Finding Great Teaching Artists for Creative Aging Programs

Valerie Hager, Teaching Artist, Ageless Improv, Lifetime Arts

Creative Aging Roster artist, Valerie Hager.

After people hear about our work, view our videos, and read testimonials from participants, we’re often asked, “How do you find the teaching artists?”

When we launched Lifetime Arts, we called on artists we have known over our 60 collective years of experience working in the arts in the metropolitan NY area. But since we wanted to help build the field of Creative Aging nationwide, we instituted the Lifetime Arts Creative Aging Roster. The Roster is a vetted list of teaching artists qualified to work with older adults teaching sequential arts instruction and providing the opportunity for meaningful social engagement.

What Does the Review Process Entail?

Prospective applicants go through a process which includes submitting resumes detailing their professional experience as an artist and a teacher, a sample lesson plan for an 8-10 week-long workshop, two references who can attest to the applicants effectiveness as a teaching artist, and a statement about why the applicant wants to work in the field of Creative Aging.

Each submission is reviewed by a panel mostly made up of teaching artists with a few arts administrators whose expertise is arts education.

Notes from a Recent Review Panel

Last week, our panelists convened to evaluate the latest round of prospective applicants. The panelists reviewed the qualifications of each teaching artist – not by a formula, but by looking at the whole story their submission package tells about what kind of Creative Aging teaching artist they would be.

The applicants in this pool represented a wide range in terms of both artistic discipline and experience. Some of them sailed right through the process garnering high marks on all aspects of their submissions. The few applicants who were deemed not ready for the Roster lacked the necessary experience or the understanding of sequential instruction and social engagement.

Probably most challenging to the panel were the submissions that indicated some definite potential but just missed the mark on one aspect of their work. The panel carefully crafted their feedback to give these applicants an opportunity to submit additional information that would put their submission over the top, reassure the panel about their qualifications and gain them admittance to the roster.

It was heartening to see the seriousness and rigor shown by the panel through this process, all the while considering the humanity of each applicant. – Ed Friedman

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