Treasure Valley Institute for Children's Arts still seeking renovation funding

Posted at 6:20 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 20:22:33-05

The Treasure Valley Institute for Children's Arts, or TRICA, has been working on plans to expand programs in the valley for a decade.

Founder Jon Swarthout started the organization 22 years ago, currently providing art programs to 3,000 young children in the Treasure Valley. Within three years of opening their new facility, Swarthout says they'll be able to triple the number of children they reach on a yearly basis.

"The building sort of represents sustainability," board member Decker Rolph said. "It's an anchoring effect in the future of TRICA."

The only problem is, there's a long list of renovations that still need to be done and they still need $1.8 million to fund the project.

TRICA purchased the building in 2007, after it sat vacant for decades attracting crime and drug activity.

"I thought, 'let's buy this building contaminated with meth and about to fall down, and raise five million dollars and turn it into a center for children's arts education," Swarthout said.

Then, the recession hit.

"It as the worst time ever to be raising money," Swarthout said.

So fast forward ten years, and the construction plans themselves are complete down to the dollar, but the money is still lacking.

They've already completed a ton of renovating, including removing meth residue from the building and replacing large windows on the main floor.

TRICA now completely owns the building thanks to massive donations from large donors like the J. A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, but they're at a stand still until they raise money to complete the construction.

No matter how long it takes, Jon will see the project through. His passion for providing children an art rich education stems from his own childhood, rich in cultural experiences in the arts.

"An education in the arts is important to every child, and it needs to be a part of their learning system," Swarthout said. "We have to make sure we're teaching children compassion, respect, and a belief in themselves that will pour over into their regular life."

Once the project comes to fruition, the building will be home to summer camps, after school programs, art, dance and music classes, and much more.

If you'd like to donate to the cause, visit their website here