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Idaho Parents Unlimited Inc
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Arts Education and Culture


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VSA Idaho Artist in Residence Program

VSA Idaho's Creative Access programs have been placing teaching artists in public schools statewide for residencies in visual, performing and literary arts for 15 years. Residency sites include grades pre-K–12 as well as community centers including IPUL's Creative Access Art Center. Residencies can occur in general or special education classroom and are tailored to meet the needs of students as well as accommodate teaching schedules. Residencies are a minimum of 10 hours and our teaching artists are all experienced in teaching arts with special populations. For more information please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Under a Contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a contract with the State Department of Education, artists provide high quality art programs to hundreds of students with disabilities throughout the state of Idaho.


VSA Idaho, The State Organization on Arts and Disability, provides arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increases access to the arts for all. VSA's mission is empowering and engaging people with disabilities in the creative process through opportunities which are fully inclusive, educational and participatory.

VSA Idaho is member of the VSA Affiliate Network, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. VSA is an international organization founded by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith in 1974. 


Further funding for IPUL’s 2014-2015 Creative Access Artist in Residence Program is made possible by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Kennedy Center, and the Idaho State Department of Education.                      

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Beginning in 2010, Idaho Parents Unlimited (IPUL) was awarded through the State Independent Living Council (SILC) a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant to increase employment of artists with disabilities and to establish the Creative Access Art Center (CAAC) and related adult artist employment and professional development programming.  Services are delivered in an inclusive environment and so it serves the full arts community and not just those with disabilities. The CAAC includes exhibit space, artist teaching classroom space and a resource library, which includes education, disability and arts information.

The Creative Access Art Center opened its doors in December 2010 with a juried art exhibit entitled "Helpers" featuring the work of artists both with and without disabilities.

Helpers Art Exhibition Postcard

In the late spring 2011, local artists showcased their work at the CAAC by participating in a fundraising event "Chair-ity" which debuted in time for the Downtown Boise First Thursday event in June.

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Throughout the summer 2011, we hosted professional development workshops for and by local artists in the CAAC.

From Fall 2011 through December 2013, the Master Apprentice Artist Program, a unique mentorship program allowed Master Artists to work with Apprentice Artists in developing technique; guide them with vital connections to the local arts community and fostered personal and professional growth.

Sixteen teams of artists spent an average of more than 40 one to one hours together in an effort to produce a minimum of one work of art per team. The teams far exceeded that and producied an average of six works of art per team. "{en}Able, the art exhibit" series opened December 1, 2011  in conjunction with downtown Boise's First Thursday event.  Each subsquent set of teams also opened with a First Thursday artist reception in the months of August and December. The exhibits drew in an average of 300 people over the course of itheir individual three week displays.

Professional Development classes and workshops continued as well allowing local artists, both with and without disabilities opportunities to create, display and sell their art. Realizing self-employment in a field of one's interest has been key to the success and sustainability of this program.  

The program has truly been life changing for each of the artists who have gone through the program - both Master and Apprentice.  We will continuously seek new sources of funding so that many more individuals with disabilities can receive this opportunity.

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