Teaching artists work with and for institutions to implement art-based learning to a setting. Being a teaching artist means that you are not only bringing an enhanced kind of learning to a setting, but you are also working to combat many social issues such as racial tensions, wasted human potential, poverty, etc. Many people may assume that a teaching artist is just a volunteer who has another job that supports him or her.
The disciplines of art and business have never really been associated with one another. Art is creative, free flowing people who seek to express themselves through their work. They are not business people! Right? Wrong.
As teaching artists, you must also be business people! You have to love your work with a passion, but also make enough money to live off of. In this blog post, we hope to give you an introduction to the tools necessary for accomplishing this!
In her e-book Make. Teach. Prosper.: The 12 Essential Business Tools You Need to Kick Start the Teaching Artist Career of Your Dreams, author Lynn Johnson cites three reasons for why more people do not know about teaching artists:
1. The “starving artists” culture still permeates our society and challenges a teaching artists sense of self-worth. This limits an artist’s ability to ask for compensation for their work.
2. Many of the arenas teaching artists work in are also struggling to survive in modern society. For example, public school programs are constantly being cut in order to save costs.
3. Teaching artists are waiting for change rather than pursuing that change. It can be seemingly hard and time consuming to chase after change. But in the end, it is ultimately worth all of the work.
So what are we to do about this? How can we chase after our careers, love our jobs, and still pay for groceries? By becoming businessmen and women! And how do we do this? Below you will find the first three of nine strategies that can be used to build up your “business” as a teaching artist!
1. Have a Professional Mission Statement
I know, I know. This sounds like something you may have had to do in high school. But having a mission statement can help guide you along your journey. Do not just ask yourself “What?” but also “Why?” and “How?”
2. Develop a Teaching Methodology
This is where you should flesh our your “What?” and “How?” answers to your mission statement. As yourself questions such as: “What is the experience I want my students to go through? How can I make my methodology clear so others can apply it to their work?
3. Create and/or read blogs and websites
The Internet is a great marketing tool that should be used by all and there are so many computer programs to help you build a professional and beautiful website. It is also a way to look into what others have done to further their success and learn so much. In addition to a website or a blog, you should have an active LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is a great resources for connecting with other professionals who may be interested in your credentials.
Rather than overload on information, there will be a several parts to this post in order to explain the remaining steps. Please, please, please feel free to comment below on what you think regarding these strategies. We want to hear about your experiences, how you may have applied these strategies to you own work.