National Artist Teacher Fellowship

Community Legacy Project

In celebration of the final year of the National Artist Teacher Fellowship/Surdna Artist Teacher Fellowship Program, the Center for Arts in Education (the Center) announces the Community Legacy Project (CLP).

Congratulations to our Community Legacy Project Grantees!

Click here to see their amazing documentation of their projects!

Beth Balliro– SATF 2001, Swampscott, MA

Has developed a collaborative project with student activists of color at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design campus entitled the Real Talk: Race on Campus. The project has generated video testimonials of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, recorded in a student-commissioned video booth, to document experiences of race on campus. The project has galvanized a cross-generational community group, drawing strength from validating each other’s stories and formulating a collective institutional critique.

David Chandler– SATF 2007, Quaker Hill, CT

Inspired by the positive reaction between his father-in-law’s experience with dementia and participation in Tai Chi, Mr. Chandler has been working with persons with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their caregivers since 2011. He combats the stress and pain associated with Alzheimer’s for both patients and their caregivers working with The Memory Café, and Assisted Living Communities. He is currently working on a Tai Chi instructional DVD project for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Matthew Christenson– NATF 2013, San Francisco, CA

Is working with the Excelsior Action Group to create collaborative community based murals. He has worked with the EAG for three years and created numerous youth and adult co-designed murals in low-income areas around San Francisco. Currently working on The Kenny Alley Mural Project, his largest mural with the group measuring 81 feet in length, Mr. Christenson strives to continually engage communities of youth and adults in creative ways.

Foster Dickson-SATF 2009, Montgomery, AL

Mr. Dickson encourages his students and local urban youth to engage in their community and educate themselves on the history and artistry of Alabama. He works with local community partners to impart on these youth from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds the cultural richness that exists despite the poverty, chicanery and backwardness that mar Alabama’s national reputation.

Janet Grice-SATF 2009, Yonkers, NY

Seeks to establish a culture of collaboration and provide opportunities for her students at Fordham High School for the Arts in the Bronx, NY, where the majority of students are from economically disadvantaged families. They engage in the communal activity of learning and playing music, improvising and performing. As a bassoonist Janet spends summers in Brazil researching, teaching and performing; she taught at the Festival de Música de Londrina in Paraná, which promotes music in the community and provides scholarships for study. She identifies with music that is rooted in cultural expression such as Jazz and Latin Music, connecting artists and students internationally, and performing in a variety of settings.

Blake Minnerly– NATF 2013, New Orleans, LA

Mr. Minnerly worked with his students to compose, produce and record a CD of original music and spoken word that expressed their reaction to the issue of bullying in their community. This project was sparked by the tragic suicide of a local LGBT Albuquerque teen whose grandmother Dolores was attempting to pass anti-bulling legislation in New Mexico after his death. In August of 2014, 1000 copies of the completed CD, Nobody’s Alone were delivered to Dolores to use as a tool in raising awareness and funds for their cause. Mr. Minnerly desires to share the power of the arts to connect underserved youth to their community, creating a positive impact by amplifying the call for justice, compassion and validation of the identities of youth.

Sonia Plumb– NATF 2013, West Hartford, CT

Continues to work with Charter Oak International Academy in West Hartford to create a weeklong residency for their fourth grade based on water education; specifically, the water cycle, pollution, climate change, properties of water and global access to clean water. The school is comprised of mostly minority students who do not have financial access to the arts. Ms. Plumb will work with her troupe the Sonia Plumb Dance Company to excite students about the power of drama and movement to portray a message, and to increase student awareness of global issues.

Pamela Sahl– SATF 2008, Kansas City, MO

Facing dwindling resources from her urban school district, Ms. Sahl reached out to her community to garner support for her low-income students. She has connected with many community partners to enhance student abilities, knowledge and career development. These partnerships include Paul Dorrell of the Leopold Gallery, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Hallmark, MRI Global and Andrews McMeel Universal.

