Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council seeking applicants for Teaching Artist Opportunity Grant program | Arts + Entertainment | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council seeking applicants for Teaching Artist Opportunity Grant program

Image courtesy of Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
Local teaching artists could get a boost from a new pilot grant program offered through the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Teaching artists are professional artists who supplement their incomes by teaching in a classroom or non-classroom setting.

Starting today, GPAC is seeking applicants for the Teaching Artist Opportunity Grant, a round of $2,000 grants designed to support “Western Pennsylvania teaching artists and arts educators seeking career training and other professional development opportunities,” according to a press release.

“Teaching artists have technical artistic skills but sometimes lack the skills associated with successfully developing lesson plans, classroom management, or other formal education training,” says GPAC CEO Mitch Swain. “GPAC heard from its artist members that this resource gap was a necessity to fill, and that’s why we’re launching the Teaching Artist Opportunity Grant.”

The funds will go towards helping applicants acquire new skills by covering expenses related to courses, residencies, mentorships, and more.

Financial support for the Teaching Artist Opportunity Grant comes from The Fine Foundation.

The grants are in response to a growing need among teaching artists who are struggling during the pandemic, as schools and educational programs have had to shut down. GPAC claims that its research shows teaching is the number one source of income for artists in Western Pennsylvania, with more than 40% working in arts education, whether it's in through the traditional K-12 school model, nontraditional teaching opportunities, or partnerships with organizations.

The program is open to teaching artists who are 18 or older and live in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Mercer, Lawrence, Somerset, Venango, Washington, or Westmoreland counties. All disciplines and experience levels are eligible.

Applicants must also be an active participant of the GPAC’s Teaching Artist Initiative and participate in one event in 2021. Originally launched in 2012 under the name CreatorsMakersTeachers Network, the Teaching Artist Initiative is a peer group that “focuses solely on the needs of teaching artists and arts educators at all stages of their careers,” according to the GPAC website. It hosts quarterly virtual workshops in collaboration with Maritza Mosquera, independent teaching artist, and Mary Brenholts of the Pittsburgh Center for Art and Media.

Though this is a pilot program limited to one round of grants, GPAC “hopes to secure funding for additional rounds of this grant in the future.”

Applications for the Teaching Artist Opportunity Grant are due Mon., April 12 by 11:59 p.m.

Interested applicants are invited to join GPAC Manager of Grants and Membership Shaqui Scott for a virtual grant workshop on March 1 from 12-1 p.m. and March 15 from 5-6 p.m. Please email questions related to the Teaching Artist Opportunity Grant to

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