Monday, December 21, 2009
Rachel Farmer lead a discussion at our December meeting about the types of support that the group needs now. Everyone brought up one type of support they could use that the TAU could provide. Here is a list of what came up.
Possible future meetings/themes:
-How to deal with the job market-- where to look for jobs, how to navigate all the different types of art ed opportunities and organizations, how to interview, etc. -Mapping the Arted landscape: What are the differences in organizations?
-Teaching practices presentations: What do we teach and how do we teach?
-Art presentations: What are we working on in and out of the classroom?
-Education advocacy: What is going on in our experience and in the greater education scene?
We are interested in knowing what we can do to support more teaching artists!
I wanted to post some hypothetical curricula as I collect them. These are possible classes, suggested by artists who might want to teach them. The field is wide open. Please send more ideas for classes or teachers.
-Public Mural Project- Traditional and Graffiti Style by Doug Groupp
-Making Art Using Fences by Doug Groupp
-Public Sculpture by Doug Groupp
-Mojo bag/Talisman/Spell- The class makes a sacred object meant to be buried for fertility and has the surprise benefit of composting—“Blessing the Ground” of flower beds. Participants will be learning about ritual, symbolism, and natural soil processes by Giselle Bailey
-Painting/recycling/moving with families: how to mix colors, paint found objects, and dance with them by Lindsay August Salazar
-Midnight astrology classes by Alison B. Levy
-Cloud watching: Looking at the sky, telling stories, walking and looking as ‘research’ by Christopher Kennedy
-Mixed media painting by Isabel Carrio
-How to go upside down in so many ways by Cassie Thornton
-How to use ArtWork as a curriculum in schools by James Andrews and Cassie
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I read a lot of this to a group at Art in General this morning
Letter from a Founder:
I write from Union Hall, the new space I have named on behalf of the Union, which was inaugurated on November 15, 2009. I sit at a big table under a chandalier. Every week there is a meeting at this table where 3-15 people sit and debate what this Union is and how we should move forward. These are my thoughts based on what has happened so far.
First I will defend the use of the word ‘Union,’ explain my working definition of teaching artist and list the potential functions of the Union. Through these definitions and descriptions an essence for the group will become apparent. Then you, the potential member, can agree or disagree, argue, step down, or join. And no matter what, a conversation will begin.
Why use the word ‘UNION’?
The use of the word is an intentional provocation. This Union is made of artists and we must define for ourselves WHICH definition of union suits us and our actions. I want to be a part of a tribe of critics who question the vocabulary that we use, and who adapt words to actions out of practicality and play-- but not out of fear of aligning with problematic histories.
As a generation of freelance idealists, we can take this word out of the context of the last century. We are not angry laborers. We do not work in a factory and we, at our best, use teaching art as a way to expand our own life practice. We do not belong to a common institution, but what we do have in common is much more substantial: we know how to facilitate creativity for other people. TAU is united by geography, and it is important to me that this union is made of people who know eachothers’ faces. We are also united by the common obstacles that we face.
What is special about teaching artists:
We are THE contemporary public artists. We are often funded by government to ‘teach’ a large sector of the ‘public’ and we are at liberty to define the content and the way that we deliver. How many other artists are fully supported by any government to complete a project that has funding and an implicit audience? We have a lot of power to agitate and motivate populations of people who are unreachable from within the art world.
An employed teaching artist is radical because they have crafted a system that honors them and their ideas by compensating them with money and the gratification of working with a group. TA’s have found a way to participate directly in a public system that values and pays for their process and product without monitoring what they do. We found a way to work with people that gives our art a solid function, a format for discussion, a laboratory for experimentation, and a chance to solve problems with a group. United, Teaching Artists are a large organism-- a powerful idea delivery force in every major city.
Artists who are active in their communities, who create their own situationist platform, share our practices and obstacles and so they are also in need of our supportive network. They too seek a way to make art through direct relationships with people, independent of organizations and institutions that inevitably complicate. They are the entrepreneurs here who offer their energy and expertise to field questions to the public without support. It is a TAU priority to support these processes and people too.
The potential functions of the Union, based on our Mission Statement:
The TAU is composed of NYC artists who teach as part of their creative practice.
-The members of the Union are not boring for admitting that their curriculum development, teaching, or civil engineering is a vital part of their art practice.
-The work created in a classroom or out of a social practice belongs to the artist who develops it out of their own research and life experience. We will support the creative process for people working to provoke critical thoughts in institutions and we will speak out to defend the ownership of teaching artist work.
With this union, we aim to define the role of the teaching artist through developing a supportive community, celebrating and exhibiting the work produced in teaching situations and advocating for the rights and needs of the teaching artist.
