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The Association of Teaching Artists (ATA) is a not for profit advocacy organization in New York State that brings together artists who teach in schools and in the community to: Educate, Collaborate, and Communicate.


Mission and History
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Mission and History


The Association of Teaching Artist (ATA) is the oldest, independent organization and movement serving Teaching Artists in the country. ATA provides a national forum, a knowledge commons, a practitioner led network, and a community of practice to support the professional practice of Teaching Artists and increase the impact of their work. ATA advances policies and initiatives that expand opportunities and recognition of the work of Teaching Artists. The Association 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 an organization of Teaching Artists. The artists summit group met again in June 1998 in Troy, New York and developed and adopted a mission statement, goals, and the name of the new organization. ATA was incorporated in September 1998 and officially introduced to the New York State Arts Education field at the annual statewide 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 2010 with the encouragement and support of Teaching Artists and arts education professionals throughout the country, ATA reached out nationally to form a national network and community of practice. Now in its eighteenth year, ATA continues to pioneer serving Teaching Artists.  


The Association of Teaching Artists serves:

  • 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.

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 national 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 national community through its listserv, Facebook page, and website ATA creates a national community through sharing information Teaching Artists want to know to assist them 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, sharing what is going on in different parts of the country.  ATA keeps in touch with the pulse of Teaching Artists. 

The Association of Teaching Artists strives to access and share research, resources, and opportunities to support and further the work of Teaching Artists in education and in their communities. 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 in education and to make the work of professional Teaching Artists a visible part of education and in our communities.