Category: Uncategorized

The Altman Foundation Awards the Roundtable a Grant to Develop a New, More Impactful Website

Altman Foundation logo

NEW YORK, NY –The Altman Foundation recently awarded the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable a capacity-building grant for the development of a new website. Given the impact of COVID-19 on the field of arts education, this grant will help the Roundtable in our efforts to serve arts educators with more expansive and effective digital tools and resources. In addition to designing a website that is more responsive and accessible to everyone, our goal is to ensure that the site is more dynamic, streamlined, and multimedia-friendly.

“The Roundtable prides itself as the main information-hub for NYC’s arts in education community. With this generous gift from the Altman Foundation, we will be able to better serve the field and our membership with a new, more accessible website that highlights our rich professional learning resources including workshop videos, community blog posts, a robust jobs board, and upcoming opportunities,” says Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable. 

Over the next several weeks, the Roundtable staff will be working with our member-led Advocacy, Communications, and Membership Committees to identify areas for improvement in the website user experience. We will also be conducting surveys to solicit feedback on the new website’s design direction in our efforts to address the needs of our members as comprehensively as possible. 

About the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable improves, advances, and advocates for arts education in New York City. NYCAIER is a community of cultural organizations and educators that shares resources, provides professional development, and advocates for the needs of our constituents and the communities they serve. Founded in 1992, NYCAIER builds our efforts around the value that arts education is a right for all NYC students. NYCAIER produces a major annual arts in education conference, Face to Face; monthly professional development programs;  in addition to ongoing advocacy and communications efforts for cultural organizations and teaching artists in every discipline.

For more information please visit:



New York City Arts in Education Roundtable Awards Over 330 Grants from the Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund

CONTACT: Kimberly Olsen, 

Published on October 6, 2020 

NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable (NYCAIER) recently awarded grants to 337 arts educators as part of the Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund. Made possible with generous contributions from the New York Community Trust and Booth Ferris Foundation, this fund provides unrestricted grants up to $1,000 to arts education professionals who have been financially hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

“As the convening body for NYC’s arts in education community, the Roundtable is grateful for the opportunity to support hundreds of teaching artists and cultural workers through our Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund,” says Kimberly Olsen, Executive Director of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable. “However, in this critical moment, we need to keep prioritizing and investing in these essential members of our schools and communities, who are facing disproportional financial impact from the economic downturn. Otherwise, we risk losing vital voices in our schools and communities.” 

NYCAIER received close to 800 applications to the Relief Fund and worked in partnership with 11 practitioners in the field to review applications and select the final grantees. A total of $333,500 was awarded to 337 arts education professionals, 80% of whom identified as Teaching Artists. In addition, 89% of the awardees reported having been furloughed or laid off and 93% estimated their 2020 income to be under $30,000. Over a third of the total granted was to Black arts education professionals as part of NYCAIER’s ongoing efforts to dismantle systems of white supremacy in NYC schools, organizations, and communities. 

“I am humbled and extremely grateful for this generous gift,” said arts educator Cáitlín Burke. “The COVID crisis has greatly impacted my life, I have lost work and loved ones, and as a result, have had unplanned expenses arise. This award is going to greatly help me in my current situation, and I am so grateful to NYC Arts in Education for providing this help to me and other NYC educators.”

Arts educator Kimberlee Walker shared how the Arts Educator Emergency Relief Fund grant helped her secure some very immediate needs. “Like so many people, unemployment insurance had kept me afloat since I was laid off and all of my acting gigs were cancelled,” said Kimberlee. “Before getting the award notification email, I literally did not know how I would pay rent going into October. Now, that is one less thing to worry about.” 

About the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable improves, advances, and advocates for arts education in New York City. NYCAIER is a community of cultural organizations and educators that shares resources, provides professional development, and advocates for the needs of our constituents and the communities they serve. Founded in 1992, NYCAIER builds our efforts around the value that arts education is a right for all NYC students. NYCAIER produces a major annual arts in education conference, Face to Face; monthly professional development programs;  in addition to ongoing advocacy and communications efforts for cultural organizations and teaching artists in every discipline.

For more information please visit:



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.”

