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Artists in Residence

Idaho Parents Unlimited

IPUL Arts 2021-2022 Artist in Residence program provided 18 inclusive residencies for students of all abilities in Idaho’s in community centers, public schools, and juvenile facilities. 331 students participated in arts experiences intentionally designed to be universally accessible. Our diverse residency populations included those with disabilities, mental illness, behavioral health diagnosis and special health care needs along with typically developing youth. Idaho’s population growth and the covid took its toll on youth in a myriad of ways that are still emerging in our data. Our arts integrated programming brought hope and connection to vulnerable youth in Idaho during in an unsettling time. Our residencies granted learning and engagement opportunities to students from preschool through extended high school in visual, performing, media and literary arts. Students demonstrated their resilience and creativity with enthusiasm and productivity.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How does art communicate a message or a cause?

Art communicates a message or a cause by tapping into universal themes and current events, illuminating both the obvious and the unspoken. Art unites us by capturing a feeling or an event that can propel us towards change. By giving a voice to a collective experience the culture can be shifted.

The expression `a picture is worth a thousand words` captures the essence of what images can convey through art. The single photo of earth from space changed our perceptions of the world instantaneously. The power of story in literary and performing arts seamlessly invites us to reimagine ourselves and our past. They transport us to another time and place allowing us to see and feel the world through another person’s eyes.

Creating art from the heart generates messages, and sharing them ignites movements and loyalties. Messages about who we are and what we have been through are naturally embedded in themes found in all artforms. While the way art reaches us has changed, the fact that art communicates is timeless.

In our residency program we continue this legacy by offering arts education that affords students the opportunities to learn how to communicate, empowering the youth of today, and the influencers of tomorrow.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

Students responded to Idaho Arts and Humanities standards by engaging in artistic processes in visual, performing, media and literary arts. Students in IPUL Arts residencies generated compelling art and thoughtful reflections in response to the pandemic and hate crimes in Idaho. Students also engaged with native populations in central Idaho for literary residencies, integrating another cultural perspective in their work. In all residencies there were notable increases in collaboration, arts fluency, and historical context for students. Participants demonstrated knowledge by producing/performing in residencies. One residency student exclaimed during class “I never even knew I could make art!”

Idaho core standards were addressed for Arts and Humanities, interdisciplinary, in all residencies, as follows:

Goal CR1.2 Engage in collaborative learning to foster the creative process
Goal CR1.3 Create an original product that interprets and/or investigates themes, issues and/or movements
Goal CC1.1- Develop a working vocabulary for the disciplines of study.
Goal PR 1.2- Convey meaning through their presentation/performance.


Throughout history people with disabilities have been shunned due to fear and stereotypes. People with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed and are at high risk for food insecurity. Folks who are different still generate uncertainty today throughout much of society.

Our residency students demonstrate that through participation and inclusion they can achieve great things and shows they are much like everyone else. They surprise their teachers, parents and peers with proficiency and enthusiasm. Gains in a variety of skills and cross subject knowledge are documented.

The impact of our program is best witnessed first hand, changing hearts and minds as people witness students’ growth and talent. It is also measured in our data, in both qualitative and quantitative numbers. The impact of our program is in granting untold opportunities to so many in Idaho who would not have been afforded it otherwise. By meeting students in hard to reach locations we give them an opportunity to experience art as they never have before.

This impact of discovering the wonder and creativity of making art changes the implications for their future, and addresses the impacts of accessibility and social equity.


The past year, like other years since the pandemic began, has been both challenging and enlightening. Our IPUL Arts teaching artists demonstrated a great deal of ingenuity, creativity and flexibility. Their herculean efforts made our work serving arts education possible. They traveled in all kinds of weather, learned online platforms, and braved hard to reach sites. We are equally grateful to classroom teachers and community leaders who have partnered with us, assisting our efforts. Through these avenues hundred of students were served in depth arts education all over Idaho. Thousands more were served with inclusive integrated performances at Dance Boise, and Megan Brandels’ show THREADS, a collaboration between OADP and our public school residencies, with an anti-bullying message. The path toward equality in education and arts is underway, and while the challenge remains, we are unwavering in our mission to serve.

At IPUL Arts our commitment to inclusion, accessibility and opportunity are shifting the narrative for both students and society about what people with disabilities can do. With the proper tools like assistive technology, special education and opportunity we find in-roads for young people to flourish and become self aware. Creating value by building confidence and skills in students changes how they see themselves and alters the possibilities for their future. At IPUL Arts we are committed to arts opportunities for those who have so much unique insight to offer.