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.

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


Check back here in September for the 2018-19 application!


First Friday, April 6th, 6-8pm
Blue Heron Education Center Gallery
The Army of Scholars
Geri Siebert returned to the Multi-Age classes at Chautauqua this year to work with students in conjunction with their study of China.  After learning about the life-size Terracotta Warriors protecting the first emperor, students crafted miniature sculptures that will come together as The Army of Scholars on display at the Blue Heron Education Center Gallery during the month of April.

Friday, April 27th, 6-8pm
Chautauqua Elementary School
Dia de los Niños Celebration
featuring Baile Folklórico
Dancer Nidia Sahagún is sharing the gorgeous art form of Baile Folklórico with 1st graders at Chautauqua Elementary.  Students in each of 3 classes are learning a traditional dance from a different state in Mexico.  Their rich performance will be for all to enjoy at a Dia de los Niños celebration from 6-8pm at Chautauqua – free and open to the public!

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

Vashon Artists in Schools (VAIS) is a Vashon Center for the Arts program in partnership with Vashon Island School District.  Additional and generous support is provided by Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, Vashon Partners in Education (PIE), Vashon Thriftway, and individual donors.

Thank you for supporting our students!