The Teaching Artist Studio

What is the TA Studio?

The Teaching Artist Studio (TA Studio) is an intensive professional development course designed for artists who teach, or Teaching Artists throughout the state of Oregon and SW Washington. We work with artists from all disciplines and media – performing, visual, literary, digital, and more – to deepen their teaching practice and expand their impact.

Our focus: The course centers its work in empowering artists to become more fluent in being educators and teachers and emphasizes building skills in lesson design, facilitation, and assessment; fostering meaningful student relationships; and collaborating effectively with educational partners. Teaching Artist Studio does not focus on teaching artists finding employment nor marketing their work.

Schedule: The Teaching Artist Studio consists of 7 day long virtual workshops (November, December), an optional trial teaching residency placement, 3-5 in-person meetings with small groups throughout the state (January-March), and one final virtual meeting (April)

See Full 23-24 Schedule Here

Organizational support: This program is offered by Arts for Learning NW (Portland Metro and Bend) and supported by Lane Arts (Eugene/Lane County), Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (Newport/Lincoln County), Arts in Education in the Gorge (Hood River) and Arts East (La Grande/Eastern Oregon). We recognize that different geographic areas present different opportunities and challenges for Teaching Artists. By partnering with local organizations, each Teaching Artist will have a local network of support.

Program Cost: Our aim is to be a resource for the community of teaching artists around the state. We are not charging tuition for this program, though we do require a commitment to full participation.

Are you an artist just starting out in your teaching? Are you a mentor for youth via the arts? Are you an experienced teaching artist looking to refresh your practice? The Teaching Artist Studio is for you.

Photo: Pat Moran
Photo: Pat Moran
Photo: Christian Barrios
Photo: Christian Barrios

Who is a Teaching Artist?

In 2009, Eric Booth created a rather appealing definition for the term “teaching artist.” “A teaching artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.”

The Kennedy Center expands on this by describing TAs as existing at the intersection of the arts and education, engaged in sustained creative exploration, and working in a variety of environments that serve the needs of local communities

More recently, a 2019 report by Americans for the Arts quoted below describes how TAs show up everyday for our communities:

Photo: Christian Barrios
Photo: Christian Barrios

Teaching artists ...

  • are often individuals from different cultures, ethnicities, cultural traditions, language groups, and ages, who can expand young people’s conceptions of who makes art and whose art matters.
  • explore the practice and the social use of the arts in ways that can enrich the school curriculum.
  • advance equity in access to arts learning through their work in- and out-of-school programming, whether free or low cost, and help to equalize access to arts learning.
  • inaugurate a next generation of creators and audiences into understanding how powerful the arts can be in articulating issues of social justice, and how moving artistic production becomes when it embraces the issues that shape human lives.
The 2021-22 Teaching Artist Studio Cohort

Why a Program for Teaching Artists?

We believe the arts are an essential component to a young person’s complete education, and so we offer this professional development program in the arts community to empower and embolden teaching artists. Our assumption is that when we build the strength and capacity of our teaching artists, we will also increase the quality of their impact on students’ lives and education.

The TA Studio program has a heavy emphasis on teaching artistry in K-12 environments. As a co-learning space, we welcome participants whose experiences in teaching range from emerging to established. Together we will examine the elements at the heart of our teaching: the what, the why, and the how.

The structure of this program is experiential: artists participate in various learning activities, analyze them, and apply what they have learned to their own work.

The practical tools the program seeks to provide are the following: exploration of effective teaching strategies, assessment models, and methods to refine one’s existing curriculum and/or to design new curriculum.

We Practice These Values

Studio Mindset: The TA Studio is a laboratory to make, explore, risk, analyze and innovate.

Equity: We investigate and name the privileges, complicities, and disparities based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, disability status, geography, age, and other forms of bias and oppression that are resident in our selves, our society and our institutions.

Cross-disciplinary Methodology: Hands-on learning in many forms offers unique insights and experiences for deeper, richer understanding of the process of teaching. A teaching artist can better empathize with their students if they, too, experience the beginner's mind in other art forms.

Empowerment: Teaching artists are an important part of the comprehensive education system, and they need access to resources and community to work their best.


Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions about the TA Studio or application process.

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