Places We Work

ALT/space has now been online for a year and a half!  It’s incredible to realize that in this short time thirty-one teaching artists have contributed 171 diverse stories about all aspects of their teaching practice.  As we grow over time, we hope the stories collected here will represent as wide and detailed a picture as possible of teaching artist realities, artistic media, student populations, teaching venues and geographic locations.

But, though I see great potential in the future, we already have so much depth and substance to mine right now.  For example:

As I was constructing the print section of ALT/space for the July-August 2013 volume of the Teaching Artist Journal I realized that where we teach is not limited to venue and geographic location.  There are actually an endless number of places in which our work occurs, each location as unique as the person teaching and the people learning. The seven stories included in this post inhabit the following places (you can follow the links to read each story in its entirety):

Place | A Wall: Helping Break Down Other Walls
LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #960 | Michael B. Schwartz
This project was a transformative experience for all of us, lifting our self-esteem and sense of place in an art world that often seems remote or exclusive. Sol LeWitt, of course, sought to break down these barriers and make the fine arts available to all. His work can be reproduced by anyone willing to work with the LeWitt Estate and put in the time, intention and energy his works necessitate.”

Place | An African Village: And an Art Community of Children that Developed Organically Within It
The Children of Abetenim | A. A. Sieunarine


Place | Inside “Inside”: A Shared Space of Tenuous Balance
The “Worst” Teacher Ever | Anna Plemons
I try to avoid authoritarian postures in all my classrooms, but particularly in this space, I knew that I needed to assign myself a role where I could become increasingly invisible.  The first day, we set up “ground rules” for how writing would be shared and how writers would solicit feedback from the group. “

Place | Parallel Universes: Inhabiting the World of Children on the Asperger-Autism Map
Working with Children on the Asperger-Autism Spectrum | Holly Adams
I try to think of a class plan as being full of the patterns of breathing, inhale and exhale, collect/focus in and expand/focus out, with the pattern of such changing tempo depending on whether I want the ‘heartbeat’ of the group to quicken, steady, or slow. This kind of planning is especially important in working with these children, and one must be constantly on the lookout for when it is time to slow down in stretching ebbs, like mathematical ellipses…”

Place | On the Bridge between Past and Present: Passing on a Family Tradition
Sewing with Perseverance |  Marquetta Johnson


Place | Inside Collaboration: Nurturing Arts Education Partnerships Over Time
Partners in Purpose | Daniel A. Kelin, II
“Despite the precarious arts education situation in my island state, these students have experienced a long-term, widely-spread developmental cycle in which growth has been steadily apparent. Intrinsically motivated involvement has increased and the students’ enhanced awareness and understanding of drama has contributed to both comfort and the desire to engage.  I cannot, however, claim complete responsibility for these successes. Strong, enthusiastic partnerships support, extend and make possible this work in a school that lacks consistent arts experiences for any of its students…”

Place | Between a Rock and a Hard Place: We’ve All Been There One Time or Another
Rigor and Joy | Holly Adams
If you find that even one of these stories (or any of the others on ALT/space) resonates with you or elucidates your teaching practice in some way, we hope that you will consider subscribing to ALT/space by hitting the RSS feed button to the right or at the top of your browser.  It’s easy and free and it keeps you connected to this awesome resource of experiences and thoughtful reflections on individual teaching artist practice.  I know my own teaching has greatly benefited from reading the 171 stories collected here.  And this is only the beginning!

All the best,

Malke Rosenfeld
ALT/space Editor

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