Creative Spirit by dfgh4bnmu


									VOL. 12 ISSUE 4

                                        Creative Spirit
                                        VSA arts in Action

                                                                      2008 Start with the Arts
                                                                          Family Festival
                                                                        May 30 & 31, Washington, D.C.
                                                                                see page 10

   Creating a society where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts
         Spirit                                                    Highlights
soula antoniou president
veda herman Vice president
                                                                                                          pg. 4
                                                                                        Andrea Peterson, 2007 National
james modrick Vice president of affiliate and education serVices                        Teacher of the Year, talks arts and
rachel maleh Vice president of public awareness                                         education with VSA arts President
richard lynch art director                                                                               Soula Antoniou.
jean wussow director of public awareness
caroline weaver editor

VSA arts is an international nonprofit organization
founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy
Smith to create a society where people with
disabilities learn through, participate in, and
enjoy the arts. VSA arts provides educators,
parents, and artists with resources and the
                                                                                                          pg. 10
                                                                                                          Join us for free performances, arts
tools to support arts programming in schools
                                                                                                          activities, and more at the VSA arts
and communities. VSA arts showcases the
accomplishments of artists with disabilities                                                              Start with the Arts Family Festival
and promotes increased access to the arts                                                                 in Washington, D.C., May 30 & 31.
for people with disabilities. Each year millions
of people participate in VSA arts programs
through a nationwide network of affiliates and in
55 countries around the world. VSA arts is an
affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts.
                                                                                                          pg. 14
VSA ARTS advisory board of directors                                          VSA arts announces the recipients
ambassador jean kennedy smith founder                                         of its 24th annual International
ronald i. dozoretz chairman
                                                                              Young Soloists Award.
soula antoniou president
maha al-juffali ghandour
david geanacopoulos
lucy lehman
gerald and paula mcnichols
thomas e. wheeler

VSA arts
818 Connecticut Avenue, NW
                                                                                                          pg. 15
Suite 600                                                                                                  Ping Chong & Company bring to
Washington, DC 20006
                                                                                                           life the VSA arts commission Inside/
(202) 628-2800 or 1-800-933-8721 (Toll-free)
                                                                                                           Out…voices from the disability
(202) 429-0868 (Fax)
(202) 737-0645 (TTY)                                                                                       community.

alternative formats of
The Creative Spirit are                                            Members of Inner Harbour African Drum Ensemble work with children on a percussion workshop
                                                                   during the 2007 Start with the Arts Family Festival at Union Station. For 2008 festival details, turn
available upon request.                                            to page 10 or visit Photo: Scott Suchman

                                                                   The content of this publication, developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education,
                                                                   does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not
                                                                   assume endorsement by the federal government.

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    Andrea Peterson

                              Andrea Peterson, 2007                   In addition to being an outstanding community leader and
                              National Teacher of the Year,           music teacher, Peterson is a passionate musician in her
                              graduated cum laude from the            own right. She has been a member of the Northwest Wind
                              University of Washington with           Symphony since 1996 and has composed music and lyrics
                              bachelor’s degrees in music             for her classes.
                              and music education. Since
                                                                      As an educator, Peterson has witnessed firsthand how
                              1999, she has taught music
                                                                      the arts make a difference for all students, both with
                              and chorus to grades 1–6
                                                                      and without disabilities. She recently shared her unique
                              at Monte Cristo Elementary
                                                                      perspective and observations in an interview with VSA arts
                              School in Granite Falls,
                                                                      President Soula Antoniou.
                              Washington. In 2002, she
    earned her National Board Certification from the University
    of Washington.

    An Interview with Andrea Peterson
    2007 National Teacher of the Year
    Soula Antoniou (SA): As a music teacher, you were the             thought possible.” It’s hard to live around that and not want
    first arts educator to be named National Teacher of the           to be the same kind of person.
    Year in almost 20 years. What does this mean to you?
                                                                      My brothers, though, are the reason I teach music. I was
    Andrea Peterson (AP): In a time where education is more           actually in my first year of pre-med when I visited my
    and more focusing on data and test results, we often forget       brothers, both of whom were studying music education
    the power of arts education. Music is what gets many of           in Colorado. The first time I realized I could make music
    my students out of bed every morning. It is the class that        and get a college degree at the same time, I was hooked.
    inspires them, motivates them, and makes them see the             When I realized that I could combine my passion for music
    potential they have to achieve. I am honored to represent         with my desire to serve others, I knew teaching music was
    all of the amazing arts educators across America and I am         my destiny.
    thrilled to be able to talk about the importance of the arts in
                                                                      SA: Which teacher inspired you as student? Why?
    our nation’s schools.
                                                                      AP: There are so many that come to mind. Of course, my
    SA: You come from a family of educators, including your
                                                                      high school band director, Mr. Baum; my college choir
    father and two brothers. Did they influence you to pursue
                                                                      director, Dr. Pennington; my senior English teacher, Mr.
    teaching as a career?
                                                                      Heinz… but, you know, the characteristic that they all share
    AP: My dad is definitely my biggest inspiration as a teacher.     is really the ability to create meaningful relationships with
    Growing up, I constantly saw how his service affected not         their students, and then letting that relationship fuel an
    only his students, but their families and our community.          incredible level of rigor from their students.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say,
                                                                      SA: What changes have you personally observed in
    “Oh, your dad changed my life. I don’t know where I’d be if
                                                                      students’ academic performance as a result of their having
    it weren’t for him. He taught me how to work hard, how to
                                                                      music integrated into their education?
    think for myself, how to expect more of myself than I had

