Friday, April 30, 2010

Into the Sun

It is Friday

The weather is fine

Here's a lesson plan for solar-powered printmaking which is posted over at Blick Art Materials. They would like you to buy special photo-sensitive paper for this project. You can get the paper at any art supply store, and the process is explained below:

A "cyanotype" is a photographic print made when UV light is exposed to a photo-sensitive paper. This lesson plan is a simple new process involving two safe and familiar classroom favorites — Nature Print Paper and Scratch Art. The finished arwork has the appearance of a linoleum block print — without the use of cutting tools or ink.
Grade Level: 3 – 8

Thursday, April 29, 2010

All In the Planning

Teaching Artists and students in Sacramento, California may soon benefit from the newest arts education initiative coming out of the Kennedy Center.

Designed to help ensure that all children are guaranteed a full arts education, the program is a data-driven, district-wide planning model, accompanied by a traveling team of experts. School districts must submit an application. The first city chosen for the model program is Sacramento.
Congratulations, and good luck.

Details of the initiative are described below:

The Any Given Child initiative, created by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, seeks to bring access, balance, and equity to each child's arts education, using an affordable model that combines the resources of the school district, local arts groups, and the Kennedy Center. The program is designed for students in grades K-8.

Kennedy Center staff members work with community leaders and school administrators in a Community Team to develop a long-range plan for arts education that is tailor-made for their school district. The Team reviews existing arts resources in the school district and the education programs offered by local arts organizations and companies. Once there is a snapshot of the arts education resources, the Team develops a plan specific to the needs of that community.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


In a brilliant stroke of event planning, the New York Botanical Garden has designed an entire exhibition around poet Emily Dickinson, who ,they point out, was "an avid gardener " prone to welcoming house guests with a bunch of carefully selected wildflowers, and a poem.

Emily Dickinson's GARDEN: The Poetry of Flowers, will be receiving visitors from April 30th to June 13th, 2010. 

Spring is sprung.

Also: The Divine Ms M - The Rose

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Words To Live By

I am reading A Short History of Myth, by Karen Armstrong, and have found much that inspires me. Teaching artists who have ever had a hard time getting a group of resistant students to engage in play may relate to our text for the day:

"Human beings are unique in retaining the capacity for play. Unless they are living in the artificial conditions of captivity, other animals lose their early sense of fun when they encounter the harsh realities of life in the wild. Human adults, however, continue to enjoy playing with different possibilities, and, like children, we go on creating imaginary worlds. In art, liberated from the constraints of reason and logic, we conceive and combine new forms that enrich our lives, and which we believe tell us something important and profoundly "true". "
- Karen Armstrong  A Short History of Myth page 9

Monday, April 26, 2010

This Is Our Youth

Hipsters, and early-career teaching artists of all ages might be interested to know about Young Educators in the Arts; the latest in youth movements. YEA's first big public event is this Thursday, April 29th. Arts educators, TAs and arts administrators who consider themselves young, or new to the field are invited.

Details are below:

Emerging Leaders in Arts Education: Needs, Networking and Next Steps

Presented in association with the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

Thursday, April 29, 2010
6:00 – 8:00pm
Bowery Wine Company
13 East First Street
New York, NY 10003
$5 for non-members (RSVP to
Free for members of the NYC AIE Roundtable (Register with the Roundtable:

Are you interested in the future of arts education? Join the YEA and the NYC AIE Roundtable for an informal networking mixer, happy hour and discussion for arts administrators, teaching artists, teachers and students (individuals new or relatively new to arts education strongly encouraged to attend). We will be joined by Edward Clapp, editor of the upcoming book "20 Under 40: Re-inventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century" (, who will share some of his experiences and what he has learned from collecting essays from young and emerging leaders in arts education from around the world.

Space is limited! RSVP to ASAP!
Find YEA on ning:
Follow YEA on Twitter:
Friend YEA on Facebook: YEA Facebook Page

Also: The Fab Four - Revolution

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Cosmos

It's Friday, and that means ATA is on Facebook, and I am out of here.

Weekend: The Hayden Planetarium has posted a delightful video version of the known universe on youtube, and teaching artists can download the entire Digital Universe Atlas after the jump!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Transform Society

Teaching Artists with a mission to work for positive social change might be interested to know that NYU's upcoming conference on applied theater starts tomorrow.

