Category: News

I Don’t Feel Well: A Teaching Artist’s Journey Through Healthcare

I Don’t Feel Well: A Teaching Artist’s Journey Through Healthcare

By Katie Rainey

 

            “What’s wrong? Your tummy hurt?”

            I crouch down to her level, kneeling to meet her eye to eye.

            “My throat is scratchy.”

            There are students all around, drawing, jumping, playing, burning off pent-up energy from a long day at school. I’m trying to maintain some sense of classroom in this after-school program – a visual arts and story residency for kindergartners that falls after their required 9+ hours of common core and state standards learning – when one smallish girl with pigtails and a Frozen shirt tugs on my arm and tells me she feels ill. Most of the time, TAs know these words are likely a red herring; that when a student whispers I feel sick it’s really because they had their feelings hurt, or they’re frustrated in their art-making, or they want some additional attention from a busy teacher stretched thin across a class of 25+. So I kneel on our brightly colored story-time carpet and see if I nip this problem in the bud.

            “Your throat is scratchy?”

            “Itchy.”

            “Okay, go get a drink of water with your buddy.”

            “I’m stuffy too.”

            “Well, class will be over soon and your mommy will be here to make it better. Let’s try coloring for a whi-”

            And then it happens. Before I can finish my sentence, this girl’s shoulders raise and her face scrunches up and she lets loose a cough so loud, I swear there’s an adult man living inside her. There’s no time to duck and her wet cough lands square in my mouth, spackling my face. I swallow any urge to gag and spit.

            “Sorry,” she says, and coughs again.

            “Go get water,” I manage, and then turn to the classroom sanitizer dispenser and douse my hands in sterile slime, rubbing some on my chin and cheeks just for good measure, but it is all in vain and I know it too.

            It is 2014, I am 28-years-old (too old to continue creeping by on my parents’ insurance), and have recently been forcefully egressed from my MFA program’s student healthcare plan. I’m just finding my footing as a teaching artist in this city, so the last thing on my mind is healthcare. Food and shelter are more prominent priorities. Finding gigs is more prominent. Even navigating the labyrinthine world of teaching artist taxes is more mentally preponderant than healthcare. That is until this moment, when a tiny tot in pigtails coughs into my mouth and – already – I feel the insidious bubbles of flu season percolating within me.

            And what I expected to happen did. Three days later, it’s full-blown flu season in my apartment and I don’t have health insurance. A friend recommends that I visit CityMD as they’ll see me without insurance, and I do, and I spend several hours waiting for a doctor to not make eye contact with me, scribble something on a pad, and rush me out the door to make room for the next insurance-less soul stepping in. A few hours later, I’m cocooned in a nest of blankets, taking sips of doctor-prescribed codeine cough syrup and garlic soup. It’s not the best remedy, but it’ll do in the absence of real doctor care. After a week of ups and downs – attempting to teach all the while, because we TAs know what a struggle it can be to miss even one class – I kick the flu away and am back to my old self.

            And then the mail arrives.

            CityMD sends me a crisp $200+ bill for some half-doctoring and a nostrum. Well, I could have just spent that money on insurance and seen a real doctor for all that trouble.

            So I decide to do just that.

 

Katie (M.K.) Rainey is a writer, teaching artist, and editor from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is the Managing Director for Training & Communications at Community-Word Project and a current member of the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee. She is the winner of the 2017 Bechtel Prize at Teachers & Writers Magazine and the 2017 Lazuli Literary Group Writing Contest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Collagist, Teaching Artist Guild Magazine, Atticus Review, Fiction Southeast, and more. She co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series and lives in Harlem with her dog.

•••

            Artists in the United States are twice as likely to be uninsured as the general population  (“Health Insurance Is Still a Work-In-Progress for Artists and Performers” by Renata Marinaro). That’s not a surprising fact and, based on my experience in the field of teaching artistry, I can guess those numbers run higher for teaching artists. The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has helped to change that significantly.

