Mission and History
The Association of Teaching Artists (ATA) is the oldest, independent organization serving Teaching Artists in the country. ATA serves Teaching Artists in New York State and has a national and international following. It is a clearinghouse for information at the intersection of art and education that builds the knowledge base of Teaching Artists; a forum and platform for Teaching Artists; a practitioner led network and community of practice to connect Teaching Artists with each other and the larger arts and education communities.
Association of Teaching Artists:
Is a forum and a knowledge commons for the professional practice of Teaching Artists;
Is a practitioner led network for communication, connection, and the exchange of resources;
Is a community of practice to support and expand opportunities for the work of Teaching Artists in education and in communities;
Recognizes and celebrates distinguished achievement by Teaching Artists;
Advances policies and initiatives that broaden opportunities and recognition for the work of Teaching Artists.
ATA was founded at a summit in Poughkeepsie, New York in April 1998. New York State Teaching Artists, arts administrators, and leaders in statewide arts funding came together at the request of The New York State Council on The Arts to consider the need and feasibility of forming a statewide organization for Teaching Artists. ATA was incorporated in September 1998 and officially introduced to the NYS Arts Education field at the annual Arts Education conference in October 1998. Dale Davis, one of the founding Teaching Artists at the 1998 summit and former Board President of ATA, became ATA's first Executive Director in 2006. In 2002 ATA created the ATA Distinguished Service to the Field Award, the 1st award in New York State in the arts education field. In 2011 ATA convened the first National Teaching Artists Forum in New York City. In 2012 ATA introduced Teaching Artist Appreciation Week to celebrate the work of individual Teaching Artists. In 2018 ATA introduced the monthly ATA Digest and began collaborating with arts organizations to convene Teaching Artists. Now in its twentieth year, ATA continues to build the capacity of Teaching Artists and to pioneer serving, advocating for, and celebrating their work.
Teaching Artists (theater artists, visual artists, writers, filmmakers, poets, video artists, photographers, media artists, dancers, storytellers, musicians, puppeteers) work alone and in isolation from a community of practice to bring them together to share the excitement and challenges of their work, ideas, concerns, their history, and resources. Teaching Artists work as employees of arts organizations, on rosters of arts organizations, and as independent contractors. They work in schools, libraries, prisons, jails, juvenile detention facilities, hospitals, museums, homeless shelters, cultural organizations, senior citizen centers, settlement houses, and community agencies in urban, suburban, and rural areas in densely populated and sparsely populated states. ATA brings these diverse Teaching Artists together into a practitioner led community through its listserv, daily curated Facebook page, the ATA Digest, and website http://www.teachingartists.com/. ATA shares information to assist Teaching Artists professionally, employment opportunities, artists' residencies and retreats, promising approaches in arts education, evidence based information on how the arts spark a passion for learning, professional journals, the business of working as a Teaching Artist, the arts and social justice movement, constantly updated resources, professional development opportunities, and sharing what is going on in different parts of the country.
ATA shares what is relevant, timely, interesting, and important in both the arts and in education to keep in touch with the pulse of Teaching Artists. ATA's Facebook page has become the go to site for relevant and timely issues, articles, information and opportunities for Teaching Artists and art education professionals. ATA's resource links are open. ATA is funded not by memberships or subscriptions but by grants, foundations, and individual donations. ATA believes in sharing information to teach, to learn, to assess and for research purposes both to support arts education and to make the work of professional Teaching Artists a visible part of education and our communities.