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How AcA teaches the nation’s teaching artists

Two women pose in front of a screen that says "how to train your teaching artist"

Acadiana Center for the Arts envisions Acadiana as a place where the next generation will always have art and culture embedded in their education, serving as a national example of innovation and success.

Acadiana Center for the Arts has been training practicing professional artists to work in classrooms and schools for more than four decades. 

A few weeks ago, AcA Arts in Education staff, Bree Sargent and Paige Thomas, traveled to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to present a workshop on how AcA trains teaching artists. They were asked to host this workshop for the Kennedy Center Partners in Education network members from across the country because of the exceptionally innovative teaching artist program AcA has built and used for 40+ years to ensure students across Acadiana have equitable access to the arts.

Having a guest artist visit their classrooms engages students in different ways. Teaching artists intuitively model the same approaches they take in their work as artists, focusing on the process of creating more than the product. Many of the same traits that make up the creative process align with those that we hope to foster in young learners: engaging actively, persisting in the face of challenges, imagining something completely new and collaborating with their peers. 

Through a longstanding partnership with Lafayette Parish School System (and more recently with St. Landry and Vermilion parish schools), AcA brings art and cultural experiences in all art forms to more than 40,000 young people across Acadiana in 80 public schools, but tens of thousands and more than 100 schools are left unserved. 

Through AcA’s new Let Culture Lead campaign, they are expanding their arts programs to close the achievement gap, connect with every young person who needs a voice, and reach into the most underserved areas of Acadiana.