Arts in Education Partnership // Erie Arts & Culture

Erie Arts & Culture manages the PCA Arts in Education Program in six counties in Northwest Pennsylvania. Artist Residencies are made possible through the Arts in Education Partnership of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the citizens of Pennsylvania through annual legislative appropriation.

Arts in Education Partnership: Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.Erie Arts & Culture is one of fourteen partners in the PA Council on the Arts, Arts in Education Partnership. This statewide program was developed in 1995 to strengthen arts education initiatives on a regional level and to ensure access to the arts by all citizens of Pennsylvania. Erie Arts & Culture works with schools and community-based organizations to improve the ability of their teachers and staff to integrate the arts into their instruction through professional development, participation in collaborative artist residencies and by advocating and supporting the arts in all areas of education.

Artist Residencies

Through the Arts in Education Partnership, Erie Arts & Culture places state-certified Teaching Artists in residencies in urban and rural areas throughout NWPA in host schools, government agencies and community-based organizations.  During a residency, the Teaching Artist aligns their art form to the learning objectives of their host site and leads participants through the creative process. In addition to teaching their art form, the Teaching Artist uses reflection, research, presentation and/or production of art to enhance learning.

Teachers agree that working with an artist in their classroom:

  • Inspires their students to be creative, conceptual thinkers;
  • Motivates their students to actively participate in learning;
  • Empowers their students with creative tools for education.

Residencies are substantial periods of time (20-30 days) in which an artist(s) works intensively with small groups of learners on one or more long-term projects. During this time, students exercise creative control over their work. The artist’s role in such work is that of mentor and facilitator, leading students through guided self-discovery, and of technical advisor on important artistic concepts and skills. Residencies are developed collaboratively between the artist and the host organization.  Planning is conducted well before the beginning of the residency, allowing ample time for necessary arrangements to be made by both the artist and residency host.

Recent Erie Arts & Culture Residencies

Early Learners

Early Learners

Grow Up Great with Arts & Culture

Grow Up Great with Arts & Culture sponsored in part by PNC Bank provides greater access to the arts for early learners and helps prepare students for success in Kindergarten. ...

Jude Shingle

Jude Shingle

Barber National Institute

Teaching Artist Jude Shingle helps build communication skills through the use of technology at the Barber National Institute....

Senior Centers

Senior Centers

Teaching Artists Help the Elderly

The PA Council on the Arts and the PA Department of Aging are deploying Teaching Artists in senior centers across the State to promote artistic expression as a means to improve the health and well-being of older adults. ...

Soldiers & Sailors

Soldiers & Sailors

Residency Programs for Veterans

Residency programs at the Erie Soldiers & Sailors Home as well as Erie VA’s Rehabilitation and Recovery Center are guiding Veterans as they share their stories and continue their recovery....

Interested in hosting a residency?

The PA Council on the Arts provides partial funding to schools, institutions, arts organizations, government agencies, local arts agencies, institutions of higher education and other not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations with 501(c ) 3 status interested in residencies. Learn more about planning a residency at your school or community-based organization by contacting Holly Nowak, Program Director, by email at or by phone at (814) 452-3427. A limited number of Residencies, Long-Term Residencies (LTR) and Teacher Artist Partnership (TAP) opportunities are available – contact us today!


Teaching Artists - Erie Arts & CultureThe Role of the Teaching Artist

“A Teaching Artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities
of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through and about the arts.”

Eric Booth, Nationally recognized Actor, Teaching Artist and Author

Professional Teaching Artists are the heart of the Arts in Education (AIE) program. Talented professional artists of all disciplines, Teaching Artist’s creativity and imagination enrich the learning experience. While in residency, Teaching Artists share their expertise and creative processes with small groups of students of all ages in schools, childcare centers, community-based organizations and senior centers.

A Teaching Artist is a professional artist trained in:

  1. Their art form 
  2. Human development and special populations
  3. Managing groups
  4. Pedagogy and working In a school environment
  5. Business practices

Meet Teaching Artists working in Northwestern PA >>

Interested in becoming a Teaching Artist?

Share your art form with students from across the region by becoming a teaching artist with Erie Arts & Culture. Learn more by contacting Holly Nowak, Program Director, by email at or by phone at (814) 452-3427. More resources can be found at Association of Teaching Artists.



Professional Development for Educators and Artists

Erie Arts & Culture, through our Arts in Education Partnership with the PA Council on the Arts, provides professional development and networking opportunities for educators and artists which include:

  • PA Department of Education Act 80 Arts Education In-Services;
  • PA Department of Education Act 48 Credit Qualified Trainings; 
  • Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System (PQAS) professional development experiences for early childhood and school‐age teachers;
  • Quarterly networking opportunities for Teaching Artists and Members.

Click here for upcoming events. To schedule a training for your school, contact:

Holly Nowak, Program Director 
Phone: (814) 452-3427

Teaching Artist Certificate (New!)

Recognizing the role of the artist as a vital component of PreK-12 educational reform, the University of the Arts and the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts have launched an online Teaching Artist Certificate Program. This research-based certificate program will build the knowledge and capacity of artists to work alongside teachers and arts specialists in PreK-12 classrooms and community settings to create and implement best practices residency programs that support learning in and through the arts. Tuition assistance may be available through the PA Council on the Arts. Contact Holly Nowak, Program Director, by email at or by phone at (814) 452-3427 for more information.

Contact us for more information about the PA Arts in Education Partnership.

The mission of Erie Arts & Culture is to strengthen the vibrancy and vitality of the Erie Region and enrich the lives of our people through the advancement of arts and culture.
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