.                  Teaching Artist Support Collaborative  
                          of California (TASC)


TASC is a collaborative Community of Practice for teaching artists and the organizations that hire them, committed to the professional support of artists who are passionate about education and community engagement in schools, community settings and social service organizations.

Membership is Free! 

          Who's on our Regional Advisory Committee?  Click here to find out.  
Looking for info on the Freelancers Union for health and other benefits you might need? Click here.

Craft in America

Cups by Ehren Tool, a ceramic artist and Senior Laboratory Mechanician at the Ceramic Department at University of California, Berkeley, and Marine Veteran of the 1991 Gulf War.

PBS' excellent, Peabody Award-winning series Craft in America is a resource in itself, with episodes that contain stories from diverse regions and cultures, blending history with living practice and exploring issues of identity, ritual, philosophy and creative expression. But there's more. On the series website, not only can you view complete episodes, but you can also download Craft in America Education Guides, which educate, involve, and inform students about how craft plays a role in their lives. Lesson plans include objectives, connect to standards, include links to interdisciplinary resources, and always end with a studio practice component.

For example, in conjunction with the episode "Service," students explore the work of ceramic artist Ehren Tool, who creates clay cups on the potter’s wheel and embellishes them with military images. Tool gives away his cups and to date has given away over 14,000 in an attempt to provide a catalyst for conversations between veterans and those who have not served in the military. In this lesson, students engage in research in order to gain what Tool describes as “war awareness,” a sense of those in their community who have performed military service. Finally, students make a ceramic form that features imagery of a chosen veteran or service person.

Visit the website to explore episodes and education guides on other themes, such as Crossroads, Family, Messages, Process, Origins, and more.

Jobs & Opportunities


Do you have a job opportunity to share? Email us at tascofcalifornia.info@gmail.com


Featured Blog: A Principal and a Clown Walk Onto a Stage...

For years, teaching artist Jeff Raz has incorporated clowning techniques into his teaching artist practice. Now, he has the chance to share that"wild idea" with other teaching artists with the creation of a unique pilot training program that puts the art of clowning in the middle of an arts magnet school. Pictured above is Jeff in clown mode, as a
volunteer for "Circus for Arts in the Schools." Read more about this one-of-a-kind project in Jeff's blog below.

Community Conversations Update:
What We're Learning From Talking
to Teaching Artists Around the State About
Training and Certification

TASC's Sacramento community conversation held on Sept. 26th hosted participants from arts organizations, public schools, and universities, as well as independent teaching artists. Wayne Cook from the California Arts Council
(pictured, center) was also there, listening in and participating.

TASC is mid-way through our series of regional community conversations with teaching artists from around the state to discuss and challenge ideas about teaching artist training and questions of certification. (See past newsletter articles here and here for background on this data-gathering project and the path leading up to it.)

So far in September, we've heard from over 60 teaching artists in Orange County, the Bay Area, and Sacramento. Next up, in October, we'll be hosting community conversations in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Mono County. If you're interested in participating, please click on a location near you and register to let us know you're attending.

If you can't make it to an in-person event, please consider adding your voice by participating online, via survey.

What's been happening so far?
Here's just a brief, informal snapshot of what we've been learning regionally. (FYI, a full report will be completed and made available once all regions have reported in and we've had a chance to put it all together.)

A Framework for Conversation
As a common jumping-off point, we've started our community conversations with a look at a list of core competencies defined for teaching artists. This particular list
encompasses aspects of teaching artist practice related to art form, learning environments, pedagogy, standards, and business know-how. It's a pretty good list -- we've put it on our website -- but we're not taking it as gospel. Check it out, and see how relevant it is to what you do. As teaching artists, does this reflect our reality now and where we're headed next? Are these good measures of "quality"? What does that even mean in terms of teaching artistry? How does all this fit into the certification question?

The framework is simple, but the conversation it's sparked has been informative -- even as it's generated more avenues for exploration.
In the words of one of our Orange County participants, "We don't need to know all the answers, but we do need to sit with the questions."