Guy Michel Telemaque– SATF 2006, Cambridge, MA

After the massive devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Mr. Telemaque traveled there to do service work to support the physical and emotional recovery of the country’s youth. He taught photography workshops to young students and left equipment there for continued use in the community center. Later, he connected to Haiti as a curator, facilitating a large scale collaboration between Boston Arts Academy, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Fine Arts, The Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Jean Appolon Expressions and 3 Haiti-based contemporary artists. This ongoing collaboration continues to acquire new partners. He feels it is his responsibility to strongly advocate for how the arts contribute to the cultivation of our awareness of Haiti’s intellectual and creative resources.

Community Legacy Project

The CLP is available this year only for all previous Fellows from the National Artist Teacher Fellowship Program (NATF) and the Surdna Artist Teacher Fellowship Program (SATF). The Center invites any Fellow from 2000 to 2013 to apply for funding through its Community Legacy Project. The purpose of this project is for past Fellows to share their work as engaged community-based artists.

The award includes an $800 stipend for grantees to prepare a 30-minute workshop for the 2015 Convening as well as documentation of their previous work in an underserved community.

Up to nine past Fellows will be selected to share a community-based project they have led or been deeply involved with. These Fellows will present a workshop at the Final NATF Convening in October, 2015. In addition, the selected Fellows will prepare a document in a digital format that will then be posted on the NATF website where it will serve as documentation of NATF’s history*. CLP grantees will become part of a lasting legacy for NATF, celebrating the program’s accomplishments over the past 15 years, and facilitating future collaborations between Fellows, administrators, schools and their communities.

We hope that previous Fellows will join the Center for Arts in Education in making this Final Convening both a celebration of the past 15 years, and a springboard for further rich, dynamic and collaborative work!

Through years of post-fellowship convening discussions, the NATF program has discovered the depth of opportunities available at specialized arts high schools. Collectively, these discussions have also demonstrated the desire of Fellows to make these same resources available to those without access to immersive arts instruction.

  • Applicants for this CLP grant should focus on projects or work that they are, or have been, engaged in that gives artistic voice to under-served groups.
  • Current or previously completed projects that connect the applicant’s specialized arts school to youth and neighborhoods in the surrounding area are encouraged, but not required.
  • Please note that the creation of new work or projects will not be funded.

Applicants will be expected to share their community-based project that:

  1. Provides opportunities to groups with limited access to arts instruction and
  2. Creates a lasting impact in their school, community and/or region through the arts.


  • Workshops, presented at the NATF 2015 Convening, will focus on work that past Fellows have created in connection with, or in relation to, an under-served community. While the format of these workshops are open, grantees will be expected to plan interactive activities that leave participants with clear ideas on how to engage underserved groups in their own communities as well as the challenges of that work. All expenses related to the Convening will be paid for by NATF, including travel and accommodations.


  • Documentation should reflect each Fellow’s work as an artist in relation to the community they are/have been working with. Grantees will create a video of up to three minutes in length as documentation, although other media/formats can be utilized. Documentation will be separate from workshops and should focus on capturing each artist’s work in an underserved community. This documentation will promote the Fellow’s artistic work to the national community via the NATF website. The videos and/or other media/formats will later be compiled into a digital presentation documenting the final Convening, the Community Legacy Project, and the NATF/SATF Program. NATF staff are happy to assist with documentation planning.

The 15th Anniversary NATF Convening will provide a platform for both new Fellows and returning Community Legacy grantees to share their experiences and participate in community-based art workshops. We hope this will help pave the way for previous and current Fellows to make connections across all of the years of NATF/SATF.

Eligibility: All Previous NATF and Surdna Fellows (Years 2000-2013) are eligible to apply for a 2015 Community Legacy Project. Note: NATF recognizes that many previous Fellows may have moved on to new positions. We will still accept applications from all previous Fellows regardless of their current employment.

*Fellows are encouraged to use a video format for documentation, however other media formats can be discussed with Program Coordinator, Adriane Brayton


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