Kennedy Center Office of VSA and Accessibility

Kennedy Center Office of VSA and Accessibility Serving the international disability and arts community since 1974, VSA and Accessibility provides opportunities for people with disabilities, of all ages, across the globe to learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts.

Serving the international disability and arts community, VSA provides opportunities for people with disabilities, of all ages, across the globe to learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. Founded 40 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, the VSA international network supports and offers a wide array of accessible cultural, arts and education programs, and experiences. The Accessibility Office at the Kennedy Center strives to make the cultural arts accessible to all by providing professional development for cultural administrators; accessibility services for patrons and visitors with disabilities; and career opportunities in the arts for people with disabilities.

Serving the international disability and arts community, VSA provides opportunities for people with disabilities, of all ages, across the globe to learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. Founded 40 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, the VSA international network supports and offers a wide array of accessible cultural, arts and education programs, and experiences. The Accessibility Office at the Kennedy Center strives to make the cultural arts accessible to all by providing professional development for cultural administrators; accessibility services for patrons and visitors with disabilities; and career opportunities in the arts for people with disabilities.

Operating as usual

"But long before the word “pandemic” became the word of the day, a trio of leading Cleveland-area arts organizations wer...
06/08/2021
Can Assembly For The Arts Help Local Creatives?

"But long before the word “pandemic” became the word of the day, a trio of leading Cleveland-area arts organizations were taking steps to not only bolster Northeast Ohio’s artistic reputation, but improve it. Their goal: Make the area a haven for innovation and inclusion that’s second to none."

The newly formed organization aims to assist, inspire and celebrate local arts.

Planning an event? Check out the Planning Guide to Making Temporary Events Accessible to People with Disabilities from A...
06/02/2021

Planning an event? Check out the Planning Guide to Making Temporary Events Accessible to People with Disabilities from ADA National Network.

https://adata.org/guide/planning-guide-making-temporary-events-accessible-people-disabilities

[image description: photograph of a man and women facing away from us, with a carnival or fair happening in the background. Color flags and picnic tables with red umbrellas, full of people can be seen.]

Planning an event? Check out the Planning Guide to Making Temporary Events Accessible to People with Disabilities from ADA National Network.

https://adata.org/guide/planning-guide-making-temporary-events-accessible-people-disabilities

[image description: photograph of a man and women facing away from us, with a carnival or fair happening in the background. Color flags and picnic tables with red umbrellas, full of people can be seen.]

"They said they overheard the director say, 'Nicole was great, but I could never give her the part because she's in a wh...
05/28/2021
From ‘Modern Family’ To ‘Superstore,’ Nicole Lynn Evans Talks Breaking Into Hollywood With A Disability

"They said they overheard the director say, 'Nicole was great, but I could never give her the part because she's in a wheelchair. That hurt me. That was tough."

[image description: photograph of a woman in a wheelchair with a purple background behind her.]

Nicole Lynn Evans knew breaking into Hollywood wouldn't be easy, but she never doubted she could do it. Now, she hopes to inspire other people with disabilities never to question their potential.

"Technology that’s designed in partnership with the disability community is ultimately more useful for everyone. More an...
05/25/2021
How Jason Barnes Takes On Accessibility Challenges - Google

"Technology that’s designed in partnership with the disability community is ultimately more useful for everyone. More and more, people in the disability community are the co-creators of the tools that are helping them and others pursue their goals and live the lives they want."

[image description: photograph of a man in a black t-shirt and black cap sitting at the drum set. He has a robotic drumming arm on his right arm, and drumsticks in both hands.]

Google technology provides the disability community with helpful tools. Meet Jason Barnes, a drummer with a prosthetic arm powered by machine learning.

The Kennedy Center Office of VSA and Accessibility is pleased to announce three upcoming Online Courses!✏️  Introduction...
05/25/2021
Intro to Arts RB overview

The Kennedy Center Office of VSA and Accessibility is pleased to announce three upcoming Online Courses!

