The Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAC) has expanded the Teaching Artists Presenting in Asheville Schools (TAPAS) program into county classrooms. The move was made possible thanks to a partnership with the Asheville City Schools Foundation (ACSF) and Buncombe County Schools (BCS).
“The arts council is thrilled to be working with the Asheville City Schools Foundation and Buncombe County Schools on this initiative,” said Katie Cornell, AAAC executive director. “The partnership allows us to double the number of students working with these talented local teaching artists each year.”
ACSF founded the TAPAS program in 2010, and since then the residencies have impacted more than 9,000 students, trained over 55 artists and provided more than 850 days of artists in residence.
“The past 18 months have shown us just how vital the arts are for a healthy, vibrant Asheville and how healing the arts can be for our children in processing their experiences during the pandemic,” said Copland Rudolph, ACSF executive director. “This partnership is a beautiful example of responding to the COVID crisis by recognizing our shared commitment to the arts, by uniting resources, and by creating more opportunities for both more students and more artists.”
AAAC has seen a noticeable increase in requests from Buncombe County School teachers for arts program funding in the last few years. The increase is, in part, due to the tireless work of Laura Mitchell, a BCS arts education specialist. The efforts have not gone unnoticed. Mitchell was just awarded the NC Arts Education Association’s Arts Education Supervisor of the Year award for 2020-2021.
“Buncombe County Schools is grateful to be a part of this new partnership, where we can provide more equal access for all students to receive a comprehensive arts education through arts exposure, high-quality arts education and arts integration.’’ said Mitchell. “The arts are vital to the overall education of our students and to our community as a whole.
The new expanded program is called Teaching Artists Presenting in Asheville Area Schools, and the Fall 2021 TAPAAS catalog is now available online through both the ACSF and AAAC websites.
Teachers in Asheville City Schools should continue to apply directly to ASCF for residencies. Teachers in Buncombe County Schools should apply through the arts council.