We can't wait to hear more from all of you! And, again, if you can't make it to an event to add your voice to the conversation, please take the online survey. In the meantime, here's just a little of what we've heard so far...

Orange County

Above, Orange County community conversation participants break into groups to consider the four core competency topics and to analyze the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats ("SWOT") that might accompany certification.

We were pleased to see that our first community conversation in Orange County on Sept. 12th had a great turn-out, thanks in large part to ArtsOC, our regional partner for the event who was able to help get the word out. Hosted at The Wooden Floor in Santa Ana, we managed to squeeze twenty-six enthusiastic teaching artists into the room for a very thoughtful discussion on their own paths to becoming teaching artists and what opportunities and concerns may lie ahead with certification possibly on the horizon -- and what that would mean for both "newbies" and veterans. A rather inspiring observation: Orange County teaching artists really emphasized the importance of connecting among themselves and building a visible community of teaching artists in their area.

Quote of the day:
"We can be a bundle of sticks that we cannot break, a bigger family of teaching artists that can stay connected and keep this momentum going."

Click to read about two more community conversations that took place in the Bay Area and Sacramento.

Also, stay tuned for more to come from our next three regional community conversations in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Mono County. And be part of the conversation! Attend a regional event or participate in the online survey. Questions? Email tascofcalifornia.info@gmail.com.


More Than a Number: The Role of the Arts in Youth Development Programs

By Jennifer Oliver, TASC Advisor

When a potential supporter for creative youth development approaches me, one of the first things I tell them is to look at the numbers. This model works. Students who participate in rigorous, arts-based after school programs perform better in school and have higher graduation rates than that of their peers who do not participate in the arts. I cite programs such as The Wooden Floor in Santa Ana, Say Si in San Antonio, ARTS in San Diego – the results are impressive. It is at this moment that I have their attention. I have connected my work to something they value: academic success.

As someone who has worked in the arts for my entire career, having people outside of the arts connect with what I do is addicting. For years I struggled with articulating the benefit of an arts education, and with one quick statistic, I have their support. Ironically, this addiction to being understood has left me feeling misunderstood.

On one hand, I have defined my life path through the arts, and I believe strongly that developing young artists is of great value. Artistry is the heart of my work. Tapping into the arts offers a pathway for students to access their deepest and most authentic selves. On the other hand, while helping students improve their academic scores and increasing student graduation rates is a goal of my work, it is not the core value. It is a desirable outcome, but it does not totally define their value as individuals and should not define the value of my program.

My personal academic history involved a struggle to find my individual value. I was not a great student. I was terrible at memorization and had a fear or being put on the spot. When a teacher would call on me to give the “correct” answer to a question, I would freeze. My heart rate would speed up, my mind would go blank, and I would have nothing to say. Tests were worse. I would leave many answers blank and exit the room feeling flawed. In fact, for much of my youth I truly believed I was just, “not smart.” When a child’s value is measured by their GPA score and their overall achievement in academics, many talented, intelligent students are left feeling displaced.

Click to read on and find out more about the values and research behind Creative Youth Development and how we can "place the child at the center."

In addition to being a member of the TASC Regional Advisory Council, Jennifer is the Artistic Director of A Step Beyond – a Creative Youth Development organization serving students through dance, academics, and social services.


Featured Blog

Above: Clown and teaching artist Linie Orrick rehearsing with students before their show.

A Principal and a Clown Walk Onto a Stage...
By Jeff Raz

Every year at “Circus for Arts in the Schools,” Judy Goodwin, my favorite school principal ever, would sit at a well-worn piano on a huge stage and play for some of the acts. And every year, I would direct Judy and a couple of other principals in a clown routine for the show and every year they’d get some good laughs. Over 1,500 people would flood into the Kofman Auditorium in Alameda every year to see Judy, scores of skilled student performers and some of the best circus acts in the world, including many Cirque du Soleil stars.