Full details and links are below:

NYU Forum on Citizenship and Applied Theatre


April 23-25, 2010

About the conference:

“To be a citizen is not to live in a society. A citizen is one who transforms society.” –Augusto Boal
The goal of this forum is to facilitate a dialogue on citizenship and applied theatre contexts through exploring the field of arts-based community engagement. The forum will also investigate the perceived boundaries and barriers for artist/educators committed to understanding the roles and responsibilities of citizens in both local and global communities. Questions to be interrogated include:
  • What is a citizen artist?
  • How can drama provide a forum to explore ideas of global citizenship?
  • How do we prepare future theatre artists/educators in the applied theatre?
  • How is theatre being used to rehabilitate people in prisons, health facilities, and elsewhere?
  • How do we assess participants' understanding and awareness in applied theatre work?


Pre-Conference Event
Friday, 4/23
12:00-2:00 Tactical Culture Workshop
A workshop and discussion led by Gallatin Professor Stephen Duncombe
and UC Davis Professor Lawrence Bogad with members of the Eyebeam
Center for Art and Technology's College of Tactical Culture on how to
effectively develop ideas and strategies for creative activism.
Co-sponsored by Gallatin's Community Learning Initiative.Co-sponsored by Gallatin’s Community Learning Initiative.

4:00-5:30 Gallatin Arts Festival 2010
"Chaos and Order: Art as Survival". Anticipate and Incorporate! Surprise and Symbolism in Tactical Performance ~ A talk by Professor Larry Bogad, UC Davis
A presentation and exploration of the theory and practice of guerrilla theater, media interventions, creative disruptions and pranks. What is the role of imagination and creativity in the organization of social movement campaigns?

Location: Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts, Gallatin School, 1 Washington Place - free and open to public. Visit for more information. 
Friday April 23, 2010
6:30 PM: Forum Registration
7:00 PM: Opening Remarks and Roundtable
Saturday April 24, 2010
9:30 AM: Registration Continues
10:00 AM- 11:30 AM: Keynote Panel/Plenary
11:45 AM- 1:15 PM: Presentations (Concurrent Session 1)
2:30 PM- 4:00 PM: Plenary
4:15 PM- 5:45 PM: Presentations (Concurrent Session 2)
7:00 PM- 9:00 PM CAT CLUB Get together
Sunday April 25, 2010

8:30 AM: Registration Continues
9:00 AM- 10:30 AM: Presentations (Concurrent Session 3)
10:45 AM- 12:15 PM: Presentations (Concurrent Session 4)
12:15 PM- 1:15 PM: LUNCH ON YOUR OWN
1:15 PM- 2:45 PM: Presentations (Concurrent Session 5)
3:00 PM-4:30 PM: Plenary and Closing Remarks, Frederick Loewe Theatre


Conference Participant/Presenter $150
Student/Performer ** $50
One Day Conference Participant $100
**Performers from accepted presentations of work may attend their session free of charge. If performers wish to attend any other portion of the conference they must pay the performer rate.

Contact for more information:

Dr. David Montgomery, Program in EducationalTheatre, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development, New York University, Pless Annex, Room 223, 82 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003;

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Replacements

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) offers "Free lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT. No registration required."

The work of the pioneering site is featured in a recent New York Times article to frame a story about the rise of online learning opportunities.  

"A decade has passed since M.I.T. decided to give much of its course materials to the public in an act of largesse. The M.I.T. OpenCourseWare Initiative helped usher in the “open educational resources” movement, with its ethos of sharing knowledge via free online educational offerings, including podcasts and videos of lectures, syllabuses and downloadable textbooks. The movement has also helped dislodge higher education from its brick-and-mortar moorings."

It's not just science and math, teaching artists have a large online presence. There's even a list of links to teaching artist videos on the ATA homepage

I love this stuff, obviously, but I can't help but wonder what will happen to teaching artists after all of the lessons have been taught, and videotaped?

Meanwhile, back on the ranch:
Districts Warn of Deeper Teacher Cuts (NYTIMES)

Also: Cinema - Body Snatchers

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

The announcement is reprinted below:


Our children are our most valuable resource, and they need our support to thrive and grow into healthy, productive adults. During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we renew our unwavering commitment to protecting children and responding to child abuse, promoting healthy families, and building a brighter future for all Americans.
Every child deserves a nurturing family and a safe environment, free from fear, abuse, and neglect. Tragically, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse threaten too many children every day in communities across our Nation. Parents, guardians, relatives, and neighbors all share a responsibility to prevent these devastating crimes, and our government plays a critical role as well.

