By Erica Reinsch Tusciuk, Associate Director of Education / School Engagement
As Teaching Artist Appreciation Week kicks off, we take a moment to honor our amazing New Victory Teaching Artists! Almost every Monday afternoon, during normal times, our ensemble of 55+ New Victory Teaching Artists and our Education staff converge on the lower lobby of the New Victory and get to work. Sometimes this work doesn’t look like work—it looks like dancing in a soul train line, making shadow puppets on the ceiling, writing songs, creating choreography or laughing while we all try to master a new magic trick.
These high-spirited professional actors, musicians, dancers, playwrights, circus performers, puppeteers and directors are the heart and soul of New Victory. They are a tight-knit community that cares deeply for one another and the communities with whom they work. The work they do is fun, energetic and sometimes silly, but it’s also work that is essential to the kids, families, students and teachers of New York City. Our Teaching Artists bring the arts to life by making the shows on our stage personal, relatable and relevant for our audiences. During this Teaching Artist Appreciation Week, especially amidst this time of hardship, we want to thank them for everything they do to make New Victory what it is.
The amount of work done every year by New Victory Teaching Artists is only surpassed by the impact they have on young people. They teach 1300 workshops in classrooms every year, engage countless families in workshops and pre-show lobby activities, collaborate with teachers to effectively utilize the arts in their classrooms and create mountains of curriculum and activities to serve a huge range of audience members. New Victory Teaching Artists also serve as a think tank for the organization and for the field of arts education as a whole. They always imagine how our work can be better, how we can reach more young people and how to better ensure that what we do is equitable and accessible to all.
Even though we can no longer gather together on Mondays and NYC schools are closed, our Teaching Artists have risen to the occasion, finding new ways to make sure the arts are present in the lives of young people, even when they are isolated at home. Through our weekly Arts Break, they have brought music, puppets, dance and even magic into the homes of countless kids and families. They have conducted virtual theater classes for our New Victory SPARK classrooms, made videos and written activities to support Pre-K teachers teaching remotely and, most impressively, stayed connected as an ensemble, meeting virtually to support each other and envision how the arts can stay essential. As we plan for the future, we know that there are no better people than our Teaching Artists to reimagine how we continue our performing arts education and engagement work and thrive in this new reality.
Thank you New Victory Teaching Artists and happy Teaching Artist Appreciation Week!