.                  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.

Women's History Month

Adapted from article
by Almetria Vaba, KQED

In honor of Women’s History Month, explore stories of women – across various disciplines – who have impacted positive change in their communities and around the world. These resources from PBS LearningMedia are great starting points for possible arts integration lessons that celebrate women's history.

First Ladies of the United States | Grades K-13+
Discover the different roles that First Ladies have played throughout history as policy advocates, diplomats, and public figures.

Single Women Homesteaders | Grades 3-7
In the mid-19th century, women who were single, widowed or divorced were eligible to apply for farmland under the 1862 Homesteading Act as the head of their household. Through the reading of letters written by homesteading women and accounts of descendants, their perseverance is remembered.

SciGirls Collection | Grades 5-8
SciGirls educational materials provide gender-equitable teaching strategies and hands-on inquiries based on the concepts modeled in SciGirls’ videos. The SciGirls approach is rooted in research on how to engage girls in STEM.

Women’s Movement Collection  | Grades 6-12
Teach students about the two major waves of the Women’s Movement with this diverse collection of videos, lesson plans, and other materials, all correlated with educational standards.

Community Classroom Collection | Grades 9-13+
ITVS Community Classroom is a film and curriculum resource series that brings to life some of today’s most vital social issues by pairing film modules from award-winning documentaries with standards-based lesson plans. This collection celebrates Women’s History Month by focusing on women and girls around the world. The films tell powerful, personal stories; and the activities encourage students to learn and understand international struggles and take an active role in addressing local concerns.

Women’s Suffrage | Grades 9-13+
In this CRASH COURSE segment, students learn about American women in the Progressive Era. They’ll discover the gains women made beyond earning the right to vote in the 30 years between 1890 and 1920.
Jobs & Opportunities


TASC Regional Community Conversations
What We've Learned From Talking to Teaching Artists Around the State About Certification

Pictured above: A list of questions generated by participants attending the Sacramento regional Community Conversation in September.

To Certify or Not to Certify: Is That the Question?
By Sabrina Klein, TASC Advisor

As many of you know, late last year TASC embarked on a 3-month initiative to really listen to and engage with California teaching artists on a "hot topic" for our field - certification.To that end, we hosted a series of six regional “Community Conversations” and disseminated an online survey, which ultimately gathered the in-depth input of more than 130 teaching artists across the state. Here is a summary of what we learned.

Maybe “to certify or not to certify” was our original question, but when in September and October last fall we convened teaching artists around the state of California, it became clear that consensus is emerging that the real question is “how to certify with integrity, flexibility and proper support”.

Nearly 200 teaching artists participated in person and in written responses in regional conversations focused specifically on the issues surrounding questions of professionally strengthening our field. One of our core strengths is the depth and diversity of pathways artists take into teaching artistry, with a continuum from self-taught, informally or formally mentored, individualized training, and formal academic training all providing valid and challenging forms of professional development. With increasing calls for teaching artists to step up and step in as partners in education, social services, social justice and community settings, our collaborative network thought it was high time we grappled head on with the challenges of documenting competence and making mastery visible.

While responses (and local consensus) ran full spectrum from “Certification would be invaluable” to “This is a stupid idea”, the vast majority lean much more toward solving the problems inherent in providing a useful and respected training and certification process. As one Los Angeles participant noted, “This isn’t rocket science, it’s way more difficult than that. It’s messy. This is a big, big process.”  And the potential pay-offs seem to outweigh the potential drawbacks.

Some respondents expressed the fear of losing “fabulous” people who resist being certified, or worry that we would create mediocre processes could flatten our best work. Still others worry about master teaching artists with decades of experience being left out during a transition to more formal certification.

And yet, it’s clear from the input of these practitioners that the time has come for the Teaching Artist field to tackle this sticky problem. We have an opportunity to define our profession from the inside, attract and keep more qualified teaching artists, and create broader recognition for our work and how it differs from classroom teaching. It’s a potential step to creating better work environments for ourselves, and to promote our needs as professionals. 

Of course, the devil is in the details, and the details that trip us up from the outset are sometimes overtly troublesome, sometimes very nuanced, but always complicated with no obvious answers. As many of us reminded ourselves over the course of this conversation, if it were obvious how to do this, we’d already be doing it.  But since when do teaching artists shy away from something simply because the solution isn’t obvious?

Click to read more of our findings from TASC's Regional Community Conversations. Also, please share your thoughts by commenting at the end of the article.

Sabrina serves as Director of Artistic Literacy at Cal Performances on the UC Berkeley campus and was formerly executive director of Teaching Artists Organized (TAO) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Trained in the Lincoln Center Institute for Arts in Education methodology, she is a teacher and artist trainer around the state and founder of the Creative Education Institute (formerly at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley).


Reports from the Field: Sacramento

Where to Next? Exploring Aspirations from the Personal to the Professional

At the conclusion of so many TASC Regional Community Conversations events last year, we heard again and again that teaching artists wanted to continue the work. They wanted to connect more and to do more. Here's how Sacramento followed up.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) hosted its first Teaching Artist Meet-Up, a convening of teaching artists, on Saturday, January 23, 2016 with the goal of exploring the intersections of our personal goals as teaching artists, as well as the arts-education-related goals we share for the larger community. Eleven artists from a range of art forms joined SMAC staff for activities and conversations aimed at parsing out aspirations on a micro and macro level. Early on, they discovered that it was difficult to differentiate between the aspirations these artists have for themselves and those they hold for their community.

