Artist-in-Residence Program

VSA Minnesota believes that all Minnesota students should have access to high quality arts learning experiences as part of a complete, basic education.

Purpose of the Program

The goal of VSA Minnesota’s Artist-in-Residence Program is to enhance creative expression and personal development through arts experiences for students with disabilities and their peers who otherwise would have limited access to this programming. This program acts as a catalyst for partnerships between educational settings throughout the state and teaching artists to work together to support, strengthen, and expand arts education for Minnesota students with exceptional educational needs.

VSA Minnesota has received funds from the the Kennedy Center’s Office of VSA and Accessibility and Xcel Energy to support this work.

Logo stating that this VSA program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 2016-2017


Any public school (Preschool to Grade 12) or organizations serving as an alternative education site for special education students (Preschool to age 21) in Minnesota serving students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan are eligible to apply to participate in one of VSA Minnesota’s Artists-in-Residence Programs IF:

  • A minimum of 15 student core participants of the residency receive educational support through an IEP/504 Plan;
  • All of the students involved need to meet these educational support requirements and need to be identified as core participants of the residency; and
  • Core participants must receive a minimum of 5 direct contact hours each with the Teaching Artist.

Funding Range

Each residency costs VSA Minnesota from $1,250 to $2,500. The bulk of this cost is covered by funding from the program underwriters noted above (Minnesota Dept. of Education & the Kennedy Center). Applicants are asked to provide support funds of $300 (minimum) to help support their residency.

The Guidelines

Interested schools or educational settings are asked to complete and submit the Artist-in-Residence Request Form prior to submitting the Program Proposal. Download the Request Guidelines and Form. Please read these guidelines carefully.

Download more resources such as planning and evaluation tools on the Resources for Arts in Education page.

Questions? Need help?
VSA Minnesota can provide assistance regarding the application process: contact Craig Dunn directly at (612) 332-3888 ext. 1, (800) 801-3883 ext. 1 or email:
If you have extensive questions, or would like to have a draft of your application reviewed prior to submitting it, please plan to schedule an appointment.


Requests are processed ongoing, on a first-come, first-served basis. Request forms are accepted by mail, fax or hand-delivered to VSA Minnesota. In addition, a digital copy of the request sent as an email attachment is preferred but not mandatory.

  • Email a copy to
  • Mail request to:
    VSA Minnesota
    528 Hennepin Ave., Suite 305
    Minneapolis, MN 55403
  • Fax request to: (612) 305-0132
  • Requests may also be hand-delivered to the VSA Minnesota office at the address above during normal business hours, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday; please call (612) 332-3888 or (800) 801-3883 in advance.


This grant does not support residencies involving:

Educational settings which:

  • have been awarded for two consecutive years (or more). They are not eligible to apply again for two years. (This is an effort to encourage new applicants to apply);
  • have failed to submit the required final report documents on previous awards. VSA Minnesota may not consider requests from these applicants; or
  • are unable to commit to support funds of $300 (minimum).

Teaching Artists that are:

  • not approved by VSA Minnesota. Residency sponsors are encouraged to make use of the VSA Minnesota Teaching Artist Roster or one of our Arts Partner’s Rosters. Teaching Artists who work with VSA Minnesota are professional artists with expertise in one or more arts disciplines and have skills in working with children, youth and teachers in educational settings. In addition, these artists are familiar with various disabilities and effective methods for adapting techniques and differentiating instruction to reach all learners. Review artists on the Teaching Artist Roster; or
  • non-roster artists. Approval must be obtained by VSA Minnesota before submitting the proposal. Credentials will be reviewed based on the same criteria required to be on the VSA Minnesota Teaching Artist Roster. Download the Teaching Artist Roster Application to find out how to apply to be on this roster.

Projects that are:

  • not designed to meet identified IEP goals developed by the residency committee;
  • not designed to reinforce the Minnesota Department of Education Academic Standards in the Arts;
  • primarily performance-based (bringing in an artist or group to perform a concert, play or reading) or demonstration-based (having an artist paint a mural).
  • The activities chosen for the residency must be hands-on with students directly involved in the creative process. Performance or demonstration-based activities in which students are primarily spectators are not considered residencies but may be suitable for the VSA Minnesota Arts Ambassador Program;
  • extra-curricular (out-of-school time) activities. Arts instruction for students should take place as part of the regular school day. However, in-service sessions may occur during non-school hours, and a limited amount of grant funds can support out-of-school time engagement; or
  • not preceded or followed by an in-service session for participating staff.


  • Residency projects are scheduled according to available funding, location of requests and Teaching Artist availability.
  • Projects vary in artistic disciplines and duration, dependent upon the needs of the students.
  • Upon receiving the Artists-in-Residence Request Form, VSA Minnesota will notify the requesting staff within one week.
  • If funding is available, VSA Minnesota will then work to contact Teaching Roster Artists to see who would be interested, available and a good fit for the proposed site based on the request.
  • Residency sponsors and Teaching Artists work together to design the residency project, along with administrative support from VSA Minnesota.
  • If funding is not available, VSA Minnesota will document the site’s interest in developing a residency project and place the request on the waiting list. Should funds become available the requesting staff will be contacted in the order in which the request was received.

Program Partners

Please visit the Resources for Arts in Education page to download forms:

  • Grant Proposal Guidelines & Forms
  • Planning Session Worksheet
  • Residency Expectations
  • Credit & Publicity Guidelines
  • Media Release Forms
  • Expense Reimbursement Forms
  • Evaluation Forms


Meet Previous Program Partners

Edgewood Education Center Transition Students hosted an art exhibit Spring 2013. Take a look at their documentary video of their residency experience.

Teaching Artist Jamie Winter Dawson and her assistant Jamie Vu worked with closely with teacher, Brian Burns at Edgewood Education Center. Students learned about what it looks like to be an artist within the Twin Cities. They visited two vocational artists working in their studios and experienced a demo in the artist’s chosen media. Back in the classroom, students created multiple artworks using artist’s media. They learned the elements of displaying their artwork in an exhibit that is open to the community including three main components of an artist statement and a brief documentary of the residency. Each student completed a final portfolio containing artist statement and 3-5 original works of art. Students planned and organized an exhibition to display their artwork and documentary today inviting the arts community, staff, peers and families to their opening reception.

“By doing an artist statement [students] got a good idea of what type of art they like to create. It was a really good self-reflective lesson” – Brian Burns, Teacher.

“Reflecting upon my time with the staff and students at Edgewood Education Center, I am so inspired by the creativity and individual strengths that each student brought to the ‘Telling Our Stories’ project and by the dedication and care that staff and teachers provided. I feel the project was a huge success and am so grateful to VSA Minnesota for providing the support and resources make the project possible.”– Jamie Winter Dawson, Artist.

This opportunity was made possible by VSA Minnesota and support funds from Edgewood Education Center. This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.