Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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Idaho Parents Unlimited supports, empowers, educates and advocates to enhance the quality of life for Idahoans with disabilities and their families

Creative Access, Artists In residence Program

Who we are~

Idaho Parents Unlimited is a non-profit organization that advocates and educates parents and families of children with disabilities and special health care needs in Idaho. Creative Access is our arts education program for children in pre-kindergarten through extended high school in public schools and community centers. Each residency is uniquely designed to meet the needs of students of all abilities. We have been providing residencies in Idaho public schools for over 20 years.

Our program is funded by Idaho State Dept. of Education, The Idaho Commission on the Arts, and The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as under contact with VSA International programs.  Founded in 1974 VSA International is committed to providing arts education programming for people with disabilities around the world. Each year, 7 million people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs.

About our residencies-

Residencies can be in visual, performing, literary or media arts disciplines.

  • Teaching artists spend a minimum of 10 hours of direct teaching with students.
  • A final project or performance at the end of the residency for friends, family and classmates.
  • Curriculum for residencies are a collaborative effort between teacher and artist to meet the specialized needs of the students. The timelines and expectations, outcomes of residencies must also be discussed and agreed upon.
  • Artists will be paid upon the completion of the residency, including all paperwork and photo submissions.
  • Residencies must be tied to student curriculum, include twenty first century skills and/or assist with the IEP goals of students.

This program brings teaching artists into schools for an in-depth arts education curriculum.  Artists and teachers work together to achieve a schedule and teaching approach that best suit the needs of the students. Residencies typically run for a few weeks, working with students one or two days per week, with each session lasting for 1-2 hours. In some cases residencies can be condensed to a shorter format to work best for the artists and teacher. All residencies conclude with a showcase the achievements of students for family, friends and classmates.

Benefits to students~

The benefits of arts education include creativity, problem solving and collaboration.  Students also gain arts literacy skills through engaging with cultural and historical concepts, and show increases in social skills through creative interaction. Inclusive residencies dissolve barriers between student populations, and maximize student motivation for learning.

State Standards and Twenty First Century skills are imbedded in every residency.

Principles of Universal Design for Learning. Why is UDL necessary?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience that guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences.

Individuals bring a huge variety of skills, needs, and interests to learning. Neuroscience reveals that these differences are as varied and unique as our DNA or fingerprints. Universal Design for Learning addresses:

The How, The What, and The Why of learning. UDL principles also lend themselves to implementing inclusionary practices in the classroom. To learn more visit:

For more information please contact Heather Kirk Skinner, Art Coordinator at Idaho Parents Unlimited. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 208-342-5884 x107