An Open Call to Board of Directors of Arts Education Programs

Posted on June 8, 2020

The following open letter to board members of arts organizations was written by marcus d harvey. This blog originally appeared as an article in the Spring 2020 edition of the Teaching Artist Guild’s TAG Quarterly on Friday, June 5.

June 1, 2020


Hello Board of Directors—


I am writing to you at 3:40am because I can’t sleep.   


Many of you don’t know me and probably will never have any interaction with me beyond this point but I wanted to introduce myself.


I am marcus d. harvey (all lowercase letters) and I have been a teaching artist at YOUR ORGANIZATION for over 11 years now. Maybe you know my name as I have worked with one of the signature programs pretty much exclusively since my time at YOUR ORGANIZATION.


I hold my undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, a graduate degree from NYU and a graduate degree from Brooklyn College.  I am an actor. I am a director. I am a writer. I am a college professor. I am a mentor. I have been stopped by the cops, racially profiled, called the N word. I have been overlooked by jobs not because I didn’t have the qualifications but merely because my blackness makes white people feel uncomfortable (I have been told that by people “off the record”). You wouldn’t know anything of that by looking at me. What you will know by seeing me is that I am black and male and there is nothing any of you can do about it.


For years, I have worked at YOUR ORGANIZATION with a smile on my face and my head held high because I believed in the work of YOUR ORGANIZATION, or at least I used to. I have survived YOUR ORGANIZATION through many transitions and yet I am only part-time. I am asked about students who have been through your program by grant writers and others, but yet I am not on staff full-time. I watched someone who worked under me as a teaching artist, a white man, get a position where all of a sudden I had to report to him and seek his approval for even being in the room. Within YOUR ORGANIZATION, there is systemic racism.


YOUR ORGANIZATION, like most arts nonprofits, will romanticize the struggle of black and brown children to donors and sponsors while many of the staff in the office of these organizations are white. Do you recognize this as a problem?  I, a black man, have always had to report to someone white about a program dealing with a black playwright. Think about that for a minute. My blackness has to be approved by white supervisors. That is systemic racism. I, a black man, have had to sit in training sessions led usually by non-black people on how to deal with black and brown youth. That is systemic racism.  My entire existence within YOUR ORGANIZATION is on the approval of the white people who “approve” my work and my timesheet. That is systemic racism.


If you are uncomfortable with this email, imagine being me, I have been uncomfortable for some time now and afraid to say a word out of fear. Fear that the whiteness around me will see me as problematic and I would be let go. That is systemic racism. 


I am NOT asking you to make room for me at the table where you currently sit. I am asking you to examine who’s at the table, dismantle the table and build a new table that will make room for people like myself to sit.  


As the board of directors, I imagine part of your obligation is to guide and direct the organization towards growth but how can an organization grow when it doesn’t examine itself internally. When I say internally, I don’t mean hiring an outside organization run by white people to take a look at the systemic racism within YOUR ORGANIZATION; I mean by inviting black people at YOUR ORGANIZATION into the room to be heard and seen. If there are not black people at YOUR ORGANIZATION, ask yourself WHY?


It appears black lives only matter when it’s time to raise money but otherwise black lives are erased and black voices are muted. 


What is the action plan of YOUR ORGANIZATION going forward?

How will YOUR ORGANIZATION make room for voices that are black and male in the room?

When will black lives matter?


Here’s the reality, at any point, my black maleness can be seen as a threat and I could be taken at the hands of the cops simply by existing.  At any point I can become a hashtag.


What will YOUR ORGANIZATION do to ensure the safety and growth of black people who are on the frontlines doing the work stated in the mission statement?


It is no longer acceptable to sit in silence, while you have the power to examine yourselves and impact the change needed within the organization. 


In the arts,

In education,


marcus d. harvey



As a board member responded to my email, the response reminded me how much systemic racism in rooted in who sits on these boards and who nurtures and guides these organizations to higher heights. It was clear my voice was heard and email wasn’t read. I have to ask: When will there be a new wave of leadership? When will black lives and black voices matter in arts education?  To board members everywhere….What are you willing to sacrifice for my freedom?



marcus d harvey is an award-winning actorvist, director and writer. He holds degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, New York University and Brooklyn College. He’s a teaching artist at various organizations, mentor and an adjunct professor of Acting. Website: Twitter: @marcusdharvey

Improvising in Quarantine

Teaching Artists Speak Out_ Blogs from Quarantine Post by Dana Shulman. Background: NYC apartment buildings looking up at the sky.

