Mission - The Idaho Commission on the Arts endeavors
to provide quality experiences in the arts for all Idahoans. Established in 1966,
it is charged by state law to "stimulate and encourage throughout the state
the study and presentation of the arts and public interest and participation
The Commission must also "encourage and assist freedom of artistic expression
essential to the well-being of the arts." The
Commission, funded by the state of Idaho, the National Endowment for the Arts,
and by private funds, is both a service organization with a professional staff
offering technical assistance and training, and a funding organization providing
Vision -The Idaho Commission on the Arts sees an Idaho alive with creativity; an Idaho where the arts are a basic part of every child's formal education; an Idaho where the arts are central to the lives of children and adults on a daily basis; an Idaho that values its traditions and reveres its tradition-bearers; an Idaho that values the artists and the role they play in the quality of life of every community. It is committed to a system of grants, awards, programs, and services that balances accountability with efficiency; to a system of support for the arts that builds on and acts as a catalyst for private support; to providing the Idaho Commission on the Arts employees with the knowledge, skills and resources to fulfill its mission of serving the state equitably and responsively.
Recognizing the importance of the arts is, of necessity, a
community effort. In 1966 the elected representatives of our statewide community
established the Idaho Commission on the Arts to
stimulate and encourage throughout the state the study and presentation of the
arts, and public interest and participation therein...and to encourage and assist
freedom of artistic expression essential to the well-being of the arts. Commissioners,
each appointed with regional considerations by the governor, began setting overall
policies. The first state appropriation was made the following year, and three
years later the Commission received its first grant in support of arts programs
from the National Endowment for the Arts.
GOVERNOR'S AWARDS IN THE ARTS
In 1970, the Commission held the first Governor's Conference on the Arts and initiated the first Governor's Awards in the Arts, among the earliest such initiatives in the nation. The next event will be held in 2010.
Over the next ten years, the Commission moved to the Alexander House on State Street in Boise, hired a full-time staff, and began work on a long-range plan developing goals, objectives, and strategies. In the 1980s, the first grants to individual artists were awarded. By the mid-1980s, the legislature was making General Fund appropriations for Commission programs, and a second long-range plan was underway. The 1990s marked noteworthy funding for arts organizations, underserved communities, and youth at risk. In 2000, after twenty-three years at the Alexander House, the Commission moved to renovated quarters at the Warden's House in the Old Penitentiary Historic District.
ARTS AND SOULS
After being under the Secretary of State for thirty-seven years, the agency was moved under the Office of the Governor. In 2001 and again in 2003 the Commission sponsored a conference, "Arts Matter!" that brought together artists, arts administrators, educators, civic leaders, elected officials, and board members from across the state. In 2005, it amplified that success by hosting the National Association of State Arts Agencies annual meeting that brought 385 arts administrators to Boise. In addition, the Commission has implemented a public art initiative, created and maintained partnerships with other agencies and arts organizations, held several successful annual ArtsPowered Schools conferences, created two long-range plans, and continued work on ways to sustain and expand understanding and participation in the arts by all Idahoans.
JUST DOING IT
Arts administration is no less a community effort than is support of the arts. At the Commission, a professional staff provides resources, information, and technical assistance to artists and to arts and cultural organizations in every corner of our state. In addition, the Commission administers grants, awards, and residencies for Idaho artists, schools, traditional artists, and arts organizations; mails a statewide arts newsletter; and maintains an informative Web site. The staff furnishes the commissioners with information about arts issues and grant applications, and they implement Commission policies; the commissioners, in turn, approve panel recommendations concerning all grants and awards.
Despite the skein of rules and forms and panels-inconvenient perhaps to artists and arts organizations, but essential to stewardship of public monies-the arts in Idaho are well along the path to being part of every child's education and central to the lives of most Idahoans. Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter invites you to join us in our journey together to grow the arts in Idaho.