Teaching Artist Roster Guidelines


We are currently accepting applications between March 1-June 1.  Applications received before or after these dates will not be reviewed.


The mission of the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Arts Education program is to enrich and support quality arts education. This mission is supported by the belief that professional teaching artists and arts organizations enhance the educational process and provide inroads to learning that are engaging, creative, and meaningful.


The roster is an online searchable database of professional individual teaching artists and arts groups/organizations approved to work on grant-funded Tennessee Arts Commission projects and programs. The roster allows schools, organizations, and other agencies to locate professional teaching artists with educational programming. Artists, arts groups, and arts organizations must apply to be considered for the roster on the Commission’s website.


Teaching artists are professional artists who are able to translate their creative process into an instructional setting. Teaching artists are not arts teachers employed by schools. They are community members who partner with schools and other educational providers to deliver performances, workshops, and/or longer-term residency programs. Teaching artists work to supplement and build on existing arts and non-arts curricula and do not supplant the work of licensed or certified arts educators.


The Commission gives priority to in-state applicants or those located no more than 50 miles over the TN state line.

You may apply to the Teaching Artist Roster as an individual teaching artist if you are:

  • a professional artist or arts educator.
    • Individuals are considered a professional artist or arts educator if they:
      • earn at least part of their annual income working with educators showing how their art form may be used to enhance learning and teaching
      • maintain a high level of artistic quality
      • make a significant time investment in their artistic disciplines through practice, performance, and instruction
  • not a college student or an artist early in their career.

You may apply to the Teaching Artist Roster as an Arts Organization/Arts Group if your organization/group is:

  • an organization/group whose mission statement clearly states that the majority of its goals and activities are arts-focused, and whose budget clearly demonstrates arts-focus in the majority of the organization’s annual activities. The Tennessee Arts Commission’s definition of art encompasses the fine arts as well as ethnic, folk and traditional forms.
  • Able to offer evidence of educational programming (school performances, tours, workshops, classes, etc.)

Please Note: Exceptions exist. Other interested applicants should discuss eligibility with Julia Stark at julia.stark@tn.gov (615) 532-5934.   


There are three (3) types of programs that can be offered by teaching artists and organizations: Arts Curriculum, Arts Integration, and Arts Appreciation. STS Guidelines.

  • Arts Curriculum deepens student understanding and participation in a specific art form through lesson(s) based on National Core Arts Standards and/or Tennessee Academic Standards for Fine Arts. Instruction is experiential and hands-on, with an emphasis on artistic skills, techniques, and vocabulary. Assessment of student learning is based on process over product. Lesson plan sample is required.
  • Arts Integration provides interdisciplinary residencies that authentically connect arts and non-arts curriculum standards. National Core Arts Standards and/or Tennessee Academic Standards for Fine Arts are used. Instruction is experiential and hands-on, with an emphasis on exploring a non-arts concept through the teaching of artistic skills, techniques, vocabulary, and/or social and historical context. Assessment of the student learning process for both arts and non-arts subjects occurs. Lesson plan sample is required.
  • Arts Appreciation exposes students to a broad variety of cultural experiences, arts disciplines and artists and increases their appreciation for the art form. While students are primarily observers watching, listening, and/or reacting to professional artists performing, creating, and/or discussing their art forms, a hands-on component might be included. Content outline or teacher preparatory materials to supplement the performance or exhibition are required.

Various ways in which Roster teaching artists intersect with schools and community-based organizations include:

  • short and long-term in-school and after-school residencies
  • arts experiences including performances by professional artists that tour to schools and/or field trips to galleries, museums, and performances
  • arts integration instruction that supports higher-order thinking skills in which students learn math, science, language arts and/or social studies through visual arts, music, dance, literary arts, media arts, and/or theatre
  • curriculum-based projects aligned with K-12 arts and non-arts education standards
  • core arts instruction in dance, literary arts, media arts, music, theatre, and/or visual arts
  • professional development for educators
  • lifelong learning in the arts through community events, classes and workshops


Information about arts education standards can be found at the TN Department of Education website and the National Arts Standards website.


The Tennessee Arts Commission hosts the Teaching Artist Roster on the TN Arts Education website.

Step 1: Verify eligibility with Julia Stark, julia.stark@tn.gov

Step 2: Review the Application and compile all necessary files, and draft all responses in a Word document, if helpful.

Step 3: Complete the Teaching Artist Roster Application form. Application forms and materials will not be accepted via email.

Required documents to upload include:

  • Artistic Resume (PDF)that includes arts education experience.
  • Artistic Work Sample (s): Performing artists, provide direct links to at least one (1) audio or video sample via YouTube, Vimeo, or SoundCloud. Visual artists, upload at least three (3) photos of your work. Literary artists should upload at least one (1) sample of written work (PDF only).
  • Narrative Response: find the prompt here 
  • Recommendation Forms Request for three (3) Recommendations via this form. All three (3) forms should be filled out completely–any forms not complete will be sent back. At least one form must be completed by a teacher from a K-12 public school, preferably from a TN educator/TN school administrator.
  • Sample Lesson Plan and Program Descriptions 


Once your application is reviewed, you will be notified by email of the approval/denial status of your roster profile within 30 days of submission.


For new applicants, Commission staff will evaluate roster applications based on the completeness of the application and the quality of the application based on the following criteria:

Artistic Quality (10 points)

  • Exemplifies mastery in artistic discipline(s) as shown in submission of work samples and through explanation of artistic process and experience
  • Evidence that the artist or organization is a practicing professional artist and actively participating in professional development training

Arts Education Quality and Experience (10 points)

  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience working within Pre-K–12 school setting
  • Ability to create a complete and comprehensive lesson plan, curriculum/teacher guide
  • When appropriate, sample programs properly align with state arts education standards and assess student learning in the arts
  • Sample programs prove to enable participants to acquire knowledge and skills in the arts
  • Evidence of participation in professional development as a teaching artist
  • References are positive and show support of the teaching artist’s ability to work within a K-12 setting. Includes one from a public-school teacher

Completeness of Application (5 points)

  • Narrative responses are clear and concise
  • Overall application is complete and integrated into a cohesive whole. The application content is ready for public view

Applications are reviewed by Commission staff and we will inform applicant of decision within 30 days of submission.


Teaching Artists on the roster are eligible to be on the roster for one year.

To maintain status, Roster artists must fill out the Profile Renewal Form annually between May 1- 31 for the upcoming school year and maintain an active state on the roster. Failure to submit this form annually may result in the removal of your profile from the Roster.

Profile Renewal Form use this form only, profile updates will not be accepted via email.


For questions about the Teaching Artist Roster and to verify eligibility, please contact Julia Stark at julia.stark@tn.gov (615) 532-5934