Education Programs Professional Development Program

Professional Development Program

Please note: Joan Mitchell Foundation is no longer offering studio or portfolio development classes. The Foundation is focusing on research and piloting innovative educational opportunities for the artist community. Read below to learn about our past programming.​

For those families looking for new art program opportunities, we have created a comprehensive resource directory of various ongoing youth art programs and opportunities in the NYC area. The free booklet is available to download here.

Read on to learn about our past programming.

The Professional Development Program has historically provided the Foundation’s Artist-Teachers with comprehensive training in the field of art education, preparing them to be effective teachers and supporting their long-term growth as educators.

In an effort to achieve this goal, the Professional Development Program has provided various modes of professional support as outlined below.


Artist-Teachers were hired initially as assistants and mentored by experienced Lead teachers through hands-on training in our studio classrooms.


Throughout the years our Artist-Teachers have come together in large and small groups to learn new skills, find solutions to shared challenges, and work to gain a deeper understanding of their students. Workshops were taught by experts in the field of art education, the Foundation’s Art Education Program administrative staff, as well as many of the Artist-Teachers themselves through peer-led workshops. Furthermore, we have organized workshops publicly available to all educators, in which Artist-Teachers, staff and other guest speakers share learned skills, strategies and techniques. To view examples of workshops for educators that have been offered in the past, please click here.

Curriculum Development

Artist-Teachers were trained to develop curricula according to our program standards. Each term they submitted curricula for review and receive feedback regarding the content and practical implementation of the lessons.

Becoming a Reflective Practitioner

Each week Artist-Teachers were asked to reflect upon their teaching experiences through written reflections. These written accounts of their classroom experiences allowed them to celebrate accomplishments, pose questions about classroom challenges, and aid in developing their personal educational philosophies. Based upon these reflections, Artist-Teachers received feedback and support from the Foundation’s Art Education administrative staff.

Observations and Coaching

Artist-Teachers were observed and reviewed on an annual basis. Observations were focused on supporting the Artist-Teachers and helping them refine their teaching practice. All newly promoted Lead Artist-Teachers were paired with a Peer Coach who counsels them throughout their first year.

Additional Leadership Roles

Opportunities for Artist-Teachers to develop their skills beyond the classroom were made available based on experience. Such roles included coordinating large-scale student exhibitions, acting as liaison between our Artist-Teachers and our community partners, and advising on the overall curriculum structure for the Foundation’s Art Education Program. These leadership roles were subject to change each year based on programmatic need.

Partnership Support

In addition to training our own staff, the Foundation has also provided trainings, orientations, and workshops in collaboration with our community partners. These events allowed our Artist-Teachers and the youth leaders with whom they work to share ideas, values, and skills as they form the bonds of partnership.