First Things First – What Is A Teaching Artist?

A teaching artist, by definition, is a two-career professional: a working artist and a working educator. As working artists, they are involved in an ongoing process of discovery, problem-solving, discipline, and refinement of skills in their discipline. As a working educator, it is essential that the artist is also developing a knowledge base and skills to be an effective partner in education. Achieving a meaningful balance between these two professions, whereby one feeds the other, is an ongoing process that requires a deepening awareness for the teaching artist of what their teaching brings to their art and what their art teaches them about learning.

Teaching artists are a crucial resource for the future of arts education, the arts in general, and the overall process of learning. The role of the teaching artist is an integral part of the overarching arts education constellation, which includes:

  • short and long-term school and after-school residencies
  • arts experiences, including in-school performances by professional artists, as well as field trips to studios, galleries, museums, and performances.
  • integrating the arts throughout the curriculum as a way of engaging all types of intelligences in the learning process.
  • arts education standards backed up by ongoing curriculum-based arts instruction in pre-K-12.
  • discipline-specific learning in the arts: visual art, dance, theater, music, poetry, etc.
  • higher education and on-going development for the professional artist, as well as the professional artist who is also a teaching artist.
  • lifelong learning in the arts through community arts events, classes and workshops.