Obmamacare Explained: A Guide for Californians

The Workshop is one of the leading Teaching Artist Hiring Organizations examining health benefits for teaching artists, both internally with our own artists and as a member of Teaching Artists Guild. This project will rely heavily on what is to come as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a quick tutorial from our friends at KQED on the upcoming changes that will affect all Californians:



Save the date for our student showcase!

Big news: We’re excited to announce the date of our end-of-the-year student showcase!

DATE | Thursday, May 16, 2013

LOCATION | The Theater at the Children’s Creativity Museum in Downtown San Francisco (4th and Howard)

TIME | Doors will open at 6 P.M. (Refreshments will be provided.)

More details to come. Stay tuned!

After-School with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation

Image of Virtual Classroom Video still









Performing Arts Workshop (The Workshop) is proud to announce the web launch of our second Virtual Classroom. We often get questions like, “How does the Workshop partner with communities?”, “How do youth think critically in a dance class?” and “What does a Performing Arts Workshop after-school class look like?”

With our Virtual Classroom, we can demonstrate the necessity of the arts in education by sharing a real life example. Since the fall of 2010, teaching artist Shea Rahimi has worked with transitional aged youth at the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s After-School Program in San Francisco. We documented this experience though videos, photos, and Shea and Laura Choe, the Program Manager at TASP’s, own words. Funders, donors, potential partners and other stakeholders now have a chance to step inside an actual after-school residency that took place during the 2010-2011 school year. By documenting the learning that happens in a Performing Arts Workshop after-school classroom, we aim to demonstrate the important role the arts play in equipping our youth with the skills they need for school, work, and life in the 21st Century.

This truly was a collaborative effort. The Workshop would like to thank Shea Rahimi, Sean Hennessy, Benjamin Rait, Seth Goldstein, Justin Allen and the Tenderloin After-School Program for making this project possible. This kind of collaborative effort is vital to our essential work.

Introducing the Rhythmic Oakland Dweller, Teaching Artist Aaron Kierbel

1) Where do you live?
I needed a little tranquility in life so I moved away from San Francisco to North Oakland. I lived in the Mission for eight years and had an exciting time there. Recently a lot of artists have been making the move over to the East Bay because of cheaper rent.

Now there is a whole burgeoning and vibrant arts scene in the East Bay. I’ve been able to meet some new artists and get inspired in different ways.
2) What experiences brought you to the Workshop?
Being a musician in a touring band, playing on big and small stages around the world groomed me for being on stage and seeing how music and art affect people. I joined the Workshop staff because I wanted another component of what I do as an artist. I wanted to give back to pass on my love of music to kids.

I’ve worked for a lot of other organizations in the area. I’ve tried lots of different ways –  the tutoring route, teaching in the classroom – but now I’ve found my niche. I feel that I can add the most value through an artistic medium. I am my best self when I’m doing music.
3) Two albums you cannot live without:
Stevie Wonder “Talking Book”

Bill Withers “Just As I Am”
4) How is the workshop different than other organizations you have worked for:
The Workshop is really dedicated to giving teachers all the support and tools they need to help them in the classroom. Having such a supportive cohort of other teaching artists helps both as a way to bounce ideas off each other, and to get inspired by what others are all doing as artists in the community. The Workshop encourages community–I really like this!

The Cycle of Artistic Inquiry has been extremely helpful as a model to work from. It is pretty unique to have a framework of how to teach. Performing Arts Workshop encourages artists to challenge ourselves, and go beyond what is easy or familiar. The whole point of it is to get the the students to critically think. This practice is different than other arts organizations.
5) Favorite Coffee Shop:
Philz Coffee on 24th St.
6) Favorite Book:
Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. This book always speaks to me in different phases in my life and offers some kind of wisdom in a poetic way.
7) Do you have a personal mantra?
Be hungry. Be foolish.
8) Do you have a favorite restaurant?
Burma Superstar

Marin Anthology Release Celebration

Picture of Bart Jones and Freddy Gutierrez holding a cake

On Wednesday, July 11th, Karena Salmond, the Workshop’s Program Director, and myself visited Marin Juvenile Hall in Marin County. We were there to pass out copies of the 2012 Anthology of student work. Teaching Artist Freddy Gutierrez collected work from Marin County students throughout his year-long residency at Loma Alta – the school located in Marin County’s Juvenile Hall.