Backstage between shows a few years ago, Judy and I hatched a wild idea. We were both in a dreaming mood because Judy was starting Maya Lin School, (an arts magnet school named for the brilliant artist who designed the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C.), and I was pining for my students at The Clown Conservatory, a professional clown school I had founded and then left after a decade. We wanted to put our students together somehow.

We both knew that clowning lights kids up. A basic skill, like learning to trip on cue, lights up their bodies as they figure out how to put one toe behind the other heel to simulate an obstacle; it lights up their imaginations as they react to the trip with cocky self assurance or big embarrassment or some one-of-a-kind gesture; it lights up their eyes when they get a laugh for being who they are, who they really are, not the role they play day-to-day. And clowning requires partnerships that go beyond the mind to include children’s hearts and bodies.

As a teaching artist, I have used clown warm-ups, clown routines and clown skills in practically every class I’ve taught, even when we’re reflecting on a performance of Antigone or exploring the rhythms of Senegalese drummers. Clown material allows me to set a playful tone, it invites physical engagement and explores extreme emotions while staying safe. Judy also wanted to see how clowning would intersect with Life Skills and Studio Habits of Mind, two tools she planned to use as bedrock at Maya Lin School.

“What if we put a professional clown school right in the middle of a public elementary school?”

What if…? Read more about Jeff's work and the Maya Lin School Clown Teaching Artist Residency.


There are still slots open for artists interested in training in the Maya Lin School Clown Teaching Artist Residency. For more information, contact Jeff Raz (jraz@medicalclownproject.org).

Jeff Raz has performed nationally and internationally since 1976, including starring roles with Cirque du Soleil and on Broadway. He has written 15 plays and directed many more. He founded The Clown Conservatory in 2000 and his students currently perform in circuses and theaters around the world. He was a Lead Teaching Artist with the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts and continues teach, write, direct and perform as the Artistic Director of the Medical Clown Project in San Francisco, an actor with California Revels, the Bay Area Casting Director for Cirque du Soleil, a TA with Cal Performances and a Program Director with the global consulting firm Stand & Deliver.



Upcoming Events

17 Oct 2015 1:30 PM • Luna Dance Institute 605 Addison St. Berkeley
19 Oct 2015 10:00 AM • Online Webinar: Register for connection details

Want to share your event?

Email event information to tascofcalifornia.info@gmail.com

What's New

A Snapshot: State of Teaching Artists Fall 2105 Survey

The Association for Teaching Artists (ATA) -- a New York-based national network for teaching artists -- has released a short survey to gather some basic statistics about the teaching artist field, nationally. Data about your background, working conditions, pay rate, and other indicators from the last two years will help generate a "snapshot" of where teaching artists are in the Fall of 2015.

The survey is part of ATA's efforts to access and share research, resources, and opportunities to support and further the work of Teaching Artists in education and in their communities.

Access the ATA survey here.

Featured member

Ways to Contribute

Submit Your Blog
TASC is in search of blog submissions that focus on teaching artistry and arts learning from a variety of perspectives. We invite teaching artist, arts administrators, educators, researchers and more to contribute to the ongoing conversation. Learn More.

I am a Teaching Artist

The field of teaching artistry is a continuously growing field that can be as diverse as each individual artist. It encompasses many arts forms, teaching methodologies, learning settings and so much more. TASC wants to know your story as a teaching artist! Learn More.



Share your videos & photos

TASC invites photos and videos that show the work of teaching artists. Do you have a video or photo that you feel is representative of your work as a teaching artist or what your organization does? Send video links and photos to tascofcalifornia.info@gmail.com.
Include names of individuals in the photo. 
Please note that you must have full permission to use any photos or videos you share with TASC.


TASC of California is a collaborative of teaching artists and the organizations that hire, train, and support them.  Oversight is provided by the TASC Regional Liaison Advisory Group. TASC is a fiscally sponsored project of Intersection for the Arts.     

Contact us at: tascofcalifornia@gmail.com.

                                           JOIN! Membership is FREE.                                           

In partnership with 

The art works on this site are used with permission of the artist, Helene Goldberg, who also created the TASC logo.
Read more Helene Goldberg Artist Statement.pdf

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