My Administration is committed to helping future generations succeed. We are focused on engaging parents in their children's early learning and development, ensuring the safety and well-being of all families, and creating opportunities for all Americans. We are also partnering with Federal, State, and local agencies to better coordinate early childhood services and improve the lives of young children and their families.

Together, we can ensure that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment, free from abuse and neglect. I encourage all Americans to visit: to learn what they can do to stop child abuse in their communities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2010 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities that help prevent child abuse and provide for children's physical, emotional, and developmental needs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Good or Bad

In a recent post on his terrific blog, teaching artist Bill Harley shares a list of questions that storytellers can ask themselves to assess their own work. So timely and useful, like an answer to a wish you didn't know you'd made.
Entertaining stories don't tell themselves, and as Mr. Harley points out, there's no reason to "be lax in a discussion of what are measures of excellence."

I wonder if all teaching artists are thinking in this way? Are we developing tools to assess and evaluate our own teaching artist practice? If not, why not? Don't we want to know how we're doing?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Off the Wall

It's Friday. See you out in the field.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century

April 11–June 28, 2010

@Museum of Chinese in America
Living Arts:Kite Making Workshop
Sat, Apr 17 from 2pm – 3:30pm

215 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013
(b/w Howard & Grand Sts; one block north of Canal St)
@the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage

February 2, 2010–May 9, 2010
The Howard Gilman Gallery  

@MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts):
The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks
February 4, 2010 - May 16, 2010 

@Studio Museum in Harlem: 
Target Free Sundays  
There's something for everyone to love at Target Free Sundays at the Studio Museum. 
144 West 125th Street, New York, New York
Also: The Association of Teaching Artists is on Facebook, rain, or shine.

Plus: Sunday in the Park w/ G.  (Stephen S.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Future Perfect

The fact that a teaching artist can now scroll through a virtual copy of the world's oldest printed book online, while eating donuts, means we live in what I used to call the future.

The British Library is full of such surprises. They've uploaded the past, so you can read it in the quickly vanishing present. Read old newspapers online, turn the pages of virtual books and documents, listen to audio clips and more. It's useful for lesson planning, but a bit overwhelming if you don't know where to start.

Of course, you'll need a computer and a good internet connection to get the most out of multimedia sites like the ones maintained by the British Library. Schools and students who are without speedy computers and internet access can expect to land on the wrong side of the achievement gap in education. Is a technological gap growing because of school budget cuts, and bad planning? How can teaching artists expect to keep up with advances in social media and technology? 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Urban Adventures

Teaching Artists with an interest in urban wildlife might be interested to know about Safari 7, a self-guided nature tour that follows the number 7 subway line into the borough of Queens, and beyond.

The project, which excites me to no end, is part of Earth Day Celebrations, and will launch next Monday, April 19th. A detailed blurb and links are below:

Safari 7 is a self-guided tour of urban animal life along New York City's No. 7 subway line. Traveling from Manhattan's dense core, under the East River and into Queens, the nation's most ethnically diverse county, we hope you can use Safari 7's resources to better understand the complexity, biodiversity, conflicts, and potentials of our urban ecosystems.

EXHIBITION DATES: Mon Apr 19 – Sat Apr 24, 2010.
HOURS: 10am-7pm (Mon Apr 19 – Fri Apr 23) and 10am-5pm (Sat Apr 24).
PRESS EVENT: 11am Mon Apr 19, with the exhibition curators
LOCATION: Vanderbilt Hall Grand Central Terminal
The exhibit, organized with MTA Arts for Transit, includes 3D maps, audio listening stations, and large-scale drawings about animal habitats, behaviors and life cycles amidst New York City’s urban culture and history. This exhibit is a trail head for Safari 7, a self-guided tour of urban wildlife on the MTA Number 7 subway line: Look around, take a map and download a podcast before embarking on the subway.
This exhibit is in conjunction with EarthFair organized by Earth Day New York.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

History Lessons

Facing History is an extensive curriculum that helps young people grapple with ethical and moral choices. The program fosters civic engagement, and has  a strong local presence in New York City, which includes the Facing History High SchoolProfessional Development for educators is an essential part of the work, and teaching artists can freely access Facing History lesson plans, and other resources, online.

To learn more, take Facing History's "journey"--an online interactive. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Binding

Studio in a School is famous for its pioneering work in the field of arts education. ArtBlueprint, a website maintained by the organization to support the NYC Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts, offers unit and lesson plans that "meet State and National Standards for the visual arts and literacy."

