Category: Arts NYC

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.

 

Working Together: Intergenerational Arts Programs

There are many art programs out there for children and young adults in school and after-school, but what about the aging population?  “Every day more than 10,000 Americans will turn 65. They are living longer, healthier lives. They want and need community based programs that go beyond passive entertainment, combat social isolation and provide engaged, meaningful learning opportunities.” (1) While there are numerous robust programs that focus on older adults, some programs go above and beyond this and are geared toward pairing students with the aging. These intergenerational arts programs connect individuals who wouldn’t normally interact on a daily basis.

One of these programs is called PALETTE, which stands for Promoting Art for Life Enrichment Through Transgenerational Engagement. PALETTE’s mission is to connect students with active, older adults and help erase the stereotypes young people may have about aging. “The students aren’t ‘helping’ the older adults; rather they’re working together as peers.” (2) PALETTE offers visual arts workshops, including painting, printmaking, clay, and fiber arts. Each pair of PALs is set up next to each other with, for instance, two canvasses and two paint palettes. PALETTE also offers dancing, known as PALETTE in Motion, which pairs two or three students for every older adult.

Another such program, based in New York, is Roots&Branches Theater, which is an intergenerational ensemble that performs theater workshops, productions and other arts projects. Their goal is to “build understanding and respect between generations; celebrate the wisdom, energy and creativity of elders; and challenge stereotypes about age and aging.” (3) The actors, ranging in age from 11 to 90, collaborate each season on an original play based on the stories, life experiences, and imaginations of the ensemble members. The plays are then presented publicly at senior centers, community centers, schools, as well as Off-Broadway.

But, what about aging professional artists? Many artists create massive amounts of work, but do not always catalog or organize it properly. This leads to challenges for the family of the artist after they pass away. If work is uncatalogued and unorganized and if the family does not have experience or the time to deal with it, it may be in danger of becoming damaged, lost, or sadly thrown out.

This is why the intergenerational arts legacy project ART CART was created. ART CART, which connects aging professional visual artists with teams of graduate students, “provides direct, hands-on support and guidance to manage and preserve their life’s work” (4) Throughout an academic year, several teams of students, each working with a single artist, document a substantial number of works – collecting high-quality digital images as well as creating an oral history of the artist’s experiences and background. ART CART has been running in NYC and Washington DC since 2010 and is running in 2015-16 again in NYC and Washington DC with plans to expand to performing artists. (5)

There have been few studies done that show how art can improve the quality of life for older adults. One is the 2006 NEA Creativity and Aging Study: The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults, found here. There is also an E-Book by Next Avenue called Artful Aging: How Creativity Sparks Vitality and Transforms Lives; “a collection of stories on the power of artful aging programs to bring joy, connection, improved health and a renewed sense of purpose to older adults.” (6) For more resources on art programs for older adults, there is the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), which works to foster an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and the quality of life of older people. The organization also maintains a thorough Directory of Creative Aging Programs (7).

1.       http://www.artscenteronline.org/lifetime-arts-training-institute-a-creative-aging-professional-development-program-for-artscultural-organizations/16629

2.       http://www.nextavenue.org/art-friendship-ageism

3.       https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/fiscal/profile?id=9184

4.       http://artsandcultureresearch.org/art-cart

5.       http://artsandcultureresearch.org/art-cart

6.       http://www.nextavenue.org/special-report/artful-aging

7.       https://www.arts.gov/accessibility/accessibility-resources/leadership-initiatives/arts-aging

 

Instrument Drive Changes Students Lives

Two years ago, WQXR held their first Instrument Drive with the goal of reaching 1,000 donated instruments to refurbish and distribute to music programs throughout NYC public schools. Little did they know, their goal would be surpassed by more than twice that, ending with over 2,500 donations within 10 days. Graham Parker, WQXR’s general manager, said he was surprised by the level of excitement behind the program. “I have been humbled by the personal stories that have accompanied many of the donations,” he said. “It becomes very real for people to think of their once-used instrument making its way into the hands of a student who can create new memories.” (1) This year, WQXR is launching its second drive from April 8-17, 2016, with the goal of collecting 6,000 instruments.