By Dana Shulman

Posted on Tuesday, April 7, 2020

This blog is a part of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable’s new blog series, “Teaching Artists Speak Out: Blogs from Quarantine.” As schools remain closed, we’ve invited some “Teaching Artists of the Roundtable” to help us curate a series of blog posts written for and by NYC teaching artists. We’ll be posting new blogs each Tuesday and Thursday for the next several weeks. To view other blogs in the series, please click here.


You can make sure you are stocked up on hand sanitizer, canned food, and toilet paper, but you can never be completely prepared for going into quarantine during a pandemic. Sure, I have enough to eat in my house. We are very fortunate and we planned ahead; however, I had no idea what my brain and my heart and my soul were going to need during this intense time.

On Thursday, March 12th I was in the middle of teaching an improv class for The Peoples Improv Theater when we got word there would be no more classes for a while. My students looked at me. I looked at them. I didn’t know what to say, but I talked anyway.

I’m an improviser, that’s what we do.

I told everyone I had no idea what was going on or when we’d be back, but I knew that we all needed to set one quantifiable and attainable mini-goal for however long we would be quarantined. I told them I would check in the next week and see how the goals went. I offered up my goal first.

I decided that I would finally get myself to drink 10 glasses of water a day.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I could even accomplish this one small goal. It seemed like a lot. Quarantining seemed like a lot. Everything seemed like a lot.

Every week after class we all swing by the bar and then head to an after class improv jam; however there was no jam. Everything was cancelled. The situation was getting real and scary really fast.

We all looked at each other and not knowing what else to do, we started our own makeshift improv jam at the bar. Someone grabbed my phone and we put it on Facebook Live. We all laughed and tried not to touch each other. People at home were happy to see that some of us were still together. This improv jam and the silly video meant a lot to a lot of people.

That was our last night out.

I went home scared and unprepared emotionally for what life would be like in the coming days/weeks/months. I imagined myself laying in bed and crying and feeling lost for a long time, missing my students, missing my people, missing laughter and art and creativity and the stage. I wondered what good all the hand sanitizer, canned food, and toilet paper could do without the things that I knew I needed to survive.

I woke up on March 13th and a few of us decided to record some two person improv sets since we were each quarantined with another improviser. That sounded fun and would make my mom pleased to get to see me perform so we did it. We knew we could all stream from our personal accounts; however it felt more powerful if we all streamed from one account. I quickly made a new Instagram account.

Socially Distant Improv.

Sounds good.

Instagram account made.

Show scheduled.

My friend Kim made a graphic advertising our show.

It gave me something to look forward to. It gave us all something to look forward to.

I have not stopped working from March 13th until now at the time of this publication. We’ve been working around the clock.

Socially Distant Improv is now a fully functioning channel on Instagram Live.

We stream 75+ weekly shows.

We successfully ran a 25 hour international comedy festival this past weekend.

It’s 3 weeks in and we have over 1300 followers.

It’s modest, but it’s growing.

Every single day Kim and I get some sort of note from someone telling us why Socially Distant Improv is important to them. Performers are thankful for the encouragement to create and perform and to have a show their far away family and friends can finally see. Our viewers are thankful to laugh and to have shows they look forward to catching. Everyone seems thankful for a continuation of something normal and for something that stays on a schedule in this time of uncertainty.

I have never worked this hard in my life. It’s early mornings to late nights for no pay; however, I’ve never been more fulfilled. I am performing new characters and improvising with new people every single day. I get to reconnect with my current teammates and we are learning to listen and play with each other on a whole new, deeper level. I am making new friends and teammates all over the world. My new friend Rafa who is an improviser in Mexico City will come visit NYC as soon as he can, and I know that we will perform at The PIT together. We are breaking down the walls of theaters and connecting like never before.

