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Valerie June (left) talking with AmeriCorps teaching artist, Jess  Artigliere at Rogers.
Roger Williams Middle School was alive with excitement when singer songwriter Valerie June came to visit early this month. CityArts was there to support this program, and all were delighted when “Miss Valerie,” Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and representatives from the Kennedy Center came to see the classroom of CityArts’ Americorps teaching artist, Jess Artigliere, and her teaching partner, Bob Boerner. The team co-created a unit that explored cave painting and writing as a form of technology, communication and “public art.” As Emily Pytell, Turnaround Arts National Implementation Manager said:
“It was great to see Jess’ and CityArts work in Roger Williams. It so beautifully complements and strengthens the work Turnaround Arts seeks to do.  Turnaround Arts is happy to lift up and support the work of CityArts, as well.”

Emerging teaching artist, CityArts alumna, and AmeriCorps member,Jazmin Morillon, will participate in CityArts and RITAC programming this year, thanks to a new collaboration.
Teaching Artists are hybrid employees in the workforce – they have careers as teachers AND artists/designers. They work during the school day AND after school. They teach the arts AND help in core subject areas.
At CityArts, they are superheroes: teachers with a secret identity as artists or designers, AND artists/designers with a secret identity as teachers.
To support these superheroes and this new hybrid field, The Rhode Island Teaching Artist Center (RITAC) was created several years ago at the state arts council, with a planning grant from the Rhode Island Foundation.  Since that time, RITAC has sponsored events that bring teaching artists together to share and learn from one another.
Beginning in October, CityArts takes over the role of managing coordinator for RITAC.   

As a teaching artist hiring organization, CityArts is honored to take over this role. Each year, we hire and help to train approximately 40 professional and AmeriCorps teaching artists. Since 2009, CityArts has worked with 254 teaching artists, many of whom have gone onto careers as teachers AND artists around Rhode Island and the nation.

CityArts welcomes teaching artist superhero, Michelle Nugent in her new role as Professional Development Coordinator and manager for all of the RITAC’s and CityArts’ professional development programs. She will help plan a series of events and write RITAC’s regular newsletter, featuring opportunities and information specific to the field of teaching artists.  For more about RITAC, and the introductory video on the value of hiring teaching artists, visit: or contact

Funding from the Corporation for National Community Service/ServeRI and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts contributes to making our professional development programs possible