Many NYC public schools lack music programs, and the ones with them are often lacking in instruments or are in need of repair. The 2014 NYC State of the Arts reported that “from 2006 to 2013, there has been a 47 percent decline in arts programming funding and an even steeper decline in dedicated support for supplies such as musical instruments and other equipment, according to the comptroller’s report.” (2) Even though music and other arts have been proven to improve academics, they are always in danger of being lost due to budget cuts. “Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education.” (3)

With the help of WQXR and thousands of generous donors, these instruments will be refurbished and distributed to students in NYC and Newark under-resourced music programs beginning in the fall of 2016. Teachers and administrators can also submit an application for their school to be considered to receive instruments.

Donate your used instrument and change a student’s life! Vsit giveinstruments.org/about to learn more and spread the word using #GiveMusicNYC.

 

Sources:
1. http://www.wqxr.org/#!/series/wqxr-musical-instrument-drive/
2. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/04/07/report-finds-state-of-the-arts-at-nyc-public-schools-lacking-in-lower-income-neighborhoods/
3. https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-music-education

How do I explain what I do? By Yusef Miller for the Roundtable Teaching Artists Affairs Committee

  

            Um, I teach.

            Um, I’m a teacher. But not really?

            I’m an Actor. I work for Arts Education Organizations….What do I DO?

            Um, I’m called a Teaching Artist. A Theatre Teaching Artist.

Okay, I’ll give you the CV one-sentence summary.

I am an advocate for programming that utilizes theatre arts to help achieve literacy and educational objectives within youth populations.

But, that doesn’t really explain what I do. The truth is – I am finding my way. From this finding-my-way place, I have found myself in a system. This system claims to educate young people. This education is supposed to give them direction – school to college to career. But from street to class – they are harassed – presumed to be criminally minded – as they are bagged-checked and body frisked and in some case, manhandled by security – this is their entry to learning. Meanwhile, their Black and Latino families are stretched so far and so thin on a nation’s apathy. To come to school and be mishandled and unheard, students are like,

“Let me express myself, Ms. Let me take the whole class time for you to explore why I walk in late, why I’m eating in class, why I’m yelling back, why I’m speaking without raising my hand, why I need to take a break – to get out of your face, Ms. because you don’t understand that I don’t care what you know; I want to know if you CARE.”

I….I teach theatre as a tool of expression. I’m finding a way to connect to their content and modes of expression. It’s listening without judgment; it’s avoiding the urge to culturally critique. I’m finding a way to apply a theatrical lens to who they are and where they come from, FIRST. It’s like pulling teeth to ask them to tell a non-violent story or to imagine a delivery beyond the World Star videos. But, I’m finding a way to facilitate as community member, ally. Some times who I am appears to be an affront. I’m Black. Male. Educated. An Artist. I have expectations. AND I CARE. I’m never afraid to let them know I care. I’m never afraid to show them I care. I’m never afraid to speak to them frankly, familiarly, like nieces and nephews. I’m never afraid to buck the generational distance. I’m finding my way to impact using the skills I have. They reject what I know on some days. I’m finding varied ways to model the imagination at work. I want them to see the freedom one could gain from developing a character, a world, or rearticulating their circumstances for whatever purpose THEY choose.

I take a breath before delivering a monologue – I give them a thumb – one, two, three, the young audience is in no one’s syncopation. But I get it. I get them. I swallow. I begin my monologue. I hope I’m free enough to quell the side chatter – to ignite their risk taking. I am finding my way, knowing there is a way.

As flawed as that, I am a Theatre Teaching Artist and this is what I do. What do you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast Learners: What makes Ang Misyon so special?

Theodore Wiprud, July 23, 2015

Last week, I was in Manila with two New York Philharmonic teaching artists to explore the work of Ang Misyon – Tagalog for “the mission.” Ang Misyon, just three years old, aspires to be an El Sistema for the Philippines, modeled in a general way on Venezuela’s famous system of youth orchestras for impoverished children.   We spent time with the flagship ensemble, the Orchestra of Filipino Youth, and also out at nine satellites, some several hours’ drive from Manila.  Student ranged from true beginners, to quite accomplished teens.  Their neighborhoods ranged from what passes for middle class in Manila, to appalling poverty.  Our violinist Katie Kresek led group classes with up to 50 string players at a clip; our trombonist Stephen Dunn worked with anything from four brass players to a full-scale symphonic wind ensemble.  They both employed methods deriving from esthetic education, to improve both technique and musical understanding.

We went as teachers and resources, but there were many lessons for us to learn there.  What I keep thinking about is how well and how fast these students learn – really, virtually all 300 of them we saw.  Ang Misyon’s reach well exceeds its grasp: there are not remotely enough teachers, and most have little educational training.  There aren’t enough instruments, especially things like contrabasses and double reeds.  Yet somehow, we found students very well “set up” on their instruments.  And even more: focused, eager, and learning by leaps and bounds in the hour or so we had with each group. The changes in technique and sound were staggering.