-The union formalizes the relationship between local teaching artists, creating an intentional community. At weekly working meetings, events, and monthly open meetings we can support eachother by sharing skills, relating experience, and pooling resources.
-We will organize exhibition opportunities for our members to exhibit their products and/or process. Our first large scale project is the development of the School of the Future, which will open in the spring.
-We will also offer regular opportunities to present the work we make in, outside, or for a classroom to the group for discussion and critique. It is a priority of the Union to find a satisfying relationship between the art world and the art education world through inventing exhibitions and situations that display the work made in the field.
-TA Advocacy must be a creative pursuit. Issues such as healthcare, ownership of curriculum and ideas, political actions, compensation, and more will be approached from a positive perspective rather than the historical concept of a ‘gripe’. I hope we can use the energy of our group to idealize and create the situations that make us flourish.
We work in many different kinds of environments for non profit arts organizations, schools, museums, and other agencies. Because we believe that art can invigorate, agitate, and reorient stale institutional habits, we want to develop a lasting structure to support the heappiness and health of every manifestation of teaching artist. By creating a relationship and a conversation between teaching artists, institutions, and the art world, we will contribute to a better understanding of art’s function in learning and accentuate the learning that is implicit in art.
We are too smart to go to battle. We can position ourselves as a field of experts who, by doing professional work that we love, can expect and plan for long term health and happiness. We will state clearly our objectives, political and personal, and by doing so we will attract the appreciation and opportunities we deserve.
The future of the Union will be designed by the members.
From an article by Thomas Benton:
1. Is provincial isolation compatible with modern civilization?
2. Is your art free of foreign influence?
3. What American art influences are manifest in your work?
4. Was any art form created without meaning or purpose?
5. What is the social function of a mural?
6. Can art be created without direct personal contact with the subject?
7. What is your political viewpoint?
8. Is the manifestation of social understanding in art detrimental to it?
9. Is there any revolutionary tradition for the American artist?
10. Do you believe that the future of American Art lies in the Midwest?
This is a journal from the 1930's Artist Union.
Here is a brief article that summarizes their activities and struggles-- and heck, it's right next to our own membership card. Print that dang thing up! Cut it out!
It's a great point for the beginning of a conversation on how to use the Union model as our model or our foil. I will try to get my hands on a copy from interlibrary loan so we can check it out before we start designing our guidebook.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Why do we need a building for the School of the Future?
My thought is that the School of the Future responds to its location in time and space with lesson plans that are alive public art works, designed by an artists. We will be producing classes for people who live around the school, and to create a sense of commitment, security, and focus, I think it is really important to create a new space to separate the space of the park into a few types of space, that is a special place for a special type of interaction.
Last night Kate Cahill, Chris Kennedy, and I met and discussed ideas about the building for the School. An idea that we played around with was reinventing the tropes of NY public schools as parts of this building (swinging doors, kick guards, stairs, bright cerulean blue entrances) and mixing that with a contemporary translation of an old school house (bell, brick, square, pitched roof).
Kate asked a really good question: What is the school bell of 2010? What does a school bell do? It summons people. What summons people now?
I think this is a great way to begin to talk about how we can design a school that does what a school always did but in playful, observant ways.
This is an architecture firm that works with experimental school designs
This is a most beautiful storage building, a possible way to think about a school building
Monday, December 7, 2009
Oh my, last week was amazing.
There is still a little bit of wind in my hair from it. Oh no that's frost.
Attendees: Abigail, Rachel, Maya, Michael, Jennifer, Cassie, Caroline, Kate, Kerry, Sarah, James, Lisa
Maya presented her life and work to us. Amazing.
Maya's email is email@example.com and her blog is mayaerdelyi.blogspot.com. She wants to have a retreat for us at her place in California-- and thanks to the slide show we all had a little vacation to Valencia for the evening.
Kate Cahill, architect, was here to talk a little bit about the plans for building the School of the Future. She has been asking me great questions about ideas for this project, and those are posted on the blog (www.
Michael Wiggins and Rachel Farmer volunteered to get down with me and some grants this week to help fund operations of the union. We will be working on this on Tuesday night INSTEAD of having a big meeting.
Next Tuesday, December 14 there will be a meeting. This will be to work on projects, a few that I would like to get rolling on:
-doing a performance/applying for funding from FEAST
-designing future meetings: I will present a meeting strategy for the following Sunday so we can be sure it runs well.
-a fundraising event or sale in March: let's do some initial brainstorming
-school of the future timeline: I will present some dates and we will see who is available and what a timeline will look like.
