About the Artistic Teaching Partner

Artist Statement

Children are brimming with good ideas, insights and possibilities! At the same time they often struggle to find ways to express themselves verbally. I use creative activities from performing arts pedagogy to give them new and dynamic ways to explore concepts and lessons. As they learn the basic skills and collaborate with others they deepen their understanding, affirm their creativity and and develop confidence in new ways of learning.

I am dedicated to this process whole heartedly.  I foster an atmosphere where each learner is honored and affirmed, where creativity and critical inquiry, expression and collaborative conversation work together for an exciting, engaging and memorable learning experience for all.

I collaborate with each teacher to design residencies that accent a wide variety of content areas. During the residency I engage with teachers as a fellow educator and iterate repeatedly to create a residency ideally suited to each classroom and community of learners. Recently designed and implemented Drama programs have helped second grades learn about sustainability of resources, sixth graders explore the messages behind myths, fourth graders grasp the incredible challenges Ancient Hawaiians faced and overcame and fifth graders more deeply appreciate and understand the Bill of Rights.

Music residencies bring to life music concepts in a practical, experiential and joyful atmosphere. “We Got the Beat” builds rhythmic skills and collaboration using improvisation as a starting point for composition and creative community. “All Together Now” supports First and Second Graders and Kindergarteners in listening, cooperation and music making in a joyful atmosphere that fills the classroom with song and gifts teachers with new ways to use music to energize, focus and manage the early elementary classroom. My songwriting residencies include “Loops and Lyrics” in which upper elementary students learn to create simple progressions then layer written expression in time with the beats they play or design.

Artist Biography

James B. McCarthy is an endlessly creative actor, musician, songwriter, storyteller and educator. His one man shows include “Stripes and Stars: A Surprising History of the U.S.A.and over two dozen original works created for museums and cultural organizations in Hawaii and beyond. He has received awards for both his artistry and his teaching artistry, including being chosen as Artist in Residence at Gettysburg National Park. He has earned high praise from many teachers, schools, students and various organizations for his innovative work in education and the arts, as well as arts initiatives in the community. He holds a Masters in Education from Harvard as well as a Masters in Fine Arts from UH Manoa. He is a Founding Faculty member of SEEQS Charter Middle School and a founding member of Art Bento, Chinatown Artist Lofts and Doolin Rakes, the Hoku Awards nominated Celtic music ensemble he founded. He has eight albums to his credit and dozens of scripts, stories and songs.  As a practicing performing artist, a classroom teacher and a curriculum innovator, James B. McCarthy combines imagination, inquiry, seamless classroom management and joy to craft memorable and effective residences for all ages and content areas.


Children in a classroom raising their hands

About the Artistic Teaching Partner Roster

The Artistic Teaching Partners (ATP) Roster is an adjudicated directory of Hawai‘i professional teaching artists qualified to conduct in-depth residencies in educational settings. Each artist or arts organization has a page in the directory with contact information, a short bio, and an artist statement. The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts draws from this roster for arts education programs including Art Bento at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum and Artists in the Schools.