            For me, the process was relatively easy. I visited the NY State of Health and created an account. From there I was able to choose between a variety of plans – from the lowest-priced catastrophic plans to the Gold/Platinum/Premium/Who-can-afford-this? plans. I settled for something in between, but more towards the low-end because I’m a working teaching artist and, duh. Because of my income status, I was able to apply for a subsidy on the plan, which helped my budget (be aware that if your income increases during the year, you might end up owing that subsidy back). There are monthly auto-payments you can set up and reminders to help you stay on track. There are dental and vision additions you can make and the customer service is very fluid and helpful. In the spring, you’ll receive a 1095-A from your insurance company and mark that deduction along with all of your other fiscal accouterments that come with the territory of teaching artistry.

            It is so important that we artists value our healthcare and take care of ourselves. It should be a priority for all teaching artists, even if you think you’re an invincible twenty-something who never gets sick. We work in schools, where we’re exposed to more germs than the average person. We have to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to care for the students we serve.

            But what about now? What challenges do we face under the current administration and what can we do to make sure our healthcare rights are safe? What will open enrollment look like this year? What is the $20 plan and am I eligible?

            The Teaching Artist Affairs Committee of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable) is looking to answer all of those questions and more in a webinar on health insurance for teaching artists co-hosted by The Actor’s Fund. Join us on November 17th for a livestream webinar and get the most out of the Affordable Care Act this year. Can’t make the livestream?  Don’t worry. Put your ACA questions in the comments below and we’ll make sure they get answered. Then check back and we’ll have the whole presentation archived for your to watch whenever your schedule allows.

 

Every Teaching Artist Insured!

Friday, November 17th 2:30pm-4:00pm, livestream

Every Teaching Artist Insured is a free live stream presentation for teaching artists, freelance artists, and arts administrators who do not have insurance through an employer or union.  This one hour presentation will provide clear information on how to sign up for a health insurance plan through the New York State of Health Marketplace (Obamacare), and information on local, low cost healthcare options for New York City residents.

REGISTER HERE

Facilitated by Renata Marinaro, National Director of Health Services for The Actor’s Fund, this livestream presentation will equip you with the tools you need to get medical services as a freelancer. Topics will include:

  • How do I enroll for ACA (Obamacare) insurance?
  • How do I report sporadic or self-employed income?
  • What are my options in 2018?
  • Straight-talk about changes in ACA, executive orders, and how they may affect you.
  • Am I eligible for Medicaid or subsidized insurance?
  • Am I eligible for a $20 plan?
  • Where do I get care if I’m uninsured?

 

Now Accepting Proposals: Face to Face Conference 2018

25th ANNIVERSARY FACE TO FACE CONFERENCE

DATES: Wednesday, April 4 & Thursday, April 5, 2018

CONFERENCE LOCATION: Shepard Hall, The City College of New York

Convent Ave between W. 138th St. and St. Nicholas Terrace

Application Deadline: Monday, September 18, 2017at 12pm EST

FACE TO FACE is a professional development conference for arts administrators, teaching artists, and others interested in the field of arts in education. The conference strives to demonstrate effective teaching and learning strategies for practitioners in the field of arts in education, as well as to provide forums for discussion of other critical issues such as policy and advocacy, assessment, fundraising, and organizational management.

The Roundtable is accepting proposals for breakout sessions for Face to Face 2018. The Panels Committee is especially interested in proposals for sessions that actively engage participants in one or more of the seven disciplines of visual art, dance, music, theatre, film/moving image, and writing. Additional topic areas include best practices for research, assessment, and evaluations; topics related to arts administration for entry level, mid-career, and senior managers; working with diverse populations and  inclusion practices; and advocacy. For the 25th Anniversary Conference, we also seek sessions that focus on the history of the Roundtable; and the past, current and future state of arts education in New York, throughout the country, and around the world.