This virtual improv theater we created has meant more to my family than I ever could have imagined. At 11AM every day I do improv with my niece and nephew in Boston. They love getting to perform for the world and I love getting to guide them through it. It’s absolutely priceless. Yesterday was a tough one for me, and I didn’t feel like doing anything today, but I knew I had to get up for those kids…so I did and it was beautiful and exactly what I needed.

I have not stopped working from March 13th until now at the time of this publication because when I stop, even for a minute, I feel lost and I cry.

A huge part of my new “job” has been reaching out to performers to ask them to grace our “stage” with their talents since March 13th.  Most were not in the right place to do that on March 13th and we completely understood; however, we kept building Socially Distant Improv. We knew that when and if these performers became ready to get back in front of a “crowd” we’d be ready to make it happen for them.   Most eventually find it comforting and rewarding to get back out there and perform in this new virtual format.

Nobody was emotionally prepared for going into quarantine during a pandemic. Most people I talked to in the first week were laying in bed and crying and feeling lost…AND THAT IS OK. That is great. That is surviving. THAT IS OUR ONLY JOB RIGHT NOW.

So cry, laugh, lay around, get super buff, eat a cake, write a novel, call a friend, take a vow of silence, do anything…JUST SURVIVE. If you survive, that helps me survive and then we’re getting through this together. That is the only way.

Last week a show was cancelled because one of our performers was suddenly feeling sick, and I lost it. What am I doing? People are sick. People are dying. I’m facilitating playtime and laughter. It felt wrong.   I was angry and sad and confused, but I wanted to cover the show so I logged on to Socially Distant Improv and went live. I improvised for 20 minutes with an old friend. It was some of the best improv I’ve done in a long time, and I needed that. My scene partner needed that. Maybe one of the people who witnessed the improvised magic needed that too. So I guess that’s another reason to keep going.

On that note, my thoughts here are done and it’s time for me to take a break and have a good cry. Afterwards, it’s back to work for me because I have a job to do. My job is to survive and this is how I’m doing it.

None of us were prepared for going into quarantine during a pandemic, and we are all just improvising as we go along.    

I’m still not drinking enough water.   I’m working on it.

Dana Shulman is an actor, improviser, teacher, coach, and silly long distance runner originally from Boston and currently in a long term relationship with New York City. She is a long time faculty member, producer, and performer at The Peoples Improv Theater and is a founding member of independent improv team Student Driver (est. 2010) who headlines and produces one of The PIT’s longest running show Indie Road (every Sunday) and their longest longest running festival Indie-Pendence Day (every Fourth of July). Dana teaches improv, stand up, & coaches running through Opening Act & Manhattan Youth, two organizations which do amazing work to support NYC public school students. You can also find Dana playing with ComedySportz NYC and she was a member of the first main stage cast of Improv Asylum NYC. She is a recent graduate of Freestyle Love Supreme Academy and would like to believe she is getting better at rapping. Dana is a co-founder of the brand new and thriving Socially Distant Improv which streams 75+ live comedy shows a week on Instagram Live.  You can follow that adventure at or @sociallydistantimprov on Instagram. Please check out her regular shenanigans on Instagram at @onedanaatatime, her running adventures at @followthatfannypack, her cat at @murphyburger, and her slightly more professional self,

Teaching Artist COVID-19 Community Conversation

Published on Sunday, March 15, 2020

On Friday, March 13, 2020, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, Association of Teaching Artists, Teaching Artists Guild, Creative Generation, National Guild for Community Arts Education, and Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic hosted a free webinar of almost 500 teaching artists to address how the COVID-19 health crisis is affecting the field of arts in education and the unique profession of teaching artistry. The guiding questions of this webinar included:

  • How does employment status impact organizational support?
  • How can artists advocate for themselves?
  • How can teaching artists build community in times of crisis?
  • How can we connect our community to talk about how the virus is impacting the work we do?
  • How can we leverage the shared knowledge of our community to offer plans and procedures in response to COVID-19?