I'm looking at this fantastic plan to help second-graders make their own accordion books, over the course of four sessions.

So much free fun, and it's only Monday!

Also: P. Gabriel - Book of Love

Friday, April 9, 2010

Up and Over

Friday is here, and that's it.

ATA is on Facebook.

Weekend: @ MOMA, the radical vision of performance artist Marina Abramovic tests the limits of human endurance, just for kicks.

Also: Ferris Bueller - Twist & Shout

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Kevin James, Founding Director of Arts and Learning Initiatives, says the common practice of treating TAs as if we are independent contractors, instead of employees, is a disaster-in-waiting. His note is reprinted from the ATA Digest: *
"The question of employment status among teaching artists is a 9.0 earthquake waiting to happen. As a consultant often called to help arts organization develop a program design for education initiatives that both fit and enhance their mission, I advice each organization that there are almost no situations in which a teaching artist working under their banner could be considered an independent contractor. However, inexplicably, I find that many continue to attempt to classify their artists as contract workers. It needs to be said - the status of employment is measured by the activity of the parties involved. The signing of contracts has no bearing on legal determinations surrounding a determination of employment. If any of the following exists, a teaching artist is by law, an employee: the parent organization maintains or mandates their teaching schedule, provides or requires a specific training regimen, retains the right to remove them from a job or contract (if they're not an employee, you can't fire them), provides a curriculum, limits the use of substitution or rescheduling of services, allows or gives the impression that the teaching artist works for you instead of for the client, and in some cases uses a program name which implies any of the above. The only model in which a teaching artist is not an employee is one in which the arts organization acts merely as a booking agent and receives fees only for providing a roster to clients and maintaining the system of billing. To put it another way - if an organization has received grant money in support of the development or implementation of an arts education program, the teaching artists is uses in that program are, by definition, employees. The penalties for misrepresenting employment status and/or failing to pay into the state unemployment fund on their behalf can be extreme, and can be imposed retroactively.

But forget all that. Don't your teaching artists deserve the protections of unemployment benefits?

And don't even start me on the issue of liability umbrellas for those working with children...

Bottom line, the leaders in our industry need to start whispering in the ears of our politicians about offering an amnesty to arts organizations, maybe even along with some funding to ease the transition, in exchange for an industry wide push to clean up our employment practices. That's my two cents. I hope it's helpful."
*If you were on Dale's List, you would have gotten this post in your email inbox already. Join the conversation. Sign-up, and you'll get stuff like this nearly every day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Drop In

Eyebeam Art and Technology Center invites teenagers to visit their Thursday afternoon drop-in program. This is an easy sell. The keywords are "free" and "computer".

The program runs nearly every Thursday from 3-6PM at Eyebeam; 540 West 21st Street in Manhattan.

Details are below: 

Eyebeam Youth Drop-In Program

NYC public school students between the ages of 13–18 are invited to spend their Thursday afternoons, from 3–6PM, at Eyebeam. Each month will feature a series of free hands-on workshops, starting at 4PM, where students will have the opportunity to work with different open-source software programs as used by artists and technologists.

Thursdays in April: Moving Image Design with Eyebeam Fellow, Aaron Meyers. Designer and programmer Aaron Meyers will introduce students to Processing, a free open source tool to code interactive moving images. Students will learn the basics of writing code using a visual approach; focusing on interactivity, drawing, and motion while checking out examples of other artwork created with Processing.

NOTE: This is a free program and students are welcome to drop in without RSVP'ing. Computer access is first come first serve. In the case of too many students, students will be invited to team-up and collaborate on shared projects. Students who drop-in cannot be guaranteed a computer and are strongly encouraged to RSVP.

To RSVP, contact Stephanie Pereira, or phone at 212-937-6580 x247

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Design Is A Verb

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum says that many of their educational programs present design "as a verb", which I think is fabulous. This tough talk is backed up with an exciting line-up of educator programs, which include everything from lectures to lesson plans.  The top-rated plan on the site is What is Art?, an ambitious High School curriculum posted by Deborah Klose. It links to Art in the Twenty-First Century, a PBS series.

If you click on any of these links, you may expect to go down the visual art resource rabbit-hole.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Here's 24 minutes of Ludwig van Beethoven's Eroica.

Time is not money.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Find a beach.

Monday is coming, soon enough.
Also: ATA is on Facebook.