And we're off!
On October 27th, 2017, 38 artists gathered at The Drama League in Tribeca for the opening reception of Teaching Artist Project 2017-18. This group of talented theatre and visual artists, writers, dancers, musicians, and mixed media artists came together to meet their fellow classmates, facilitators, and mentors in a small reception hosted by Community-Word Project staff.
Artistic Director, Patti Chilsen, welcomed the group and introduced various CWP staff members, including Founder & Executive Director, Michele Kotler, who gave the new trainees some background on the program and why this work is so important today.
In addition to getting to know one another over cocktails, snacks, and games, the trainees had the pleasure of hearing from TAP Alum and CWP Teaching Artist, Javan "Jay" Howard. Jay shared some inspiring words, reflecting on his own experience as a trainee and scholarship recipient in the program.
Jay recently had a chapbook published - America is Me, America is NOT Me - and shared some of his breathtaking poetry with the group, including a piece he wrote years ago specifically about his experience in TAP: "We Were Artists."
The following morning, the trainees gathered once again at The Drama League to commence the first day of training. Patti and facilitator, Karla Robinson, welcomed the group and led them through the first steps of TAP, opening with specific rituals designed to translate easily into a classroom setting, including "do-nows" like graffiti walls and stretching warm-ups to get our bodies ready for a day of learning.
Karla and Patti made examples of themselves by taking the first risks and sharing their art forms: Karla shared a spoken word piece she wrote about one of her students, and Patti sang a clip from her master's thesis based on Shakespeare's King Lear.
After sharing, the facilitators asked the trainees to think first of themselves as artists before attempting the work of a Teaching Artist. They had the participants na