✏️ Introduction to Arts and Special Education (6/14)
✏️ Differentiated Instruction In And Through The Arts (6/14)
✏️ Making the Special Education—Arts Education Connection (7/12)

Learn more or register today at kennedycentercourses.brightspace.com!

From Kennedy Center Education Digital Learning

"Let’s face it, the word “inclusion” can be quite fluffy and misunderstood by many but everyone knows what the word “exc...
05/24/2021
Inclusive design 101

"Let’s face it, the word “inclusion” can be quite fluffy and misunderstood by many but everyone knows what the word “exclusion” means – left out or left behind. One of the best ways to understand inclusion therefore is to pay attention to who’s being left out or left behind from using the product or service you’re building."

[image description: photograph of a drop of water with a pool of rippling water around it. A rainbow flag reflects in the water.]

Let’s face it, the word “inclusion” can be quite fluffy and misunderstood by many but everyone knows what the word “exclusion” means – left out or left behind. One of the best ways to understand in…

If you have experience, knowledge, and expertise working with students with disabilities pre-kindergarten through grade ...
05/24/2021

If you have experience, knowledge, and expertise working with students with disabilities pre-kindergarten through grade 12, or providing professional learning to their teachers, you could become a Kennedy Center VSA Program Site!

We are seeking U.S. based arts, education, and cultural organizations to provide accessible, arts-based education experiences to students with disabilities, transition opportunities to youth with disabilities, or professional development to educators of students with disabilities.

See if your work aligns with VSA Program goals and if you have the capacity to execute a VSA Program in your community, school, museum, or performing arts venue!

Visit https://kec.memberclicks.net/become-a-vsa-program-site for details. Applications are due by JUNE 30.

If you have experience, knowledge, and expertise working with students with disabilities pre-kindergarten through grade 12, or providing professional learning to their teachers, you could become a Kennedy Center VSA Program Site!

We are seeking U.S. based arts, education, and cultural organizations to provide accessible, arts-based education experiences to students with disabilities, transition opportunities to youth with disabilities, or professional development to educators of students with disabilities.

See if your work aligns with VSA Program goals and if you have the capacity to execute a VSA Program in your community, school, museum, or performing arts venue!

Visit https://kec.memberclicks.net/become-a-vsa-program-site for details. Applications are due by JUNE 30.

"Some disabled people have spent a year devouring shows online, and they want continued access. Some theaters are promis...
05/23/2021
Disabled People Fear Being Left Behind as U.K. Culture Venues Reopen

"Some disabled people have spent a year devouring shows online, and they want continued access. Some theaters are promising to provide it, but fears persist."

[image description: a woman in a red dress and black sweater, seated in a wheelchair with a brick building behind her.]

Some disabled people have spent a year devouring shows online, and they want continued access. Some theaters are promising to provide it, but fears persist.

Some great insight for educators working on productions with or incorporating Deaf students and actors![image descriptio...
05/19/2021
ASL and Theatre: Here’s What Not To Do

Some great insight for educators working on productions with or incorporating Deaf students and actors!

[image description: Actors on the set of a theater production, one signing ASL on the right, while talking to cast members on the left, seated and standing around a couch. A theatrical set staircase can be seen in the background.]

A Deaf educator who receives numerous emails from theatre teachers/directors gives advice on best practices for incorporating Deaf actors and ASL.

We are HIRING for a Programmer of Access/VSA ProjectsKennedy Center Office of VSA & AccessibilityFull Time / Washington,...
05/17/2021

We are HIRING for a Programmer of Access/VSA Projects
Kennedy Center Office of VSA & Accessibility
Full Time / Washington, DC

The position is a project manager extraordinaire with an attention to detail, substantive supervisory experience and a track record of working with and supporting the development of emerging young and professional artists, and the ability to execute projects from beginning to end. The Programmer oversees the development, administration, coordination and implementation of performing and visual arts programs, projects, competitions, performances and exhibits for/by/with children, youth, emerging and professional artists with disabilities and ensures accessibility is integral from start to finish.

