“And now with the music!”
In just a few short minutes, we graduated from stepping in place on beat to spinning and switching partners in a giant circle in Ryan’s Salsa Rueda class. The revisions, scaffolded challenges, and opportunity for joy, creativity, and collaboration were nothing new to the teaching artists in the room, even if Cuban Salsa was.
The fans whirred and pushed a gentle breeze toward our grateful, glistening faces and those with rhythm and experience glided through the steps and added their own flair, while the rest of us counted in our heads and tried not to step on each other. I’m always in awe of the way art can facilitate a fast smile, a new connection, or a focused curiosity, and the culmination of our Member Meeting and Spring Party was no exception.
Members entered the space to a spread of artisan cheeses and grilled vegetables and a gallery of quotes from our member survey to walk through.
We particularly wanted to highlight the actions organizations have taken to recruit and retain teaching artists, a central topic we’ve made commitments toward in recent professional developments. Some strategies that our members used this year to recruit and retain teaching artists include offering lots of paid professional development, paid internships, and higher base salaries, revising job descriptions to center lived and professional experience over education, and creating pathways for students to become teaching artists after they graduate.
After mingling and reflecting on the year, the business of the meeting included reviewing the mission and activities of AEABA, electing new board members, and honoring notable arts leaders, Rob Daniels and Donn Harris. Donn Harris was present to accept and dropped some gems on us including an invitation to help more people identify as creatives to show the true, widespread impact of artists and a reminder for artists to remain different, quirky, and weird. Thank you to both Rob and Donn for being Champions of Arts Education!
Also, congratulations to our new board members: Nina Woodruff-Walker, Guillermo Ornelas, Camille Olivier-Salmon, Jasmine Yep Huynh, and Aimee Espiritu!
We also want to shout out long time board member, Michelle Holdt, who will be stepping down from the board after nine years of amazing service.
To close the presentation, we reviewed the many ways AEABA connects, facilitates, and advocates for teaching artists and revealed some of our members’ priorities from our recent survey results. From our survey of constituents, we heard your interest in professional developments for trauma informed best practices, teaching artist meet-ups, and resources to support more accessible and anti-racist arts education classrooms, among many other things. As we continue to plan for next year, we look forward to integrating these priorities into our offerings.
In the meantime, mark your calendars with these confirmed events in the upcoming year:
Bimonthly Arts Education Policy Roundtable – first Friday morning of September, November, January, March, May
Theatre Teaching Artist Open Call - August 22
Every Day, Every Way: Best practices in Arts-Focused Youth Programming mini-conference – October
San Francisco Arts Education Resource Fair – January 2020
Curriculum Slam (aka Pecha Kucha) – February 2020
Community Learning Day with Oakland Unified Arts Partners – March 2020
End of year membership meeting/celebration – June 2020
After we adopted by-laws in October, we instituted annual member meetings. Going forward, our member meetings will be great opportunities to direct the organization’s future work, provide feedback, and influence planning and decision making. And when it coincides with our Spring Party, it’s also an opportunity to meet other members, eat arborio rice croquettes, and make art.
For our Spring 2019 Member Meeting, this meant a lesson from Rueda Con Ritmo turned dance party.
Thank you for all your work to make this such a great year, and enjoy the summer!