Community Ensembles


For more than 35 years, Art Center East has provided Artists in Rural Schools experiences to K-12 schools across ten counties in Eastern Oregon.

Artists with substantial experience working in arts education or with an arts organization are invited to submit applications to teach as AiRS artists through ACE. AiRS artists travel to schools throughout Eastern Oregon to bring the arts to K-12 students, teachers, school staff, and community members.

Art Center East (ACE) supports partnerships with regional and statewide artists, arts and arts education organizations in order to achieve the following: insure the arts are an integral component of education in Oregon; and promote lifelong learning arts experiences for eastern Oregonians. Art Center East works with professional teaching artists in the Artist in Rural Schools (AiRS) program to promote arts education in a variety of learning environments. The AiRS program is offered to all the schools in Art Center East’s 10- county service area in rural Eastern Oregon. These program offerings are offered in a wide variety of art disciplines: visual (watercolor, cartooning, murals, puppet making), dance, literary arts, theater, and music. Teaching artists are selected for their artistic qualifications and their proven abilities as educators.

PLEASE NOTE: The teaching artist roster for Art Center East’s AiRS program is intended as a resource for K-12 schools within ACE’s 10-county service area in rural Eastern Oregon. Although ACE promotes the AiRS program to schools and other community groups/organizations seeking professional teaching artists to work with their students/community, they cannot guarantee that rostered teaching artists will be offered work.


Art Center East will accept all applications but we are particularly looking for artists and programs that fill gaps in our current offerings. Some of these areas are listed below:

  • bilingual teaching artists (Spanish specifically)

  • muralists with experience working in a classroom setting

  • glass artists with experience working in a classroom setting

  • Artists who integrate art with STEM subjects (robotics, filmmakers, technical arts, maker art etc)

  • Programs that explore specific cultural perspectives

  • Explorations of social justice through art

  • Explorations of pride of place and place-making through art

  • Dance artists (break dancing, hip hop for example)

  • Comic artists with experience in a classroom

  • Touring theatrical productions

  • Performances (music, dance, etc)

  • Or other compelling art forms

Art Center East off-site Teaching Artists offer:

  • Art Experiences:  Artists provide approximately 20 on-site classroom hours per week, with four 45-60 minutes of sessions per day.

  • All ACE AiRS program artists are listed in our Artist Roster that schools and organizations use as their “arts experience” catalog for the year.

  • ACE AiRS programs are available to schools in the following 10 counties: Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler.

  • Art Center East has a small staff is here to support you with contracting, logistics, marketing and more.

ACE AiRS Program Format:

All schools located within Art Center East’s 10-county service area are welcome to utilize the ACE AiRS program.

  •  The ten counties include Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler.

  • Artist experiences managed by Art Center East are scheduled by the week. Artists provide approximately 20 on-site classroom hours per week, with four 45-60 minutes of sessions per day.

  • The average request is 1 - 2 weeks, but it can vary depending on the specific schools' needs.

  • Artists may work with pre-school through adult populations, including special education, at-risk and gifted populations, but the majority occur in elementary and middle schools. Additional services may include performances, workshops, teacher training, and individually designed special projects.

  • Art Center East encourages artists to develop offerings and other programs that support or enhance existing arts curriculum at a school, paying close attention to the Oregon Department of Education’s Arts Content Standards. Artists are also encouraged to develop staff in-service options, as well as follow-up activities or resources that may be left with teachers.

  • Each experience requires the artist to participate in a thorough pre-experience planning meeting, either in person or by phone, with Site Coordinators and teachers designated by ACE in order to arrange orientation, class schedules and materials.

  • A teacher must be present at all times during school sessions or other programs. Artists may also be asked to help plan community outreach activities.

Eligibility & Review Process:

To be considered, an artist must have substantial experience working in arts education or with an arts organization that offers a fully developed arts education program (arts workshops for children and adults). An experienced teaching artist should be able to make connections between the art form they are teaching with another educational area, such as science, social studies, history, or math. Artists who are residents of Oregon State, or who are residents of Idaho or Washington and live within 100 miles of an Oregon public school are eligible to apply. Because the AiRS program is supported by Oregon-based Foundations, teaching artists are reimbursed for one round-trip in-state travel only; round-trip travel reimbursement for a non-Oregon teaching artist is calculated based on the first city-of-entry near the Oregon state line to the school.

Minimum qualifications are:

  • 2 years’ experience working in arts education in one or more of the following setting: public/private school K-12, art centers, youth organizations.

  • Background check

  • Artists must be familiar with the Oregon Department of Education’s Oregon Arts Content Standards.

  • Artists must also demonstrate the ability to integrate the Oregon Arts Content Standards into their program. Ability to design curriculum across broad age-range (K-12).

Application Evaluation

Applications are reviewed by Art Center East staff for completeness and eligibility. Applicants are selected based on their demonstrated professional ability and artistic strength. Strong preference will be given to those applicants who have a minimum of two years experience of teaching in the classroom and can show that they have the ability to support Oregon Content Standards in Art and in other content areas in their program curriculum. Eligible applications and accompanying documentation are reviewed by Art Center East‘s Programs Committee.

Applicants will be notified via email of Art Center East’s decision. Artists are accepted into the program for a three-year term. Please note that acceptance onto the roster does not guarantee contracted work.

Reapplying Artists

All AiRS artists must reapply every three years to renew their eligibility.