Of course I attribute a lot of this to our fine teaching artists.  Great work, Steve and Katie!

But is there something special about these students and their circumstance?  One wants to say, they have so little; compared to most students in the US, they have less to distract and more incentive to expand their world.  But this sounds glib to me; it presumes more knowledge of their actual mid-set and environment than we could pick up in our brief encounters.  To the contrary, distracting smart phones are surprisingly common among these poor families: turns out they get “myphone” knockoffs for $15.  Seemingly every one of these kids is on Facebook.

One might also want to say that Filipinos are naturally musical.  That may be true, but again, it’s too easy, it avoids examining what’s going on here.

Without getting to know the students better, I can only speculate about their spongelike learning capacity.  But some of it surely has to do with their teachers.  However various their backgrounds, the teachers all really own “the mission” – giving kids the chance they had with music, developing discipline and compassion, creating beauty, opening new doors, improving lives.  Despite difficult teaching situations, lack of instruments and sheet music, uncertainty of attendance, all the challenges of working with impoverished families, these teachers bring a passion to their work that I think inspires the same in their students.

Then there’s a sense of purpose, of a goal: the Orchestra of Filipino Youth.  It may seem a small thing, but I was impressed that at every satellite, students wore a uniform polo or T-shirt with the name of their site, and always in the format “Orchestra of Bata’an Youth,”  “Orchestra of TayTay Youth,” etc.  They may be beginners, but they are in orchestras, and they are on their way up to the Orchestra of Filipino Youth, the flagship.  The goal is clear.  And when satellite students hear the OFY rehearse?  Their admiration is heart-rending.  They are imprinted with ambition to progress.

Finally, compassion.  There is a hefty social work aspect to any program focusing on poor kids.  Jovianney and Tinky Cruz – the husband/wife founders and Artistic Director and General Manager, respectively – make it a point to know every child and every family in every satellite.  When a child isn’t turning up, they find out what’s going on with the family and look for ways to help. No child is left behind –for real.  It isn’t only the kids at the Caloocan satellite, located in a girls’ orphanage, who look to the Cruz’s and Ang Misyon as surrogate parents.

All of which makes me wonder: how can we back in New York so inspire our teachers and teaching artists, that their students all become inspired learners?

Can we set goals, provide a payoff, even in non-skills based esthetic work, that motivate kids to exceed their own expectations?

Can we show so much care and commitment for each student, that they commit themselves as fully to learning?

And we thought we went to Manila to teach.

 

Legal Help for Small Arts Organizations

What kinds of legal safeguards should we be thinking about in the day-to-day business of running a small arts organization in New York City? What areas of our work most demand attention?

Recognizing the legal needs of the arts sector, Lawyers Alliance for New York created the Community Arts Program Priorities in 2012. Since then, it has provided legal services and education to numerous arts groups, resulting in more than 200 new business law and transactional matters for 174 non-profit clients in three years, including services to more than 80 arts organizations in the past year. Lawyers Alliance is coordinating with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) to assist additional arts organizations with legal services.

Hiring a lawyer – or having one on the board in case of need – is rarely an option for small organizations. Calling friends who are lawyers to talk through a concern can stretch the bounds of goodwill when done once too often.  For some situations, getting sound and affordable legal assistance is necessary. But for many scenarios, building our own knowledge base can ensure we are doing our best to avoid difficult or expensive situations and legal wrangles with colleagues and others in our field.

For example, for arts non-profits operating with a small professional staff, hiring freelance workers is commonplace. Whether a PR consultant or teaching artist, a simple contract laying out the requirements, time-frame, and terms is essential to meeting project expectations. This is equally important for artistic collaborative projects and commissions, even if the parties are friends or colleagues. Many a friendship has been tested in collaborative projects when terms and expectations have been assumed and not articulated in a collaborative agreement.

Renting space for the preparation and performance of artistic work is one of the most expensive and stressful aspects of preparing and presenting the arts in New York City. When renting a performance venue, it’s particularly important to read and understand the venue’s contract.  A clause that allows the venue to cancel the booking at any time, for example, can have a devastating impact on marketing and production elements and result in the stress and unanticipated expense of finding alternative space in a short time-frame.  Restrictions on food and alcohol service can also impact on the success of a fundraising event or anticipated income from concession sales.