We will have a big meeting on Sunday December 20, when Alison will lead us through some of her knowledge about astrology for the skillshare. The meeting will be from 3-5. 3pm TAU meeting, 4pm skillshare. I will put it up on facebook and send out a big email blast, so invite newbies!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
School Flag, 2009, 72 inches x 48 inches
In developing the School of the Future, Thornton has both experienced and studied schools invented and run by artists. Her education about learning is visualized as a flag of artist-run-school logos. Some logos are invented by Thornton for the schools, and others have been made for this project by artists who run such schools. The flag marks what looks and smells like a new art movement: one that provokes learning through teaching, conversation with talking and unites people by introducing them. The schools represented include Night School, 16 Beaver, Bruce High Quality Foundation University, Institute of Applied Aesthetics, Anhoek School, Black Mountain College, School of Conduct, Secret School, United Nations Plaza, and Bauhaus-- otherwise known as Cassie's Mental School District.
Brave Brooklyn is presented by the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn (OSA) and Trust Art.
Brave Brooklyn opens December 4th, 2009. Along with various other pieces, this exhibition features the artwork of seven Trust artists. Each community artist is scheduled to unveil his or her public artwork commissioned for this Spring 2010 in various public spaces in North Brooklyn.
The work presented at the exhibit speak to the larger missions of each anticipated public work while also establishing a platform for each artist to begin to cultivate community interaction and dialogue surrounding their individual projects.
Gallery hours: Friday-Sunday from 12-5pm & Monday-Friday from 2-7pm
The press preview will be held Thursday, Dec 3, 2-7pm
Gallery location: 30 Nassau Avenue at Dobbin Street in Williamsburg.
Opening reception will be held on Dec 4, 6-10pm
Auction and closing night party on Dec 11, 6-10pm.
Kate also gave us this amazing link to Pushcart Schools in the Philippines:
"For the past 12 years, Peñaflorida and his team of teen volunteers have taught basic reading and writing to children living on the streets. Their main tool: A pushcart classroom."
Questions by Kate Cahill, answers by Cassie.
How permanent is the school?
I see the school as being permanent, adaptable, reusable, moveable. It should be modular so that it can be adapted to many different terrains and class situations. I like the pushcart idea as a complimentary piece of the school-- it can be sent out for project missions from the mothership. For this summer we will be set up in Sgt. Dougherty Park for a one month trial run of the school.
How many people to set it up/break it down?
The school should be able to be set up with two people to begin. more difficult construction can happen at each school site depending on what is happening, but the basic part should be pretty light and simple- a fancy tent that's more than a tent.
Is transport on the back of a bike still the goal? Maybe the pushcart can attach to a bike, but the entire thing could be larger... maybe small enough to fold and fit into a medium size vehicle.
How many occupants at once? Hmm, since I am thinking of the school building as being quite small with opportunities to expand out, the nucleus part only needs to hold 4-6 people at a time. That can act as an office and more intimate workspace.
What kinds of space will be needed?
I think we need a good place to talk, draw, eat, and construct models: a table, a whiteboard, some seating.
I don't think we need a bathroom. I see it as a meeting and brainstorming boutique. A place where we plan- a central idea nucleus lab, and our actions move outward, expand physically from the central space by ways of lots of snaps, velcro, and ziptied attachments, amendments, extensions. LeCorbusier's museum of unlimited growth is a good way for me to think about it. Every class might add its own addition until the original central room is completely disguised. So, I am not sure what will happen inside. I will type a list from the notes that I have taken from our discussions, but there is a broad range from dancing to shoemaking.
I see a grey water system listed as a potential. is that born out of a need for water, or a general desire to include some shinny sustainable tactics?
I think the grey water system is a great way to begin to use observation and reactivity as a cornerstone for curriculum. The school will first exist in a derelict deserted park next to the BQE, bordered by STAPLES and the ConEdison plant fields. In reaction, we should do whatever we can to clean it up, spiff it up, process the air and water and soil like we are the mushrooms, remediating what we can. It doesn't have to be a permanent feature of the school, but it should definitely be explored for this summer's manifestation.
$10 - $100K...general range, what sort of budget are we talkin' here?
I hope to raise more than $5K. We have the potential to work with Association of Teaching Artists and I am spreading the word to other interesting organizations who might give us more clout in the fundraising world. I am working with TrustArt still too, and they are really into raising social and financial capital, and if we set a goal they will help us meet it. I am in the dark as to what we NEED but I think that if you help us define the cost of materials AND we start hoarding materials NOW we can definitely make exactly what we want.
Exactly who all is involved in this project?
