Teaching Artist Roster Guidelines



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 can enhance the educational process and provide inroads to learning that are engaging, creative, and meaningful.


The roster is an online searchable database of professional teaching artists and arts organizations who are approved to work on grant-funded Tennessee Arts Commission projects and programs. The roster is a central location where schools, arts organizations, and other agencies can go to locate professional teaching artists. Artists must apply to the roster and once approved by Commission staff; they are included on the roster as part of the Commission’s website.


Teaching artists are professional artists who 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.

Professional teaching artists are:

  • Accomplished artists in their field including craft, dance, folk arts, literary arts, media arts, music, storytelling, theatre, and visual arts
  • Able to teach their art form(s) which includes skills such as organization, classroom management, public speaking, curriculum development, learning practices development, 21st-century skills development, and knowledge of how various educational systems operate (schools, social service agencies, juvenile detention centers, community centers, etc.)
  • Able to self-market, work within a budget, and deliver projects on time and in the manner proposed
  • Great communicators and able to facilitate conversations with teachers, community leaders, and other individuals through the process of creating and designing educational projects


There are three (3) types of programs that can be offered by teaching artists: 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 Core Arts Standards website.


The Commission gives priority to applications from in-state artists or artists who reside no more than 50 miles over the TN state line.

You may apply to the Teaching Artist Roster if you are:

  • a professional artist or arts educator. Individuals are considered to be a professional artist or arts educator if they:
    • earn at least part of their annual income working with educators and others 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.

Teaching artists are eligible to be on the Teaching Artist Roster for one year. Roster artists will be notified via email of this requirement at the appropriate time. See Important Dates/Deadlines below. The re-submission of the profile update forms serves as a means of roster renewal; therefore, teaching artists will not be asked to submit new applications every year. To maintain status, Roster artists must:

  • update their profile every year to prove active participation. Active participation includes:
    • annual profile updateuse this form only, profile updates will not be accepted via email. (See Important Dates/Deadlines below)
    • proof of contracted recent arts education projects/activities with TN schools
    • annual professional development:
      • Tennessee Arts Commission arts education trainings or webinars.
      • Arts education training or conferences offered by other providers–online trainings/conferences are accepted. Verify eligibility with Tennessee Arts Commission staff.
      • Classes or workshops to enhance your practice as a teaching artist. Verify eligibility with Tennessee Arts Commission, Arts Education staff.

Inclusion on the roster is not a guarantee of employment. Neither the Commission nor its staff act as agents on behalf of artists. Teaching artists accepted to the roster are expected to market their services directly to schools and other organizations with whom they wish to collaborate.

Contact Julia Stark, Arts Learning Specialist at julia.stark@tn.gov with any questions.


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: Begin the application process by downloading this draft application form: TARoster-Draft-Application-Worksheet It is suggested to fill out this draft application worksheet and use it as a resource to gather ALL required information prior to completing the online application form. This form is NOT the TAR application and will NOT be accepted in place of the online application form. Please use it as a working guide/instruction manual.

**At this point, you will want to reach out to your three (3) references to fill out this Recommendation Form. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure all three (3) references complete their form. At least one (1) form must be completed by a teacher from a K-12 public school, preferably from a TN educator/TN school administrator.

Step 3: When the draft application worksheet form is complete, copy/paste your information in the appropriate form fields and upload the required documents into the Teaching Artist Roster Application form. It is advised to submit your application in one sitting to prevent technical errors.  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).
  • Recommendation Forms: Complete three (3) Recommendation Forms. 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 (see instructions and additional information in the TARoster-Draft-Application-Worksheet)


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 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
  • No typos or spelling errors
  • Overall application is of professional quality, complete, and integrated into a cohesive whole. The application content is ready for public view


Applications are reviewed by Commission staff. Note the following dates below.

September 1, 2022– March 31, 2023
Applications from prospective teaching artists may be submitted online at any time during this time frame. To be considered for the following fiscal year, applications must be received no later than March 31, 2023. Applications submitted after this date will be reviewed based on Commission staff availability but no later than September 1 of each calendar year.

June 1–June 30, 2023 Returning Roster Artists

Time to update your Teaching Artists profile on the TN Arts Commission Website. Please make these updates to your programming by June 30, 2023 for the upcoming 2023-2024 STS school year. Please fill out and submit this form to maintain an active state on the TAR. Failure to submit this form annually may result in the removal of your profile from the Roster.


For questions about the Teaching Artist Roster and to verify eligibility, please contact Julia Stark, julia.stark@tn.gov