January 2022 Newsletter

A New Year & A New Era of TAG

Happy New Year, Teaching Artists! The Teaching Artists Guild saw some big changes at the end of 2021 and we are excited to make some announcements as we spring into this new year. First, I’m new! 

Let me introduce myself. My name is Katie Rainey and I’m the newest Co-Executive Director to join the TAG Leadership Team. While I might be a new staff member to the team, TAG is certainly not new to me. I first joined the organization back in 2015 when I was hired as a project manager for the National Guild for Community Arts Education to oversee eight grassroots projects that came out of the 2015 conference. One of those projects just happened to be the Social Justice Resource Database. I fell in love with TAG then and I am honored to have this opportunity to serve the organization in this capacity. 

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a writer, teaching artist, and editor from Little Rock, Arkansas. In addition to serving as Co-ED of TAG, I’m thrilled to act as Project Manager of the EDEN Project, an initiative in partnership with opera superstar Joyce DiDonato and the International Teaching Artists Collaborative (ITAC). Stay tuned for some exciting developments and new partnerships with TAG as this project unfolds. Prior to joining TAG, I was the Director of the Teaching Artist Project (TAP) at Community-Word Project and served as a Co-Chair of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable Teaching Artist Affairs Committee. I have been a teaching artist for nearly 15 years and you can see more about me, my work, and my artistry here: mk-rainey.com

I’m thrilled to join the TAG leadership team alongside my colleague Heleya de Barros and I’m excited about the projects we already have in the works. A few things I’m passionate about bringing to the table are building a leadership pipeline for teaching artists into the organization, advocating for our regional networks, expanding the asset map to better serve teaching artists and organizations, bringing new voices to the National Advisory Committee, and furthering the TAG website’s ability to serve as a vital resource for teaching artists everywhere. But frankly, there is so much more I’m excited about. As this year progresses, I can’t wait to get started and to meet so many of you in the community that I haven’t had the chance to connect with yet. If you’re interested in getting involved, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m always up for a chat! 

A Special Thanks

As a part of TAG’s concentric leadership model, the Co-Executive Director position will rotate every few years so that there is a “Mentor ED” and a newer ED we’re calling the “Innovative ED”. As the newest ED, I’m stepping into the innovative position while my colleague Heleya de Barros transitions into the mentor position. What this also means is that our beloved Miko Lee is not stepping down, but stepping aside as Co-ED to rejoin the National Advisory Committee and focus her efforts there. 

Miko has been an instrumental part of TAG since joining the organization in 2010 as a part of the Executive Committee. She was an integral part of the rebranding of the organization from Teaching Artists Organized (TAO) to its current form today. She has helped expand TAG in countless ways, including overseeing the development of the asset map, creating the TAG resource databases, championing the various regional networks, and so much more. And, of course, the development and implementation of the first, federally-funded, national convening focused on teaching artistry: Our Shared Future: Imagining a New Landscape for Teaching Artists. Miko is moving on to become the new Director of Programs for Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality where she will develop collaborations between progressive AAPI organizations to build political power and reframe the Asian American narrative. You can still find her weekly on her radio show Apex Express, kpfa.org. You can see more about all the wonderful work Miko has done here: mikolee.me.

Please help me in celebrating and uplifting the work Miko has done for the organization. We look forward to our continued relationship with her on our national committee and we are ever grateful for everything she has done to get TAG where it is today. Thank you, Miko! 

Our Shared Future: Imagining a New Landscape for Teaching Artists

As we announced at the end of 2021, Our Shared Future: Imagining a New Landscape for Teaching Artists, TAG’s first national conference, was moved to this coming spring. This shift gave us the opportunity to dive deeper into the conference’s goals and plan a very rich three days. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected arts organizations and artists across the country. While the lengthy duration of the pandemic has exacerbated and widened equity gaps and created stress and trauma for everyone, teaching artists have been particularly affected by the closures of schools and arts organizations, exposing the need to create a support structure for teaching artists across the country.  

On April 5-7th, 2022, join us for a virtual event in support of teaching artists across the country. Our Shared Future: Imagining a New Landscape for Teaching Artists will feature sessions that dig into the current realities and hopeful futures of teaching artistry. This first, federally-funded, national convening focused on teaching artistry – sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Education and Hewlett Foundation in collaboration with the Arts Education Partnership and Teaching Artists Guild – is designed to connect our country’s teaching artists and respond to their needs by helping arts organizations, funders, policymakers, school district leaders and others understand the issues they face, discuss ways to dismantle barriers and support policies and practices that advance careers in teaching artistry. 

Registration for the conference will open on February 14th, 2022. You can even get paid to attend the conference. Twenty TAs will be chosen as field reporters, and will receive a $200 stipend to attend! Apply here by March 24th. We’ll see you there! 

In other news:

  • Nominate a stand out teaching artist for the TAG Awards! The awards will be held in conjunction with the “Our Shared Future” conference in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Education Partnership, the Department of Education, and the Hewlett Foundation on April 7th, 2022. We are accepting nominations until March 5th, 2022.
  • Regional Convenings: As a part of the Our Shared Future convening, we’re encouraging regional networks to host listening tours around the three day event. If you are interested in hosting a listening session, please reach out to us so we can support you and your network. 
  • TAG Job Board & Events pages: Let us help you get the word out! Whether you have an event for teaching artists coming up or are looking to hire, TAG has great resources that will help you meet your needs. Get listed today. 

Finally, we cannot do the important work of advocating for teaching artists through these various initiatives without funding. Please consider donating to TAG to help support teaching artists through our work. Even $20 can go a long way! 

Thank you for your support & cheers to this new year of TAG before us!

With Gratitude,

Heleya de Barros & Katie Rainey
TAG Co-Executive Directors



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