What follows is a guest post by Becca Barniskis, a teaching artist living in St. Paul and one of the authors of the new book, Teaching Artist Handbook: Tools, Techniques and Ideas to Help Any Artist Teach. Here are her five reasons why teaching will make you a better artist:
- Teaching encourages you to think in different and interesting ways about your medium. To teach well you have to think deeply about what is essential in your practice and your medium. Such thinking will invigorate and expand your own art making.
- It’s hard to eat on an artist’s income. If you work as a teaching artist you can get paid for working in your medium with others who want to learn about what you know and love.
- There is less and less regular arts programming in schools, prisons and other institutions, but people are as hungry as ever for arts learning and art making. Teaching your medium is socially engaged practice and an opportunity for you to make a valuable contribution to individuals and to communities.
- Working as a studio artist can be lonely and isolating in this society where art is big business and the majority of artists are marginalized in one way or another. When you teach you are relating to students as fellow artists and exploring your medium together.
- Students, especially kids, have really good ideas…that you can steal.
Join us for a casual celebration of the publication of the Teaching Artist Handbook by teaching artists and arts educators Nick Jaffe, Becca Barniskis and Barbara Hackett-Cox. The book is all about how any artist can develop and interesting and effective teaching practice based on his/her own specific expertise and interests. The party at the Walker will be a great chance to meet other artists and arts educators and find out more about the teaching artist field. Who knows, you might meet some new collaborators, or even hook up a gig or two!
The event is Thursday, August 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Hennepin lobby, outside the Walker Shop. Light refreshments will be available. More information is available on the mnartists.org calendar and on Facebook.
Becca Barniskis works as a teaching artist of poetry and as a freelance writer and consultant in arts education for a range of schools, arts organizations and public agencies across the upper Midwest. She specializes in developing and facilitating peer-to-peer professional development opportunities for teaching artists and educators, including helping launch and develop Artist to Artist, a growing network of artists and educators who meet regularly to develop and share their teaching practice. She also edits the “Resource Exchange” section of the Teaching Artist Journal. In addition to reading and performing her work for live audiences, her poetry has appeared in many journals among them: Mid-American Review, burntdistrict, Conduit, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird and the Northwest Review.