Learn more or apply now at https://phg.tbe.taleo.net/phg01/ats/careers/v2/viewRequisition?org=THEKENNC&cws=38&rid=1037

[image description: photograph of the Kennedy Center Grand Foyer including red carpet and bright chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. A bust of John F. Kennedy is in the center right and people are walking away from the camera towards a performance at the end of the hall.]

We are HIRING for a Programmer of Access/VSA Projects
Kennedy Center Office of VSA & Accessibility
Full Time / Washington, DC

The position is a project manager extraordinaire with an attention to detail, substantive supervisory experience and a track record of working with and supporting the development of emerging young and professional artists, and the ability to execute projects from beginning to end. The Programmer oversees the development, administration, coordination and implementation of performing and visual arts programs, projects, competitions, performances and exhibits for/by/with children, youth, emerging and professional artists with disabilities and ensures accessibility is integral from start to finish.

Learn more or apply now at https://phg.tbe.taleo.net/phg01/ats/careers/v2/viewRequisition?org=THEKENNC&cws=38&rid=1037

[image description: photograph of the Kennedy Center Grand Foyer including red carpet and bright chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. A bust of John F. Kennedy is in the center right and people are walking away from the camera towards a performance at the end of the hall.]

This year, SchoolTalk DC's 12th annual Voices of Change program is a creative competitive experience! Eight school teams...
05/13/2021

This year, SchoolTalk DC's 12th annual Voices of Change program is a creative competitive experience! Eight school teams will square off and compete with original spoken word pieces and short multimedia works with the theme, “The Day After Tomorrow.” Tune it to watch youth compete live on SchoolTalk’s Instagram (instagram.com/schooltalkdc) page and YouTube channel (youtube.com/channel/UC67tWaK7mda9DrbveNg6oaw) beginning Monday, May 17th @ 5:30pm.

Learn more at schooltalkdc.org/voices-of-change!

[image description: graphic of four blocks in red, blue, green, and yellow with modern graphic images of students with microphones in black and white. Underneath is the text in black on a white background, "Voices of Change" then smaller in red "A competitive Creative Experience" followed in blue with "The Day After Tomorrow."]

This year, SchoolTalk DC's 12th annual Voices of Change program is a creative competitive experience! Eight school teams will square off and compete with original spoken word pieces and short multimedia works with the theme, “The Day After Tomorrow.” Tune it to watch youth compete live on SchoolTalk’s Instagram (instagram.com/schooltalkdc) page and YouTube channel (youtube.com/channel/UC67tWaK7mda9DrbveNg6oaw) beginning Monday, May 17th @ 5:30pm.

Learn more at schooltalkdc.org/voices-of-change!

[image description: graphic of four blocks in red, blue, green, and yellow with modern graphic images of students with microphones in black and white. Underneath is the text in black on a white background, "Voices of Change" then smaller in red "A competitive Creative Experience" followed in blue with "The Day After Tomorrow."]

Arts for All Festival of the Arts heads online with this mask making workshop by Arts for All Kentucky. Join Cutivetti D...
05/12/2021
Virtual Workshop Visual Arts

Arts for All Festival of the Arts heads online with this mask making workshop by Arts for All Kentucky. Join Cutivetti Dye and friends and learn how to make a clay mask!

[image description: a still from a video, with the presenter seated on a stage at a table. On the table are masks and art supplies. The presenter is male with black hair. he is smiling and wearing a grey t-shirt with red apron.]

Planning an event? Check out the Planning Guide to Making Temporary Events Accessible to People with Disabilities from A...
05/11/2021

Planning an event? Check out the Planning Guide to Making Temporary Events Accessible to People with Disabilities from ADA National Network.

[image description: photograph of a man and women facing away from us, with a carnival or fair happening in the background. Color flags and picnic tables with red umbrellas, full of people can be seen.]

Planning an event? Check out the Planning Guide to Making Temporary Events Accessible to People with Disabilities from ADA National Network.

[image description: photograph of a man and women facing away from us, with a carnival or fair happening in the background. Color flags and picnic tables with red umbrellas, full of people can be seen.]

