Visiting Artist Program

The Visiting Artist Program, (VAP), is an outreach program designed to broaden the interest and increase participation in visual arts beyond the art festival and into the classroom for students in the Richardson Independent School District community. Cottonwood artists are matched by their grade level preferences and mediums before making a one to two-hour presentation to a classroom in order to share, demonstrate, and provide hands on art activity or to just tell their story and share their experiences. There are benefits for the artists as well for participation in the program – they are afforded early check in at the festival site, goodie bags at check in and a complimentary night’s stay at the Cottonwood’s host hotel, Courtyard Marriott at Spring Valley.

These visits provide artists an opportunity to give back to a community that has strongly supported fine arts for five decades. They are enthusiastic about sharing their talent, knowledge and passion for art with RISD students.

Teachers welcome these visits that expand the curriculum and bring lessons-to-life in the classroom. With fine art programs always being the first to receive austerity budget cuts, programs like this are an important supplement. Partnering with RISD through Cottonwood Outreach Programs like VAP build good relationships that bond the community.

Our students have opportunities to meet real artists, not just study about one who may have painted or created sculptures centuries ago. Many of the visits are hands on – the lessons that reach and teach are never forgotten.

If you are interested in participating in the program as a classroom or as an Exhibiting Artist at Cottonwood, email us at