What can the Teaching Artists Guild do for you? In this video, Co-Executive Director Heleya de Barros breaks down the various tools found on teachingartists.com that can help you navigate your teaching artist career.
Teaching Artists Guild (TAG), is a practitioner-led community which raises the visibility and development of artists who teach.
We imagine a world where to be human is to be an artist. Where every person has access to culturally relevant arts expression. Where artists are honored and equitably paid. We work towards this vision through:
We work with partners at the regional, state, national, and international levels to advocate for the work of teaching artists and to forge pathways that will strengthen, develop, and evolve our field both within and outside of the sector.
We honor the skill, passion, and experience of teaching artists by celebrating and amplifying their impact.
We provide teaching artists with the tools to grow and thrive.
We bring teaching artists together to connect, collaborate, create, and learn from one another.
We imagine new pathways to create work, new connections to strengthen the field, and new opportunities to create a stronger ecosystem in support of teaching artistry.
2023-2026 Strategic Plan
The following outlines the three year strategic plan for the Teaching Artists Guild, crafted in February 2023 by current leadership. This plan is designed to begin and end in the middle of fiscal years (FY23-FY26) in order to allow new leadership to contribute to the evaluation and creation of new plans as positions rotate.
Organization Evaluation: In 2020, during the merger of the Teaching Artists Guild (TAG) and the Association of Teaching Artists (ATA), the organization commissioned Studio Pathways (SP) to identify a future vision for its work and impact, including considerations of growth in size and scope of services, as well as its organizational structure, using an inquiry based process. The goal was to outline strategic priorities and develop an action plan to guide what will combine to be TAG’s work over the next three years, while strengthening the relationships and integration of key stakeholders. The outcomes of Phase I & II of that planning are:
- Org/Equity Statement with “Radical Love as Equity” centered throughout all organizational relationships, purposes, structures and forms.
- Governance Structure: Consideration of Sociocratic Models built on “circles”.
- Mission/Vision/Ethics: TAG Mission/Vision/Ethics Strategic Planning Living Document.
Following the creation of these structures and values came Phase III: Organizational Development. Using the guiding question, “What structures and strategies will best serve TAG in the years ahead?” TAG created a new structure to better serve the organization, in line with the sociocratic model. This structure includes three Board members, two Co-Executive Directors, four Co-Chairs for the four NAC subcommittees (Finance, Advocacy, Communications, and Knowledge), and a National Advisory Committee (NAC). Leadership expanded the NAC to include thirty teaching artists from across the country, currently with nineteen states represented. Additionally, 55% of the organization is now represented by BIPOC teaching artists. With this deeper dive into organizational development, TAG leadership focused on developing leadership opportunities for teaching artists through the Co-Chair positions as well as working to provide several professional development opportunities for the newest Co-Executive Director, who had not previously had the chance to participate and grow those skills.
Finally, TAG resources expanded exponentially. Access to TAG resources became easier when we did away with membership fees. Now, teaching artists can access all TAG resources without a financial barrier. Twelve regional networks were added to the community and 350 teaching artists and organizations joined the Asset Map.
In 2022 specifically, TAG accomplished the following goals:
- Our Shared Future: Imagining a New Landscape for Teaching Artists: We hosted the first ever federally funded conference for teaching artists by teaching artists.
- TAG Awards: We honored two teaching artists and a TA ally on the final day of the conference: Francisco Javier Hernandez Carbaljal (aka) Brujo de la Mancha (Innovation in Teaching Artistry), Patricia Joson Cruz (Distinguished Service to the Field), Joanne Web, Director, The Career Center, Western Region, Entertainment Community Fund (Teaching Artist Ally).
- Consulting: TAG is expanding our reach by working with organizations like Arts Washington, Artists Thrive, Entertainment Community Fund, and more to support healthy, viable careers for teaching artists.
- New Co-Executive Director: In July, we welcomed teaching artist Kerry Warren to the organization as the newest Co-Executive Director.
- New Leadership on the NAC: We restructured our National Advisory Committee and created four new Co-Chair positions to support the training of teaching artists as future leaders in the field. Additionally, we welcomed many new members to the NAC.
- New Board Leadership: We welcomed new teaching artists to the TAG Board of Directors.
- Communications: We built a regularly monthly newsletter with updates, news, and opportunities for teaching artists.
TAG by the numbers:
- 2 new teaching artists joined our Board as Secretary and Treasurer.
- 13 new teaching artists to our National Advisory Committee.
- 29 events through our regional networks in connection with the Our Shared Future conference.
- 30 Incite/Insight articles and reports by teaching artists across the country were published.
- 600 new teaching artists and organizations joined the TAG Asset Map.
- 800+ teaching artists, organizations, schools, and funders across the country attended the Our Shared Future conference.
- 7,000+ website visitors viewed the TAG Asset Map to see what was going on in their area.
- 10,000+ job seekers visited our job board.
- 12,000+ teaching artists used the Pay Rate Calculator to find their appropriate pay rate.
- 18,000+ people visited the TAG website to use our tools and connect with teaching artists across the country.
