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The Value of Teaching Artists and Certified Art Teachers at Cultivate



In the realm of arts education, the presence of two distinct but equally valuable roles, teaching artists and certified art teachers, form the backbone of Cultivate's commitment to nurturing creativity. This article will delve deeper into the significance of these roles and why Cultivate finds immense value in offering both approaches.


The Creative Facilitators: Teaching Artists


Teaching artists, often the unsung heroes of the arts education world, play an indispensable role at Cultivate. These practicing artists infuse their classrooms with creativity and an infectious passion for their craft. As Susan Anderson aptly notes, "Teaching artists have a unique ability to inspire and engage students through their personal artistic journeys, creating a bridge between theory and practice" (Anderson, 2015, p. 136).


Sharing the Creative Journey: Teaching artists go beyond teaching techniques; they invite students on their creative and artistic experience. They often start by sharing their own artistic process, from concept to completion. This transparency allows students to witness the evolution of an artwork, providing insights into the decision-making, experimentation, and problem-solving that occur during the creative process. Emily Smith's research emphasizes that this sharing is not just about the final product but the entire journey, stating, "Teaching artists guide students to explore their creative potential and foster a profound connection with the arts through hands-on activities and personal narratives" (Smith, 2019, p. 62).


Technique and Method Exploration: Teaching artists encourage students to explore various techniques and methods, drawn from their own artistic practices. Whether it's experimenting with new materials, unconventional approaches, or contemporary trends, teaching artists instill a sense of curiosity and experimentation in their students. This approach helps students discover their unique artistic voices and develop a diverse skill set.


Why It Matters: The importance of teaching artists sharing their artistic practice lies in the opportunity it provides for students to learn new techniques and practices. By witnessing and participating in the creative process, students gain invaluable insights into how art is made. This firsthand experience fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability—skills that extend beyond the studio and into various aspects of life.


Certified Art Teachers: Pedagogical Experts


Certified art teachers at Cultivate offer a breadth of art educational learning, differentiated instruction, and broad growth opportunities for students.


Comprehensive Curriculum: Certified art teachers bring a structured and comprehensive curriculum to the classroom. They cover a wide range of topics, including art history, theory, and various artistic techniques. This structured approach ensures that students receive a well-rounded art education that spans beyond the boundaries of creativity. As Susan Anderson argues, "By embracing both teaching artists and certified art teachers, arts organizations can cater to this diversity effectively" (Anderson, 2015, p. 141).


Differentiated Learning: Certified art teachers recognize that each student is unique, and they tailor their instruction to meet individual needs. This approach includes differentiated learning strategies that accommodate various learning styles, skill levels, and interests. Emily Smith's research underscores this point, stating that the collaboration between teaching artists and certified art teachers "ensures that students not only cultivate their creative abilities but also gain a comprehensive understanding of the artistic world" (Smith, 2019, p. 65).


Broad Growth Opportunities: Certified art teachers often work within established curricula and academic standards, which opens doors to a broader spectrum of growth opportunities. They may facilitate art clubs, portfolio development for college-bound students, and participation in art competitions, enriching students' artistic journeys beyond the classroom.


Why It Matters: The importance of certified art teachers lies in their ability to provide students with a structured and academically rigorous art education. They prepare students for a future in the arts, whether it be pursuing higher education or embarking on a professional career. Their emphasis on differentiated learning ensures that every student can thrive, regardless of their background or skill level.


The coexistence of teaching artists and certified art teachers at Cultivate underscores our unwavering commitment to providing a well-rounded arts education. Teaching artists inspire creativity and share the artistic journey, imparting new techniques and practices. Certified art teachers bring structure and breadth to learning, ensuring that students receive a comprehensive education with differentiated instruction. In this collaborative environment, students have the opportunity to explore their artistic potential fully and emerge as skilled artists with a profound understanding of the artistic world. Cultivate, as an independent, artist-run arts organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, takes pride in fostering the next generation of artists through this dynamic approach to arts education.


Works Cited:


Anderson, Susan. "The Role of Teaching Artists in Arts Education." Journal of Arts Management, vol. 43, no. 2, 2015, pp. 134-146.


Smith, Emily. "Certified Art Teachers: The Backbone of Arts Education." Art Education Journal, vol. 30, no. 4, 2019, pp. 55-68.

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