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Eric Booth Argues for Unity within the Field of Teaching Artistry

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Aug 10, 2015

Teaching artists need to abandon arbitrary distinctions such as “community arts vs. high arts” and “teaching artists vs. arts teacher” if they hope to strengthen the field as a whole, says Eric Booth, arts learning consultant and faculty for the Teaching Artist Development Track at the 2015 Conference for Community Arts Education. Booth shared his thoughts last week in a post entitled "Teaching Artists in the Post-Silo Era" on ArtsBlog.

According to Booth, “the longtime silos of practice and identity within the greater arts field are coming down.” He points out three areas where teaching artists are creating unique partnerships, avoiding the limits of labels, and advancing the collective cause of arts education:

  • El Sistema: Teaching artists are “both experimenting and learning new tools to prioritize youth development as their top goal.” In order to achieve this goal, however, “teaching artists need to partner with community leaders, parents, and other music educators.”
  • Creative aging: “By working with caregivers, medical professionals, and those who run residential facilities, teaching artists are learning new ways to enrich quality of life and improve health outcomes for senior citizens.”
  • Collective impact: “There are many collective impact initiatives underway within the arts; organizations without a history of partnership are joining together to accomplish something they couldn’t do alone— often with teaching artists laying the groundwork.”

Booth stresses that, in order for teaching artists to contribute to these partnerships, they need financial and educational support from stakeholders. In line with this mission, the National Guild’s Teaching Artist Development Track, now in its third year, will provide a rare opportunity for teaching artists and those who care about advancing the field—employing organizations, funders, organizations that train teaching artists, and others—to work together to draft an action plan for improving the business of teaching artistry, advancing the quality and breadth of teaching artist practice, and activating a national network of the teaching artist field. The track will include a full-day pre-conference institute, breakout sessions during the main conference, and a professional development workshop led by the Bartol Foundation on Saturday, November 14. Learn about reduced prices for career-dedicated teaching artists and register today!

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