On Friday, October 16, 2016 six teaching artists met over food and drinks at foundry10 in the early evening and connected over shared experiences in the classroom, played games/activities, offer solutions/ideas to current challenges with curriculum, and discussed the nature of the business of teaching artistry in Seattle. I learned about STAN, Seattle Teaching Artists’ Network, run by Tina Lapadula that can unify teaching artists in the city. We are hoping to join STAN to host another teaching artist jam session in the coming year. Another exciting upcoming series of workshops for teaching artists can be found at the following link: Grow Through the Arts.

Here are summaries of answers to questions from our discussion with the teaching artists:

Why do you come to “teaching artist jam sessions”?

It’s a chance to express what I’m experiencing in the classroom with other educators who experience similar challenges and successes. It’s a place to get feedback on my work and build community.

What sustains you, what fuels your teaching artist career?

The love of the art form. Burn out can be high in this industry because we’re always looking for more work. It seems that having a part-time job in addition to teaching artistry is the key for many teaching artists.

From a teaching artist perspective, what are barriers to teachers participating actively in your curriculum when you’re in a residency program?

It seems funds are usually in the way. Teachers having time to meet with teaching artists outside of the class-time to discuss ways they can collaborate. Sometimes it seems educators don’t know the value of what a teaching artist offers and so that hinders the availability of the program.

What do you wish there was more of in your career?

Work. Time for people to get together, like this, more regularly.

What do you look for in a professional development event?

Having food and booze is great! Opportunities to connect with other teaching artists to build community and network to find more jobs.