7. Develop a Curriculum/Budget

Once you have hired a teaching artist you will need to work together to design a complete project. The curriculum is a blueprint for the learning component of the program. It details what participants are going to understand and be able to do by the end of the workshop series. Importantly, a curriculum can highlight topical themes within a community and can bring people together.

Components of a Successful Curriculum

As the host librarian, you will be responsible for ensuring that the curriculum:

  • reflects community demographics and
  • indicates how library resources will be engaged.

The teaching artist will be responsible for designing the curriculum, including:

  • how the selected discipline will be approached;
  • how the classes will be conducted;
  • what creative skills – in what sequence – will be addressed;
  • what learning outcomes are expected; and
  • what the the teaching artist’s plans are to promote social engagement.

Incorporating a Sense of Place

img_5253-2The library’s location within the community can provide a thematic underpinning of the workshop. For example, “Painting Power” at the Grinton I. Will Library in Yonkers, NY (pictured at right) had as its focus, the waterfront which is visible from the library. And the settling of Peekskill by the Dutch informed the teaching artist’s choice to have participants create a Van Gogh-inspired mural in a creative aging program there. This concept is not limited to visual arts programs, of course.

What Budgets Need to Cover

Beyond the curriculum, a budget is the other essential tool to be developed during the planning phase. The budget will depend in large measure on 3 factors:

  1. the teaching artist’s fees (can include planning and instruction);
  2. the duration of the workshop series and length of each session;
  3. the number of participants; and
  4. the supplies or materials required. (Visual arts programs often use more consumable materials than other disciplines.)

Local arts organizations can provide you with guidelines for fees, which can vary from region to region.


Make sure that the curriculum is clearly presented, in layman’s language, and that the budget is realistic in terms of the available space(s), supplies and projected funding.


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