On Monday, April 3rd, the TAP Cohort came together to put on our annual panel: The Business of Teaching Artistry: A Panel on Professionalism. We were fortunate enough to be hosted by the Dedalus Foundation this year, providing a beautiful gallery as the setting for this year's panel. This event has grown every year as our cohort continues to expand and strengthen the work we do together. For 2017's event, we had five panels total with a final sixth panel that included every panelist that evening for an open talkback with the audience. There were 18 panelists, including some master Teaching Artists as well as administrators, and 96 audience members total to really pack the house!
Facilitated by Program Director Patti Chilsen and Program Facilitator Karla Robinson, the topics discussed ranged from what administrators look for in quality and depth of Teaching Artists, the expectations of the field, communication between Teaching Artists and the organizations they work for, balance and self-care, and more.
There was even one panel dedicated to the voices of master Teaching Artists, so that they could impart some of their insights on professionalism in the field.
"I found the diversity of experience among the panelists extremely helpful. I really appreciated to hear the various perspectives of Arts Educators throughout the field." - Kym Boyce
The panelists offered a valuable range of information, each giving their unique perspective from their organization.
"I found everything very helpful. Mostly hearing from all of the organizations in one place about the same issue was a rare opportunity and I felt lucky to hear from experienced veterans in the field about what to expect and what is expected from us. Responding quickly, being on time, organizing schedule, pacing yourself so as not to burn out, your artistry versus your teaching artistry, where do they meet and where they should be separate. It was a truly informative evening." - Stephanie McKay
"It was very interesting to hear about the various experiences of the Teaching Artists, as well as the view points of the diverse organizations which help implement the programs, in schools and other venues. So many different temperaments and talents, all focused on the common goal of communicating through the arts, the ability to discover new possibilities, new abilities, both individual and collective, to enrich communities." - Vivian Regueros
For the final panel, all panelists returned to the stage to face the audience and have a group discussion about the future of the field. We dove deeper as a collective, exploring and unpacking topics that are somewhat worry some in this current climate:
What about the impending cuts to the NEA and how will that impact the arts-in-education field?
What actions can we take to address these changes?
How are organizations & teaching artists addressing concerns in the school communities in response to the issues posed by the current administration?
What are you offering as support for your teaching artists since they are out working in the communities most directly impacted by changes from this administration?
"My favorite moment was when we addressed the concern of our current administration and the fact that the arts will continue despite possible funding cuts." - Michael Morales
We even discussed challenges within the field of Teaching Artistry, such as racial and gender imbalance, and what steps we are taking as a whole to combat those problems.
"My favorite moments were the affirmations and contradictions of individual experience: How theory comes into practice and the discussions on how we serve communities that we do not belong to whether that be race, gender, education, or geography. I also loved listening and then mingling with a multitude of voices in the currently in the Teaching Artist world." - Tessa Allen
It was a beautiful evening and we would like to thank the TAP Cohort and the Dedalus Foundation, as well as all of the Teaching Artists, Administrators and audience members who took part.