National Artist Teacher Fellowship

Arts In Education Forum

Welcome to the National Artist Teacher Fellowship, Arts in Education Forum.

During the NATF 2013 Convening, ideas, frustrations, solutions and comments were discussed surrounding Arts in Education. We aim to become a resource and forum for arts teachers nationwide by bringing these topics to the web. Please help us by using this page to discuss relevant topics to arts in education, contact each other, and share ideas, photos and videos.

Please keep comments to respectful and professional language. Thank you for participating!

Our first topic is: Maintaining balance between roles as an artist and an educator. How do you maintain a consistent art practice while teaching?

To start off, here are some thoughts on this topic from this years Convening:

K-“I have to have an art night once a week. I’m constantly in demand, so I need that time. I leave after dinner. I pack lunches at midnight when I go home. It cuts into my sleep. I also work at school. My husband’s also an artist, so we have a studio. ”

D-“I practice, but maybe not as much as I used to. As the years went on, a lot of my creative energy was going towards the students’ work. It was going into them instead of me. Even though I wasn’t creating as much as I used to, once or twice a year I’ll create work in a concentrated amount of time.”

Our second topic is: Multicultural Arts Education in the Global Economy. Dealing with issues of appropriation and cultural identity.

To start you off here is a great article by Dipti Desai: Desai_Places to Go-_Challenges to Multicultural Art Education in a Global Economy


8 thoughts on “Arts In Education Forum

  1. I find that it really helps to take advantage of holidays and breaks. Summer is a major project time. Spring break is usually a solid opportunity to put in some work. Other than that, I have set aside times during the week to maintain my own practice, such as Saturday or Sunday mornings. Scheduling in that creative time is a helpful way to motivate consistent work.

  2. Man, that’s a tough one, I have pretty good luck getting up earlier and trying to log in a couple hours every morning. That way I roll to school already feeling like an artist, it gives me some meditative time pre-work and if what I’m working on in the studio is going well, I bring that energy into the classroom. The other advantage to logging hours daily is that it’s easier to get out there and do, I also find that I lose my dialogue with the materials and process if too much time has elapsed between studio sessions.

  3. I’m so glad we’re talking about this. Maintaining an artistic practice as an educator is certainly a challenge. As a dance teacher, I often use studio time with my most advanced dancers as a laboratory for my own choreographic work. The students benefit from being a part of a professional-level artistic process while continuing to hone their own technique and artistry, and I get to workshop new ideas that I might later bring to my dance company. When time is tight (and when isn’t it?), I find that the key to getting it all in is a two-birds-one-stone approach. Sometimes I wonder if this practice crosses some ethical line. Of course, when I am with students, their growth is my first priority. I believe that we can all be in practice and process together.

  4. After reflecting a bit more on my latest habits, it seems that during the school year I spend a lot of time brainstorming and sketching ideas for future projects. As a muralist, the school year is the perfect time to do some leg work of finding wall space, initiating conversations with residents about mural content, researching and documenting visual references, creating multiple colored sketches, premixing numerous paint colors to be ready to go, and gathering all supplies for when the next break opportunity comes. This style of practice and process, which I have been engaging in over the last couple of years, keeps my artistic side stimulated. It is, however, a long-term type of process that does not lead to any immediate work, but once those major breaks in the school year come…it’s on.

  5. This may sound funny, but I treat any gig I have, whether it be weddings, musicals or symphony subbing, as the most important performance of my life. While it’s not concentrated individual practice time, I do feel I’m “practicing” in a performance setting. I also try to play cello as much as possible in the general music courses I teach, just so I’m at least touching the instrument each week! P.S. I miss you guys!

  6. You have to be selfish to be an artist. It is so easy to give time and energy to students because I love what I do. But, if I don’t reserve time for the artist in me than I can no longer be a passionate and effective teacher. It’s a hard lesson to learn. I look forward to my time as an artist with my professional, adult dancers – it is what I strive for. If we don’t take in, there is nothing to give out.

  7. Matt’s input regarding “content” and “connecting” i feel very important for us as a group of teaching artists. Making the connection of what we do as artists to where we work in the education setting is a very challenging issue . The large contemporary themes that effect our culture seem to be somehow left out of much of the daily “curriculum” and it is my belief that these big issues be included via the visual and performing artists who make it their business to relate to the greater school around us that has so much to offer.

    Here’s to programs that address issues like: nature in urban environments and its importance, food production and how we have grown apart from our natural world and our food sources, housing, cities and the future of “freeway living, economics and just what do we really make in America, the American hero-where are they and what do they mean to our future….to mention just a few

    looking forward!

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