Teaching Artist Applications Are Now Open! Join us for an Informational Session

Thursday May 13th, 2021

ta app blog preview v2
Ta app blog

Become a Teaching Artist

Teaching artists are critical to much of the mission of Erie Arts & Culture. Many of our programs rely on the unique expertise of teaching artists. Both those with extensive classroom and community teaching experience as well as artists who are interested in learning how to incorporate teaching into their practice are eligible to become a teaching artist. We invite individuals from across the teacher-artist spectrum to learn more and to apply below. The deadline to apply is May 28, 2021. Panel interviews occur in June and new teaching artist orientation and training is held in July and August.

Who is a Teaching Artist

Teaching artists come from a variety of backgrounds within a wide array of creative disciplines. Some may have extensive teaching experience, while others may be completely new to instructional-based learning. 

Teaching Artists:

  • Exist at the intersection of the arts and education. 
  • Demonstrate a depth of knowledge in their art form.  
  • Are engaged in a sustained creative exploration.  
  • Work in a variety of environments that serves the needs of local communities. 

Teaching Artists working within a school setting do not serve to replace school-certified arts educators. Instead, teaching artists serve as valuable resources and partners to teachers. 

Teaching Artist Program Overview

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) has an Arts in Education (AIE) division that provides funding support for arts based educational programs throughout the Commonwealth. The purpose of the AIE division is to champion the arts as a tool for both personal and community development for all Pennsylvanians by supporting quality programs in schools and community settings. Erie Arts & Culture officially serves as the regional AIE partner for the counties of Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Venango, Warren, and Lawrence.

As a regional partner, Erie Arts & Culture manages and works to grow a diverse roster of qualified teaching artists; representing a variety of arts disciplines. The artists that comprise our roster are eligible to participate in PCA funded AIE residencies. Artists become rostered through a five-step process that includes:

Step One: Interested artists must complete and submit a teaching artist application.

Step Two: Erie Arts & Culture reviews the application material.

Step Three: Applicants who meet the qualification criteria are then interviewed by an independent panel, during which applicants present a 10-day residency plan.

Step Four: If recommended, applicants will complete a 5-week training where they will refine their skills and abilities to lead a residency in both a school and community-based setting. 

Step Five: Those who are successful in their demonstrations are recommended to the PCA for final review and approval.

We are committed to providing in-depth training that ensures that all participants have the best possible arts learning experience. Once rostered, Erie Arts & Culture provides teaching artists with access to professional development designed to equip teaching artists with the skills and knowledge necessary to implement successful residencies.

The deadline to apply to be a teaching artist is May 28. Panel interviews occur in June and new teaching artist orientation and training is held in July and August.


Eligibility, Criteria, Compensation


  • Individual artists, artists’ ensembles, or companies may apply.
  • Artists, artists’ ensembles or companies that intend to work in multiple disciplines must demonstrate their qualifications and be approved to work in each discipline.
  • Preference is given to Pennsylvania residents, although outstanding artists from other states may apply.
  • Must not be a full-time student
  • You must be 18 years of age or older


Applicants are selected for the program based on:

  • Artistic excellence as demonstrated by samples of the artist’s work, training and experience, resume, and letters of recommendation.
  • Good communication skills as evidenced by the application, work samples, recommendations and subsequent interview, and teaching observation.
  • Ability to develop and implement a sequential residency plan with education or community partners as evidenced by the application, interviews, and a classroom observation of an experiential arts activity.
  • Ability, if applicable, to present culturally specific arts authentically as evidenced by work samples and subsequent observations.
  • Experience, interest, and the ability to work with students, including special needs populations, as evidenced by credentials in education, application, letters of recommendation, and observations.


  • Teaching artists are paid a minimum of $250 a day for school based and $200 a day for community-based residencies. Artists may negotiate a higher fee with the host site. Ensemble fees are set accordingly.
  • (AIE Partner) limits its match to no more than $250 a day for school based and $200 a day for community-based residencies. (AIE Partner) does not guarantee a fifty-fifty match. This is dependent upon the quality of the residency, the length of it and the availability of funds.
  • Mileage will be reimbursed only for residency distances farther than 50 miles one way. 
  • The host site is responsible for the cost of all materials used in the residency.

Download a preview of the application here.

Download the guidelines here.

Please submit your online application using Submittable below.


TA info session

Join us for an Informational Session on May 19 at 12 PM

Interested in learning about becoming a rostered Teaching Artist? Join Erie Arts & Culture for a virtual information session on Wednesday, May 19 at 12 pm. Our staff will walk you through the application process, provide insight into how teaching artists work with schools and communities in a residency setting and answer any questions that you may have!

Register here

Case Study: Artforce

Long-Term Residencies (LTR) provide funding for 60-day projects that offer in-depth interactions between rostered teaching artists and community stakeholders through workshops and classes. Tom Ferraro and Ed Grout conducted a LTR at Strong Vincent Middle School in 2020. The project was given the name Art Force. As a collaborating stakeholder, Our West Bayfront contributed $3,000 in matching dollars to this residency. Funds were raised by neighborhood residents and businesses during Erie Gives.

Residencies are process-driven. Tom and Ed started with a focus on teaching basic techniques of drawing, painting, mosaic, and 3D design. They then asked students to identify key community issues that were important to them. Working together, the students expressed that finding safe routes from their neighborhoods to the Bayfront was a leading concern. Tom and Ed then worked with the students to define ways that art could be used to raise awareness of, or resolve, the issue that they identified.

To broaden community involvement, the residency brought in key stakeholders, such as the City of Erie’s Department of Planning and Traffic Engineering. Students also visited Gannon University where they presented their project to Dr. Chris Magno and his class. Dr. Magno’s students created a geographic information system (GIS) to map the safe routes and public art related to this project.

Erie Arts & Culture

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