While each individual contributed their unique perspective, some key themes emerged. First and foremost, teaching artists want to make connections – with each other, student populations, and the community at large. They want to help others experience the joy they find in their art forms, to provide broader access to arts experiences to a wider diversity of populations, and to build a philosophical appreciation for the arts that permeates all corners of our community. They also have more on-the-ground goals, such as acquiring new skills and exploring new techniques, finding funding and hiring organizations so that they can make a living at this work, and expanding arts education in schools. (A full list of the themes that emerged from our conversations follows this write-up.)

Collectively, we decided to focus on three over-arching aspirations: (1) develop a strong community of teaching artists who are invested in growing together as artists and educators; (2) build partnerships to affect a paradigm shift in how our local culture views and interacts around arts education; and, (3) develop systems for sharing resources.

Click to read more about Sacramento teaching artists' plans to put their aspirations into action.


Featured Blog

Above: Students using theatre to improve their English language skills.

Want Better Gigs? It's Not About You
By Dave Ruch

I often have a hard time describing what I do to other musicians. This sounds kind of strange, I know. I’m a musician myself!

And yet,when I think about it, I don’t seem to have any trouble describing what I do to the venues I work for (or would like to be working for). Why would this be the case?

Well, for one, I do some pretty oddball things, like teaching people to play the spoons,and singing songs from 500 years ago at 8:50am in elementary school libraries and cafetoriums. (Yes, that’s cafeteria-meets-auditorium.) That can be hard to explain to just about anyone other than the people I do it for!

But I think the bigger issue here is that over the last twenty years, without really thinking too much about it, I’ve been slowly but surely structuring everything I do to be as useful as possible to the end user.

Actually, to two end users – – the audience, and the person who books me. I’ve almost forgotten how to describe it in musician terms.

The Conversation

Now, when another performer asks me what I do, it might not even occur to me to mention the instruments I play (guitar, mandolin, banjo, etc) or the kind of music I do (old time, traditional folk stuff, some swing, historical music, etc.).

Instead, it often goes something like this:

ME  “Well, I do a lot of work in schools, and….”

FELLOW MUSICIAN  “(blank stare…) Oh, you’re a teacher?”

ME  “Well no, I go into schools and do performances for kids on history topics.”

FM  “Oh. Cool. (scratching head….)”

ME  “I also have a band!”

FM  “Oh, awesome. Where do you guys play?”

ME  “Um, well, we don’t really play in bars or clubs too much. We do concerts for sit-down audiences at places like museums and regional concert series and folk music events.”

FM  “Oh. Huh. OK, good talking to you…”

It seems that I’ve gotten very used to thinking about what I do in terms of who it’s for and what its function is, rather than what it is.

In other words, my work has gradually become less about me, and more about them. What do the places I’m working for need? How can I help them be super happy? Interestingly,my income and opportunities have steadily increased over this same period of time. And this makes perfect sense!

Read on for more of Dave's practical advice about getting gigs by focusing on "benefits not features" and the needs your audience.


Since leaving a white-collar marketing job in 1992, Dave Ruch has been educating and entertaining full-time in schools, historical societies and museums, folk music and concert venues, libraries, and online via distance learning programs.

Along the way, he’s learned a great deal about supporting a family of four as a musician.

He writes the Educate and Entertain blog, which provides articles, tips, encouragements, and how-to’s for regional performers(in any region) interested in making a great full-time living in the arts.. Check out his website to learn more.

Donate Online

To make a secure online donation using your credit card:

1. The link below will take you
    to TASC's online donation
    page hosted by our fiscal
    sponsor, Intersection for
    the Arts.

2. Choose your donation
    frequency and level.

3. Click "continue" to
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    in California!



Upcoming Events

04 Jun 2016 (PDT) • Berkeley
04 Jun 2016 8:00 AM (PDT) • Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley
10 Jun 2016 (PDT) • Pasadena
14 Jun 2016 (PDT) • Berkeley

Want to share your event?

Email event information to tascofcalifornia.info@gmail.com

What's New

Tax Resources for Teaching Artists

It’s tax season again, which can be tricky for teaching artists working as freelancers. Here is a list of helpful resources to help you figure it all out. 

  • The Freelancers Union has gathered resources in "The ultimate tax guide for freelancers," which includes tips for first-time filers, itemizing efficiently, how the ACA affects your taxes, and other FAQs. 

  • California Lawyers for the Arts offers "The Art of Deduction" workbook for sale, which covers the essentials of income tax for individual artists and artist groups of all disciplines, and the self-employed. Topics include record keeping, form 1040, Schedule C, the self-employment schedule, deductions, hobby losses, home offices, and more..  The link is on their homepage.  $19.99 + tax + shipping.

  • The Chicago Artists Resource offers online courses as part of their "Survival Guide."  The module on Finances will help you understand the different types of taxes that you may owe, when to pay them, and how to set aside enough money to pay them.

  • Also, don't forget that California taxpayers can directly contribute to the Keep Arts in Schools Fund on their tax return. Almost a third of schools in California have no music, dance, theatre, media arts or visual arts available whatsoever. Donations to the Keep Arts in Schools Fund are critical to the California Arts Council’s efforts in increasing access to arts education statewide. The "Keep Arts in Schools Fund" can be found in Voluntary Contribution Section 110 (425) of the "540" individual state tax-return form, and the minimum donation is just $1. This year the CAC must raise a minimum of $253,250 in order to stay on the fund list for next year – and your help counts in meeting that goal! Find out more 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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