The Reinvention of Ourselves.

How We Are Changing More than “us”

           The tedium of our pre-COVID-19 lives is over.  We’ve served in matchless ways that are now extinct because they encompass proximity that will no longer be trustworthy.  Many dance studios, ceramic schools, galleries, music, visual art academies, and theater classes have completed their life-cycle before they were ready. Tumultuous leadership and employee turnover will help organizations recover financially, but it will be some time before team members recover their relationships with community members and students. Online platforms are numerous with varying scopes of knowledge. Accepting that our old identities are gone, exploring the transition, and reinventing ourselves will provide validation of our true skills.  Ultimately this will enhance the dynamics of our organizations through each stage of the change-over. Internal and external organizational subtleties of culture must be guided by a thoughtful and cooperative strategy.  Please join me in an enthusiastic and committed reinvention of the workplace that integrates healthy changes and bring flourishing, artistic, and generous communities.

Salerno and Brock (2008)

           When I began working as Teaching Artist in Ohio in 1993, the Department of Education was in the danger zone of the change cycle according to Salerno and Brock (2008). The teachers had not fully come to understand implemented changes of the nation and state by introducing standardized education, and teachers were frustrated and bewildered. There was discomfort. Research shows that purposeful sharing of strategic decisions “enhances organizational cognition which mediates the relationship by enriching co-created organizational dynamic capabilities and their capacity to deliver reliable change through sensing, seizing and re-configuring” (Pitelis & Wagner, 2019).  Teachers who leaned heavily on artists and collaborative creative exploration invited me to join them as a guest artist. We were able to offer students examples of arts integration, tools for captivating student arts-inspired learning, and create success strategies for professional development. It’s been an amazing journey to help teachers, schools, and school districts resourcefully move through each stage of change. The students have loved it because they learn so quickly through the arts.

Teaching Artists create milestones for community pioneering. We draw out the lessons inside of the students and help them discover the content.  Early applications of Universal Design Learning and entrepreneurial integration help dreamers discover solutions for the future in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The children who took my lessons through a dance studio or one of the many schools I’ve visited are now bringing their children to me for lessons and partnering with me for grant-writing and launching new projects. As we let go of the past, there will be new validation of our skills. We’ll enhance the dynamics of our schools and organizations through each of the stages of this epic change. In a country of 328.2 million people, Teaching Artists can continue the mission of inspiring learning through the arts. Each are open to thoughtful, cooperative strategies with Academic Teachers, Occupational Therapists, Intervention Specialists, Music, Dance, and Arts Therapists, Counselors, Pastors, Physician Assistants, Physical Therapists, and Doctors. We can help our country and globe pass through the sometimes frightening changes.  We will thrive again. #together

Tips for Reinvention:

  • Acknowledge the loss.  Channel fear into action. Grieve.
  • Work past anger and ask “do I have all the facts?”. View changes in light of reality.
  • Engage Motivation.  Accomplish enough to stay in motion. Ask yourself, “How can I expedite a breakthrough?”.

THIS IS THE DANGER ZONE.  Don’t give up….

  • Place your energy toward innovation and partnering.  Seek insight into decision-making.  Plot your steps.
  • Harmonize your learning routine.  Identify the long-term benefits of this change. Find out if there are more things to learn to make the change work.
  • Reprioritize. Initiate methodical development. Delegate the responsibilities you will not continue.

By Kimberly Payne

Salerno, A., & Brock, L. (2008). The Change Cycle : How People Can Survive and Thrive in Organizational Change (Vol. 1st ed). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 

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