AP: In my second or third year of teaching, I did one of
                                                                        What Is the National Teacher
my first cross-curricular units. The students were learning
about Lewis and Clark in social studies, so I taught them
                                                                        of the Year Award?
Lewis and Clark songs and a play in music class. All                    Begun in 1952, the National Teacher of the
this learning was then presented in an evening concert/                 Year (NTOY) program is the longest-running
curriculum night for the students’ friends and families.                national honors program that focuses
                                                                        public attention on excellence in teaching.
I remember talking with a veteran teacher after the concert.
                                                                        The NTOY program, sponsored by ING, is
She explained to me that she had been reluctant to engage
                                                                        a project of the Council of Chief State
in this kind of collaboration. She was concerned that it
                                                                        School Officers.
would be a waste of time. However, her students—who
in past years had averaged 75% on this unit test—had                    Each year, a national committee
averaged 95% this year. But, she said, there was one                    representing the major national education
downside. While they were taking the test, there was                    organizations selects the National Teacher
constant humming going on as the students hummed their                  of the Year from among the State Teachers
Lewis and Clark songs! This is just one story of many, but              of the Year. The President of the United
I’ve seen it time and time again. I love that music has the             States introduces the National Teacher of
power to engage children in all types of learning. I love that          the Year to the American people.
music can raise achievement in all areas.
                                                                        During the year of recognition, the
SA: In your experience, how does arts education, including              National Teacher of the Year is released
music, create inclusive learning environments for students              from classroom duties in order to
with disabilities?                                                      travel nationally and internationally as a
                                                                        spokesperson for the teaching profession.
AP: The best way to answer that is to tell you about Kari.
Kari was a fourth-grader when I first met her. She was                  Source: Council of Chief State School
diagnosed with ADHD and performed below grade level                     Officers (
in every subject. However, she was a gifted musician. She
could pick up any instrument and play proficiently almost
immediately, as well as having perfect pitch. As a result,
she didn’t have to read music, she could just hear it one        You see, Kari learned how to work hard in a subject she
time and she knew it.                                            loved and that hard work ethic transferred to every other
                                                                 part of her life. As I consider Kari and the success she
By the time Kari was in fifth grade, she was wanting to play
                                                                 has achieved in her life through music, I’m struck by the
more difficult music. She came to me and told me that
                                                                 necessity of honoring children’s different intelligences.
she wasn’t able to learn this music on her own because
                                                                 Kari needed music to help her understand the rest of her
she couldn’t read it. We worked together during lunches
                                                                 learning. Music was the lens through which Kari needed
and recess. It was hard, tiring work. She had to really
                                                                 to look in order to comprehend other subjects. That is the
stretch herself to decode those symbols on the staff. But,
                                                                 power of the arts—the ability to see the world through a
eventually, she got it. Kari’s mom told me later that as
                                                                 lens that makes sense, a lens that speaks to our hearts.
soon as she learned to read music, everything else started
falling in place. Kari is now in ninth grade, consistently on    SA: To earn support for your arts-integrated teaching
the honor roll and was elected as secretary for the ASB          approach from parents, administrators, and fellow
[Associated Student Body] this past year.
                                                                                                          continued pg 8


        Arts Connect All: MetLife Foundation
        MetLife Foundation and VSA arts have          literacy skills through an exploration of   culture as a means of fostering an
        teamed up for a winning partnership.          dramatic literature and writing creative    inclusive community.
        Their Arts Connect All program                dramatic works that are submitted
        supports arts organizations that work         to CENTERSTAGE’s 2009 Young
        within public schools to create or            Playwrights Festival.
        enrich inclusive, accessible education
                                                      Hammonds House Museum
        programming. Grant recipients benefit
                                                      (Atlanta, GA): Think With Your Senses/
        from the continued growth of the VSA
                                                      Feel With Your Mind, a collaborative
        arts–MetLife Foundation partnership.
                                                      program for high school and
        Funds are awarded to programs that            elementary school students in which
        empower students with disabilities to         site specific multisensory artworks are
        learn skills, gain confidence, and build      created as public installations.            The Shakespeare at Play program Shakespeare Enabled
                                                                                                  helps students bring the Bard’s verses to life. Photo:
        cultural literacy through inclusive arts                                                  Shakespeare at Play staff
                                                      Illusion Theater and School
        learning experiences.
                                                      (Minneapolis, MN): Arts RAP, a
        2007–08 Arts Connect All Grantees:            residency program for students of           Shakespeare at Play (Burbank,
                                                      South High School that builds social        CA): Shakespeare Enabled, a
        FIRST-YEAR RECIPIENTS:                        and academic skills through the range       series of professional development
        Bethune Theatredanse (Los                     of theater arts experiences from script     workshops, in-school residencies, and
        Angeles, CA): Infinite Dreams, a              writing to staged performance.              performances that make the works
        dance and dramatic arts program                                                           of Shakespeare accessible to all
                                                      Jack Straw Productions (Seattle,            students.
        for elementary school students
                                                      WA): Sighted Blind Arts workshops,
        that culminates in community
                                                      in which high school students learn to      THIRD-YEAR RECIPIENTS:
        performances and includes in-service
                                                      creatively combine movement, sound,         Luna Kids Dance (Berkeley, CA):
        training for instructors.
                                                      audio descriptions, and felt sensations     Tilden Elementary Integrated Creative
                                                      into an inclusive performance.              Dance, a program that builds respect
                                                                                                  for diversity in the classroom, supports
                                                      Malashock Dance (San Diego, CA):            cultural literacy, and enhances learning
                                                      Liberty School Project, dance and           through dance.
                                                      movement activities that are designed
                                                      to reinforce specific academic learning     STAGES St. Louis (Chesterfield, MO):
                                                      themes for elementary and middle            Access the Arts, a musical theater
                                                      school students.                            program that develops students’
                                                                                                  creativity and self-confidence, as well
                                                      SECOND-YEAR RECIPIENTS:                     as performance and communication
Students in the STAGES St. Louis Performing Arts      Oregon Cultural Access (Portland,           skills.
Academy’s Access the Arts program rehearse a scene.   OR): Inclusive Arts Vibe, a dance
Photo: John Armstrong
                                                      and drama program for youth that            Interested in applying for next year’s
        CENTERSTAGE (Baltimore, MD):                  builds artistic skills and introduces       grants? For more information, visit
        Playwrights in Schools, a program             the concepts for disability pride and
        for high school students that builds

Investing in Evaluation
As part of its commitment to high-quality program and
resource development, VSA arts has initiated several
new projects to identify and evaluate effective practices
in arts education, as well as create strategies and tools
for use by VSA arts affiliates and educators across the

