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Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~Pablo Picasso

Thoughts for the Teaching Artist is devoted to an ongoing exploration of the role of the arts in education. I believe that the arts are an integral, essential part of every person's education. Arts education develops 21st Century Learning Skills, supports all core subjects, creates empathy & builds bridges, and helps develop voice & vision.

The views expressed in Thoughts for the Teaching Artist are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer or any other persons or organization.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Artists Supporting Artists

As Teaching Artists, we are responsible for teaching our students the skills and techniques they need to practice our particular disciplines.  As important as teaching the skills to create art is our responsibility to teach students to respect other artists and to work successfully with other artists.  The best way we can do this is by modeling appropriate behavior among ourselves.  In a school environment, that modeling can take place in the following ways:

o Support one another as teaching artists: practice cooperation not competition

o Share our students

o Attend events across all disciplines

o Encourage our students to support one another as artists through our example

Ultimately, modeling this behavior is one way that we work toward earning greater respect for ourselves, not only from one another and our students, but from the larger community as well.  We became Teaching Artists because we share a passionate belief that art matters.  So if we aren’t the audience, who is? If we don’t care, who will?


  1. You are a perfect example of this wonderful model! As an artist, there is nothing so inspiring as watching others create and learning from them.

  2. I completely agree. I highly recommend that teachers of theatre join the Educational Theatre Association (EDTA) and the California Educational Theatre Association (CETA) for this very reason. I find theatre educators to be extremely generous and collegial.

  3. Regarding "attend events across all disciplines"- I can't emphasize how much this has helped me. All of it is good advice, but in particular, showing an interest and supporting other campus activities is critical for theatre teachers. It's too easy to get absorbed in the million things that we do and forget about the rest of the campus. I once took a group from rehearsal for about 20 minutes to watch a critical wrestling match going on in the gym. A theatre student was competing, and we wanted to support him. The Athletic Director and school President happened to be there, and they still mention this as an example to all campus groups... and that was 3 years ago! Even if I can't make it to everything, I have the kids organize themselves to attend althletic and other school events as a group. And in return, for example, we've had the baseball team all come out as a group to watch the musical.

    I also second Amy's comment-- the EdTA and CETA conferences are great places to network with other theatre teachers, and to find support and help.