While there is no limit to the number of proposals an organization can submit, a maximum of two (2) proposals per organization will be selected for the conference. Neither Roundtable individual nor organizational membership is required to submit a proposal

Registration Fee

Note: Registration is required for all session presenters and panelists. The moderator and up to three (3) presenters only will be admitted to the conference for a reduced fee of $80. If the moderator or the presenters wish to attend only their own session the registration fee is $40.

SESSION PROPOSAL CRITERIA

Successful proposals will:

    • Investigate a critical question.
    • Explore or reference a specific art form(s), as appropriate, and demonstrate a mastery of that art form(s).
    • Involve a variety of viewpoints and/or qualified presenters and include ample time for reflection.
  • Not serve as a “commercial” for an individual or organization (i.e. “dog and pony show”). Sessions that only describe an organization’s work and successes are rarely selected.

Each session included in the conference is evaluated by an evaluator. Session evaluation includes the following criteria:

  • Relates to the description in the conference program
  • Demonstrates a mastery of content
  • Communicates content clearly and effectively
  • Stimulates lively dialogue with the participants
  • Manages time and pacing effectively
  • Incorporates opportunities for reflection
  • Initiates thoughtful dialogue and discussion
  • Uses practical examples of relevant work

In order to be considered, proposals must be submitted by 12pm EST on Monday, September 18, 2017.  Use this link to access the application.

Watch this short video which details best practices for crafting a Face to FaceProposal.

New Roundtable Managing Director

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.

Searle has worked as a producer in project design and community arts practice for the Yerba Buena  Center for the Arts in San Francisco, the Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue, the Northern Manhattan  Arts Alliance, and numerous artist‐led projects. Her work in Oakland led to Congressional recognition  and she has received multiple grants to investigate arts education abroad. She holds degrees in Urban  Studies and Public Health from the University of California Los Angeles and in Arts Practice from New  York University. She will receive an MFA from Brown University.
“The search committee was greatly impressed with Ms. Searle as an artist, educator and administrator,”  said Kati Koerner, co‐chair of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors. “The Roundtable is excited about the  ways Ms. Searle will bring her experience using the arts to build community to bear in helping us  continue to meet the professional development and networking needs of arts education practitioners  city‐wide.”
Searle will begin her work with the Roundtable this week. She said she is committed to working at the  intersections of arts and community development, and is thrilled to continue her work in arts education  at the Roundtable.
Searle replaces Jenny Clarke, who left the Roundtable in September after three years as Managing  Director.
 “The Roundtable is grateful to its departing Managing Director, Jenny Clarke, for her many contributions  to the growth of our organization and wishes her well in her new position as Executive Director of ACMP  – The Chamber Music Network,” Koerner said.

DOE announces next round of Arts Partnership Program Grants

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.

Arts Continuum

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.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Learning Grants

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 Support Study on Integration of STEM with Arts and Humanities

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.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina delivers a speech The Frick Collection

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.

Leading the Orchestra, an Outsider Invited In

Addressing diversity in orchestras. New York Times article

By Phillip Lutz

After years of work and study culminating in an assistant conductorship at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Kazem Abdullah decamped to Aachen, Germany, where he became the city’s general music director. Four years on, he has programmed and conducted a wide range of symphonic music and opera from the core Western repertory.

But Mr. Abdullah, 36, who was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Washington and Dayton, Ohio, said he would like to return to the United States next year after his contract in Germany is up. The only problem, he said, is that he is most likely to find his opportunities limited in part because of his outsider status as an African­American, and a Muslim, in the world of classical music.

“There is greater openness in Germany,” he said over Thai food in Manhattan recently. “I had hoped that by working abroad and doing so well, that would translate into more opportunities from where I’m from.” “A lot of people say ‘diversity is great,’ and those are all nice taking points,” he added. “But as far as making sure the opportunities are given to everyone — that still falls quite short.

That is why he jumped at the chance when the Westchester Philharmonic contacted him more than a year ago about conducting Brahms’s Piano
Concerto No. 1 and Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony. The concert would provide the opportunity to conduct a first­rate regional orchestra in the core repertory, which he said some orchestras were patronizingly reluctant to offer minority guest conductors.

