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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.



Recipients of ATA Distinguished Service to the Arts Education Field Award

Back to ATA Distinguished Service to the Arts Education Field Award

2008 Award, Bill Vanaver and Livia Drapkin Vanaver


















Bill Vanaver

Bill Vanaver composer / folklorist / performer / Artistic Director of The Vanaver Caravan, musician and composer has been performing and teaching throughout the world for the past 46 years. He has recorded on the Vanguard, Elektra, Nonesuch, Folkways, Philo, and MMC labels. He has produced music for films, dance and theater productions, including The Clearwater, with Pete Seeger, Babyswim, (Bullfrog Prodís) Gorkyís Barbarians  for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, A Thousand Nights and a Night for Andre Gregoryís Manhattan Project, and two presentations for National Geographic Films. He has also composed and/or choreographed for several productions by the theatre department of SUNY New Paltz, including Blood Wedding, Trojan Women, Hecuba, and Zorba the Greek .

The Vanaver Caravan  is now touring This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie in Dance and Music, which is based on the music and life of Woody Guthrie and Earthbeat: World Dance and Music. Bill is currently an adjunct professor of American and World Dance & Music at Bard College in Annandale-on Hudson, NY and  Skidmore College.

Among his honors are the Tof Miriam Award, from the Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot, to Bill and his wife, Livia, for their contributions to the Jewish cultural life in New York State. In 2007, Bill and Livia received the Eisteddfod Award from the Folk Music Society of NY for the years of practice and dissemination of traditional folksong, music and dance.

Livia Drapkin Vanaver

Livia Drapkin Vanaver, Founder / Co-Artistic Director of The Vanaver Caravan, has been traveling throughout the US and abroad for the past thirty-seven years with her husband Bill Vanaver, and their Vanaver Caravan.  ch,c

Ms. Vanaver holds a BFA in Dance from NYU School of the Arts (Tisch). For the past 28 years she has been on the cutting edge of arts-in-education programs throughout New York State pioneering the exposure of world dance styles to schools. Eighteen years ago, with the help of a seed grant from New York Foundation for the Arts, Livia Vanaver created a World Dance and Music Festival with the 3rd graders of all 4 schools in the Beacon City School District. This became a template for much of the residency work she and The Vanaver Caravan do in schools throughout New York State. The Vanaver Caravan conducts over 25 residencies each year that are curriculum inspired. Livia Vanaver is on the faculty of the Academy for the Love of Learning working closely with Aaron Stern in their Teacher Renewal Project: Arts, Renewal & Transformation. She teaches dance at Columbia University in the Graduate Theater Program.   

She is currently the co-coordinator of the Hudson Valley/Capital District Regional Learning and Leadership Network working with the Empire State Partnerships in this region.

Click here to read Livia Drapkin Vanaver's acceptance speech.


Maxine Greene

David Shookhoff and Holly Adams

Bill Vanaver and Livia Drapkin Vanaver

Bertha Rogers

Susan Thomasson

Sherry Robbins

Margot Faught

Barbara Fisher and Richard Speigel

Richard Lewis