Vashon Artists in Schools

Vashon Artists in SchoolsLeaves of ChautauquaDrawing teaches us to see. Artist Rose Belknap and teacher Frank Daniels partner in "Leaves of the Chautauqua Forest" with 3rd graders (l to r) Rumor Pollard, John DiChiara, Jacob Bowden, Payton Venturi, Rachael Freebourn.Chautauqua Kids GardenTeacher Geri Wilson and her students celebrate their beautiful new Chautauqua Kids Garden sign.Three Multi-Age teachers, together with Artist Kristen Reitz-Green and 68 students, designed and built three mosaic projects for the garden, using recycled colored glass, mirror and other objects.

Enter our Island’s public schools and bask in the glow – the beauty, discipline and imagination of the arts. Since 1988, Vashon Allied Arts and Vashon Island School District have worked together to build arts programs in our public schools.

A cornerstone of this innovative partnership is Vashon Artists in Schools (VAIS). Through this program, Vashon teachers bring local artists into classrooms to enhance their curriculum. Artists provide residencies in visual, performing, literary and media arts. Artists mentor teachers to build knowledge and explore new teaching strategies. Students gain valuable skills and unlock expressive pathways to learning. The entire Vashon Island community celebrates the ways VAIS enriches and challenges our students and teachers and its supreme value as part of our Island’s educational system.

All K-12 Vashon Island School District teachers are eligible to apply for a VAIS Curriculum-Based Classroom Residency, an Artist/Teacher Mentorship and/or a Public Art Project.

The application deadline for 2013-14 school year projects has now passed.

In December, 2013, VAIS awarded $25,091 in project grants for 18 teacher-artist residency partnerships at Chautauqua, McMurray and Vashon High School. The grants cover artists’ fees and materials

Vashon artists partnering with VISD teachers in grades 1-12 this year through VAIS include: Liz Lewis, Barbara Gustafson, Laurel Boyajian, Carolyn Candy, Kristen Reitz-Green, Ivonne Escobar de Kommer, Roxy Hathaway, Nancy Scott-Wienker, Christine Juarez, Martha Enson, Ray Pfortner, Mik Kuhlman, Elizabeth Ripley, Tom Pruiksma, Greg McElroy and Ann Leda. These artists will work alongside teachers to provide 10-40 hour classroom residencies for nearly 1,500 students in such arts disciplines are painting, printmaking, encaustics, poetry, physical theatre, metalworking, instrumental music, dance, improvisation, basketry, textile arts and ceramics. In addition to art, music and theater classes, projects also extend across the curriculum in subject areas such as science, math, history and Spanish.

Artist Roster:
A list of Vashon and regional professional artists who have been selected to teach in K-12 classrooms in Vashon Island Public Schools, the VAIS Roster is a resource for teachers who select artist partners for classroom residencies. VAIS also offers Artist/Teacher Mentorship Opportunities. Artists wishing to teach through VAIS are invited to apply at any time.

Click here for the Artist Roster

Read the Narrative: “Student Learning in 3 VAIS Projects” and then watch the video:

Vashon Artists in Schools featured in March 2014 issue of Soundings. Click to read article.

For more information about how to get involved, please contact VAIS coordinator, Pamela McMahan, 206-817-8731 or email Pam 

Vashon Artists in Schools is nationally recognized by the NEA and provides a model program for other communities. Funding support is provided by National Endowment for the Arts/ArtWorks, Washington State Arts Commission/ArtsWA, Vashon Island School District, Vashon Allied Arts, Vashon Partners in Education (PIE), Vashon Community PTSA and private donors.