“It’s just a straight program,” he said. “That’s why I said yes. I love to do that.”

The concert, which will take place on June 19, will feature Alone Goldstein as soloist. Mr. Goldstein, a native of Israel, said that despite having played about 40 concertos in the past 27 years, he had not met Mr. Abdullah, and had performed under only one other African­American conductor, Isaiah Jackson, with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra of Ohio.

The lack of diversity in American orchestras is an issue of long standing, but it has gained fresh currency. The League of American Orchestras held a major conference on the subject this month in Baltimore, reporting that only 1.8 percent of members of American orchestras are African­American and 2.5 percent Latino.
Read the full article here.
Excerpted from an article in the New York Times, June 17, 2016

Creating Inclusive Classrooms

THE ART OF TEACHING WRITING

By Lissa Piercy

The summer before my junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with ADHD. My executive function struggles made certain classroom experiences particularly challenging. While I loved learning and was quick to have an answer for the teacher’s questions, I was constantly being told that I was “too talkative,” had too many “side conversations,” or didn’t leave enough room for other students to speak up. Discussions, especially in English class, were exhausting and frustrating because I was constantly trying to force myself to stay engaged without over-participating. The classes I enjoyed most were taught by teachers who used creative lesson planning. In English class during my senior year, teacher Matt Fitz Simmons taught using multiple discussion techniques. In history class, Chris Lorrain split us into groups and led interactive activities. In these classes, my learning differences didn’t stick out, which made it easier to learn.

College proved even more difficult than high school, but eventually I received my AA from Landmark College, a school for students who learn differently; and my BA in social work from Wheelock College, where I did had an internship working with youth with disabilities. I also discovered spoken-word poetry, completed teaching artist training with the Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance Collective (MassLEAP), and began teaching workshops with young people.

It wasn’t until I started teaching this past fall that I connected my experience as a student with ADHD with my lesson planning practices as a teaching artist. I was performing at a high school assembly. My repertoire of “youth-friendly” poetry was limited at the time, so I decided to perform a poem I had written for a fundraising event at Landmark College. The poem explores my ADHD, my roommate Amanda’s dyslexia, and our experiences at Landmark. Here’s an excerpt:

The neurons in my brain needed to be taught of executive function
needed to be told that I’d been living without them
still need to be reminded
At Landmark, Amanda’s Dyslexia became best friends with my ADHD… It took us 20 minutes to come up with a study plan, three hours to execute that, and lots of red bulls to survive finals, but we got there
Maybe only because we met one another
Where else could the first words out of my mouth be, “Hey, what’s your LD?”
I later learned that mine didn’t really fit into the category, but I still fit in
Into classrooms where science professors tossed toys to my distractible hands, where we climbed rock walls during class, learned seven different ways to memorize for tests
where note cards were smart cards and time management was part of the curriculum…

Excerpted from an article of Teachers & Writers Magazine

Read the full story here

New York State Council on the Arts creates The NYSCA Network, A Collaborative Community

NYSCA creates online community for dialogue in different categories to enhance information and idea sharing

 

The New York State Council on the Arts  has announced the creation of an online forum for the arts community in New York State.

The NYSCA Network is “a marketplace for ideas created for organizations, institutions, artists, applicants, and the public that the agency serves.” Created as a collaborative forum to share knowledge, build professional relationships, and spark innovation, NYSCA is urging the field to participate to make this a vibrant and effective network.

Arts in education and social justice in the arts are two of the 16 forums listed. The arts in education forum asks the community to “share with us your most successful arts education initiatives and any questions, issues or hopes you would like to discuss.” Join the conversation by clicking the All Forums link at the top of the page.

The New York State Council on the Arts is dedicated to preserving and expanding the rich and diverse cultural resources that are and will become the heritage of New York’s citizens.

NYSCA strives to achieve its mission through its core grant-making activity and by convening field leaders, providing information and advisory support, and working with partners on special initiatives to achieve mutual goals.