Press Releases

Who are Teaching Artists? And Why Do We Need Them Now?

Who are Teaching Artists? And Why Do We Need Them Now?
Photo: Scott Groller

Trained teaching artists boost student learning, meet the pressing need for professional arts educators in K-12 classrooms and prepare students for 21st Century careers.

CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) Professionalizes the Field with a Residency for Teaching Artists and Practicum at the CAP Summer Arts Program.

Press is invited to observe newly minted teaching artists in action during the CAP Summer Arts Program at the LAUSD’s César E. Chavez Learning Academies from June 27 through July 16.  

June 16-Valencia, CA—For decades, artists of all disciplines have applied their skills to teaching in elementary and secondary schools—with many lacking foundation in the fundamentals of arts education. Now, today’s creative economy raises the bar on teaching artists’ professionalism as the arts become increasingly important to students’ learning and future careers.  

“The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has restored its arts community network partnership that utilizes an army of teaching artists because we recognize that our students deserve arts instruction and support from their unique and creative perspective,” said Rory Pullens, Director of LAUSD's Arts Education Branch.

Currently, training lags behind the demand for qualified teaching artists. Recognizing this need, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) implemented the Community Arts Partnership (CAPSummer Residency for Teaching Artists which is now in its second year.
Here’s why trained teaching artists are important:

  • Arts education boosts learning. Studies show that arts education can jump-start student learning—enhancing the development of problem solving abilities, and creative proficiency, helping students excel in today’s Common Core classrooms and imparting 21st Century learning skills.
  • Qualified teaching artists are needed to help schools meet curricular requirements. Teaching artists are critical to developing effective and engaging arts integration strategies in classroom. As funding for art education returns to pre-recession levels, the demand for effective teaching artists grows.
  • Teaching artists prepare students for careers in a changing economy. According to the Los Angeles Office of Economic and Workforce Development, “creative industries in Los Angeles are major players in the regional economy, generating more than 640,000 jobs and over $200 billion in sales revenue.”

Students trained in CalArts first-of-its-kind curriculum are bringing their professional skills to Los Angeles classrooms and community organizations. CalArts alumnus Diego Robles participated in the first Residency for Teaching Artists. Now working with the LAUSD, he implemented an arts integration program for teachers at Patrick Henry Middle School where he applied his skills to History and Science curriculums. A recent feature on KPCC FM explored how CalArts “transforms artists into teachers.”
The CAP Summer Residency for Teaching Artists offers both classroom learning and hands-on practice with a curriculum developed to provide college-level teacher training to students of the arts. Designed by CAP Artistic Director Glenna Avila, the residency ran from May 18 through June 19 at CalArts. Many of the students who complete the residency’s three courses will be teaching in a three-week paid Teaching Practicum as part of the CAP Summer Arts Program. This innovative program is held at the LAUSD’s César E. Chavez Learning Academies from June 27 through July 16. 
CalArts is leading the way to professionalize this burgeoning career path for artists. The residency provides a deeper experience in understanding learning theories, concepts of imagination and creativity, innovative curriculum design and development, assessment, professional practices for artist educators, and the cognitive and social development of children and adolescents.
CAP is a co-curricular program of CalArts, offering free, after-school and school-based arts programs for youth ages 6-18, many in underserved neighborhoods. “No other institution is training teaching artists in this way, said CAP’s Glenna Avila. “We’re providing a service to artists, to schools and organizations, and to the field of education in general.”
Click here for more information about the CAP Residency for Teaching Artists.
About CAP
The award-winning CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) offers free after-school, school-based and summer arts programs for youth ages 6-18 in every discipline taught at CalArts. Programs are offered at public schools, community centers and social service agencies, covering a thousand square mile radius across Los Angeles County. Now in its 25th year, CAP serves as a local and national model for arts education organizations.
About CalArts
Ranked as America’s top college for students in the arts by Newsweek/The Daily Beast, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions.  As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.