VSA (Kennedy Center)

VSA (Kennedy Center)

VSA, is an international organization on arts, education and disability, which was founded in 1974 by former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, and is headquartered in Washington, DC. In 2011, VSA became the Department of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The purpose of VSA – which started out as Very Special Arts – is "to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities" and to "promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the arts, education and culture around the world." Each year, people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs, which cover all artistic genres—music, dance, visual arts, theater and literary arts. This is accomplished through a network of affiliates in 52 countries and VSA state organizations across America.

On September 28, 2005 the Board of Trustees of the Kennedy Center and the Board of Directors of VSA arts – as the organization was known at the time – announced their formal affiliation, effective October 3, 2005. The stated purpose of this action was to "enable both organizations to expand and strengthen their arts education programs to better serve children, families and all people with disabilities around the world." Other reasons cited were to allow for the sharing of resources and programming between the two organizations. The affiliation became a full merger in 2011.

Read more about VSA (Kennedy Center):  Principles and Philosophy, Notable Programs, Notable Artists, Name Changes

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VSA (Kennedy Center) - Name Changes
... VSAand its name have evolved since the organization was founded ... VSAhas played a significant role over the years in changing societysattitudes toward people with disabilities ... With that change,the organization has regularly looked at its own identity to ensure it is consistent with current attitudes and language used by the disability ...