Cover Image from Anthology

The Workshop has a multi-year partnership with Marin County and has produced three different anthologies of student work. This was the second year that both the cover and inside artwork came out of the TeamWorks Art Mentoring and Apprenticeship program. Bart Jones, Head Teacher at Loma Alta, acknowledged the multi-level partnership of people who came together to create the anthology titled, “I’m Not Who You Think I Am.”

Image of Freddy Gutierrez reciting a poem

As a first time visitor to Loma Alta, I was struck by the enthusiasm of the students to participate. They readily read their own and other students’ poems in front of an audience which included probation officers, superintendents, Workshop staff and other students. All participants were encouraged to share. Freddy shared a poem of his own and one of the probation officers recited Invictus. It was a great celebration of student achievement through a thriving arts-education partnership.

Image of people associated with Marin County partnership

Spotlight on the Incomparable Dancing Queen Fredrika

1. How long have you been teaching?  

I have been teaching for 5 years.

2. How has your relationship to the Workshop changed your teaching style and/or artistic life?

Well, I’m so used to teaching in the dance studio environment where we rarely teach critical thinking. Now that I have been exposed to the idea, I bring it into my regular dance classes out side the Workshop. Its awesome!

3. What changes in the students have you noticed over the course of your programs?

I absolutely love when my students, especially the little ones, start to change their vocabulary. They talk in dance terms and imitate my dance slang. i.e “Freddy, are about to dip it low now?” and “Freddy, did you notice my unique step touches?” It’s priceless. They learn exactly what you teach and how you teach it. They don’t miss a beat.

4. How do you think that working in the Workshop is different than other similar organizations?

In my case, I normally teach studio dance classes where we are focusing on a production at the end of the semester. Whereas in Performing Arts Workshop, it’s more detailed oriented in terms of the process. The final product is less important than the actual journey you have with the students in the classroom.

About Fredrika:

1) Whereabouts do you live?

San Fransisco ❤ of the mission

2) Album you cannot live without?

Mamma Mia soundtrack! Sometimes you need to pretend you’re in a musical to get your self going in the morning. 🙂 I never thought I would choose that.
3) Artist you wish you knew in real life?

Michael Jackson. He was like magic.
4) Favorite Coffee Shop?

Peet’s, hands down.

5) Personal Mantra?

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

6) Favorite Restaurant?

Cafe Gratitude

7) What do you miss from your hometown?

Nothing! I’m still right here!


8) Where do you escape on the weekends?

I escape to the salsa dance floor. Can’t be on it without a smile on my face. All my worries fall away. It’s impossible to be unhappy there.

Meet Deaidre, the vibrant and vivacious wordsmith who rocks big earrings.

(Deaidre at Paul Revere Elementary School  after a 5th grade Spoken Word class).

About the Workshop:

1. How long have you been teaching?

Four years. I have always taught spoken word.

2. How has your relationship to the Workshop changed your teaching style and/or artistic life?
I spent more time in the revision process with my students that allows for more reflection. I now ask my students what they did and why they did it. In my Workshop programs, we create rough drafts unlike other programs where you finish a poem and go on to the next.

3. What changes in the students have you noticed over the course of your programs?
Even after one class, I notice students are more willing to participate. Knowing them, even if only for two hours, and having them want to share their art is an amazing thing. I watch students open up in front of their classmates, which can be hard when some classes are so sarcastic.

4. How do you think that working in the workshop is different than other similar organizations?
Performing Arts Workshop is there for me. If Larry is not there Anne will be.

About Deaidre:

1) Whereabouts do you live:

San Leandro

2) Album you can’t live without:

Tamia, she is the musical guest on the HBO series Verses and Flow that I am appearing on.

3) Artist you wish you knew in real life?

Carvens Lissaint–an incredible poet.

4) Favorite Coffee Shop:

The Starbucks in East Palo Alto across the street from the middle school where I work. I love ice, I know people say it’s bad to eat it, but I love it. At that Starbucks, I don’t need to order anything; the staff just gives me a glass full of ice.

5) Favorite type of food?

Soul Food. I love it fried. I love Christmas meals and Gumbo on New Year’s.

6) Favorite restaurant:


7) Favorite Neighborhood:

The Excelsior