Issues of governance, questions about by-law modifications, matters relating to intellectual property and the use or ownership of a performance or visual art piece, the legal requirements for winding up a non-profit, and legal options for dealing with HR problems are among the many quandaries that can keep a busy arts administrator awake at night. The Lawyers Alliance of New York can help organizations build understanding in these and other areas through their workshop series. In situations where legal services are needed, an organization can apply for free or low-cost legal assistance.

Avoiding situations that could result in a collaboration or working relationships falling apart, a project being canceled, or worse still, a legal situation occurring which will tip lean budgets seriously into the red, is paramount for the small arts organization.

Has your non-profit arts organization faced a legal issue recently? How did you resolve it?

 

DOE Borough Arts Festivals Celebrate Student Arts

The Manhattan Borough Arts Festival at Symphony Space on June 1st was a true celebration of the arts in Manhattan’s public schools.

Thirteen different performances represented the incredible range of arts NYC school students are engaged in. Each performance spoke volumes of the energy, dedication, and hard work involved in bringing student arts to the stage.

From small groups of students performing with great focus to the highly polished ensembles coming from rigorous arts training programs, each performance was unique, creative, and satisfying. The high level of attention by students watching the performances was a testament to the level of performance and preparation for the event.

In his opening remarks, Paul King, Executive Director, Office of Arts and Special Projects, Department of Education, congratulated all our young artists and thanked Mayor De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina for their commitment to arts education.  Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer added that “nothing can be accomplished without a robust education in the arts,” and gave credit to the teachers and cultural organizations providing high quality arts education.

The Manhattan Borough Arts Festival is one of five events presented as part of new Department of Education initiatives to expand arts education citywide. A festival for Southern Brooklyn & Staten Island and another for Brooklyn were presented in May. Festivals in Queens and the Bronx were presented in early June.

 

New Report on Foundation Funding for Arts Education

Grantmakers in the Arts and Foundation Center’s April 2015 report, Foundation Funding for Arts Education, updates the analysis of foundation arts education funding contained in its original 2005 report. The report illustrates how support for arts education has evolved during a period  of pronounced economic volatility and dramatic political and technological change, exploring trends in arts education funding 1999 through 2012.

The report shows that funding for arts education rose 57 percent from 1999 – 2012, from $193.7 million to $304.4 million, although growth was not consistent throughout the period. The report describes steady growth between 1999 and 2005, accelerated growth from 2006- 1008, a decline of 28 percent in the year of the Great Recession, a further slip in 2011, and strong growth in 2012, when grant dollars increased 18 percent.

Some stand-out data includes:

– 44 percent of grants are $25,000 or less (compared to 39 percent of foundation grants overall)

– Arts education giving overwhelmingly targets arts organizations, with 80 percent of grant support going to arts organizations in 2012

– More than half of arts education grant dollars go to the performing arts, with music education receiving the biggest share (34 percent)

– Funding for multidisciplinary arts education, which includes broad arts in education centers and programs, multidisciplinary arts schools, and ethnic arts education programs, also doubled between 1999 and 2012.

– Within the field of multidisciplinary arts education, support for broad ethnic arts education programs increased significantly.

– Visual arts education, which includes multipurpose visual arts programs and centers and those with a single focus, such as photography or sculpture, received 14 percent, while funding for broad-based museum arts education declined between 1999 and 2012, with its share of arts education dollars falling from 20 percent to 6.9 percent.

– Funding for literary arts education accounted for 2.6 percent of arts education support in 2012, down slightly from the 3.1 percent share in 1999.

Within their arts education giving, some foundations direct support to vulnerable or underserved populations, such as to specific ethnic or racial groups or communities of color in general and to the economically disadvantaged.

The report concludes by saying that a bright future for foundation funding of arts in education depends on our ability to engage new funders, allowing them to see how their priority of addressing specific populations can be served by supporting arts education and that arts education is a powerful resource for ensuring greater equity in society.

Note that the report is a national survey and includes program of higher and graduate educational institutions, along with elementary & secondary schools.

Click here to read the full report.

 

Teaching Artist Unity: Teaming Up to Move Forward

By Beth Cooperman, Teaching Artist and member of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Teaching Artists Affairs Committee.

Is teaching artistry a profession? What would it take to unite the teaching artists of New York City? How can a union for teaching artists be created? Are there resources to compare various teaching artist organizations’ values, pay rates, or rate of hire?