Everyone-- Teaching Artist Union is my main community, but that said, it is growing and expanding constantly. I want to find ways to involve all the artists I know. There is interest from the outside, from other organizations, but I want it to mostly be made out of a community for that community. That's us! Teaching artists, artists, teachers! And I want to offer local members of Bushwick and Greenpoint a sincerious place in the process and the school itself.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Just in case you were curious, you can check out what we did with Chris Kennedy from the Institute of Applied Aesthetics in September:
If you are interested in working with us to create a publication in January for his magazine 'How We Work', Holler! We could possibly combine that with our 'manual' in its first stages...
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Next Tuesday, December 1 we will have 2 Special Guests, it will begin at 6 and end at 8.
Come for the part that is interesting to you!
At 6, Maya Erdelyi Perez, co-founder, will present a brief history of her interaction with California. She moved away to study animation at CalArts.
At 7 Kate Cahill will be here to talk about building a mobile school building. She is an expert with a deep brainstorm constantly burning inside her. Idea explosions will take place everywhere.
Last Tuesday Ruled. (meeting notes in pictures)
Nick Normal, Abigail Weg, Sarah Julig, and Chris Kennedy came to the meeting.
We discussed the SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE, including programming, building ideas, and possible planning strategies to make a mobile school building that gets planted in Sargeant Dougherty Park this summer.
Sarah Julig came to discuss a directory for us. If you'd like to work with us on making a directory for the web and a physical manual, please email teachingartistunion@gmail and we will set up a time to meet altogether.
After the meeting, Alison Levy screened Rethinking Afghanistan and about 20 people came to watch. There were snacks. And a sauna was built on the roof afterwards, so all the scary news of the documentary was squeezed out of the pores of those who chose to sweat.
Next meeting is on Tuesday, December 1. Maya Erdelyi-Perez, a cofounder of TAU, will be in town from California, and we will begin our meeting at 6. I am hoping she will show us some of the work and life she has been working on at that time. At 7, Kate Cahill, architect, philosopher and mobile materials lab will brainstorm with us about a mobile school building. Smoke will be accumulating under the table-- Kate is a wild idea developer for the built world. Maya is hosting a dinner afterwards here, so if you'd like to join, lets make a potluck at 9. I have a big table, let's fill it with leftovers!
Recommended Survey to take (I just spoke to the director of ATA who has great intentions to understand the life and needs of TA's)
ATA's survey Teaching Artists and Their Work http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.
clearly demonstrates Teaching Artists know what is necessary for the
work of Teaching Artists to become sustainable. If you have not taken
the survey, please do.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
proposed by Adam Kleinman
The exhibition of a lecture and events forum positioned as a “school”
by various art practitioners is quickly becoming one of the most
popular forms of cultural production today. Take for example the New
Museum’s Night School, The Bruce High Quality Foundation University,
the Class Room at the New York Art Book Fair, or even The University
of Trash at the Sculpture Center—not to mention this very program.
Considering that talk is thick these days about education and
educational models, what better place and time than now to
self-reflexively question what we are all doing here! So, to begin,
lets pose a few, possibly loaded, Socratic questions:
1. What is the difference between “a school” and an education?
2. What motivates an artist or cultural producer to create
“schools” in the first place? What is at stake for the “principals”?
3. What differentiates “ free schools” from the more traditional,
and free, programs already offered by institutional education
departments such as conferences, colloquia, workshops and the like?
What are the strengths and weakness of each form?
4. Who funds and /or supports free schools? Why do they?
5. What is the social capital of a free school?
6. Although a college education may cost well over $100,000, are
free schools really an “alterative”? What does it mean when these
free schools begin appropriating terms like “university” or “course”.
7. Is google a free school—consider that the word school is derived
from the ancient Greek word for leisure. What other free sources of
education are taken for granted, ie the New York Public Library,
various centers and lectures at Columbia University, New York
University, the Americas Society, PBS on-line, MIT open source, and so
8. What is the difference between a school and a service?
9. Is research a necessary component of a school, or is
experimentation and exchange and end in itself?
10. What obligations, commitments, criteria, or otherwise should a
11. What is the difference between a free school and a book of the
month club or any similar informal social activity?
12. Is there a labor relation between reality tv and a free school?
Don’t both use the production of a below the line volunteer as both
content and content producer?
13. Without granting any form of competency, which can be defined in
the both vocational as well as the intellectual sense, what is really
at stake for the student?
14. Is the exhibition of something, which takes the form of a
school, actually a school?
