April 3rd, 2007

Radha Krsna

For Actors And Artists

1) We need some actors to come to my field production class next Monday and help us film our class project. The parts are small-- like a line of dialogue each. We are in need of a Sultry Woman, an Elderly Couple (could be revamped to a Middle Aged Couple), two Youngish Slacker Guys (the slacker being more important than the young), and a Super Sleazy Playah Guy who's somewhere between a Wild & Crazy Guy and Desperation Lee from Mad TV. Other people in my class are also trying to round up actors so I can't swear all these will remain available.

If you're interested, you'd need to come to the studio in Arlington next Monday from about 7pm-10pm (you might get out earlier but don't plan on it) and probably bring your own (simple) costuming. You'll probably have to wait around a bunch and you'll only be needed for a very, very brief amount of taping. The resulting promo will actually be aired on public access so you have to be ok with that. Sound like fun? Let me know.

2) If you are an actor, dancer, musician, storyteller-- some flavor of performing artist-- and you have some experience dealing with small children, and your life is such that you might be interested in working as a teaching artist in early education (age 5 and below), ping me here. My foundation is about ready to recruit this year's crop of new teaching artists, and getting recommended by someone on the staff definitely helps get your foot in the door. You would have to audition and interview, but if you were accepted, you'd get a lot of specialized training right out of the gate as well.

Teaching artists mainly do residencies in child care centers and classrooms, where they use their artistic discipline to engage the children in learning and to give the teacher resources for incorporating the arts as teaching tools. Sometimes they do classes at the foundation itself. Master artists who have their own body of work create and give professional development workshops for teachers and caregivers.

There's a tremendous amount of work out there and we definitely need more artists to keep up with the demand. I'm also given to understand that being an artist and having our foundation on your resume is a not-insignificant bit of prestige.

Let me know if you might be interested in this & I'll answer any questions you might have and also try to get your info passed on to the powers that be.

Edit: Just adding some details based on questions so far...the teaching artists in this program are professional performing artists who are either performing in their discipline, teaching their discipline, or in a few cases administering their own small arts companies when they're not working for us. The application requirements include 3 years of professional experience in one's discipline (just looked that up today).

I don't know for sure how much the requirements would be relaxed for someone who is known to a staffer in the dept. My guess is that they might take someone with less professional performing experience who came recommended, but I couldn't swear to it.

The work requires a lot of daytime flexibility. Many of our artists work fairly continuously for us, but there's very little work in summertime, and no guarantee of any particular amount of work for anyone; it can be pretty irregular sometimes. They're all pretty much living artists' lives, gig to gig, with flexible schedules. Our work requires time in the classroom, during the day, a couple of days a week for the duration of the residency. The artists are all independent contractors, which for the most part is how they do their work in general.

What I would say is that if you're already committed to doing your performing art for a living, and you already know that your income is going to be feast-or-famine and that you'll be paying all your own payroll taxes, and you're good at working with kids, taking up work as a teaching artist-in-residence is a great way to develop professionally, to open up a lot more possibilities for paid work, and it's a pretty wonderful job. Someone who is considering doing art for a living, transitioning out of the cube farm life, should certainly think about going into that realm as a viable way to help make a living. But if you're not trying to make a living as an artist, if you're going to have a regular 9-to-5 job, it's probably not something you'll be able to manage with that more stable kind of lifestyle where people expect you to be in the same place every day all week.
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