The Artist in Residence Studio program or AIRS is a Vancouver-based initiative for providing equitable access to consistent, high quality and socially relevant visual arts education for children.
The AIRS program works in partnership with the Vancouver School Board to create dedicated art studios within public elementary schools to enable a local, professional artist to work collaboratively with teachers and provide meaningful hands-on visual arts engagements for children across the whole school.
Learning in and through the visual arts is essential for both academic development and the social-emotional wellbeing of all children. Participation in the visual arts enlarges the imagination; it promotes visual literacy and critical reflection; it develops flexible thinking and resilience through independent problem-solving; it builds confidence and self-esteem through material engagement and authentic self-expression, and invites an attitude of careful, felt attention to the world we live in and the unique perspectives of others. These are the critical, creative and empathic capacities that all children need to realize their full potential within our rapidly changing, multi-media and interconnected world.
Research shows that sustained engagement in the arts has a significant impact on life outcomes for youth with socio-economic disadvantage, including academic achievement, employment opportunities and civic engagement. Wesbild is proud to support the collective community of teachers, artists, administrators and local arts organizations that make the AIRS program a reality.