I enjoy predictions. Not knowing the future is difficult; sometimes coming to terms with not knowing is a real spiritual struggle! Predictions are like nice little gift packets, a bold red lai see packet (逗利是). They may never come to pass, but they offer a little tiny jolt of “knowing” happiness (rather than cash!). I’d been reading some nice collections of famous artist’s new year’s resolutions last month, and also lists of predictions (whether dire or or hopeful) for the coming year. I don’t feel like February is too late for this; after having lived in China for a few years and celebrating the Lunar New Year, I like to stretch out for the roughly 6-8 week period and enjoy all the newness. But I hesitate personally to predict. I love setting goals and making plans to accomplish them, but predictions, I cannot make them: Inshallah and all that. I feel a bit superstitious about it!
Well, regardless, having spent this much of 2015 looking ahead, I can tell you what we here at TAG are going to be focusing on over the next year, in service of artists who teach and work in the community.
1. MAPPING THE FIELD We have begun the initial research and planning on the Teaching Artists Asset Map, an interactive digital map of the field, connecting individuals, organizations, projects and resources across the United States, and collecting data for research and advocacy. Throughout 2015 we’ll be digging deeper into the research and planning phases, preparing to build out a gold-standard tool for the field. You can already add yourself or your organization to the map here! We are thrilled to keep moving forward on this project. This is going to be an immensely useful tool, connecting teaching artists everywhere.
2. SPREADING THE LOVE Based on actual research (I know, it’s cool), TAG has developed a membership package to make your life better. Need a massage? Lasik? We have major discounts available for you. Want to be part of a community of like-minded folks with access to tools and information designed to help you develop a more prosperous and fulfilling career as a teaching artist? Yeah, we got that too! We’ll be singing about it live this year in San Francisco, Kansas City, Chicago, and Philadelphia, and hope you will take advantage of the goodness. Plus our amazing Teaching Artists Hangouts, a web-based series of conversations (via Google+ Hangouts on Air) aimed to promote the visibility and impact of Teaching Artists in our communities. This series introduces you to the leaders and makers, poses the big questions, and makes a space to discuss the most pressing issues in our field. Love!
3. SPREADING THE LOVE EVEN MORE Holding the national torch for teaching artistry aloft is a big goal, and requires some heavy lifting (torches that big weigh a lot!). As such, we thought the best policy was sharing the load. After all, teaching artists are natural collaborators! We have invited some of the brightest leaders in arts education and teaching artistry to join us on a large National Advisory Committee (you’ll see them soon on our website and we’ll do a series of introductions into these amazing folks). Our goal: to form a better picture of the field, that we may best know how to advocate for and support the artists within it as they teach and work in their communities. There are some amazing resources and organizations already in place, and by building a national network which connects them, we can all be better served.
I think that’s a pretty good start for now.
Happy New Year! Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Standing Above The Clouds
Young filmmaker Jalena Keane-Lee on her process of working with native Hawaiian teaching artists/movement leaders in her essay and film, Standing Above the Clouds.