SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2008

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Mission Designated by the United States Congress as the coordinating organization for arts programming for persons with disabilities, VSA arts is supported by its affiliate network in offering diverse programs and events and innovative lifelong learning opportunities at the international, national, and local levels ranging from training institutes and artist-in-residence projects to arts camps and emerging-artist award programs. Learning Through the Arts Programming and initiatives of VSA arts are guided by four essential principles: • Every young person with a disability deserves access to appropriate arts learning experiences. • All artists in schools and art educators should be adequately prepared to include students with disabilities in their instruction. • All children, youth, and adults with disabilities should have complete access to community cultural facilities and activities. • All individuals with disabilities who aspire to careers in the arts should have the opportunity to develop necessary skills. Inclusion teaches us that all means all. Everybody. No exceptions. The arts invite people to leave familiar territory, to explore new answers, and to seek new questions. The arts offer a means to self-expression, communication, and independence. Through the 54 December 2008 SchoolArts FoCuS In Working for Change VSA arts is committed to driving change—changing perceptions and ni a practice, classroom by classroom, comza t ion upd munity by community, and ultimately society. There is still a long way to go to achieve inclusive arts access and equal opportunity of expression for all. VSA arts president Soula AntoWhat Is niou captured the true mission of the organization at the Start With the Arts Festival, held in Washington, DC the week of June 5, 2005, when she said: "Pearls are a traditional gift to mark thirty years together, and are a fitting symbol for VSA arts' anniversary celebration. As a pearl is VSA is an international nonprofit organizamade up of layers, our thirty tion founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean years are layers built upon a unique vision that began with Kennedy Smith as Very Special Arts. Ambassador Jean Kennedy For more than thirty years VSA Smith. arts has worked to create a society "In size, shape and color, where people with disabilities can pearls exist in a stunning diversity of forms. Likewise, we are learn through, participate in, and each a rare treasure. Working enjoy the arts. Currently more together we resemble a string of than five million people participearls, connected by a common purpate in VSA arts programs pose and commitment to arts, education, and disability. through a network of "One of the most distinctive feaaffiliates nationwide tures of a pearl is its luminosity and and in over sixty the way it seems to glow from within. countries. This radiance is a caused by reflection; similarly, the work of VSA arts reflects the extraordinary commitment of our nationwide and international VSA arts network of affiliates, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the United States Congress." a org About VSA arts arts, students become lifelong learners, experiencing the joy of discovery and exploration, and the value of each other's ideas. te s The scope of the organization's work is immense, reaching people of all ages and abilities across the globe. Still, our mission remains simple—to use the arts to include people with disabilities in all aspects of society. VSa?

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