NYC Arts in Education Roundtable’s Managing Director, Kyla Searle, will be transitioning out of her role this month. She has been awarded a fellowship with Harvard University, while also completing her MFA in Playwriting at Brown University. We are very proud of her and wish her the best of luck! As we begin the search for a new Managing Director, Kimberly Olsen, will step in as our Interim Managing Director and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Heleya de Barros
It’s been two weeks since I walked out of Carnegie Hall, after three jam-packed days at the 4th International Teaching Artist Conference (ITAC). I walked out a bit dazed, very tired, invigorated, and incredibly—amazingly—full. I ambled towards the subway with a colleague I’d met, but couldn’t quite bring myself to get on the train and just “go home.” It seemed crazy to follow my typical pattern after an experience like ITAC.
Instead, I walked passed the 59th Street subway and into Central Park. I needed to digest. Two weeks later, after more time contemplating, sorting through notes, listening to recordings, and many conversations with colleagues both at the conference and not, it is still hard to put this experience into words. I keep coming back to that fullness I felt as I walked into the park.
Over the 3 day conference I attended 9 break-out sessions representing 7 countries on 5 continents (Australia, Cambodia, Columbia, Guatemala, UK, USA), 3 keynote addresses (by a dancer, photographer, and theatre artist), 1 site-visit, 1 live performance, and 1 live podcast recording. And I met a lot of teaching artists. Sure, the name of the conference might suggest this, but my past conference experiences have taught me to expect to be one of few TAs in a sea of administrators. There was something very special about walking into a room of 300 people who do what you do. These were my people. I immediately felt seen and understood at ITAC. The conference’s final report quoted nearly 300 attendees (whom they call delegates) representing 28 countries.
— Steven McIntosh (@stevenjmcintosh) September 13, 2018
I spoke with many others who expressed the same feeling of belonging, and the power that can come from that. One visual artist teaching artist (TA) from Vermont, Alexandra Turner, told me it had been empowering for her to claim the title of Teaching Artist, “I’ve been putting together part-time jobs for so many years and I didn’t know there was a name for it, or a community of people doing it. When I owned this title of Teaching Artist it changed my whole perception of myself and my work to someone who belongs to a community of amazing and impactful people.” Others wondered if they were missing out on finding a larger community in their field at home because different titles were used across the field. Is a teaching artist the same as a community artist or a participatory artist? Many were impressed with New York for having a very clear community around the single title of TA.
It isn’t surprising to me that the feeling of belonging was so desired and celebrated. Much of what we do as TAs can be solitary and we can often lose sight of the fact that we do belong to a community of artists who—do what we do. One conference organizer Eric Booth (who jovially refers to himself as the oldest living TA) kept referring to the delegates as leaves on a tree. This analogy was referenced frequently throughout the conference. We leaves sometimes forget (or lose sight) that we are rooted on a branch with other leaves, which is rooted on the trunk of a tree with many other branches. To that end, one of the collaborative projects launched at the conference was the Global History Timeline an online record of the history of teaching artistry. There is power in naming your history as well as your title. This is a living document. You can submit entries here.
#ITAC4NYC @ITAC_Collab has launched a Global History Timeline Project to document breakthroughs in the #teachingartist global community. Do you have a moment to add? Research, resource, large event in the field? Add it here! https://t.co/Gr9pGYL64P
— NYC AIE Roundtable (@nycaier) September 15, 2018
I wondered before the conference if my experience as a TA in New York City was comparable to others in the US or around the world; or did we live in our own microcosm here? I almost feel silly for questioning this now. Of course there were similarities, particularly in the approaches to, and the challenges of, the work. The specifics of the settings or social, cultural, and institutional challenges in the 28 countries represented may be different, but our strategies were not. Active listening. How to enter a community as an outsider? How to leave a community? Recognition of the links of systemic oppression and working towards dismantling them through our art. How to fund the work? How to sustain the work? How to tell another’s story? Should you tell another’s story? How to communicate what we do?
In his keynote address photojournalist Aaron Huey spoke of his many years working in the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota, “When you leave a community like Pine Ridge they are left wondering not IF, but HOW you will misrepresent them.” Dancer and choreographer Liz Lerman posed, “I’m curious how we listen. I’m wondering how we listen with our whole artist self,” in her keynote. James Miles, Executive Director of ArtsCorps in Seattle, WA seemed to answer during the live-recorded podcast of Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie when he said, “Artists must listen to other people’s stories with love.”
In my last session, facilitated by Santiago Gonzalez from Corporacion Otra Escuela in Colombia, we were handed a handful of coffee beans. After each exercise exploring conflict Santiago had us take out the coffee beans, smell them, and bring ourselves back into the room and into our own bodies through the smell. He ended the session by saying, “You don’t HAVE a body, you ARE a body.”
I am a body. I am an artist. And we are a body of teaching artists in NYC, in the Northeast, in the US, and around the world. Although, I was left wondering if the question was not that we forget we are leaves that make up a tree, but that many of us don’t know we are part of a tree to begin with. While we seem to have the nomenclature of teaching artist settled in NYC (if you disagree, let me know), we still struggle to see, and actively engage, the entire tree of our teaching artist community.
While at the conference a NYC TA colleague mentioned she’d just come from a training for an arts education organization and was surprised when very few TAs in the room were aware of the Roundtable or the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee. TAs were discussing the complications of signing up for healthcare through the Affordable Care Act as a freelancer and my colleague mentioned our bi-annual workshop on this very topic. No one knew what she was talking about. (Open enrollment starts Nov. 1st you can watch the video of our tutorial with The Actor’s Fund from last year here, or go to an in person workshop here).
I had a similar conversation on this struggle with the staff from the National Arts Council Singapore. They are looking at creating a Teaching Artist Handbook for their artists with opportunities for professional development, healthcare and legal aid, resources for artists, and work and funding opportunities. I thought that was an interesting idea, so I brought it back to TA Affairs.
If you come to our “Sip & Create” TA Meet-Up on November 2nd 5pm-7pm we’ll have a plethora of TA resources. Our committee is compiling them now. Do you have an idea of something that should be on the list? Do you have an idea of how to reach more NYC TAs? Hit us up.
I also had questions about how to sustain global connectivity after this conference and between the next one in 2020. ITAC answered this for me on the first day when they launched the ITAC Collaborative. I’ve already submitted the Roundtable’s TA Affairs Committee as an ITAC Collaborative Catalyst to help disseminate global information to our NYC TA community. ITAC Collaborative will also have small funding opportunities for projects between nations. Do you have an idea for a project? Hit me up.
So, what was ITAC like? It felt like home. It felt like recognition. It felt like being full. The theme of the conference was “Artist as Instigator.” I’m instigated to create this feeling for the NYC TA community. Wanna help me?
|Heleya de Barros is an actor and teaching artist in New York City. She is a Board Member of the Roundtable and Co-Chair of the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee. @Heleya_deBarros|
*(Top) Photo credit DreamYard Media Interns.
The Roundtable is accepting applications to the NYSCA Face to Face Upstate (& Long Island) Arts Educator & NYC Unaffiliated Teaching Artists Subsidy Program.
Qualified applicants from upstate New York (and Long Island) are invited to submit an application for funds toward the cost of travel and accommodation to attend the conference. Up to ten unaffiliated teaching artists based in New York will receive a registration subsidy to attend the conference.
Click Here to see guidelines for Upstate NY Arts Educators Program.
Click Here to see guidelines for NYC Teaching Artists Program.
Email all supplemental materials and questions to F2FNYSCAapplications@nycaieroundtable.org
DUE: 2/15 11:59pm
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?”
“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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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