What is a Teaching Artist and why are They Important for Your Child?

Updated: Jul 26



The Importance of Teaching Artists in Child Development

Part of being a child is trying out different activities to determine what your passions, skills, and interests are. The arts offer children a chance to try new things, explore the bounds of their own creativity, and learn key fundamentals through instruction from professional teachers. Not only can the arts be fun for kids, but they even play an important role in child development, improving several things including: motor skills, decision-making, problem solving, language development, inventiveness, cultural learning, and of course visual learning. The Giving Grace Foundation is committed to investing in the youth to empower, uplift, and inspire them through arts and education workshops, and today we want to discuss the importance of teaching artists.


What is a Teaching Artist?

A teaching artist can be defined as a professional artist who educates others on their craft with an equal emphasis on both art and education. Think of it like this: as opposed to a teacher who has just enough knowledge about an art form to teach others, and also as opposed to a famous artist at the top of their field who give an occasional lecture about their methods, a teaching artist is right in the middle. These are professional artists who incorporate education into their artistic life, allowing their personal artwork to impact their teaching and allowing their experiencing teaching to impact their artwork.


How is a Teaching Artist Different from an Art Teacher?

The distinction between art teachers and teaching artists is important. While an art teacher can teach kids the fundamentals and allow them to understand their own potential, a teaching artist can lead by example while educating others through the ways that they create and use their own potential. Art teachers are primarily teachers, who incorporate art into their lessons. Teaching artists are primarily artists, who incorporate education into their artistry. According to Berklee, these folks can also be referred to as “artist educators”, and they can work in a variety of different art forms and settings.


The Benefits of Teaching Artists for Children

Teaching artists are comparable to sports coaches who actively play a sport themselves. It is one thing to teach someone about a sport or art form to show them what is possible, but it is another thing when the teacher actively engages in that particular activity themselves and can share their personal experiences with the ones they are educating. As artists themselves, teaching artists can empathize with the students more and relate to their struggles in the learning process, the creative process, or in the process of overcoming mental habits. That is why we use teaching artists for all of our art workshops. Firsthand experience is invaluable, and oftentimes classrooms led by teaching artists have a greater impact on the students of the class.


Bridging the Gap between Artistry and Teaching

In terms of child development, art can help children to focus and participate and this can have a trickle effect into their other academics, improving their overall academic performance. As professional artists themselves, teaching artists understand both the importance of academics as well as the freedoms of creativity. These artists tend to have a way of helping kids to bridge the gap between school and artwork; between reality and fantasy; between responsibility and creativity. Learning a craft from a professional of that craft who enjoys educating others is the best way to learn the ins and outs of any art

form.


Invest in the Youth and Donate Today

We hope that this article helped illuminate for you the importance of teaching artists and the importance of art in child development. As a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, The Giving Grace Foundation relies on the generous contributions of our donors that allow us to continue to change the lives of children. Please feel free to make a donation to make a difference, allowing children to unleash their creativity and develop through involvement in the arts.



~Chantal Joseph


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