New Year, New Crop of Teaching Artists


And we’re off! 

Community-Word Project’s 16th Annual Teaching Artist Training & Internship Program (TATIP) kicked off on Friday, October 23, 2015 with an opening reception held at the headquarters of our arts-in-education partner, Wingspan Arts. Representatives from Community-Word Project (CWP), Wingspan Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), FreeArts NYC, and Marquis Studios were in attendance, as well as the thirty-three freshly accepted trainees of the TATIP Class of 2015-16.

The new trainees were introduced to CWP staff and several of our Focus Group Cohort partners with whom they will have a chance to work throughout the year. They heard from Michele Kotler, CWP Founder and Executive Director, about the organization’s origins eighteen years ago and about the first TATIP class which had only five artists. Patti Chilsen, Program Director of Training & Internships, talked about details of the program, highlighting new components added this year, such as additional internship tracks with our partnering organizations. Trainees will not only intern in CWP classrooms, but also have opportunities to intern with BAC, FreeArts NYC, Marquis Studios and Wingspan Arts, gaining experience with multiple arts organizations. 

The trainees also met some of their future mentors, CWP Teaching Artists Scott Lilly, Felipe Galindo and Katie Rainey. The trainees will be paired with these mentors to get hands-on experience working in NYC public school classrooms.


The evening ended with a toast to the new trainees and well wishes for a productive and creative program.


The next morning thirty-three trainees gathered at Studios 353 in midtown Manhattan for the first Saturday Workshop. For the 4th year the trainings will be led by our Program Director, Patti Chilsen, and TATIP Lead Facilitator and celebrated author, Renée Watson, with support from Program Assistant and Teaching Artist, Katie Rainey.


The day began with a favorite opening ritual: Graffiti Walls. Trainees walked around the room, writing responses to prompts displayed on the walls. Afterwards, trainees got to know each other better with a little game of “Mingle Mingle”.  Each person had a slip of paper with a thought provoking question printed on it, such as “When did you first know you were an artist?” At the sound of the drum, participants would exchange questions and move on to interview a new partner.



Patti and Renée explained that the workshops would provide ongoing reflection on the experiential activities, and broke down both the get-to-know-you game and the opening ritual. They then moved on to the day’s main focus, reflecting on why we create and our journey as artists becoming teachers. The main topics? Creative Elements, Multiple Intelligence’s and creating an ‘Artist Map’ of our individual creative processes.


Renée and Patti shared their creative work for the group in order to model themselves as artists and to be the first in the group to take a risk. Renée read a poem she wrote about where she comes from, and Patti sang a song she wrote as part of her thesis project.


The trainees were given time to explore their own creative elements and to write reflections on their creative processes.


The group discussed Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, focusing on students who learn in various ways. TATIP incorporates teaching to students accessing varying Multiple Intelligences and the group discussed Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial, Musical, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Naturalistic and Existential.

Thinking about both Creative Elements and Multiple Intelligences, the trainees explored and created their own ‘Artist Maps,’ which were unique to each participant, and reflected how they came to be where they are today.


The day ended on a high note with each participant sharing what they had created, whether a more traditional map of their journey, or a more abstract musical or performance piece that portrayed what they had accomplished.


The Second Saturday Workshop will be held at the Skadden offices in midtown, courtesy of CWP Board Member Andrea Nicolas. Stay tuned for the next installment and find out where our trainees will be interning!