How Do I Become a Teaching Artist?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 December 2019
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In order to become a teaching artist, you must first become an artist. Many different fields are considered part of the arts, and you may be involved to some degree in any of these areas. The teaching component is sometimes more complicated when trying to become a teaching artist, because in order to teach in some types of settings, you may need additional qualifications. In many situations, however, the willingness to teach and the prestige of your artwork is enough to secure employment.

A teaching artist is an artist who also teaches, which is thought to give him or her a unique perspective on art and provide prestige to the school. As such, when trying to become a teaching artist, it is most important to develop one's credentials as an artist. Of course, it is important to enjoy art and to have a positive attitude about the art one does, but prestige in the art field generally means success in a conventionally recognized form. This may not be as important for teaching children, but it is definitely important to be viewed as a serious artist when looking to work at a college or art school.


There are many paths you might take to become a teaching artist, but many people find that a degree from an art school or a degree in fine arts is a great start. People involved in theatre, music, and visual arts can all become teaching artists. Many different crafts and styles are popular among artists, but the key when trying to become a teaching artist is to demonstrate a unique perspective on art that you desire to pass on to others. Not only must your art be interesting, but your ideas about art and attitude toward having students must be appropriate as well.

Certainly, once you have established an interest in art and a knack for the form, you must secure an actual job in order to become a teaching artist. This is not always easy, as there are many artists who might like to earn a more secure living than solely producing art can provide. When looking into teaching positions, it is a good idea to think about what jobs you are actually eligible for. Working with an after-school program or starting out by volunteering are great ways to demonstrate your teaching skills in order to be more appealing to traditional schools or art programs.

Generally, a teaching artist continues to make art in order to provide his or her position with continued attention. This is mainly important at colleges, where positive attention is important to the school's reputation. Most artists who teach are, of course, inclined to continue to make art anyway. It is important to remember that obtaining a teaching position is not the end of an artist's career, and the teacher must continue to make art as part of his or her vocation.



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