Work of Art Program
In 2020, Karen partnered with Idaho Parents Unlimited with support from the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to begin a Work of Art Program in Latah County.
“Work of Art” is a statewide employment skill-building through the arts program that provides paid pre-employment skills experience for students with disabilities ages 15 - 21 through the creation of artistic products for professional businesses and non-profits. The program can run several sessions per year, working with a new client each session.
Past clients, like Paradise Creek Bicycles and The Machine Shop, both had outdoor mural installed on their businesses that were designed and painted by the students. The process is simple: Karen finds a client and discusses with them their needs and expectations for their particular art/design project. Leading six workshops, the client attends at least one to talk over their specific project and give the students (or Designers as they are also referred to as) a chance to ask questions regarding the clients project and expectations. Clients are welcome to visit the workshop at any time. As part of this pre-employment training, students learn how to fill out a job application, work on their resume, participate in mock interviews and learn about other job related skills like filling out a time card. As designers, they learn art principles and are introduced to new art mediums. As part of the creative process they collaborate on the design project, work on technique as well as put together an artists statement for the final reception.
Karen observes, "The key to bringing these students together in a creative work environment, is for them to find common ground. Our designers may not hang out together outside the workshop environment, but as we near completion of a project, they have a better understanding of each other. From not feeling comfortable communicating with someone so different from themselves, to interviewing one and other as fellow team members. When our final art piece is finished, each student is aware that everyone was an important part of the final art. No one has had a free ride. The responsibility of the projects success rides upon all shoulders equally."
If you would like to be considered as a client for this program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching Art to Potlatch area students
Through out the past eight years, Karen has been working with Potlatch area students grades 4 through 12 in large scale art. From baseball field dugout, to an Elementary school entrance to a public installation showcasing historical Potlatch figures, she has led students through the stages of design to painting a mural . Filling her hometown with outdoor art has been a silent goal of Karen's. Enabling children to be a part of this goal is a bonus. Karen recalls one 6th grader telling his friends that "I wasn't going to have anything to do with this mural painting thing. But, man, I'm so glad I came. This is so cool, I'm going to tell everybody I helped paint this!"
Prior to tackling murals with area youth, Karen worked with the Potlatch Arts Council teaching an after school art program, The article below tells of this program. Currently the program is not being implemented.