Thank you to the panelists who helped facilitate this conversation:

  • Erika Atkins – Deputy Director, Opening Act (New York, NY)
  • Justin Daniel – Teaching Artist/Associate Director of Programs, Opening Act (New York, NY)
  • Heleya de Barros – Executive Director, Association of Teaching Artists / Director of Arts Education, Arts Corps (Seattle, WA)
  • John Holyoke – Lead Instructional Specialist, Lincoln Center Education (New York, NY)
  • Jean Johnstone – Executive Director, Teaching Artists Guild (San Francisco, CA)
  • James Miles – Executive Director, Arts Corps (Seattle, WA)
  • Kimberly Olsen – Managing Director, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable (New York, NY)
  • David Wright, Partner, Kahn, Smith & Collins (Baltimore, MD)
  • and Kenny Allen (Teaching Artist Guild) & Kinsey Keck (New York City Arts in Education Roundtable) as Chat Box Moderators

Note: At the time of the webinar, 240 participants reported a loss as a direct result of COVID-19.

Click here for an extensive list of resources complied by the NYC Art in Education Roundtable, Teaching Artist Guild, and Association for Teaching Artists!

Click here to access a transcript of the conversation: TA COVID 19 Call Transcript

Click here to access the audio file of the conversation: Teaching Artist COVID-19 Audio.m4a

Click here to access the transcript of the chat box discussion: Teaching Artist COVID-19 Chat Box


List of Questions to Ask Your Organization Regarding Compensation:

  • In what capacity are you employed as a teaching artist? Employee? Independent Contractor?
  • Am I eligible for paid sick time? If so, how much do I have accrued and where do I find that information?
  • What is this organization’s cancellation policy?
  • When and how can I use paid sick time?
    • If my children are sick?
    • If I have to care for a loved one?
    • If schools close due to a pandemic
    • If I don’t want to go to work due to safety concern
    • What is your class cancelation policy for pay for teaching artists?
    • Are you putting into place any emergency pay measures?

For updates from the NYC Department of Education, please visit:

Arts Administrators: To access video and audio recordings of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Community Conversation on COVID-19 (March 10, 2020), please click here.

Community Conversation on COVID-19 Recording & Transcript (3/10/2020)

Published on Tuesday, March 10, 2020

On March 10, 2020, the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable hosted a Zoom meeting to create a digital space for arts administrators within our community to share strategies to overcome this challenge in order to best support our programs, organizations, and teaching artists.

UPDATE: We thank you for your patience and understanding as the meeting reached capacity. We do plan to have a follow up conversation as updates become available. In the meantime, we have created a Q & A Forum for practitioners to post questions, resources, and news articles related to the recent outbreak of COVID-19. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS ONLINE FORUM.

TEACHING ARTISTS: On March 13, the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable partnered with the Teaching Artists Guild, the Association of Teaching Artists, and others on how we can best support and advocate for our Teaching Artists during this time. Click here to access a recording of the webinar.

In the meantime, please take a look at this helpful article, “Arts and Culture Sector Can Prepare for the Coronavirus in the United States,” created by our colleagues at Americans for the Arts.

Click here to access the audio file of the conversation: Arts Ed COVID-19 Community Conversation 3.10.2020.m4a

Click here to access the transcript of the chat box discussion: COVID-19 NYCAIER Community Conversation Chat Box

Click here to access a transcription of the recorded conversation: Arts Admin COVID 19 Webinar Transcript


COVID-19 Q&A Forum for Arts in Education Practitioners

Based on feedback from the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Community Conversation on COVID-19, the Roundtable would like to offer an online forum for members of the arts in education community to connect with our the community to talk about how the virus is impacting the work we do and to share any plans or procedures.

Please use this Google Groups platform to post resources, share questions, and offer updates.

For information on how to interact and engage with Google Groups, please click here.

To access video and audio recordings of the NYC Arts in Education Community Conversation on COVID-19 (March 10, 2020), please click here.

Tax Tips Webinar for Freelance Teaching Artists

On February 20, 2020, Dominic Comperatore, professional actor, and founder of Empire Tax Prep, led a free webinar about key issues regarding your taxes as an artist. Listen in as he discusses many aspects of how the process works, including recent changes to the federal tax code, specific pitfalls to watch out for as freelancers, exemptions, deductions, W4 and W2 forms, independent contractor income, record-keeping, and audits.