March 23, 2021

My Dearest Arts Organization, Are You Listening?

Reading Time:   1 min

Dear Friends,

This week GuildNotes published My Dearest Arts Organization, Are You Listening? a letter created by teaching artists to reflect on some of the challenges that they’ve faced during the multiple pandemics which have stricken the world.  The letter has been called a “breakup letter” because while teaching artists love the work, they often feel caught in a toxic relationship. In a time when equity and inclusion have become paramount, what does it mean when teaching artists want out of the field, when they are at the heart of the work?

We invite you to read the letter and consider:

  • What do I hear being said in the letter?
  • What resonates with me?
  • What can I do to change the power dynamic expressed?
  • Are teaching artists a priority in my organization?
  • Does my organization allow for honest critical feedback from TAs?
  • Does my organization have an accountability plan for feedback?
  • What do I want to know more about?

There is a follow-up checklist derived from the perspective of teaching artists as a guide to create a vibrant arts ecosystem that is equitable for all. We invite you to fill out the checklist and consider:

  • Which boxes can my organization check? Why/Why not?
  • What does my organization need to check every box?
  • What do I want to know more about?

We invite you to join a conversation where you can discuss your individual and organizational response to this article.  Together we can work to reimagine and rebuild this arts ecosystem so that it holds everyone.

In the fall leaders from multiple agencies* will collaborate on a series to address specific ways to carry out the checklist recommendations.

In solidarity,

Your colleagues at *Teaching Artists Guild, Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic, National Guild for Community Arts Education, Lincoln Center Education, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, New 42, and Community-Word Project