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Support Arts Education by Becoming a Teaching Artist

Wharton Center’s Institute for Arts & Creativity has a long tradition of working with innovative and creative teaching artists in a myriad of ways. Arts education is an ever-changing world that casts a very wide net, and many people assume working in a classroom environment is only for K-12 educators in public and private schools. We are thrilled to begin a program that introduces up-and-coming artists, with a passion for education, to the world of Teaching Artistry. 

From September 15-17, Eric Booth will facilitate our inaugural Teaching Artist Institute where artists can learn about basic principles of teaching artistry and how their skills can be utilized in this field. Interested fine artists can learn more about the program and apply at, and you can read the firsthand experiences of two of our current Teaching Artists: 

Sarah Hendrickson: 

“Being a Teaching Artist for Wharton Center has been a valuable experience, for me and the students I work with. Immediately, I felt supported by the Wharton Center staff, many of whom have become dear friends. Their guidance has been a perfect balance of support and freedom, which has been instrumental in my success; I feel like a trusted part of the team because I have the leeway to take creative risks. 

While I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of ages and schools and have been lucky to have two energetic and invested teachers at the school—both of whom helped to create an amazing atmosphere of openness and learning. We do a variety of things: theatre games, improvisation, individual and group performances to increase confidence, and a writing component that supports ELA learning objectives. The students attend a show at Wharton Center that speaks to their experience and then participate in an After Chat with the performers. Many of the students had never been to Wharton Center, let alone a theatre. The residency ends with a final product; most recently, we created an audiobook composed of a story that each student wrote, performed by voice acting students from the MSU Department of Theatre. 

I’ve learned to trust that I have the knowledge and ability to create meaningful collaborations. I’ve become a better leader and I’m more direct in my feedback to others, with the mindset of helping my students grow. Becoming a Teaching Artist was one of the best decisions I have made in my career; I can’t wait to get back in the classroom!” 

From Aral Gribble: 

“As an artist, I feel called to embrace humanity more completely, with all its infinite types of love, joy, and celebration, but also with all its pain, suffering, and oppression. The more I embrace who we are, the more it will impact my art. For me, arts education is meant to transform the world, and move us towards a better, more equitable future. No other role I’ve played has furthered this goal more than being a Teaching Artist.  

The direct impact on future generations I’ve had through my work as a TA is immeasurable, let alone the impact on me. Teaching theatre with young artists—and sharing the skills and resources I’ve gathered—is beyond rewarding: it’s life-changing. When you have a hand in helping a young artist SHINE for the first time, you’re hooked, especially when you see the room explode with applause for a group you helped direct, guide, and nurture for weeks. 

Wharton Center has made me grow more as a Teaching Artist than any other organization I’ve worked with. Thanks to Wharton and Disney Musicals in Schools, my teaching is more inclusive, effective, and fun! Not only that, but I feel like I’m a part of a network of TAs from across the state, all working towards the goal of a better future. When I started teaching theatre to young artists, it was just a way to make easy money, but it is so much more than that: this is an opportunity to build safe, brave spaces where children and young adults can create life-changing bonds and build a stronger, more confident sense of self through passionate, entertaining theatre. You have to try it.” 

Sign up for the Teaching Artist Institute today, and make your impact in Arts Education.

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