Working with VSA arts, educational evaluator Stephen
Yaffe is conducting a focused needs assessment of
arts in education services for New York City public
school students with special needs. Yaffe will conduct
interviews, focus groups, and targeted surveys to map
out arts learning opportunities and identify issues in
providing valuable arts teaching and learning to students
in the inner city.                                            VSA arts Call for Teaching
Additionally, VSA arts is conducting an exploratory study
                                                              Artists with Disabilities
with SPEC Associates on the different ways affiliates         The VSA arts Teaching Artist Fellowship seeks to identify,
                                                              engage, and support outstanding teaching artists with
throughout the country are providing professional             disabilities. For more information, visit
development to educators using the early childhood
resource Start with the Arts™, and will create
professional development resources and evaluation
                                                               May 7, 2008
Finally, keep an eye out for a new collection of essays
by evaluation experts Dennie Palmer Wolf, Rob                New Literary “Encounters”
Horowitz, Gail Burnaford, and Donna M. Mertens,
                                                             VSA arts is pleased to make its mark in the literary
who presented at the VSA arts Research Symposium
                                                             community this year with a new collection of top-notch
in November. Responding to a gap in current research
                                                             writing by young people. The works, selected from
literature, these essays highlight the growing body of
                                                             submissions to the most recent annual VSA arts call for
evaluation-research from the general arts education field
                                                             writing, responded to the theme “Encounter.” Contributions
and feature aspects of the work that include students
                                                             include creative explorations of encounters both ordinary
with disabilities. They also address the design and use of
                                                             and extraordinary, fictional and true-to-life.
evaluation tools for arts organizations.
                                                             This project, published in the Infinite Difference interactive
The results of these projects will bolster the work of
                                                             online journal of creative writing, draws on works by
organizations that provide opportunities for arts in
                                                             middle and high school students with a disability or a close
education to young people with disabilities and provide
                                                             connection to disability. Visitors can read poetry, fiction,
evaluation tools that can shape content and professional
                                                             and nonfiction; listen to audio clips; and even post their
development strategies.
                                                             own ideas.

                                                             Have your own literary encounter today at

    Andrea Peterson from pg 5

    educators, what changes needed to                                                         Listen to teachers’ stories. But more
    be made?                                                                                  importantly, listen to what children have
                                                                                              to say about the importance of their
    AP: The truth is, I had a very
                                                                                              schools’ music, visual arts, or theater
    supportive principal and a few
                                                                                              programs. There is no better testament
    incredibly supportive teachers to
                                                                                              to the power of arts education than a
    work with. My principal and I actually
                                                                                              child’s life that has been changed.
    brainstormed the concert/curriculum
    night concept together. And then I                                                        SA: Do you have any advice for fellow
    had a few brave teachers who wanted                                                       educators on how to bring an arts-
    to give this a try. I have a quote by                                                     integrated, multidisciplinary approach
    Aristotle on the wall of my classroom                                                     to the classroom?
    that says, “We are what we repeatedly
                                                                                              AP: The important thing to remember
    do. Excellence, then, is a habit, not
                                                                                              is that sometimes people need to
    an act.” More than anything, I think
                                                                                              see success before they want to
    consistently practicing that habit of
                                                 Music teacher Andrea Peterson makes a        become a part of it. Start small. Find
    excellence has won over the majority
                                                 personal connection with a student. Photo:   one or two other teachers who want
    of the community.                            Washington Education Association
                                                                                              to collaborate. I now have incredible
    SA: What kind of impact does arts            and cooperation are also important           support in my school from parents,
    learning have on children’s growth           outcomes of arts learning. These skills      administrators, teachers, and the
    inside and outside of the classroom?         transcend the classroom and stay with        larger community as a whole. But, I’ve
                                                 a child for life.                            been there 10 years. It’s taken time.
    AP: I really have to refer back to Kari. I
                                                                                              Once people see the power of cross-
    have so many stories like that—stories       SA: What can VSA arts do to ensure           curricular teaching and learning, they
    where a child has experienced success        that more children have access to arts       will want to be a part of it.
    in music and then that success has           learning opportunities?
                                                                                              SA: What’s next for the 2007 National

       “I love that music has the power                                                       Teacher of the Year—what do you see
                                                                                              in your future?
       to engage children in all types of                                                     AP: Spending more time with my
       learning. I love that music can                                                        family, for starters! I have a 10-month-
                                                                                              old daughter and an amazing husband
       raise achievement in all areas.”                                                       who I definitely want to see more of!
                                                                                              Other than that, I just want to get back
                                                     —Andrea Peterson
                                                                                              in the classroom… back to my kids. I
                                                                                              miss making music with them. I miss
                                                 AP: Keep on keeping on! We need              talking with them. I miss the incredibly
    transferred to other areas of his or
                                                 people to continue to speak out on the       honest and insightful conversations
    her life. Of course, academic gains
                                                 importance of arts education and             you can only have with a 10-year-old.
    are part of that. But developing the
    skills of discipline, concentration,         VSA arts does that so well. Continue to
                                                                                              SA: Thank you, Andrea.
                                                 highlight excellence in arts education.

