Thursday, December 28, 2006

Outside the Lines gets local nod

VSA arts of Virginia's arts entrepreneurial program Outside the Lines, has been noticed by Richmond Magazine in the Arts & Entertainment, Spotlight section of January 2007 issue. Works by VSAVA Artists Terry Lynn Smith and Krishanna Spencer are also featured with the article.

You can view or download the article by clicking here.

How cool is that?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Call for Entries: Easter Seals VA EggstravaganzaSM!

Calling All Artists…adult or student…professional or amateur…we want you to be part of the Easter Seals VA EggstravaganzaSM!

Lots of fun, great prizes, super folks… and a fantastic cause!!!

Easter Seals VA has been hosting a fun and successful black-tie adult egg hunt and auction event for the last five years that has raised over $270,000 to support their programs and services for over 45,000 children and adults with disabilities throughout Virginia. We have had different arts related groups participate throughout the course of this project. Due to the popularity of our event, this year we wanted to open the opportunity for even more folks to become involved!

Here is all the info you need to participate:

There are 3 levels of competition – Professional, Amateur and Student. Each level will have a first and second place winner for 2/3 dimensional “eggart”. There will also be an overall winner for Best In Show and Best Expression of the Easter Seals VA Mission. A nominal monetary prize of $35 will be awarded for each and the best in show will win either $100 or two tickets to the Egg event. These eggs are used in the project in many ways - as live or silent auction items themselves; to be paired up with special packages (trips, party packages, artwork, jewelry, sports packages, etc.) in our live auction; or as decorations for the event.

The Egg Art requirements are as follows:
• The piece of art must reflect the Egg theme in some way
• The creation may be 2 or 3 dimensional
• 2 dimensional artwork must but be no larger than “32 x 40”
• 3 dimensional artwork must be able to stand to be displayed on a table
• Easter Seals Virginia reserves the right to deny entry of an egg that is offensive in nature
• The egg entries will become the property of Easter Seals Virginia and will not be returned.

The artists of the eggs that win prizes as well as the eggs that are chosen to accompany the live auction items and those that are auctioned off themselves will be recognized in the event program.

Egg entries may be submitted at Art Works, Inc. (320 Hull Street); February 1-18th.

The Egg judging will take place on Monday, February 19 and winners will be announced at the 4th Friday Reception at Art Works, Inc. on February 23rd at 8:00 p.m. (this event which runs from 7-10 p.m. is open to the public and offers light refreshments and a cash bar). The eggs will remain on display at Art Works Inc. until the Preview Party at William Jeffrey’s Jewelers in March.

The Preview Party event to kick-off the Eggstravaganza SM and to feature the eggs will be held at William Jeffrey’s Jewelers, 9986 Brook Rd., The Creeks at Virginia Centre, on Thursday, March 8th from 6-9 p.m. Entry is free. RSVP to William Jeffrey’s Jewelers, 264-2600, by March 1st so that they can give the caterer an accurate head count.

The Easter Seals Virginia and Century 21 Old Richmond Realty EggstravaganzaSM will be held on Saturday, March 24th from 7-10:30 p.m. at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. Tickets start at $100. To receive an invitation, contact the ESV office at 287-1007.

To Download the submission form, click here.

Outside the Lines deadline approaching!

Just a friendly reminder that the deadline to submit art for the 2007 Outside the Lines show calendar is January 1, 2007.

Outside the Lines is an entrepreneurial arts program of VSA arts of Virginia and is open to artists with disabilities and others with limited arts access, nationwide. Outside the Lines offers opportunities to showcase work for sale while learning how to professionally submit and present art for consideration in juried and curated solo and group visual art exhibitions.

Exhibitions begin February 2007 in 4 different venues in the greater Richmond area.
Arts organizations and human services agencies are welcome to submit group work. Exhibition opportunities are open to all artists (professional or enthusiasts) with disabilties throughout the US regardless of medium.

