July 8, 2011
Idaho: Idaho Meth Project, Paint the State
Methamphetamine abuse—and its related social, health and law enforcement costs—is a serious challenge in Idaho. The Idaho Commission on the Arts (ICA) collaborated with the Idaho Meth Project last year to help the state combat this problem. As part of an aggressive statewide campaign to raise youth awareness about the dangers of meth, the Idaho Meth Project launched a public art project called Paint the State. Modeled after a project undertaken by the Montana Meth Project, Paint the State was a contest inviting teenagers to create art based on the theme “Not Even Once.” First Lady Lori Otter facilitated connections with ICA, which used its statewide network of regional public art advisors to reach out to local communities, design the contest adjudication process, select judges and recruit photographers to document the works. More than 1,000 students participated to create 348 public artworks in all of Idaho’s 44 counties. Private companies funded cash prizes, awarded on the county and state level, which minimized direct costs to ICA. The final awards ceremony took place at the state capitol with the governor and first lady in attendance. The artworks continue to be promoted via an on-line gallery.
The Meth Project is a multistate initiative (first launched in Montana and now active in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois and Wyoming as well as Idaho), so collaboration opportunities may exist for other state arts agencies, too. To learn more about the Idaho partnership, contact ICA Executive Director Michael Faison.
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