“I'm proud of my content. I like to tell myself that maybe, somewhere in the back of their mind, the video will stick wi...
05/10/2021
Disabled creators on TikTok show the world it’s time for a different kind of star

“I'm proud of my content. I like to tell myself that maybe, somewhere in the back of their mind, the video will stick with them. And maybe, eventually, they will take a baby step in being more open and understanding and empathetic and thoughtful.”

“It's always funny when people ask, ‘Where's this community been this whole time?’ Like, right here. ... We've been here the whole time,. And I think it's our time. I really do.”

[image description: photograph of a woman with a black shirt and brown hair, smiling; against a dark red industrial background.]

These creators educate and show their disabilities with pride.

"In recognition of the specific hurdles faced by disabled artists, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the...
05/05/2021
$1,000 Emergency Grants for NYC Artists With Disabilities

"In recognition of the specific hurdles faced by disabled artists, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has announced a new grant: The Barbara and Carl Zydney Grant for Artists with Disabilities. The program offers $1,000 cash grants to artists with disabilities who have “experienced hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis,” according to a statement on NYFA’s website. It is open to visual, media, music, performing, and literary artists who live in the five boroughs of New York City."

[image description: a photograph of paintbrushes in a glass jar, in varying sizes, with color paint on the tips.]

Applications for the New York Foundation for the Arts grant open May 4.

Join us today at 3pm ET for our newest webinar: Improv as a UDL Strategy to Increase Accessibility in High School Writin...
05/05/2021

Join us today at 3pm ET for our newest webinar:

Improv as a UDL Strategy to Increase Accessibility in High School Writing Instruction

Description: Improv – the art of spontaneous theater – aligns well with the Universal Design for Learning framework, which aims to remove barriers to learning for all. Improv also offers novel ways to support student exploration of audience, purpose, genre, ideation, and narrative – essential aspects of writing across the curriculum. Join me for an active, on-your-feet exploration of improv, UDL, and writing instruction. This session is intended for school and community-based educators working with high school aged populations, but educators of all stripes will walk away with ideas and inspiration.

Presenter: Jim Ansaldo

Register now at https://kec.memberclicks.net/webinars

[image description: image of a laptop at an angle, showing part of the keyboard and screen, black keys on a silver laptop frame. On the left, the Kennedy Center VSA logo with the text Webinars #VSAWebinars.]

Join us today at 3pm ET for our newest webinar:

Improv as a UDL Strategy to Increase Accessibility in High School Writing Instruction

Description: Improv – the art of spontaneous theater – aligns well with the Universal Design for Learning framework, which aims to remove barriers to learning for all. Improv also offers novel ways to support student exploration of audience, purpose, genre, ideation, and narrative – essential aspects of writing across the curriculum. Join me for an active, on-your-feet exploration of improv, UDL, and writing instruction. This session is intended for school and community-based educators working with high school aged populations, but educators of all stripes will walk away with ideas and inspiration.

Presenter: Jim Ansaldo

Register now at https://kec.memberclicks.net/webinars

[image description: image of a laptop at an angle, showing part of the keyboard and screen, black keys on a silver laptop frame. On the left, the Kennedy Center VSA logo with the text Webinars #VSAWebinars.]

Wednesday, May 5 is the last day to enter The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Emerging Young Artists comp...
05/03/2021

Wednesday, May 5 is the last day to enter The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Emerging Young Artists competition! This program will provide 15 artists ages 16-25 with a total of $60,000 in awards, plus the opportunity to have their work toured throughout the US.

The theme for this year’s contest is Merge, which invites artists to consider the intersections and combinations of their creative process and disability identity. In art, the juxtaposition of ideas can blur distinctions or reveal something new. Merge asks artists to explore uniting paths and ask what we can learn when it all comes together.

See link in bio for details or to apply.

[image description: graphic with light blue background and a photograph of 15 artists from a previous year seated and standing in front of a piece of artwork. The text above the photo says "Emerging Young Artists. 15 artists ages 16-25 will win $60,000 in prizes!" The text below the photo says "application deadline extended: may 5."]

