Mission: The mission of VSA arts Tennessee is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in and express themselves through the arts and arts education.
Programs: VSA initiated a pilot program using a national model in demonstrating collaboration between art specialists and special education teachers. In the residencies, artists work with children with disabilities and teachers to reach behavioral goals. Residencies have resulted in student run businesses being created, a presentation of a canvass painting to the State legislative body, a student winning a national award and trip to Washington DC, and national publications. The art institute is for children with and without disabilities. It allows the children to learn about a specific culture through the arts ( dance, drama, music, literature and the visual arts) in an inclusive environment. There are pre and post tests to measure learning and a reception at the end of the institute. VSA is soon to publish some of the findings from research conducted on the programs.
"VSA Arts TN has given me many opportunities to learn and to grow and to show others what I can do. I am ten years old now, but I've been participating in workshops and exhibits for VSA Arts TN since I was 5. I have a disability, but these days, people focus on my ability rather than my disability. If it had not been for VSA Arts TN, I would have never had the chance to show people what I can do. When I grow up, I want to be a paleoartist. When I grow up, I will be a paleoartist. " Jalyn
In January 2009, my son was able to participate in a VSA Arts TN cartoon workshop which resulted in an exhibition at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. His work was then included in ATTEAIII at Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Our community hosted a festival in April 2009 where artwork by individuals was displayed and performances by musicians with disabilities were featured. VSA Arts TN will be holding a PD workshop for visual artists and an art workshop in my community in the coming months. VSA Arts TN has changed the lives of many young people in my community by creating opportunities for them to develop and receive recognition for their marvelous abilities.