Deadline: January 1, 2007

Contact Krishanna for guidelines, application and more information at kspencer[@] or by phone;

We look foward to seeing your artwork!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

'Tis the Season!

Please join the VSA arts of Virginia bell choirs in celebrating the season...

Upcoming free performances:

Saturday, December 2 @ 3:00 pm
Winchester Bell Choir Holiday Performance
Goodson Memorial Chapel, Shenandoah University, Winchester

Wednesday, December 6 @ 7:30 pm
Henrico Bell Choir Holiday Performance
Belmont Recreation Center on Hilliard Road, Richmond

Friday, December 8 @ 7:00pm
Lynchburg Bell Choir Holiday Performance
Heritage United Methodist Church
582 Leesville Road, Lynchburg

Sunday, December 10th @4:00pm
Hanover Bell Choir Performance with the Ashland Community Chorus
Hanover Arts and Activities Center, Ashland

Call for Submissions for an International Exhibition

The International Symbol of Access : White outline of a wheelchair user within a blue square.

The Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies at Syracuse University is seeking "images of the access symbol used in different locations and in different times for an international exhibition charting the symbol's global spread and local evolution.
Images could include a photograph, artifact (pin, t-shirt, etc) or document with a variant of the symbol. These would be donated to the program's ISA Archive. Images and artifacts should include the details of its location (e.g. accessible entrance, Hyatt Hotel, Bethesda, USA), the date, and name of photographer or source from which it was taken.

For more information, visit the website.

National Inclusive Schools Week

"National Inclusive Schools Week highlights and celebrates the progress of our nation's schools in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students with disabilities, those from low socio-economic backgrounds, and English language learners. The Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students, and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children."
VSA arts is an Association Partner of this effort. Please visit the website here to learn more about how you can participate.

Call for Cultural Commentators for Disability Studies Quarterly

Cultural Commentators are authors/scholars who contribute two essays called cultural commentaries per year. DSQ needs eight persons to accept this important contributory role for an appointment period of two years. Cultural Commentaries are concise essays, approximately 600 - 800 words in length, that provide timely and insightful interpretations of current disability issues taking place in the richness and complexity of the social world. It is anticipated there may be opportunities to produce some commentaries as audio and/or video digital documents to be aired on the DSQ website. In lieu of the more traditional book reviews, play reviews, or music reviews, the purpose of Cultural Commentaries in Disability Studies Quarterly is to offer a variety of analyses, interpretations, and critiques of social events and artifacts that engage, illuminate, and critique the cultural ethos of a given activity or social product. Possible examples of Commentaries include (but are certainly not limited
to) analyses of

* Media (Books, Websites, Newpapers, Magazines, Video games, Plays, Movies, Podcasts, Television/Radio) * Political activity (Legislation, Court rulings,
Government policies)
* Corporate or Business activity (New Products, Corporate
* Everyday Life (important mundanities offering insight into disability, social context, and the human condition)

Commentaries should draw upon a variety of scholarly theories and discourses in order to excavate the social problematics, potentials, and possibilities of the most current forms of social activity taking place around the world. Commentaries should be current, poignant, provocative, rich, troubling, humorous, informed, and....perhaps above all....not even remotely suggestive of boredom.
How to Apply: Please send name and contact info along with one sample possible Cultural Commentary (about 600-800 words) to DSQ Assistant Editor Kami Darling at darling@wowway.
Deadline is January 1, 2007.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sixth Poetry and Short Story Book Release

VSA Arts of Charlottesville Albemarle announces the release of their sixth Poetry and Short Story book, Through Our Eyes, written by individuals with disabilities and their caregivers in central Virginia. Through Our Eyes originates in the love of human experiences and imagination. The publication is a result of an ongoing poetry project sponsored by the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Departments, in collaboration with the Charlottesville/Albemarle VSA Arts. The project promotes writing, creativity skills and the therapeutic value of poetry for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers.

