Category: Advocacy

Can’t Stop the Hustle: 4+ Ways for Teaching Artists to get Financial Relief

By Michelle Cole
Published on October 28, 2020

Covid-19 is messing with the Teaching Artist hustle.

Our profession thrives on togetherness and community. But right now, traveling artist-educators are considered safety risks solely because of the ubiquitous nature of our work. How are we supposed to do what we do during a time when separation is mandated? How can we hustle when it feels like our whole profession is on pause? It makes me wonder, are other Teaching Artists doing ok? Because I’m not. How will we survive this financially? I have suggestions.

Teaching Artists in all disciplines have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic. The range of pandemic adjustments varies for each artist, from reduced hours to course conversion to furloughs. Teaching Artists have had to find ways to pivot to make ends meet. For some, this may have amounted to a career change. For others, it may look like a reconfiguration of teaching practice to remain relevant and adapt to this changing world. No matter the situation, we must remember who we are. We are adaptable, flexible, resilient, and creative in more ways than one. Knowing to pivot when necessary is a part of our job description. Despite the many challenges, teaching artistry is still alive and it is even more vital than ever. What we provide for communities is invaluable. Now, more than ever, it is time to utilize this virtual realm to take advantage of the available financial resources to supplement reduced or lost income so we can continue to provide for our communities.

Money isn’t the only way we’re being affected. Our physical, mental, and emotional health are also negatively impacted. I lost over 75% of my income. I work out – I’ll say – less (does walking back and forth from the kitchen in my pajamas count?). And I am feeling much more isolated- as many people can attest to experiencing. Teaching Artists know how isolating this profession can be, so having gatherings halted, reduced, or completely shut down can be that much more of a strain on both our mental and emotional well-being. We’re going through national ongoing extended trauma that has seen people slipping in and out of depressions and experiencing both anxiety and rising stress levels. Couple that with financial strain to get a recipe for a full breakdown.

But, before the spiral begins, there are solutions! I know the struggle; I experienced it firsthand. If you’re like me and happen to be an artist parent, then your pockets are probably quickly depleting from ravenous children incessantly eating/snacking at home. Times are hard with kids in the house 24/7, curing their boredom with food. So, I asked for help, I sought assistance, and I looked through so many websites to find solutions. These kids have to eat. I am allowing myself to be more vulnerable than I have ever been because this is not the time for pride and ego trips.

Allow me to share what I gathered and please take advantage. There are many funds, grants, and microgrants out there to provide financial relief for artists to help us navigate this unprecedented time. Below you will find a compiled list of the most current and applicable opportunities for teaching artists. This list is not comprehensive of all available emergency funds, nor is this a cure-all. But this may be able to hold us over until we can figure out how to recreate some semblance of stability.

 

Financial Resources for Teaching Artists

(October 2020: List reflects resources available as of October 28, 2020)

Artist Relief Fund

This fund has gone through seven (7) cycles of funding for artists. Two cycles remain. See the dates below.

One time, $5000 unrestricted grant for artists in need of financial assistance due to Covid-19’s impact.
There are two more rounds of applications in 2020:
Cycle VIII: October 22 – November 18 (closes 11:59pm ET)
Cycle IX: November 19 – December 10 (closes 11:59pm ET)
Apply Here
Tip: During the application process, be sure to provide as much detail as possible regarding the impact of Covid-19 on your financial struggles. Save your answers to the questions in a separate document or an e-mail so you can apply again for the next round, in case you don’t get it.

Arts Administrators of Color Network (AAC)

This microgrant is ongoing. No specified end date.

$200 microgrant for US-based BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists and administrators

Apply Here
Tip: If you have a website, update it. If not, be sure to have a web link for your CV/résumé or a contract to show artistic engagement.

Red Bull Arts Microgrant

This application is open on a rolling basis. No specified end date.

$1000 microgrant for artists (and groups) 18+
Award is given to two (2) individuals each month.

Apply Here
Tip: Be detailed about both your ‘artist statement’ and ‘statement of purpose.’ Why do you need this grant money? How will you use it? Distinguish yourself from others. NYC is jam-packed with dope struggling artists.

Max’s Emergency Relief & Resource Fund

This application is open on a rolling basis. No specified end date.