While there were many successes in the last few years, several challenges came up along the way. The organization wholeheartedly embraced the sociocratic model. However, responsibility for tasks and roles was not always clear and needed to be restructured and the passing on of historical documents has been lost between rotating leadership positions. Experience can be a challenge administratively with newer teaching artists in the field and access to training is not always available. While representation in the organization’s leadership has expanded, there is still representation lacking in the following populations: teaching artists in rural areas (the middle of the country) and U.S. territories, teaching artists living with a disability, teaching artists from Indigenous populations, and greater representation from the LGBTQIA+ community.
Timing of meetings and access to the internet can cause problems for teaching artists in certain areas of the country. The culture of funding has been limited to primarily grants in the past and thus TAG is an organization that runs on a very limited budget and cannot compensate leadership as competitively as other nonprofits. Funding opportunities for a national organization that focuses on teaching artists is also a greater challenge than more local organizations might face. Finally, TAG’s activism in the field is growing, but not necessarily known to teaching artists outside of the main coastal hubs.
Audience: TAG serves teaching artists across the U.S. and its territories as well as acts as part of the International Teaching Artist Collaborative’s U.S. Hub, serving teaching artists across the world. Teaching artists do not have access to the resources that careers tend to have because the arts are often underfunded and most teaching artists work as freelancers. TAG works to raise the visibility of this field and show the importance of its work, as well as advocate for sustainable careers and resources for teaching artists in all stages of their careers.
3-Year Strategic Goals: Keeping in line with our five core values at TAG—Advocating, Honoring, Supporting, Connecting, and Imagining—TAG leadership crafted a 3-year strategic plan (January 2023-January 2026). TAG’s future strategic plans will be three years in length (the length of a Co-ED’s term) and they will be living documents that will be revisited each year as new Co-EDs, Co-Chairs, and Board members are added.
Our goals focus on: Equity (Advocating)—a stable sociocratic model with shared power and representation from each state on the NAC and/or NAC Alumni over the next three years; Organizational Culture (Imagining)—building out the TAG infrastructure to create more positions of leadership for teaching artists; Programming (Connecting + Honoring)—adding future conferences, awards ceremonies, and professional development, as well as literacy programs for teaching artists in various skills like finance and communications; Funding (Supporting)—seeking funding to support the education and leadership of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, teaching artists living with disabilities, and teaching artists in rural areas.
“The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”—James Baldwin
TAG’s Collective Brightest Story,
Seven Generations into the Future:
“The world is engaged in collective art making.
People are supporting and honoring one another.
Small communities are engaged in collective art making,
But not all parts of the collective are the same.
Caretaking happens using many skills.
Relics of the past exist.
Reclaiming what was, what is possible.
Centering the Radical Imagination, Radical Love.”
Teaching Artists Guild (TAG)
2004 – TAG began as Teaching Artists Organized (TAO) led by a group of passionate Teaching Artists and arts educators.
2008 – TAO became a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives.
2010 – Sabrina Klein became the first Executive Director. With the help of Belinda Taylor she established a leadership Executive Committee, including Miko Lee, Jess Mele, Lynn Johnson, Mary Sutton and Dave Maier.
2011 – The Executive Committee took over the leadership and re-envisioned the organization to build a broader coalition and structure.
2013 – We rebranded the organization as Teaching Artists Guild and hired staff.
2014 – Executive Director Jean Johnstone established a National Advisory Committee, and TAG grew to provide services, tools, and community for Teaching Artists across the US.
2020 – TAG and Association of Teaching Artists (ATA) merged into one nonprofit organization by and for teaching artists. With this merger, TAG established a shared leadership model led by Co-Executive Directors Miko Lee and Heleya de Barros.
2021 – Miko Lee stepped down as Co-ED and rejoined the NAC, replaced by NAC member Katie Rainey.
2022 – Heleya de Barros stepped down as Co-ED and rejoined the NAC, replaced by NAC member Kerry Warren.
Association of Teaching Artists (ATA)
The Association of Teaching Artists (ATA) was founded at a summit in Poughkeepsie, New York in April 1998. New York State teaching artists, arts administrators, and leaders in statewide arts funding came together at the request of The New York State Council on the Arts to consider the need and feasibility of forming a statewide organization for teaching artists. ATA was incorporated in September 1998 and officially introduced to the NYS Arts Education field at the annual Arts Education conference in October 1998.
Founding Board of Directors, September 1998:
In 2002, ATA created the ATA Distinguished Service to the Field Award, the first award in New York State in the Arts in Education field. Dale Davis, one of the founding teaching artists at the 1998 summit and former Board President of ATA, became ATA’s first Executive Director in 2006. In 2011, ATA convened the first National Teaching Artists Forum in New York City. In 2012, ATA introduced Teaching Artist Appreciation Week (the third week in May) to celebrate the work of individual teaching artists. In 2018, ATA expanded their awards to recognize innovation and allies in the teaching artistry fields as well. In 2019, ATA launched the Digital Professional Development Series in order to provide low-cost, accessible PD for TAs across the country.
Throughout its history ATA was and is a common space to share resources and jobs for teaching artists through their online forums. Many people in the field fondly remember the Yahoo listserv that was started as an open forum where anyone could ask questions, post jobs and trainings across the New York region (that’s evolved into TAG’s new slack!). In 2020 ATA joined forces with TAG in order to serve more TAs on a national scale.,
and Panta Rhea Foundation, Fenwick Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Lauren Dudley.
TAG’s nonprofit Tax ID: 14-1808163