Serving as an inspiring collection of one hundred and seventeen poems and short stories, Through Our Eyes, is written and designed by individuals who want to share their daily accomplishments, as well as struggles, taking you along on their journey. The fifty-two writers represented in Through Our Eyes represent a much broader voice . . . . . . .they speak for the 58 million Americans with disabilities, the fastest growing minority group that affects one in five households.

Some of the authors have disabilities from birth, an accident, disease, medical conditions due to aging and mental or learning disabilities. However, they all celebrate their abilities and uniqueness with us through written thoughts.

The book can be purchased for a $10.00 donation at the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department in the City Hall Annex or by calling 434-970-3264. Anyone interested in helping to promote all forms of art for individuals with disabilities may join the Charlottesville/Albemarle VSA Arts Committee. The committee works closely with VSA Arts of Virginia, an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Perf

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Volunteer Receptions at St. Joseph's Villa

St. Joseph's Villa will host special receptions on Thursday, November 16 (2-4 pm) and Friday, November 17 (10 am - noon) for people interested in becoming a volunteer. During the events, potential volunteers can take a tour of the Villa and ask questions about specific volunteer

The Villa is especially interested in finding people who can donate a couple of hours a week to work in the Donation Center, to teach arts classes to children in the Child Development Center and to serve as tutors for students in the Villa's Dooley School. During the Holiday season, the Villa will need several additional volunteers to process toys donated to our clients.

Please call Catherine Stanley at 521-5577 and let her know that you can attend. Thank you!

Call for Art for Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Residents

The Arc of Harrisonburg and Rockingham (formerly the Association for Retarded Citizens) is again holding a special Art Contest for individuals with mental retardation and other developmental
disabilities. The contest is open to individuals of any age with mental retardation, a developmental disability, or developmental delay who reside in either Harrisonburg or in Rockingham County.

More information and the application can be found by clicking on the link below:

Asperger's Support Group at St. Joseph's Villa?

St. Joseph's Villa is considering starting a support group for families of children with Asperger's Syndrome. There will be a meeting to share information at 4:00 pm on Thursday, November 16 at Brook Road Academy on the main Villa campus (8000 Brook Road).

Participants do not have to be parents of current Villa clients; the meeting is open to all families who have a child with Asperger's Syndrome. The group will be led by Nancy Toscano, LCSW BCABA.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Nancy Toscano at
804-553-3267 or

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Just Rewards: A Program for Caregivers

Just Rewards: A Program for Caregivers presented by the Alzheimer's Association.

Date: November 28, 2006

Time: 12:30-4:00 pm

Location: Senior Center, Inc.
1180 Pepsi Place

Charlottesville, VA 22901


12:30- 1:30 - Lunch
1:30 - 2:00 - Poetry reading by Arlene Carter-Pounds
2:15 - 3:15 – Breakout Sessions (choose one)
Creative Expression – use art to express yourself!
Poetry Writing Workshop
3:30 - 4 – Information Q & A: with representatives from community agencies

Massage will be also be available

Event is FREE but Registration is REQUIRED

Call or Email Ellen Phipps


VSA arts of Virginia: Charlottesville
UVA School of Nursing
The Senior Center
Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

CREATING with OTHERS: Planning Expressive Arts Experiences

Incorporating the Expressive Arts (movement, visual arts, writing, drama & music)
into personal and professional practice awakens creativity, fosters self-empowerment and enhances our ability to cultivate positive growth and change in our lives, work & community.

This experiential workshop will give you an opportunity to explore your own creative source while learning new skills for planning individual and group arts experiences. There will be time to experiment with various art modalities and to discuss specific applications to the populations you work with. No previous art experience necessary. Therapeutic, educational, business and community organization professionals are especially encouraged to attend. Bring a bag lunch.