A one-time grant of between $500-$1000 for a specific bill (housing, legal, medical)
Applicants should be self-employed artists who have a steady work history but experiencing a temporary financial setback.
Money is sent directly to the third party, not the individual.

Apply Here (Download Application)
Tip: Be specific about how you will use the awarded money. It is a requirement to send applications by snail mail. This application process is extensive.

Other Resources

The Arts in Education Roundtable has plenty of resources for artists such as financial assistance, professional development, emotional and mental well-being, and more. Click here to find out more about it on their resource page.

Also, check out the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), and Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) for additional resources and other compiled lists.

I hope this helps to alleviate some of the financial stress. We may be experiencing financial hardship, but we’ll get through this together. Hopefully, this will further ignite Teaching Artists to advocacy so we can establish a union and better protect ourselves in the future. In the meantime, apply for what you can and share this with an artist friend-in-need. Many of these funds are also accepting donations, so if you are someone or know someone that has the means, please consider donating to a fund that supports Teaching Artists right now. We can really use it. Take care of yourself and remember who we are. The hustle will return.

Michelle smiles with reddish short sleeve shirt, close-cropped hair

Michelle Cole, is an educator, choreographer, and dancer. She received her Master’s degree in Dance Education from New York University, Steinhardt and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida International University’s Honors College. In 2019, she began her own dance teaching company, Dance Culture LLC, to conduct independent dance residencies at universities, public, private, and independent schools throughout NYC. Michelle became an adjunct faculty member of NYU in 2015, she currently teaches Afro-Caribbean and Hip-Hop Dance. As a choreographer and performer, Michelle has presented and performed in New York, Chicago, Miami, Martha’s Vineyard, Kampala, Uganda and more. She is a member of the Teaching Artist Affairs committee through the Arts in Education Roundtable and an advocate for dance education, social justice, dances of the African diaspora and culturally integrated dance pedagogy.

 

A Tribute to Paul King

Paul King with slight smile wearing glasses, brown blazer and blue collared shirt against a black background

Published September 24, 2020
(Originally shared September 16, 2020)

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable presents a remembrance to a great friend to the Roundtable, Paul King, former Executive Director of the Office of Arts and Special Projects. This video was originally shared at The Roundtable’s Kickoff event, “Bridging the Divide: Making Connections Between Personal Impact and Communal Change.”

Latest Memo from NYC Department of Education’s Office of Arts and Special Projects (June 24, 2020)

Updates from OASP, NYC Department of Education. Pictured: NYC Department of Education and Office of Arts and Special Projects logos.

Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Earlier today, the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Arts and Special Projects shared the attached memo with the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable regarding Arts Partnership Grants 2020-2021 (including Arts for English Language Learners/ Students with Disabilities and Arts and Family Engagement Grants).

As it relates to our community’s ongoing advocacy work, the memo states:

“Due to the unprecedented impact of Covid-19, we regret to inform you that the Arts Partnership Grants will not be renewed for 2020-2021. This is devastating news as we know the tremendous impact The Arts for English Language Learners & Students with Disabilities and Arts+Family Engagement grants has had on students, their families, school communities and arts partner organizations. We have always had a vision of supporting sustainability in grants, so we encourage partners and schools to discuss possibilities for continued collaboration within the school’s existing resources. However, we know this is a challenging fiscal climate, and this news will have an impact on arts education partnerships.”

For questions about Arts Partnership Grants, please reach out to Audrey Cox, Director of Arts Partnerships at ACox16@schools.nyc.gov. For any other questions, please reach out to ArtsAndSpecialProjects@schools.nyc.gov.

 


Additional Information

As our community continues to advocate via the “Arts Are Essential” campaign, the Roundtable wishes to share some additional history and context for this budget cut:

URGENT ADVOCACY ALERT: Submit Written Testimony to the New York City Council in Support of Arts Education

NYC Arts in Education Roundtable logo in black and orange.

Posted on May 19, 2020

The following letter was sent out to the Roundtable mailing list on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. To stay up to date with weekly e-blasts about advocacy efforts, best practices, current trends, upcoming events, and more, please subscribe to the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable mailing list.

Update (June 19, 2020): The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable recently launched the #ArtsAreEssential campaign to preserve arts education funding in the 2020/2021. For more information about the campaign, please click here. 

