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April 10, 2014

Artists in the Classroom: Presenting Your Professional Practice

On March 13, 2014, we were pleased to facilitate an Infusion Studio professional development opportunity for artists called Artists in the Classroom: Presenting Your Professional Practice.

It focused on building artists' confidence to connect with educators and expand their work with young people:

  • CONNECT with other professional artists who have experience working in schools
  • LEARN what educators are looking for and how to strategically present yourself
  • SHARE the presentation of your professional practice with artist peers and receive feedback

In attendance were artists from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, plus nine artists visiting from Nelson and other parts of the Columbia Basin region who were able to join us in Vancouver thanks to support from Columbia Basin Trust, and BC Arts Council and the Government of British Columbia's Creative Futures program.

The day began with a few ice breaker activities, where we each shared one thing we were bad at. These lighthearted comments drew lots of commiseration and laughter from the group. Many agreed it was easier to say something you're bad at than talk about what you're skilled at... good thing this is what the day's workshop was all about: building confidence in presenting yourself, your skills and talents!

After an overview of the opportunities available to artists, educators and students through the Artists in the Classroom grant, we broke into small groups to discuss questions related to what it means to present yourself professionally, what tools you can draw upon, and what educators are looking for from artists before, during and after an artist residency in their classroom.

We were lucky to hear from Andrea Klann, a professional artist based on Bowen Island. Andrea maintains a successful artistic practice and also works with young people in schools as an Infusion Teaching Artist. Andrea shared some of her experiences in the classroom and spoke about her approaches to collaborating with educators and working with young people.

After a delicious lunch, artists then had the chance to test out their ideas. Working in pairs—with one artist being themselves and their partner taking on the role of an educator meeting them for the first time—artists practiced their own pitches and presentations. The community in the room was supportive and also allowed for constructive feedback and advice.

This busy day wrapped up with a hands-on creative activity, in which groups were encouraged to develop a representation of how their perceived the ultimate artist ready to present themselves professionally. The results were varied, thoughtful and inspiring, each touching on different abilities, qualities and elements of what it means to be an artist working with young people and educators.

Thank you to everyone who partipcated in this event and for making it a success. It was inspiring to have so many talented artists in the room and to see their confidence grow throughout the day.

This opportunity was made possible through support from Columbia Basin TrustBC Arts Council and the Province of BC.


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