.                  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.

Vaquero to Cowboy, Botany and Art

Illustration: Alice R. Tangerini

The Smithsonian Institute offers a variety of digital resources and downloadable lesson plans for teaching artists and teachers on a range of subjects including art and design, science and technology, history and culture and language arts.

For example, students can discover the Spanish and Mexican roots of American cowboy culture in a set of four lessons, divided into grades K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12. The youngest students look for the Spanish origins of cowboy words (lasso from lazo, for example). Older students do a bit of translation work by composing a rhyming cowboy ballad based on a Mexican corrido.

A lesson plan in botany and art introduces the work of botanists and botanical illustrators, specifically their race to make records of endangered plant species around the world. "Very little of the world’s flora has been fully studied," says one Smithsonian botanist, "and time is running out."

In the first lesson, students get to know six endangered plants. They examine illustrations, photographs, and dried specimens of the plants as they consider this question: If a scientist can take a picture of a plant, are there advantages in having an illustration? They go on to consider some of the big questions that botanists themselves must ask: Which of these species are most in need of conservation efforts? Are any of these plants more worth saving than others?

In the second lesson, students try their own hands at botanical illustration, following the methods of a Smithsonian staff illustrator. All that is required for this lesson are pencils, markers, tracing paper, and access to a photocopier.

Log on to the site at Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (Smithsonian Education).

Jobs & Opportunities


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


Featured Blog: Bringing "Math in a Basket"
Into the Digital Age

Image source: Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection. 
Basket weaving is an ancient art.  It's also full of pattern, with tons of potential for
combining art and math for young learners in new and exciting ways. In this month's
"I Am a Teaching Artist" feature, teaching artist Raquel Lira writes about how she's working to take her organization's "Math in a Basket" curriculum from analog to digital.

Arts Funding Boosted to $6.1 Million in Governor's Revised Budget

Excerpted from KQED Arts, by Cy Musiker

The California Arts Council will be getting a modest bonus this fall, as well as some fiscal security. Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget, released last week, provides the council with $6.1 million, a significant $5 million increase over what the governor had recommended in his January budget proposal.

"It’s a modestly wonderful success," said Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks), who for years has been pushing for a bigger state investment in the arts.

"It’s a wonderful success though,” he said, “because the general fund investment to the arts by our state has been so minimal."

Nazarian had proposed even more for the arts council, but at least, he says, the governor’s budget would make the $5 million increase permanent. Late Wednesday a state Senate subcommittee voted to add $10 million in funding for the arts council, a figure almost certain to change as the budget goes to conference committee.

But any increase is welcome news for an agency that’s been starved for funds during the state budget crisis of recent years.

"This would be the first time a permanent increase has been seen in over a decade," said Caitlin Fitzwater, Communications Director for the state arts council.

Local arts advocates say they are pleased with the Governor’s proposal, as it makes sense in a state where one in ten people work in the creative economy.

But they also said they’d be happier if California matched the average per-capita arts budgets of other states. To reach that goal, California would have to allocate more than $42 million dollars a year to the arts.


What Teaching Artists Should Know About the Cultural Lives of Californians

The California Survey of Arts and Cultural Participation provides several visualizations of key data points, including this chart showing that even though arts attendance is down, art-making as a significant part of Californian's daily and weekly lives. See other charts,
as well as this one at its full-size by clicking here.

Last month, we highlighted some of the surfeit of arts research coming out this spring. This month, we wanted to take a closer look at just one of those reports -- the most recent California Survey of Arts and Cultural Participation (download the report here) -- and delve into what all this data might mean for our field.

First off, we recommend a recent blog post on the subject titled "What Arts Organizations Should Know About the Cultural Lives of Californians," from Josephine Ramirez, Program Director of Arts at the Irvine Foundation.  We invite you to click over and take a look, but here's an excerpt:

For many years, arts nonprofits have been tracking a downward trend in arts attendance. By looking beyond the typical measures of participation, the study reveals a seemingly contradictory takeaway: the new narrative is not entirely about decline! Californians actually have a deep interest in the arts and lead active cultural lives. People want to engage, in art-making and arts-learning in particular. Emerging technologies, expectations, and cultural norms mean art is happening in new places and ways.

Let's repeat that: Research shows that Californians want to engage in art-making and arts-learning. Music to a teaching artist's ears!

As it turns out, Ms. Ramirez recommends in her blog post a list of priorities for arts organizations responding to the information in this report.  And what should teaching artists know about the cultural lives of Californians?

Quite simply, that teaching artists can provide a really effective response to many of the report's recommendations. Click to read more about how teaching artists form an effective response to the "new arts and culture ethos" emerging in California.

Share your perspective! Where do you see teaching artists fitting in to what is being called "a new arts and culture ethos"? Does this description ring true for you? Join the conversation on our website or contact us at tascofcalifornia.info@gmail.com.


Featured Blog: I Am a Teaching Artist

Bringing "Math in a Basket" Into the Digital Age
By Raquel Lira

I am a teaching artist with an arts integration non-profit organization named Dramatic Results in Long Beach, California, where I am working on a curriculum that is transitioning from analog to digital.  We have the distinction of being named a model among models by the Department of Education, being one of only two arts organizations in California to receive a Model and Dissemination Grant four times. Our current grant involves the use of technology, specifically the development of an iPad App, to be used as a research and design tool.

Although I am not as tech savvy as one might expect, I do have a great knowledge base regarding our longest running program called Math in a Basket. Math in a Basket integrates mathematics and engineering with the art of basketry, and although it has been implemented for 13 years, it is a living curriculum that continues to evolve.

The newest iteration of Math in a Basket, as well as collaboration on the App content for the Department of Education Grant study, is my responsibility. So these days I find myself spending less time in the classroom and a great deal more time in front of a computer. I have multiple international Skype meetings each week with our tech team and program evaluator across continents and time zones.

The experience has been a tremendous and exciting learning opportunity. I had no idea of how much work goes into the development of an app. It is really exciting to take a program that I have been implementing in a strictly analog form and envision what it could and should look like digitally. That vision must then be communicated via spreadsheets as concisely as possible for the benefit of the international tech team. It is a thrill to see the designer bring the images to life and even more thrilling when the tech team push updates to the app and we see it in action.

As we approach our summer pilot program I feel confident that the students will embrace the technology. It is a fun interactive tool that will enhance their ability to apply the geometry and engineering principles inherent in basket design and weaving. The technology will also increase their ability to create pattern and color combinations in a way that has not been readily available. Students will use their App designs to measure and cut their basket materials then weave their baskets by hand from start to finish.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work on this project. And I especially look forward to fully implementing the program this fall and spending much more time in the classroom watching my students shine!



Upcoming Events

21 Jul 2015 • Online
03 Aug 2015 9:00 AM • 13 Appian Way Cambridge, MA 02138

Want to share your event?

Email event information to tascofcalifornia.info@gmail.com

Action Alert!
Call On Your Member of Congress to Support the NEA! 

This week, key decisions affecting arts funding are getting made.

Tuesday night, the House Rules Committee met to set parameters for floor debate on legislation that funds the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and other cultural agencies, including the Smithsonian and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The House is scheduled to consider this legislation next on the House floor, beginning Wednesday, the 24th.  It's been a while–the last time there were floor votes on this bill was back in 2011!

You know better than anyone the top 10 reasons to support the arts; make sure your representatives do, too. Take two minutes to urge your representative to support at least level funding for the NEA, and reject any effort to reduce it.

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.                                           

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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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