These were just a few of the questions that were considered when a group of teaching artists got together to discuss the topic of summer employment. The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable TA Affairs Committee hosted a Teaching Artist Meet-up event at Urban Arts Partnership on March 5th for the purpose of unifying NYC teaching artists. Through the sharing of resources, experiences, and support, teaching artists explored how they can move forward as a profession. Despite the harsh weather conditions and subway disruptions, a group of dedicated teaching artists turned up to discuss the topics most important to them. Although many attendees were meeting for the first time, it was not long before everyone felt comfortable expressing their views.

In the first Roundtable Teaching Artist Meet-up, the participants yearned to create a tangible product where teaching artists can collaborate and educate one another.  Social media is always a great start. A private Facebook group was created during the meeting as a place for teaching artists to share opportunities, thoughts, and support. This is definitely a step in the right direction to improve networking in the teaching artist field.

The use of the internet and social media has created many opportunities for artists of every discipline. One case in point for actors is Audition Update, an innovative website that invites theatre artists in New York City to do something that was once considered taboo – to help out and support other actors. This website allows actors to post information and ask/answer questions about specific auditions throughout the city. Also appearing in the website is a “Gig & Tell” section where actors review theatre companies with which they have had experience and a “Bitching Post” where actors can share frustrations. Audition culture has changed considerably since the creation of this website. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was a similar resource for teaching artists?

In order to move teaching artistry forward, whether you believe that it is an actual profession or not, it is important to continue collaborating with others that hold the same passions and intentions. The TA Affairs committee plans to host one or two more meet-ups before the end of the school year with different topics of focus. In the near future, we hope to create monthly meet-ups. With the help of New York City Arts in Education Roundtable, we hope to move teaching artistry forward and enhance opportunities for teaching artists in the NYC area.

Click here to see full article

Beth Cooperman is currently a teaching artist at Urban Arts Partnership, NYC Children’s Theatre, and Wingspan Arts. She is also participating in the advanced track of the Teaching Artist Training and Internship Program (TATIP) through CommunityWord Project.

NYC Department of Cultural Affairs – Discussing Diversity

This week, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs took the first step in a new initiative to examine diversity in the City’s arts and cultural sector. DCA Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl invited executive leaders of the City’s major institutions and smaller organizations to participate in a discussion about why diversity matters in our sector, hosted by the Ford Foundation.

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker framed the discussion by emphasizing that diversity should be viewed not as a sacrifice but as a way to build excellence, strength, energy, and renewal. “Diversity,” said Walker, “is a way to broaden networks and links, expand political connections, and increase legitimacy in a broad-based way.”

Commissioner Finkelpearl continued the discussion by saying that while the conversation on diversity was beginning with race, all areas are important, including sexual orientation, and disability. He talked about the need to create a plan for change, beginning with a goal for expanding staff and board diversity and developing a strategy for achieving the goal within a given timeframe. And in order to make a plan, we need more data, adding that a privately-funded survey will be distributed to the sector with the expectation of full participation. He emphasized that while accomplishing the goal may take time, there is real urgency to start the work now. Organizations need to create a pipeline where people of color have points of entry into our organizations as professional staff, decision-makers, board members, and audiences.

The Roundtable constituency – teaching artists and administrators conducting the arts education programs on behalf of New York’s arts and cultural sector – is engaged in the most diverse arts activities in the field. Thousands of arts professionals work in schools and communities every day, helping tens of thousands students of color achieve in and through the arts. An important question is how to more effectively integrate participants in the arts in education and community-based arts programs happening out in communities with the arts institutions that put them there. How can these vibrant and relevant programs be part of the pipeline that brings young people of color and the diverse teaching artists working with them into the heart of arts organizations – offices, board rooms, concert halls, theatres, and museums – adding to the excellence, relevance, and innovation of our sector?

The discussion on diversity in the arts sector is one that the Roundtable will continue to engage in. A session at our 2015 Face to Face conference (April 7 & 8, 2015), developed by arts administrators of color who work for organization members of the Roundtable, is a good example of the need to put this issue firmly on the table. In this interactive panel, entitled “In Full Color” three veteran arts administrators of color will share their professional journeys, identifying the challenges and supports they have encountered on the pathway to managerial and leadership positions in the field of arts education.

The DCA discussion this week has given the sector notice that change is needed to make our field more broadly accessible and representative of the interests of all New Yorkers.

What can you do to help change the culture and create opportunities for more diverse participation in all aspects of the arts sector in NYC?