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Latest Memo from NYC Department of Education Office of Arts & Special Projects

Updates from OASP, NYC Department of Education. Pictured: NYC Department of Education and Office of Arts and Special Projects logos.

Posted on Friday, May 8, 2020

Yesterday, the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Arts and Special Projects shared the attached memo with the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable regarding the continuation of remote learning services.

As it relates to our community’s ongoing advocacy work, the memo states:

“…Arts services that are provided remotely in collaboration and in support of schools’ remote teaching plans, and fulfill mandated services and/or New York State graduation requirements can continue to be offered.

DOE managers will ensure that invoices for services rendered to schools and central offices prior to April 1st, as well as any services which meet the above criteria offered after April 1st, will be paid accordingly.”

For questions about Arts Partnership Grants, please reach out to Audrey Cox, Director of Arts Partnerships at ACox16@schools.nyc.gov. For any other questions, please reach out to ArtsAndSpecialProjects@schools.nyc.gov.

 


Our Suggestions

Based on our understanding of this memo, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable offers the following suggestions:

  • Review your Purchase Order(s). How can your organization provide contract deliverables remotely? How do these activities and objectives align with city/state arts learning standards and/or standards in other academic subjects?
  • Be prepared to justify why your program(s) fulfill mandated services. Highlight required arts instruction hours, graduation requirements, arts support for student sub-populations (i.e. students with disabilities, ENL students) and arts education’s impact on student learning, health, and wellbeing. **See helpful research links below.
  • Advocate directly to the school principal with these points clearly laid out (and ‘CC partnering educators, arts liaison, and other support staff). Give them what they need to make the case for your services. Be clear on PO deliverables in digital space, provide program rationale, and attach the memo from OASP.

It is our understanding that it will ultimately be up to each individual principal to justify and advocate for the continuation of arts vendor services. Given the current uncertainty about the future landscape of in-person education, we hope you can use these suggestions as a way to continue building relationships that will carry into the next school year.


Research / Policy

We hope you can use the below policies and studies as a jumping off point to advocate for your programs now and in the future.


Our Next Steps

The NYC Arts in Education Roundtable would like to thank our community members who helped advocate for these written assurances from the NYC Department of Education. It will be a long road ahead, and there is more work to be done. The Roundtable will continue to advocate on behalf of our membership to address the challenges that lie ahead and to ensure #ARTSareEssential in the “new normal”.

We hope you will join us on Wednesday, May 13 from 10:30am – 12pm for A Roundtable Conversation: Advocacy in Action to discuss how we can use our collective impact to move the field forward from here.

*****

#KeepMakingArt: NYCAIER on Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie

Published Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Together, Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie podcast and Creative Generation announce their partnership to produce a video series titled, #KeepMakingArt.

The series will explore the work of creatives all around the world as they respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic and will be released regularly on the Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie YouTube channel. This partnership, and resulting series, is a component of the #KeepMakingArt campaign, which is facilitated by Creative Generation. The goal of the campaign is to inspire and support youth, educators & artists, parents, and organizations to keep making art despite the tremendous circumstances we are facing. The campaign toolkit can be found here.

This week, Courtney J. Boddie chats with the Co-Chairs of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, Jennifer DiBella and Sobha Kavanakudiyil with their colleague, Managing Director, Kimberly Olsen to discuss how the #ARTSareEssential.

*****

About Teaching Artistry with Courtney J. Boddie

Teaching Artistry blends creative and educational practice in service of community building, social justice, and inspiring joy. Courtney J. Boddie, Host and Creator, chats with teaching artists and arts educators who are driving professional teaching artistry forward. Courtney and her guests discuss personal journeys, celebrate triumphs and challenges, and advocate fiercely for the arts in all communities. Listen & subscribe on your favorite podcast player, today! Learn more here

About Creative Generation

Creative Generation works to inspire, connect, and amplify the work of individuals and organizations committed to cultivating the creative capacities of the next generation. Learn more here.

ADVOCACY ALERT | NYC AiE Roundtable Needs YOUR Help

Posted on April 20, 2020

The following letter was sent out to the Roundtable mailing list on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 and Monday, April 20, 2020. To stay up to date with weekly e-blasts about advocacy efforts, best practices, current trends, upcoming events, and more, please subscribe to the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable mailing list. (more…)