Learning the foundational steps of Salsa Rueda
“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.
Making connections and conversation over fancy snacks
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.