Artist Spotlight

Lihua Lei
The first thing a viewer notices about                        the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Her         Lei’s mother
Lihua Lei’s dramatic mixed-media                              high-concept, genre-melding work          speaking
work Phantom Pain is its scale.                               has appeared in solo and group            Taiwanese.
Lei’s installation features voluminous                        exhibitions at the Colby College
                                                                                                        Phantom Pain,
swaths of white cloth that extend                             Museum of Art, the John F. Kennedy
                                                                                                        according to
from the ceiling and are anchored at                          Center for the Performing Arts, the
                                                                                                        Lei, depicts “the
the floor by life-size glass casts of                         Center for Maine Contemporary Arts,
the artist’s own legs. Phantom Pain                           and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
                                                                                                        such as a
was part of the VSA arts new media
                                                              Recently, Lei has earned two top          dream, wish,
exhibition Renascence, which opened
                                                              national honors: She has been named       or memory,
in New York City in February.
                                                              a 2008 National Women’s History           disappearing
                                                                      Month honoree and received a      into the air.” The Lihua Lei pictured next to part of Easy
                                                                                                                            Target, her installation in VSA arts’ 2006
                                                                      2007 Wynn Newhouse Award          work’s pristine     exhibition Transformation

                                                                      for artists of excellence.        cloth “wings”
                                                                                                        evoke the “emerging butterfly or
                                                                      The Women’s History
                                                                                                        moth from the chrysalis [that] is only
                                                                      Month award ranks Lei in
                                                                                                        accessible in that floating place of
                                                                      the company of 11 other
                                                                                                        dreams, wishes, and memories.”
                                                                      prominent, pioneering women
                                                                      artists, including muralist       To create her conceptual installations,
                                                                      and stained glass artist          Lei incorporates a broad range of
                                                                      Violet Oakley, photographer       sensory stimuli—visual, kinetic,
                                                                      Lorna Simpson, and painter/       auditory—that make each viewer’s
                                                                      printmaker Judy Chicago.          encounter with her work a highly
                                                                                                        personal experience.
                                                                      The Wynn Newhouse Award
                                                                      brings Lei a $15,000 prize        Lei, whose work has also appeared
                                                                      from the Samuel I. Newhouse       in VSA arts’ 2006 Transformation
                                                                      Foundation, in addition to        exhibition, came to the United States
                                                                      the honor of receiving one of     in 1993 to pursue a master’s degree
                                                                      the most prestigious national     in art therapy, but her love of the fine
                                                                      awards for established artists    arts eventually led her to earn both
Lihua Lei, Phantom Pain (detail), 2006. Installation in three parts
at Colby College. Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville,            with disabilities.                bachelor and master of fine arts
Maine, museum purchase from the Jere Abbott Acquisitions
                                                                                                        degrees in studio art.
Fund. Courtesy of the Colby College Museum of Art.
                                                                      Lei’s Phantom Pain installation
Photo: Alan LaVallee
                                                                      approaches complex                The path of an artist “is not easy,”
                                                              issues of identity and existence.         Lei says, but she takes all challenges
The New York show is one in a long
                                                              The work includes four large fabric       in stride when pursuing her creative
line of exciting opportunities for artist
                                                              constructions, two sculptures, and        endeavors: “Art gave me a sense of
Lei, a Taiwan native. She has been
                                                              a projection of faded film images         real existence for my life.”
awarded several grants, including an
                                                              depicting a mother and child,
Artist in the Marketplace grant from
                                                              coupled with an audio recording of

     Start with the Arts Family Festival

      Joi n                                  May 30 & 31
                                            Union Station

         Us !                              Washington, D.C.

            Join VSA arts for two days of FREE fun during our Start with the Arts Family Festival!
            Kids can let their imaginations run wild with our art activities. Check out our children’s art
            exhibition or sit back, relax, and take in dynamic performances including the MacIntyre
            Family Singers (pop vocals).

                                                                                                                         tt Suchman
                                                                                                             Photos: Sco
         All Kids Can…CREATE!
         Children’s Art Exhibition
         VSA arts and CVS Caremark All Kids Can
         invite you to visit this free exhibition of
         children’s art from across the country.

         West Hall, Union Station
         May 19–June 8, 2008

Guest Columnist

Ask the Experts: Asset Development
By Megan O’Neil
This article originally appeared in the    of a vehicle—all of which can result in   minority group in the country. Despite
Holiday 2007 issue of AAPD News            increased employment possibilities.       all the efforts to change this situation,
and is reprinted here with permission.                                               little progress has been made. While
                                           Human assets (sometimes called
                                                                                     there is no silver bullet that will
Megan O’Neil is an independent             human capital) refer to the strengths,
                                                                                     immediately resolve the problems,
asset development consultant and           talents, and unique attributes that
                                                                                     building assets is a promising tool that
a Ph.D. candidate in community             every individual possesses. While
                                                                                     can help make a difference.
economic development at Southern           discovering or cultivating human
New Hampshire University.                  assets—such as artistic creativity or     Q. What’s out there to help people
                                           good interpersonal communication          with disabilities build assets?
Q. What is “asset development”?
                                           skills—can become the building            A. There are a number of programs,
A. Discussion of financial matters
                                           blocks for acquiring financial assets,    work incentives, and tools to help
can intimidate anyone. For many
                                           they can also improve self-esteem and     people with disabilities not only
people with disabilities who are
                                           confidence.                               build assets, but also safeguard and
struggling just to survive, the idea of
                                                                                     develop the ones they already have.
“financial management” or “building        Q. Why do assets matter?
                                                                                     Here are just a few examples:
assets” often seems too far out of         A. In the early 1990s a few scholars
reach. However, new strategies and         and social workers started thinking       Individual Development Accounts
programs are helping disabled people       about an entirely new strategy to         (IDAs)
at all levels of income to escape the      help poor people escape the cycle of      An IDA is a matched savings account
poverty trap. These initiatives are also   poverty. They reasoned that increasing    designed for people with very low
providing hope for a better standard       a person’s income could only help so      incomes. The match is typically
of living. First, let’s break down the     much. However, if poor people saved       1:4 times the size of each deposit
concepts.                                  even small amounts of their earnings      made. For example, if you receive
                                           and invested in their futures, they       a 2:1 match, each time you deposit
Q. What are “assets”?
                                           could rise above the poverty level,       $25, you will get an additional $50
A. When most people think of
                                           become economically self-sufficient,      toward your savings goal. IDAs are
assets, they think in terms of tangible
                                           and ultimately enhance their lives and    a tool typically offered by nonprofit
things that have economic value.
                                           those of their family members. These      organizations, such as community
These items may include a home or
                                           scholars embarked on a 10-year            development corporations, housing
business. They may also consist of
                                           study. They found that if poor people     organizations, microenterprise
investments, such as retirement plans,
                                           were taught how to manage their           organizations, and credit unions. In
stocks, and bonds, or even personal
                                           finances and were given an incentive      most cases, IDAs are used for:
savings accounts. However, there are
                                           to save, they would find a way to save
two other kinds of assets—gateway                                                    • Starting a business
                                           and build assets.
assets and human assets.                                                             • Buying a home
                                           This idea has only started to take        • Continuing education
Gateway assets are tangible
                                           root within the disability community      • Training
and intangible items that create
                                           within the last few years. People with
additional opportunities to build
                                           disabilities have the highest levels of
other assets—such as education,                                                                          continued pg 13
                                           poverty and unemployment of any
volunteer experience, or ownership

