.                  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.

Smithsonian Jazz

Legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald (above) is just one of the musicians you can learn about through "Jazz Class" on the Smithsonian Jazz website.

Hey jazz cats! In October, the NEA announced the honorees of this year's Jazz Masters awards, which recognize living artists who have made significant contributions to the art form through their music, their education efforts, or advocacy. Celebrate the vibrancy of jazz by finding out more about the honorees at the NEA website and then exploring jazz history at the Smithsonian Jazz website, which includes resources for educators.  For example:

"Groovin’ to Jazz" includes thirty-one original recordings with lesson plans designed for intermediate level (ages 8-13) and middle level (ages 13-15) students. Lessons are designed to build upon each other and develop jazz skills. Most lessons are designed for teachers with limited resources and space -- many lessons simply require a computer with access to the Internet so you can play the recordings for your class. Some lessons also include handouts and links to websites with additional activities or recordings. 

You can also take "Jazz Classes" on the lives and music of the legends: Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Carter. We might do these ones just for fun!

Visit the Smithsonian Jazz website to get into the groove and explore our jazz history.

Jobs & Opportunities


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


I Am a Teaching Artist:
Dedication + Kindness + "Doing Art"=

When teaching artist Helen Plenert was studying art in college, no one told her that art could be used as a tool for healing and empowerment, that she could teach art in that context, or that even such a path existed! But one class changed everything. Now, as Program Director at Women's Wisdom ART in Sacramento, she welcomes women from all walks of life into her classes to share in the transformational experience of "doing art." Read more in her blog below. Above: Students show off their work from a jewelry-making class.

Community Conversations Update:
What We're Learning From Talking
to Teaching Artists Around the State About
Training and Certification, Pt. 2

As we're wrapping up our series of regional community conversations this month, we want to bring you another update about what we're learning as we talk with teaching artists from around the state about questions of training and certification.

But first, please note that YOU CAN PARTICIPATE ONLINE! Clicking on the picture below will take you to our online survey. This is our way of bringing the conversation even nearer to you -- to your very computer! Your responses really help us out, as we try to make sure that a diversity of teaching artist voices are heard in this conversation. The survey closes on Nov. 11th.

As a refresher on what it's all about, TASC has undertaken the task of bringing the conversation on teaching artist certification out into the field. It's been a trending topic, and so we wanted to find out what you all think. So far, we've hosted five regional events in September and October and heard from over 150 teaching artists in Orange County, the Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

We still have one more event to be held in Mono County.  If that's near your neck of the woods and you're interested in participating, please contact us and we'll make sure you get the info.

Without further ado, here are report-backs from the most recent events in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Los Angeles

Above, Los Angeles participants discuss...

A strong Los Angeles contingent (over 40 participants!) showed up on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 3 at the offices of the LA County Arts Commission, ready to dive into the topic. The group almost immediately began wrestling with the pros and cons of certification -- and we mean really wrestling! Well, not physically. But you could actually feel opinions being changed as the morning went on. With a considerable amount of experience in the room, it was a sophisticated discussion encompassing issues of credibility and assessment, teaching itself as an art form, what it means to be a practicing artist versus a professional artist, and oh so much more. In particular, the group showed real savvy about how all this might tie into the business of working as a teaching artist -- both how it could help and hinder them in their work. Conclusions? Still pending.

Quotes of the day:
"How do you fit all the things we do into a certification?"
"It's not rocket science. It's way more difficult than that."


At an End? What's Next for the 
Teaching Artist Journal?

Here, we wanted to re-print for you a letter from the editor of the Teaching Artist Journal, announcing that the folding of the publication.

Dear Teaching Artist Community,

I am sad to say that the Teaching Artist Journal will cease publication as of the current issue, 13(4). In the current climate we were unable to secure funding to continue our work.

Eric Booth founded TAJ 14 years ago as the first journal by and for teaching artists. We have sought to uphold and extend the journal’s original mission, and have done our best to represent the full range of practice and theory in our field and advocate for the interests of teaching artists of all kinds and all backgrounds (including arts specialists!); and to fight for equal access to high quality art education for everyone in our society.

I cannot fully express how grateful I am to Eric for founding and developing the journal; the TAJ editorial team; to all the past editors of TAJ; to all the many incredible contributors to the journal; to the staff at Taylor and Francis, our publisher; to Columbia College Chicago for the many years of support; and to our editorial board members who have supported us in many different ways over the years. All of you have not only made this vital journal possible and ever stronger, but you have contributed immensely to teaching artist theory and practice. Most of all I am grateful to the worldwide community of teaching artists who read the journal, author the journal, and shape the journal. I look forward to a day soon when the field can support not just one but many inclusive, critical, forward-looking journals for and by teaching artists.

