Teaching artists are creative individuals who work with youth to provide arts instruction, but are not part of the traditional educator system. They don’t receive the same benefits or support as other teachers, and yet they are often the only provider of arts education for multiple schools. In many cases, teaching artists work at schools where regular arts instruction has been reduced or cut altogether.

As members of a new field in education, what challenges do teaching artists face, and what about the power of arts education compels them to dedicate their lives to this work? The Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area is a unique organization that provides professional development for teaching artists, and KQED Art School visited a conference sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission to interview these educators about their work, successes and challenges.

Are you a teaching artist? What challenges do you face working in the San Francisco Bay Area or elsewhere? What support do you need to be successful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or via Twitter @KQEDArtSchool.

What’s it Like to be a Teaching Artist? 8 March,2017Kristin Farr
  • Hi Kristin, I’m a teaching artist based in Buffalo NY and working in schools across the northeast and parts of the midwest, and also delivering my programs online via live-streaming. Have been at it for 20 years and would be happy to discuss with you if interested. A few recent pieces that might be of interest:

    For artists – “How to Get Gigs in Schools” http://daveruch.com/advice/how-to-get-gigs-in-schools/

    For educators – “How to Write Songs with Your Students (for the non-musical classroom teacher)” http://daveruch.com/how-to-write-songs-with-your-students-for-the-non-musical/

    – “Black History Month Activity/Video: Play Some Hambone” http://daveruch.com/black-history-month-activities/

  • Wendi B

    Hi Wendi, I live in the Bay Area inCastro Valley in Alameda County, I’m wondering why the schools are not taking the action of arts. I work with an art gallery and we have sent out flyers and announcements to the schools but none of them are asking for arts in their schools, we have a great program and we have great artists to do the job.


Kristin Farr

Kristin Farr is KQED's Arts Education Manager. She is the creator and producer of the Emmy Award-winning video series, Art School, which brings audiences into artists' studios to learn about contemporary art, and engages learners with ideas for new ways to get creative. She is also an artist and a contributing editor for Juxtapoz Magazine.

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