// What we do

Art on a mission

Performing Arts Workshop provides rigorous arts programming to San Francisco Bay Area youth. Our professional teaching artists teach at preschools, public schools, community centers, transitional housing facilities, and juvenile halls.

Through our pioneering artists-in-residency model, the Workshop provides long-term, sequential instruction in dance, theater, spoken word, creative writing, and music education for more than 4,200 young people a year.

Workshop artists meet weekly with students at our partner sites to teach semester-length or yearlong residencies in their art form. Together with site staff, teaching artists set learning goals for students that go beyond technical training in a particular art form. Our methodology—the cycle of artistic inquiry—prioritizes creative student expression, reflection, and revision, turning Workshop classrooms into laboratories of deep engagement with the creative process.

Artists in Schools


Brings long-term performing arts experiences to youth in schools and child development centers for 15-30 weeks

Artists in Communities


Arts instruction for youth in after-school programs, community centers, and juvenile halls.

Teaching Artists

Our teaching artists are professional artists and experienced educators in their field. As representatives of the Workshop in the classroom and communities they serve, teaching artists share a commitment to our mission and social justice values.

Our core artist program offers a select group of our dancers, musicians, writers, and theater artists a more stable and predictable employment schedule, reliable income with health benefits, and professional growth and leadership opportunities unequaled in the field.

 

Professional Development

With monthly, artist-led professional development meetings, an eight-session internship for new artists, and a team of artist mentors, the Workshop offers rigorous pedagogical training and a robust network of programmatic support.

 

We Work With, Not For

Our work with schools is deeply rooted in partnership. With a commitment to long-term, collaborative relationships with teachers and site staff, we work with our partners and tailor curricula and approach to better serve student needs.

Our Methodology

Our artists come from diverse artistic backgrounds, and train to use Performing Arts Workshop’s Cycle of Artistic Inquiry to build students’ critical thinking skills. The Cycle of Artistic Inquiry is a teaching method developed in Workshop classrooms over the last 50 years. It consists of four processes: expression, reflection, revision, and technique. In other words, students don’t just learn the dance steps or write a poem or act out a scene; they learn to creatively problem solve, reflect, and revise their own artistic creations while consistently honing technique. Our classrooms go beyond “exposure” to the arts; they are places of deep engagement with the creative process.

Cycle of Artistic Inquiry

Our Outcomes

Performing Arts Workshop expects all of our students to develop as artists and as members of their classroom community. That is why we have articulated our Youth Outcomes, which illustrate learning priorities in our classrooms. We aim to build the skills of all of our students in these areas:

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