The full 13 volumes of TAJ will remain an archive available to users on the Taylor & Francis website. TAJaltspace.com will continue as an archive for the time being and we are hopeful that it may also continue soon as an active web journal.

In Art Teaching, Learning and Making,
Nick Jaffe
Chief Editor, TAJ


I Am a Teaching Artist

Above: Students from Women's Wisdom ART work on sculptures.

Dedication + Kindness + "Doing Art" = Transformation
By Helen Plenert

I had always worked hard at my own art, but I had given up on the idea of teaching art early on, when I saw my college instructors get layoff notices in the 1970s. Twenty years later, though, I got the teaching bug when I became a volunteer helping the art instructor at my children’s grammar school. Soon I was applying for grants to teach and create murals with children around town.

In 2003, I was asked to teach a class in acrylic painting once per week to a group of women in a program that used art as a vehicle for healing. I sort of chuckled at the notion of art being used to heal, but it was a job. I was in for a surprise. In my class, I began to see the women change almost immediately, as they began to create. Their confidence grew, and they stood a little taller, as if to reveal the transformation within. With their poetry they told the stories of their lives, and their paintings revealed their struggles with recovery and mental illness. It was amazing. It actually angered me a bit that I had never been taught this in all the years I had spent in college. It turns out that in the 1970s, when I attended, the arts were more snobbish about what was accepted in the art world. Art used for healing or empowerment was just not talked about.

The teaching thing really hit me hard after that. I went from teaching one acrylic class per week, to teaching five classes per week, to becoming the Program Director of Women’s Wisdom ART. We've now tripled the enrollment of women who came from all walks of life. We have regular art shows, filling the building with art and music.

Above: Students show off prizes from the state fair, awarded for their art pieces.

Recently a new woman, Mary, joined the group who was very timid and unsure of herself. She wondered why she had been referred to us by her therapist since she “didn’t have a creative bone in her body.” I told her not to worry, we’d help her every step of the way. I showed her a few basics of watercolor as the regular students filed in, and she reluctantly began to paint. While the woman next to her settled in, she told Mary how scared she had been at first. An hour later, magic happened. Mary was fully engaged in the act of creating and had made a new friend. With every class Mary attended, she explored this new skill that she didn’t know had existed inside her. Really, it was no magic paint or fairy dust. Just dedication, kindness, and the transformational process of “doing art.”

Read more about the practical challenges but priceless inspiration that comes with running an arts empowerment program.


Helen Plenert (second from right) is Program Director at Women's Wisdom ART in Sacramento.Originally founded in 1991 as part of a daytime hospitality shelter for homeless women and children, Women's Wisdom Art is dedicated to promoting the art of low-income women and believe that the images and words they create to express their lives and experience enrich not only themselves and their families, but our entire community.  In the words of their founder, Laura Ann Walton, "We are born artists: our toes sculpt with the mud, our fingers write poems in the dust, the first act of our eyes is to create a vision of the earth. No matter what her condition in life, level of education, degree of physical, emotional, or mental health, any woman can participate in art, can assume the identity of 'ARTIST.'" Check out their website to learn more about their programs.



Upcoming Events

05 Dec 2015 9:30 AM • Luna Dance Institute 605 Addison St. Berkeley
11 Dec 2015 8:30 AM • 1720 Broadway, 4th floor, Oakland CA (19th St BART)

Want to share your event?

Email event information to tascofcalifornia.info@gmail.com

What's New

At the Crossroads of the Arts and Equity

The California Alliance for Arts Education has released a new policy paper titled “At the Crossroads of the Arts and Equity.” The report outlines strategies for achieving its goal of every California student receiving access to high-quality arts education.

Specifically, the report identifies three approaches to empower schools and districts to use arts education to achieve equity goals. These are:

Arts in LCFF: The state-mandated Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) offers school districts the opportunity to pursue arts education as a strategy to enhance student learning, improve school climate, and increase student and parent engagement.

Title I Arts: There is growing national recognition that arts education supports the goals of the Title I federal funding stream, targeting the most underserved students.

Arts Integration: Integrating the arts throughout curriculum can motivate students to unleash the critical and creative thinking skills central to college and career readiness.

Interested in more? Access the full report 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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