Create an itinerary for the next two moths featuring free educational
offerings in New York--thematize the list if you like. While creating
this itinerary, make a list of centers, ie http://www.nyu.edu/ipk/
, which offer these activates and categorizes them.
And additional suggestion:
Create a catalog of free school being offered today and try to
categorize them into different models. For example:
The appropriated University:
Night School, BHQFU (as above) and
Reading groups / clubs:
Pickpocket Almanack (thanks Adam)
a la "cheap rhino tricks"
Thursday, November 19, 2009
RENEGADE ART COMMUNITIES OF LEARNING
Presentation at Steinhardt tomorrow to Art Education Students
Barney Bldg, 34 Stuyvesant Street, Room 105
(auditorium). Stuyvesant is that funny diagonal street near St Marks
Bookshop that runs between 2nd and 3rd Aves and 9th-10th Streets.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
at Union Hall (1027 Grand St., 4th Floor) at 3pm.
At this time we have a skillshare and a general meeting.
Working meetings take place on Tuesdays from 6-9, also at Union Hall.
All are welcome to Union Hall!
'Creativity is Relational.'
MEETING NOVEMBER 15 NOTES (also available on NEW blog: www.teachingartistunionbrooklyn.blogspot.com)
Sara Julig, Helki Franzen, Michael Wiggins, Alison Levy, Jennifer Sullivan, Abigail Weg, Huong Ngo, Lindsay August Salazar, Anna Larson, Lisa Sinkowski, Michael Eckblad, Candice Heberer, Colin McMullan, Rachel Farmer
Chris Kennedy, James Andrews, Maya Erdelyi-Perez, Jose Serrano-Reyes, Saira Mclaren, Shizu Homma, Nick Normal, Noah Apple
What a meeting! I am still recovering from having you all in one room!
We talked a lot. It was intense. Many new members!
-Meetings now every Tuesday, 6-9. Work-time. Next Tuesday's theme is starting the manual. Please let me know if you will be coming.
-Make sure you are on the mailing list (sign up at teachingartistunion.org) or get on our facebook
-Presenting at NYU on Friday evening, please email if you'd like to come or participate. I don't have the details settled yet, but it's going to be around 6pm.
-Roles: I have mapped out some roles for many of the people in the group. Please let me know if you have a specific task, title, or role you would like to fulfill. I have a bit of a plan already, but I want to create a formal board of erectors. I will write individual emails this week about possible roles.
Check out our new id cards: good for discounts and free entry to museums.
The meeting opened with Sara reading Reggio Amelia after we ate Colin's most amazing brunch.
It was the first meeting in the new UNION HALL.
We read the mission statement while cutting out our id cards from the ART WORK Newspaper recently published by Temporary Services.
We discussed the goals of the Union.
We discussed many different teaching strategies, including the inquiry based model taught at Guggenheim and CUP.
We all have teaching packets from our organizations. Let's get them together and wheat-paste something with them.
Many new members came who deal with different facets of art and education in their work/life. A very exciting conversation began as we discussed the membership of artists who are not professional teachers in the union. It is a priority of the TAU to support teaching artists in all manifestations, and we began to explore opportunities to network and support all the different interests represented at the meeting.
Anna Larson came, who is a certified elementary school teacher who teaches at Children's Storefront School in Harlem. Her perspective was from that of a resident teaching staff of a school, and she offered advice about ways to approach schools as an independent artist and offered insight into the difference between being an educated educator vs. being an outsider-(tribal!) teacher.
Michael Wiggins blogs for the Association of Teaching Artists: (http://teachingartists.blogspot.com/2009/11/save-people.html !!)
He brought a big bowl of enthusiasm with a side of experience organizing teaching artists and being one himself. He suggested a weekly working meeting which will now take place on Tuesdays from 6-9pm at Union Hall. He emphasized the need for teamwork, funding, networking with other organizations, and emphasized the timeliness of our sweet group.
I informally introduced the School of the Future, the first manifestation of a school of teaching artists for teaching artists. More on that to come. The first event associated with that project will take place this summer at Sgt. Dougherty Park in Bushwick. Come to a planning meeting to get involved, and updates will be posted here in coming weeks: www.schoolofthefuture.org. I am hoping that TAU members will play a big part in the project.
The last news is that TAU has been invited to present as a part of a colloquium at NYU-Steinhardt this Friday. If there is anyone who would like to come or help present, please let me know! The theme of the talk that night is art education in unconventional contexts, and we are representing 'community' for teaching artists to an audience of art education students. David Darts helped organize the series (http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/faculty_bios/view/David_Darts) and he will be there-- he seems like good people.
Skillshare: Colin and Anna showed us how to put together a sweatlodge for the roof...