     VSA arts Affiliates in Action

     Trailing Ahead
     Do you know how to create                                                                                      humanities programs
     a parflesch? Do a pioneer                                                                                      that encourage young
     contra dance? Or play a Native                                                                                people to develop their
     American flute?                                                                                              creative and intellectual
                                                                                                                 potential and make a
     No? Then just ask the students
                                                                                                                positive impact in their
     of Discovery Trails, a real-
     life exploration of the historic
     Westward Expansion. Through                                                                                Discovery Trails participants
     Discovery Trails, a collaboration          As part of                                                     do just that. After their
                                                their Discovery Trails
     between Kansas VSA arts affiliate          experience, students learn the art of                         summer adventure, they
                                                tactile design (above left) and work together to size up
     Accessible Arts and the Kansas State a silo (above right). Photos: Accessible Arts staff                create arts projects based
     School for the Blind, students who                                                                      on trail sites they visited.
     are blind or have low vision are immersed in the pioneer                  They use these creations to teach trail history and make
     experience through arts-based learning activities.                        art with elementary school students, passing on their new
                                                                               knowledge and experience.
     Every summer, participants gather to embark on the
     journey of a lifetime—following 2,000 miles on the Oregon                 While in Washington, Discovery Trails students shared
     Trail in the footsteps (or wagon tracks!) of the pioneers,                lessons with fourth graders at the School for Arts in
     camping outdoors just like their predecessors.                            Learning (SAIL), a program of VSA arts affiliate WVSA
                                                                               ARTs connection. They brought their journey to life with a
     In January, Eleanor Craig, the program’s organizer, traveled
                                                                               giant tactile puzzle map created by Colorado sculptor Terry
     with her students to the White House in Washington, D.C.,
                                                                               Hudson (who, as a teenager, traveled the Oregon Trail with
     to accept a Coming Up Taller Award. This prestigious
                                                                               Craig in 1973) and showed video clips of their adventures.
     award, bestowed by the President’s Committee on the
     Arts and Humanities, celebrates excellence in arts and                    Visit for more information.

     Link Up with VSA arts
     Did you know that VSA arts has affiliates       embrace the VSA arts commitment
                                                                                                       VSA arts Affiliate Benefits
     in most U.S. states? It’s true—you might        to the artistic potential of people with
     find a VSA arts program right around the        disabilities, creating art, and accessing         • Opportunities for regional and
     corner. Affiliates participate in national      the educational opportunities that                  national networking
     programs like International Young               making art brings.                                • Peer exchange of
     Soloists and All Kids Can…CREATE!                                                                  programming ideas and
                                                     Are you involved in a nonprofit                    methods
     They also develop their own community-
                                                     organization committed to advancing               • Inclusion in a “support
     based programs and events, supported
                                                     the arts in the lives of people with               system” of like-minded
     with funds from the U.S. Department of
                                                     disabilities? Consider getting involved            organizations
     Education through VSA arts.
                                                     in our affiliate network! Visit        • Opportunities for continuing
     VSA arts affiliates work state-by-state         to find your VSA arts affiliate, or e-mail         education and professional
     to promote inclusion through the arts.          Carol McGrath at for             development
     A richly diverse group, all affiliates          more information.                                  • VSA arts name recognition

Artists Come “Together”
This spring, visitors to the Contemporary Art Museum in
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), encountered the
bright colors and bold forms of Together, a unique new

Students from the VSA arts affiliate school in UAE exhibited
their work in the show. VSA arts also sent for display
20 works from its ArtLink art exchange program, where
children in classrooms across the world learn cultural
understanding through art sharing.

The Together exhibition, part of the BOLO (Big Ones
                                                               Sardi Pronja’s painting The Dream (2002) was included in the Together exhibition
Little Ones) series, showcased the work of young artists       at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Sharjah, UAE. Photo: Greg Staley
(“little ones”) with and without disabilities alongside that
of established adult artists (“big ones”) from Australia’s     exhibited work from a diverse group of artists with different
indigenous communities. It was made possible through a         abilities and cultural backgrounds, from Australia, Egypt,
collaboration with the UAE Sharjah Department of Culture       Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, and the
and Information and Department of Humanitarian Services.       United States.

BOLO originated in Australia with curator Trish Amichi,        For more about BOLO, visit Gallery Amichi online at
founder of Sydney’s Gallery Amichi. The dynamic show 

Asset Development from pg 11
Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)                          Special Needs Trusts
A PASS allows individuals to save money for a specified         Special Needs Trusts are legal arrangements where funds
work goal, which may include starting a business or             can be invested for a recipient of SSI or Medicaid without
saving for a vehicle. The purpose of a PASS is to assist        compromising the individual’s eligibility. The Social Security
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in obtaining      Administration describes a valid Special Needs Trust as “a
items, services, or skills to support employment needs. In      trust in which the trustee has full discretion as to the time,
some cases, a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)       purpose, and amount of all distributions.” If the beneficiary
beneficiary can use a PASS to become eligible for the           has no discretion over the distributions, the trust is not
maximum SSI benefit.                                            counted for SSI eligibility. Keep in mind that Special Needs
                                                                Trusts involve a loss of control by the trust beneficiary.
Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS)
                                                                The Special Needs Trust cannot give cash directly to the
HUD’s FSS program helps eligible individuals acquire the
                                                                beneficiary, but can pay directly for services and certain
skills and experience they need to obtain work that pays
                                                                exempt resources without causing a loss of benefits
a living wage. The program also offers a unique savings
opportunity known as an escrow account, which allows
individual savings to increase as earnings rise. Families       Asset development is a new, exciting area for people with
receiving assistance through HUD’s housing choice voucher       disabilities and their families. These opportunities provide an
(Section 8), or those who live in public housing (project-      entirely different future for people with disabilities—one full of
based Section 8), may be eligible to participate in the FSS.    hope and promise for all.