Wednesday, May 5 is the last day to enter The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Emerging Young Artists competition! This program will provide 15 artists ages 16-25 with a total of $60,000 in awards, plus the opportunity to have their work toured throughout the US.

The theme for this year’s contest is Merge, which invites artists to consider the intersections and combinations of their creative process and disability identity. In art, the juxtaposition of ideas can blur distinctions or reveal something new. Merge asks artists to explore uniting paths and ask what we can learn when it all comes together.

See link in bio for details or to apply.

[image description: graphic with light blue background and a photograph of 15 artists from a previous year seated and standing in front of a piece of artwork. The text above the photo says "Emerging Young Artists. 15 artists ages 16-25 will win $60,000 in prizes!" The text below the photo says "application deadline extended: may 5."]

Address

2700 F St NW
Washington D.C., DC
20566

Telephone

(202) 416-8898

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Our Story

VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all. Each year, 7 million people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs, in every aspect of the arts – from visual arts, performing arts, to the literary arts.

Four principles guide VSA programs and affiliates:


  • Every young person with a disability deserves access to high quality arts learning experiences.

  • All artists in schools and art educators should be prepared to include students with disabilities in their instruction.
  • Nearby government services


    Comments

    SUBMIT: The 2021 ABLE Assembly Call for Proposals is open. The Deadline is December 15. Submit at berklee.edu/able.
    PARTICIPATE: Our 2020 ABLE Assembly: Arts Better the Lives of Everyone Conference will be held ONLINE October 3, 4, 10, and 11. Join us for an extraordinary professional development opportunity! You can register and learn more at berklee.edu/able.
    Thank you to the Nordson Charitable Foundation and the Kennedy Center's Very Special Arts for supporting AMAISE Training! Adaptive Music for Achievement in Inclusion and Special Education gives special ed and inclusion teachers and specialists working in San Diego's East County schools the opportunity to learn to make music a part of learning each day. April 15-16th! We are so grateful for you! Registration is now open. https://www.nordson.com/en/our-company/community
    Jason Ellsworth is a former national VSA ambassador, who is in desperate need of our help. As a child, Jason performed on stages around the world, sharing his musical gifts while bringing awareness to this wonderful organization and the plight of those individuals facing seemingly insurmountable challenges. He did so with grace, humility, and a great sense of humor. Now Jason is fighting stage-four cancer and needs financial assistance. I know him personally, and I know that he would NEVER ask this for himself, but a kind soul started the gofundme to alleviate some of the burden of mounting treatment expenses, which continue to grow daily. This after managing the lifetime of obstacles and challenges that come along with his CP and blindness. Please consider making a small donation to help this beautiful human. Thank you.
    From our colleagues: DANCE PERFORMANCE AS SOCIAL ACTION Disability Justice Studies + Choreography June 23 - 29, 2019 deadline to apply: February 1, 2019 Movement exploration, choreographic inquiry, and disability studies will be led by: ROSEMARIE GARLAND-THOMSON, disability justice and bio-ethics scholar and activist, VICTORIA MARKS, choreographer and UCLA professor, and ALICE SHEPPARD, choreographer, performer and dancing provocateur.
    AXIS Dance Company seeks person with SCI for a PAID Apprenticeship. Passion for movement a must but you don't need to be an experienced dancer.
    Opulent Mobility 2018 will be at Thymele Arts in Hollywood, CA December 2-8. The online exhibit will go up December 15th. Come re-imagine disability with us!
    LEARN: The Music Education and Special Needs Study Group (January-March 2019) is a fantastic professional development opportunity for music educators, special educators, and teaching artists who want to learn how to teach music to students with disabilities. Participation is FREE but registration is required. Online engagement is possible - you can learn from anywhere! Go to berklee.edu/biaesn/mued-study-group for more information. Image may contain: text
    Congrats to NYC for supporting artists with disabilities. Glad to see folks like Gregg Mozgala, Simi Linton mentioned!
    Awesome day at the VSA conference in Atlanta! Lots of inspiring professionals with a lot of enthusiasm. I love being a part of this!