Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Everything you always wanted to know about VSAV-Richmond’s da Vinci project but were afraid to ask . . . .

1. Do Italian-named artists celebrate America’s Independence Day? Of course they do – so The da Vinci Project will not be operating on Saturday, July 2, so that our hard working instructors and assistants can have the weekend off with their families. Molta bene!

2. Was da Vinci naturally talented?
Sure he was, but he learned from others. That’s why every Saturday from 10 am to noon we offer ‘open studio’ time at our space in Artworks – it’s at 3rd and Hull Streets in the Manchester Arts district of Richmond, and right on the 60/61 bus line. We provide materials, support, and instructors for artists with disabilities – and welcome their family and friends to explore their creativity alongside them!

3. But nobody gave da Vinci free paints and canvases.
Probably not. We do ask for a $5 fee from each participant to help offset the cost of the instructors, assistants, and fees. But we never turn anyone away due to their inability to pay. We’re pretty sure Leonardo would have wanted it that way.

4. Da Vinci’s got Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Where do your artists have their work seen? And do you sell them?
Of course, our artists can choose to exhibit and/or sell their work. There’s the da Vinci studio in Artworks, for a start – we’re part of 4th Fridays each month, and you can see our artists’ work during Artworks’ operating hours. We also exhibit paintings by artists with disabilities at the Positive Vibe CafĂ© in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center. While we keep a small commission to help the Project keep going, the artists can – and do – earn money from their work!

5. You pay people to do this??
We do – but there’s not enough money to help assist artists, teach studios during the week for social service agencies and community service boards, transport and install artworks in the galleries . . . . so like Leonardo, we rely upon the support of volunteers to help us discover the creativity in each participant.

Because, after all, the arts are for everyone.

Got more questions? For information about VSAV and the Richmond da Vinci Project – including how to volunteer, donate materials, schedule studio time for a group, or support VSAV’s mission in other ways, please contact District Coordinator Krishanna Spencer at 804/230-0246 or

Monday, June 20, 2005

About VSA arts: Richmond

VSA arts of Virginia (VSAV) has provided arts programs for, by and with children and adults of all abilities since 1985. VSAV's impact is seen throughout Virginia- including Richmond.

VSAV-Richmond's artistic exploration features...

  • Presenting works by artists with disabilities, locally and statewide, at the Positive Vibe Cafe.
  • Providing instruction, creative expression and community through the da Vinci Project, offering open studio sessions Saturday mornings and workshops for individuals and community service groups on an on-demand basis.
  • Offers performing arts experience for students and adults with autism, Asperberger's Syndrome and other disabilities both developmental and physical through the Dreamers Troupe and eXceptional Orchestra.
  • Assists early education educators with integrating the arts and students with disabilities in the classroom through Start With The Arts training and curricula.

    A non-profit organization, VSAV and it's districts rely upon the generosity of individuals, corporations and community groups to ensure that the arts are accessible to everyone- regardless of ability or economic status.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Art at the Positive Vibe Cafe

VSAV of Richmond was invited to the Postive Vibe Cafe' Grand Opening where we provided art tables for all. TheGrand Opening, held on June 5, 2005 was one of the hottest days of the month, with temperatures over 90 degrees but we persevered and had a lot of fun.

Invited artists and exhibition contributors painted and did demonstrations for all who were interested. Art activities included a bisqueware painting table, acrylic and watercolor painting station, a ceramics station, and a drawing and coloring station with everything from pastels to crayons. There was even sidewalk chalk!

Here are a few photos of the VSAV: Richmond Art Zone.