     Performing Arts

     Hitting the Right Note
     VSA arts presents the 24th annual International                                  and was a finalist in the 2006 Coeur
     Young Soloists Concert on May 29 at the                                          d’Alene Young Artist Competition.
     Kennedy Center. The VSA arts International Young
                                                                                      Fusing hip-hop beats with traditional
     Soloists Award is a juried program
                                                                                      African elements and positive messages,
     that recognizes top-notch emerging
                                                                                            Avocat Rap Bi reaches out to its
     musicians with disabilities and
                                                                                           community in the Grand Médine
     supports them in their pursuit of a
                                                                                           neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal.
     career. This year’s Young Soloists
                                                                                           Ensemble members Mandaw
     come from diverse musical traditions
                                                                                           Gning, 27, Idrissa Fall, 21, and
     around the world.
                                                                                           Mbène Amare, 22, initiated an
     A captivating sibling trio, the                                                   annual festival of rap in Grand Médine
     MacIntyre Family Singers—Scott,                                                   and perform regularly throughout
     22, Todd, 19, and Katelyn, 16—have                                                Dakar. The group has performed in the
     drawn comparisons to Manhattan Transfer,                                          annual Nescafé Africa Revelation talent
     Billy Joel, and Josh Groban. Individually and                                     competition several times.
                                                          Clockwise, from top: Issam
     as a group, they have garnered musical and           Elayyan; Ashlee Young;
                                                                                       Born in Amman, Jordan, Issam Elayyan
     academic awards from the Royal Conservatory          MacIntyre Family Singers;
                                                          Avocat Rap Bi                will receive his bachelor’s degree from
     of Music (Canada), Royal College of Music
                                                                                       the National Music Conservatory of
     (U.K.), Universität Mozarteum (Austria), Boston University,
                                                                       Jordan in June 2008 with a specialization in Arab music.
     Tanglewood Institute, and many others.
                                                                       As a member of the Amman Arab Music Quartet, the
     Classical pianist Ashlee Young, 20, won the 2007                  21-year-old oud player has performed in festivals and
     Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras Competition concerts worldwide, including in France, Cyprus, Egypt,
     and appeared with the Great Falls Symphony on the same            and Bahrain. He was featured in a performance with the
     bill as world-renowned violinist Midori. She also appeared        Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (North Carolina) in 2006.
     with the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Bozeman
                                                                    For ticketing information, visit
     Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Young earned an honorable
     mention in the 2006 International Franz Liszt Competition

     Star Turns
     Night owls who stayed up late on January 29 to watch           Fans of the reality TV series Extreme Makeover: Home
     Late Night with David Letterman caught a dynamic               Edition who tuned in on February 17 saw the story of
     performance by the Matt Savage Trio. One month earlier,        the Hughes family of Kentucky. Son and star pianist and
     on December 28, Matt was interviewed on the popular            trumpet player Patrick Henry Hughes received the
     NPR show Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. At 15, the            VSA arts International Young Soloists Award in 2005. The
     accomplished pianist—who appeared on the Kennedy               family was treated to a weeklong vacation in London while
     Center Millennium Stage as part of the 2004 International      the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition team constructed
     VSA arts Festival—has already shared a stage with the          a new, fully accessible abode. Multitalented Patrick also
     likes of contemporary jazz greats Dave Brubeck and Chick       appeared on NBC’s Ellen DeGeneres Show on March 11.

VSA arts Artists: In the Registry, On the Move
VSA arts encourages artists with disabilities to                    Singer/songwriter Rob Guttenberg (Cabin John, MD)
continue their work and reach new audiences through                 will teach and perform at the International Committee of
performances, exhibitions, and the VSA arts Artists                 Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes conference in
Registry. The registry is an extensive online directory of          Gyor, Hungary, July 13–July 25.
visual, performing, and literary artists with disabilities. Visit
                                                                    In May, Karen Peterson and Dancers (Miami, FL), to learn more.
                                                                    an integrated dance company, will travel to Podgorica,
Integrated modern dance company Full Radius Dance                   Montenegro, to teach and perform mixed-ability work with
(Atlanta, GA) will perform a program of three works—                the Ballo Dance Company.
                                     Sideshow, Sentire,
                                                                    Interdisciplinary artist and author Heather J. Kirk
                                     and Giants in the
                                                                    (Scottsdale, AZ) will exhibit her work Yellow Lilies on Black
                                     Sky—at 7 Stages in
                                                                    in the Garden of the Soul exhibition at Herberger Theater
                                     Atlanta, June 6 & 7.
                                                                    Center, Steel Pavilion Art Gallery in Phoenix, through June
Atlanta’s Full Radius Dance
                                                                    Work by visual artist Napapon Santirojprapai (Memphis,
Multimedia artist Vince Grimaldi (Providence, RI) received
                                                                    TN) will appear in the exhibition The Artist’s Voice at the
a Pollock Krasner Grant and is currently at work on a group
                                                                    Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, May 16–
of paintings.
                                                                    September 14.

