Vashon Artists in Schools


This year Vashon Artists in Schools (VAIS) celebrates the 30th anniversary of our powerful partnership with Vashon Island School District!

Our mission has always been to build upon and enhance curriculum in the arts across subject areas by providing students with enriching and challenging multidisciplinary learning opportunities. To do this we pair local artists with teachers at the district in classroom-based Direct Learning Residencies, integrating art into core subjects. These residencies provide opportunities for students to engage more deeply with their learning, making connections between their curriculum, themselves, and their community. By bringing the arts to students in the classroom we eliminate barriers to access and aim to engage all students. Each year approximately 80% of students are involved with at least one of the 20+ residencies happening across the district. Vashon’s small population has supported VAIS year after year because islanders place a high value on the arts and trust in the transformative power of artistic experiences to develop our children into compassionate, creative problem solvers.

In addition to the classroom-based Direct Learning Residencies we also support student-created Public Art Projects in our community, as well as Artist Mentorships. Mentorships give teachers an opportunity to become students themselves as they deepen their experience of art and creativity and broaden their skills base for teaching in their own classrooms by working directly with master teaching artists.

How it Works

Each fall, VISD teachers preK-12 have access to a roster of vetted teaching artists and are invited to apply for a residency. Teachers are encouraged to work closely with an artist partner in developing the application.  A committee, including staff-members from Vashon Center for the Arts and Vashon Island School District, make funding decisions in early December. Residencies range from 10-40 hours and typically take place between January and June.


2017-18 Calendar:

September 8, 2017 – Artist roster becomes available for teachers to view.

September 25, 2017 – Application opens.

November 6, 2017 – Final applications are due.

December 11, 2017 – Award letters are sent out to teachers and artists.

January – June 2018 – Residencies, Mentorships, and Public Art Projects all take place. Public exhibitions of student work are showcased throughout venues in the community.

June 15, 2018 – Evaluations are due from students, teachers, and artists.

Artist Roster

The VAIS Roster is a resource for teachers, offering a list of vetted professional artists, residency ideas, and professional background information. Please follow this link for our updated 2017-18 Roster.

Current Teaching Artists include: Britt Freda, Liz Lewis, Barbara Gustafson, David Godsey, Ivonne Escobar de Kommer, Allison Crain Trundle, Vadne Domeika, Martha Enson, Ray Pfortner, Mik Kuhlman, Tom Pruiksma, Lelavision, William Jarcho, Darren Lay, Odin Lonning, Geri Siebert, and many more.

Artists wishing to teach with VAIS are invited to apply at any time by sending a letter of interest and resume to


The 2017-18 Artists in Schools application is here!

Application as a .docx file.

Application as a PDF.

For more information about how to get involved with VAIS, please contact Program Manager Kaycie Alanis at


The National Endowment for the Arts has nationally recognized VAIS as a model for integrated arts education. Funding for VAIS is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Washington State Arts Commission, Vashon Island School District, Vashon Center for the Arts, Partners in Education (PIE), and individual donations.

Thank you for your support of our students!