that better prepare them to enter the professional world.”
“The arts uncover possibilities that can help us solve complex problems in many different fields, from science and transportation to healthcare and education,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “For this reason, seamlessly integrating the arts throughout our educational system is vital to preparing the next generation of innovators, industry leaders, and productive citizens.”
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is also sponsor of the study.
Reposted from the NEA website.
The NYCDOE Arts Education Services Solicitation for the 2017-2018 school year has a September 8th due date!
Please note the following dates:
August 17, 2016 from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. at St. Francis College, Founders Hall Auditorium, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201.
PROPOSAL DUE DATE
This solicitation is open indefinitely. However, to ensure continuous service for the 2017-2018 school year for those whose contracts are expiring in 2017, proposals must be submitted no later than 1:00 PM EST on September 8, 2016.
Questions regarding this solicitation should be addressed to ISPSupport@schools.nyc.gov no later than August 18th, 2016.
Further details from the DOE
The NYC Department of Education has posted solicitation #R1129 for Arts Education Services
This solicitation is open continuously and you can submit proposals at any time, however, proposals will be reviewed primarily on a first come first serve basis.
The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), on behalf of the Office of Arts and Special Projects (OASP) seeks proposals from organizations experienced in providing high quality arts education services for students in grades pre-kindergarten to 12 with optional related Professional Development and/or Parent Engagement Services.
Component A: Direct Student Services with optional related Professional Development Services.
Component B: Parent Engagement Services.
The purpose of this MTAC is to continue to provide services that effect the advancement of teaching and learning in visual arts, the performing arts (dance, music, theater) and the moving image, for students who participate within the various programs. These offerings may include accompanying professional development planning and/or evaluation sessions as an addition to the delivery of the primary arts services for students. The inclusion of these additional types of services will enable schools to optimize value for the benefit of their students’ achievement in the arts and to allow the services to have meaningful impact on classroom practice and schools’ curriculum goals. Vendors should identify and include program models that have proven to work best with students.
Login to the Vendor Portal to download MTAC R1129. You will be asked to provide company information that will allow us to inform you of updates on this solicitation. If you cannot download, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your company name, address, phone, fax, e-mail address, TAX ID number, MTAC number and title.
Questions regarding this solicitation should be addressed to ISPSupport@schools.nyc.gov no later than August 18th, 2016 (as noted above).
Subsequent amendments and answers will be posted to http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/dcp. Review this site periodically for important updates.
If you are interested in participating in this procurement, you can download the solicitation and requirements at: https://vendorportal.nycenet.edu
Chancellor Carmen Farina emphasizes the importance of the arts in school instruction.
Recently, Chancellor Carmen Farina delivered a moving speech at the Samuel H. Kress Lecture at The Frick Collection about the importance of the arts in school instruction. The audience included museum educators, teachers, professors, and teaching artists from the City’s premiere museums and arts and cultural organizations. The Chancellor spoke about the essential role of the arts in public education and the importance of partnerships like yours in providing a high-quality arts education to all of our 1.1 million students.
Chancellor Farina emphasized that the arts are an essential part of all students’ holistic education and discussed the five ways in which the arts play an essential role in public education:
1. Art for its own sake.
2. Art as an appreciation and execution of technical skill.
3. Art as a way of understanding historical context.
4. Art as a tool for democracy and responsible citizenship.
5. Arts as a career choice.
Click here to read full speech.