   Inside/Out…voices from the disability community
   Inside/Out…voices from the disability community                  About Ping Chong &
   is a world premiere theatrical production at the                 Company
   Kennedy Center by renowned director Ping Chong,                  Ping Chong is a world-
   commissioned by VSA arts.                                        renowned theater director,
                                                                    choreographer, and visual
   This oral history production explores firsthand
                                                                                                                           Stephen Garrett

                                                                    installation artist. He founded
   experiences of the disability community through                  Ping Chong & Company
   personal narratives. Their histories are interwoven              in 1975, which has since
   into a script that is performed by the participants              created more than 50
   themselves, giving voice to individuals whose                    productions that have been
   stories frequently go unheard.                                   presented at major venues around the world. For more
   June 27–29, Kennedy Center Family Theater                        background, visit

      Visual Arts

     New Media, New York: VSA arts at
     arts>World Financial Center
     Renascence, the groundbreaking new media exhibition                  (Phantom Pain), and
     curated by VSA arts, hosted distinguished members                    Leon Lim (Leon Lim’s
     of the arts, disability, and education communities at an             Silent Story) attended
     unprecedented opening at the World Financial Center                  the reception. They
     Courtyard Gallery in Manhattan on February 7. Celebrating            and other Renascence
     the show’s eight artists with installations that commanded           artists are attracting
     active participation, the event stimulated discussion about          attention from the larger
                                      the future of disability arts in    arts community for their
                                      New York City.                      innovative work. Lei’s
                                                                                                         Clovis Blackwell takes on fellow
                                                                          40-foot Phantom Pain           Renascence artist Chas de Swiet’s
                                        The exhibition highlighted                                       interactive at the show’s
                                                                          installation dominates the New York premiere. Photo: Chiei Kurimoto
                                        artists with disabilities who
                                                                          exhibition with illuminated
                                        use new media—such
                                                                          butterfly-like wings that float over glass casts of the artist’s
                                        as digital art, interactive
                                                                          own legs. The work encourages viewers to reflect on the
                                        sculpture, video, and
                                                                          vulnerabilities and transformations of the body.
                                        the Internet—to convey
                                        personal experience,              Renascence was on display through March 16 as part of
                                        bringing fresh concepts           the arts>World Financial Center program, an innovative
     Matthew Sapolin, commissioner      that change perceptions.          series of free performances, exhibitions, installations,
     of the Mayor’s Office for People
                                        Artists Mary Behr                 and festivals created to showcase emerging as well as
     with Disabilities in New York
     City, addresses the crowd at the   (Move!), Clovis Blackwell         established artists. Visit for more
     Renascence reception. Photo:
     Chiei Kurimoto                     (Megalopolis), Lihua Lei          information.

                                                                                         June 16–July 20, 2008
                                                                         10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily • Kennedy Center Terrace Gallery

                                                                                 Showcasing art that is inspired by the aesthetics
                                                                                                    of music, theater, and dance
               an international juried art exhibition
                     by artists with disabilities                                                                         More info:

                                                                              Massachusetts–Boston to evaluate the VSA arts/
                                                                              Volkswagen program. In addition to an evaluation report,
                                                                              ICI is working with VSA arts to publish several articles on
                                                                              career development and identity for artists with disabilities.

                                                                              In its evaluation study, ICI found that the VSA arts/
                                                                              Volkswagen of America, Inc., program:

                                                                              • Boosted respondents’ confidence, assertiveness, and
                                                                                identities as artists
                                                                              • Bolstered artists’ resumes with an exhibition at the
                                                                                Smithsonian Institution
                                                                              • Solidified participants’ decisions to pursue the arts as a
VSA arts board member Lucy Lehman and her husband, Ken (third and
                                                                                career path
fourth from left), enjoyed a night at the 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors
Gala in December. The Honors Gala is Washington’s most prestigious            • Connected young artists with schools and colleges
cultural event, attended by donors and celebrities alike. The Lehmans are
pictured with Marc and Phyllis Fleischaker. Photo: Joseph Allen                 and with the arts and disability communities
                                                                              • Provided important financial support for expenses,
                                                                                including art supplies and the pursuit of an arts education
A Lasting Impact:
Volkswagen of America, Inc.                                                   “Art is an outlet for me to feel good about myself and do
                                                                              something well,” said one program participant. “It has given
Imagine: You’re an artist, and one of your pieces has
                                                                              me purpose and guidance throughout my life involving
been selected for a juried exhibition at the Smithsonian
                                                                              education, socialization, and dealing with life’s challenges.”
Institution. You fly to Washington, D.C., for a reception in
your honor on Capitol Hill, where you meet your senator or                    In 2008, VSA arts and Volkswagen of America, Inc., join
representative. Finally, you receive a cash award that you                    forces once again to locate the best emerging artistic talent
can use as you choose—including for more art supplies or                      around. For more information on this year’s call for entries,
painting classes. And all this before you’re 30!                              visit

Are you dreaming? Maybe. Or maybe not, if you’re one of

                                                                                       CAll For entrieS
the 15 talented artists selected for the annual VSA arts/
Volkswagen of America, Inc., juried exhibition program.
Now entering its seventh year, the program shows the                                   Grand Prize          $20,000
powerful opportunities that can arise with the help of
a prestigious international partner like Volkswagen of                                 A National Juried Exhibition for
America, Inc.                                                                          Young Artists with Disabilities,
Between 2002 and 2005, the program bestowed 47                                         Ages 16–25
awards with the goal of recognizing and encouraging young                              Visit for additional information
artists with disabilities at a pivotal time in their lives. The                        or contact Jennifer Wexler, 1-800-933-8721,
VSA arts/Volkswagen program encourages participants’                                   ext. 3885, or
career development, prompting more individuals with                                    Deadline:
disabilities to enter arts professions.                                                July 11, 2008
In 2006, VSA arts contracted with the Institute
of Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of

          In Memoriam
         Alex Chirelstein was executive director of the affiliate   Chirelstein passed away in July. He was a remarkable
         VSA arts of Vermont—where, for a decade, he made           friend and colleague to many and, in February,
         the organization’s presence felt throughout the state.     VSA arts of Vermont honored his memory with a
                                  He spearheaded a massive          celebration of his life and the kickoff of the memorial
                                  2003 Paint-a-Thon fundraiser      Chirelstein Children’s Art Fund. He will be missed.
                                  on the Burlington waterfront,
                                                                    For information on the Chirelstein Children’s Art Fund,
                                  an event that raised $21,000
                                                                    contact VSA arts of Vermont at (802) 655-7772 or
                                  and made the Guinness Book
                                  of World Records for largest
                                  paint-by-numbers painting.

