Happy New Year, Teaching Artists! We hope the first month of 2023 has brought you joy. The start of this year has been very busy for the Teaching Artists Guild because it is… TAG’s 25th Anniversary! That’s right, it’s been 25 years since the (formerly known as) Association of Teaching Artists was born. Now, 25 years later, we have a vibrant network of teaching artists across the country who work together to make this organization what it is.
We have so many exciting ways we want to celebrate coming up that we can’t wait to share with you. Stay tuned for more information about art contests, TAG Swag, and nominations for our annual awards ceremony.
Don’t forget to save the date: May 18th, 2023! Our annual TAG Awards Ceremony is our yearly event where we honor the very best in the field of teaching artistry. We will open nominations next month for Innovation in Teaching Artistry Award, Teaching Artist Ally Award, Distinguished Service to the Field Award and Regional Networks Award.
In the meantime, we want to start the year by bringing one era to a close and highlighting some of TAG’s previous accomplishments. To do that, former TAG Co-ED Heleya de Barros has written a sign off letter.
Letter from Heleya
A new year has begun and with it the next phase of co-leadership is also solidifying here at TAG. It is a bittersweet moment for me to share that I am transitioning out of my role as Co-Executive Director of Teaching Artists Guild. I am beyond thrilled for the next chapter of this incredible organization and what the next Co-EDs, Katie Rainey and Kerry Warren, have in store for the field of teaching artistry.
When I interviewed to be the ED of what was then called the Association of Teaching Artists in 2018, the organization was having tough conversations about potentially sunsetting after 21 years. I remember my conversation with two of the three remaining board members in the lobby of a hotel in the theatre district in New York wondering if I was applying for an fool’s errand; to energize a scrappy, grassroots non-profit that had no incoming grants for the year and was only offering to pay me a small sum for the task.
Boy, how far we’ve come in four years.
Little did I imagine that in 2022 we would co-host a national conference on teaching artistry with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Department of Education. That we would be partnering with several local state arts agencies to develop robust regional teaching artist networks across the US. That we would have more than 18,000 visitors to our website in 2022 seeking resources, jobs, and connections in the field.
Some of the greatest skills I have gained in this job are my arts administration and non-profit governance and leadership skills. Few organizations would have taken a chance on a young teaching artist with no non-profit leadership experience to take the organization into its next steps. But that’s the thing that TAG realizes more so than any other organization; teaching artists are infinitely creative. It takes teaching artists to dream up what we’ve accomplished.
That is evident from our successful and thoughtful merger between Association of Teaching Artists and Teaching Artists Guild as well. Former TAG EDs (and TAs of course) Jean Johnstone and Miko Lee had the vision to join forces and re-imagine what a non-profit organizational structure could look like. It took longer than we imagined (what doesn’t?), and we were working to support TAs through the hills and valleys of the COVID-19 and multiple pandemics during that time as well.
When I started the organization consisted of 1 part-time ED at 8% FTE with 3 volunteer board members all based in New York City.
TAG now has two Co-EDs each at 50% FTE (with a 40% salary increase from 2018 and building benefits) with 30 paid National Advisory Committee members from 14 states.
And we’ve doubled down on a rotating Co-Leadership model that provides pathways for teaching artists to gain arts administrator skills, just like I had the opportunity to.
I want to say a special thank you to Miko Lee, who was my first Co-ED and held so much during the process of our merger. Miko taught me to think bigger and not cut off my dreams before they’d begun. She is really the brains behind Our Shared Future which sprung TAG into this incredible next adventure.
And of course a huge shout out to Katie Rainey who stepped into her co-leadership just when our massive conference was about to go on. Katie taught me to think brighter (she makes the best slides for presentations I have ever seen), and smarter by streamlining many of our old grassroots processes and providing us the infrastructure to grow meaningfully and thoughtfully for the next leaders after us.
Due to a generous donation I also had the opportunity to have an extended onboarding period of six months with TAG’s newest Co-ED Kerry Warren (what a gift!!!). Kerry has taught me to stop and look closely, read in detail and always stop to ask and answer the questions so that everyone is on the same page. She has a keen eye for detail and I am so thrilled with her energy and ideas for TAG.
I am looking forward to continuing to support the organization by moving to serve on our robust National Advisory Committee. Just think of what the next four years will bring. I can’t wait to see what Kerry and Katie and the National Advisory Committee dream up.
Heleya de Barros
As always, don’t forget to check the website for new opportunities for teaching artists, like new job listings, events, and articles by other teaching artists. Our Knowledge Committee is hard at work on updating our National Resource Database, so stay tuned for more information about those changes. Many of you have reached out lately asking for additional support with pay rates and figuring out what to charge for in your residencies. So the TAG Team put together a spreadsheet that now lives on our Pay Rate Calculator page. This spreadsheet will help you keep track of planning rates, supplies, space fees, etc. There is a tab on the sheet for each art form as well. If you see something you think we should add to the sheet, please reach out.
Enrich Your Artistry at the University of Florida
The University of Florida knows artistic growth is essential not just to future educators, but to their prospective students as well. That’s why UF built their Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) program to develop skills as artists and educators through immersive, hands-on studio experiences, media-rich learning technologies, and a leading-edge comprehensive curriculum. The online Master of Arts in Art Education program offers a suitable work-life balance for full-time artists and educators, who can complete the program in two years.
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 to all the teaching artists and supporters who continue to show up for this community and made this past year so wonderful. We are ever grateful and inspired by your voices.
Katie Rainey & Kerry Warren
TAG Co-Executive Directors
Don’t forget to check out TAG’s many resources on our website. You can find and post jobs, research pay rates in your area, read articles by teaching artists for teaching artists, find resources for teaching, and so much more.