     VSA arts in Action
     VSA arts of California                   In the Side by Side exhibition program,     919 Broadway
                                              students attend a series of art classes     Nashville, TN
     Contact: Nydia Algazzali Gonzalez,       and are paired with a local artist.
                                                                                          VSA arts of Tennessee worked in                Together they work “side by side” to
                                                                                          collaboration with the Frist Center to
                                              create a work of art.
     Youth in Arts Day                                                                    organize this exhibition by Tennessee
     Marin County Fair                        VSA arts of New Jersey                      artists with disabilities.
     July 2, 2008, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
     10 Avenue of the Flags                   Contact:
     San Rafael, CA                                                                       VSA arts of Wisconsin
     Join us in a celebration of artwork      Partners in the Arts Festival     
     and performances by students of          May 8, 2008, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.                  Contact:
     all abilities as well as professional    Middlesex County College
                                              Edison, NJ                                  11th Annual Steve Stricker Golf
     performances by Youth in Arts mentor
                                              Partners in the Arts is a statewide         July 28, 2008
                                              festival that fosters the integration of    Cherokee Country Club
     VSA arts of Kentucky                     individuals with and without disabilities   Madison, WI                             in a celebration of the arts.
     Contact:                                                       Steve Stricker, 2007 PGA Tour
                                                                                          Comeback Player of the Year, donates
     Side by Side Exhibition                  VSA arts of Tennessee                       all funds raised by this exhibition event
     June 21–August 10, 2008        
                                              Contact:                  to the VSA Art Center in Madison,
     Reception: June 20, 2008, 5–8 p.m.
                                                                                          where individuals with disabilities
                                              The Artist’s Voice Exhibition               participate in specially designed
     515 North Mill Street
                                              May 16–September 14, 2008                   programs in visual art, music, and
     Lexington, KY
                                              Reception: May 17, 2008, 1–3 p.m.           movement.
                                              Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Resources and Opportunities
                                                The Eye Care Center at the Southern           communities where company employ-
 To learn more about these and other            California College of Optometry an-           ees work and live. Grant proposals will
 opportunities for artists and teachers,        nounces a call for entries for Shared         be accepted from nonprofit organiza-
 please visit the VSA arts Web site at          Visions 2008–09, the fourth annual            tions in company communities that                       juried art exhibition by artists who are      address the foundation’s priorities.
                                                blind or legally blind.                       Deadlines: July 31 and October 31
                                                Deadline: May 14, 2008
The following resources are extracted from                                                    New Art Licensing Agency for Artists
VSA arts e-mail distribution lists tailored                                                   with Physical Disabilities
to artistic disciplines, The Palette-Online
                                                AMS Production Group Seeks Artists
                                                for TV Series                       ;
(visual arts), Literary Arts Opportunities,                                         
and Performing Arts Opportunities. These;
resources feature updates on current                       The Art of Possibility Studios is a new
events at VSA arts, funding opportunities,      AMS Production Group is looking               licensing agency representing exclu-
calls for art, teacher resources, and related   to profile artists, musicians, thera-         sively artists with physical disabilities.
information. To subscribe to each list,         pists, and community arts programs            Submit 1–4 low-resolution images,
please follow these instructions:               that holistically integrate art and life,     along with your goals as an artist and
                                                creativity, and wellness for The Art of       the nature of your disability, via e-mail.
Palette-Online: Send a message to                                                             Deadline: Ongoing with the following text:        Living Gallery, the half-hour show that
SUBSCRIBE visual arts.                          explores the ways in which creativity
                                                fosters healthy and happy lives. See
                                                                                              Barnes and Noble Corporate
Literary Arts Opportunities and Performing      clips and read stories from season
                                                one at Artists should send
                                                                                              Contributions Program
Arts Opportunities: Send a message to                                                with the following text:        via e-mail a brief personal biography
SUBSCRIBE literary arts and/or SUBSCRIBE        (not an artist’s statement); contact          Barnes and Noble Corporate Con-
performing arts.                                information; and 2–3 links and/or .jpg        tributions Program supports local
                                                or .wav files.                                and regional nonprofit organizations
                                                Deadline: May 31, 2008                        that focus on literacy, the arts, or
Call for Entries:                                                                             education (K–12). Applicants must
Shared Visions 2008–09                                                                        be located in the communities where                                        ConAgra Foods Foundation Grants
                                                                                              company stores are located and
Rebecca L. Kammer, O.D.: rkammer@                                                             should serve the greater good of the or (714) 449-7473                      The mission of ConAgra Foods Foun-            local community or region.
                                                dation is to improve the quality of life in   Deadline: Ongoing

                                                            Please Contribute

              E                very donation helps VSA arts create a society where
                               people with disabilities can learn through, participate
                               in, and enjoy the arts.
                                                         Make your contribution online
               Contributions to VSA arts are tax deductible to
               the extent allowable by law.

                                                                                   oin us for this exciting celebration of the
                                                                                   arts by artists with disabilities. Enjoy live
                                                                                   performances, kids’ art activities, and a
                                                                                   children’s art exhibition.

                                                                                 MAy 19–june 8
                Start with the Arts                                              Children’s Art Exhibition
                  Family Festival
                                                                                 Union Station West Hall
                                                                                 The All Kids Can…CREATE! exhibition showcases
                                                                                 works by young artists, selected from classrooms
                       MAy 30 & 31, 2008                                         participating in a VSA arts and CVS Caremark
                                                                                 nationwide call for children’s art.

                          FREE Fun for the                                       MAy 30 & 31, All dAy
                           Whole Family!                                         FAMily FestivAl
                                                                                 Union Station
                                                                                 Delight your children (and inner child!) with free
                                  Sponsors                                       live performances, art activities, and more!

                                                                                 Union Station is located at 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE,
                                                                                 Washington, DC.
                                                                                                                             Non-Profit Org.
                                                                                                                              U.S. Postage
                                                                                                                             Southern, MD
                                                                                                                             Permit No. 69

 818 ConneCtiCut Avenue nW, Suite 600
 WAShington, DC 20006


VSA ArtS iS An AffiliAte of the John f Kennedy Center for the Performing ArtS.

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