Date: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17 10 am –2 pm

Location: Tonsler Park Center, 501 Cherry Avenue

Cost: $15 – C-ville Residents $22 – Non Residents

Instructor: Jena Leake, M.A., C.A.G.S.
Expressive Arts Therapist & Educator

To Register contact:
Charlottesville Parks & Recreation

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Call for Artists

The Charlottesville/Albemarle District of VSA arts of Virginia invites artists with disabilities ages 13 and up to submit their works for the 7th Annual VSAVA Art Show. Artwork ready to be hund will be accepted November 27th, 28th, and 29th at the Independent REsource Center, 815 Cherry Avenue. For information please contact Mildred Spicer with Charlottesville Parks and Recreation at (434) 970-3264 or Jean Wilhelm, Piedmont Council of the Arts at (434) 296-3518. The show will be held at the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center at Charlottesville HIgh School, January 12th through March 9th, 2007.

Resources for Independent Living Art Show

The 3rd annual juried exhibition and sale of art and crafts created by artists with disabilities from across Virginia will feature jewelry, candles, paintings, drawings, pottery, weavings and handmade crafts.

Saturday, November 12, 11 a.m. - 3p.m.
Resources for Independent Living
4009 Fitzhugh Avenue, Richmond, VA.
Details: 804-353-6503.
Free Admission!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

VSAVA Visual Arts Programs Featured at SunTrust Art Gallery

VSA arts of Virginia is pleased to announce its newest visual arts exhibition, which opens Tuesday, October 3, 2006 in the SunTrust building’s art gallery located at 919 E Main Street, Richmond, VA, 9AM to 5PM and runs until October 31, 2006.

All of the art in this exhibition was created by local artists with disabilities participating in Outside the Lines and Da Vinci on the Road programs. Open to adults, youth and children and these programs offer local, regional and national artists with disabilities opportunities to create and exhibit their work.

Outside the Lines provides local, regional and national artists with disabilities opportunities to showcase their work for sale while learning how to present art professionally. Outside the Lines also works with other local and regional organizations and agencies to provide exhibition opportunities for their artists.

Featured artists: Terry Lynn Smith & Krishanna Spencer

Da Vinci on the Road has partnered with Pine Camp Arts & Community Center to provide arts services to adults and teens with disabilities by bringing art experiences to groups. The work features exhibits the talents of some of the program's current and former participants.

Featured artists: Barbara, Berncenia, Kyle, Scott, Ronald, Freda, T., Allison, Sophia, Scott, Karen, and Charles.

VSA arts of Virginia, Outside the Lines and Da Vinci on the Road would like to thank SunTrust Bank's ACT Disability Resource Center and Katherine McCary for the opportunity to exhibit artwork, and extends special thanks to Sherry McCleod for her assistance and coordination of this exhibition.

An online version of this exhibition is available here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Call for Flash Fiction, Poetry, and Spoken Word

Deadline: December 8, 2006

The ultimate goal: your mind in words.

Flash fiction is an especially short story that gets at the core—a microscope’s view of the world. Writing poetry is an act of discovery, not just words laid out in lines. Spoken word is your lyrical voice, your inner thoughts, and energy emerging through poetic performance.

The Theme - “A Moment in Time: Zooming In on My Life”

"Create a short story, poem, or spoken word performance that zooms in on a specific moment in your life, as a photographer zooms in on a subject to capture intricate details. You can choose an extraordinary OR an ordinary moment from your life, as both types of experiences can be influential. Take a walk through your past, the memories of your mind: watching a fluttering butterfly; witnessing a car crash; smelling the pages of a new book; riding your bike and getting lost; sipping your mom’s hot chocolate in the winter. Relive an experience where you felt adrenaline, elation, discomfort, or contentment. What life experience has shaped you? What image or sensation will be forever etched in your memory? What significant moment do you want to share with the world? Be as specific as possible, getting at the details and using as many senses as possible: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. All poetic forms, fictional experiments, and spoken word performances are welcome". --VSA arts website; Arts in Action

For further information visit the VSA arts Writing Project web page.

A Night At The Opera

We're organizing a group trip to the opera to see Carmen on "Student Night". Please contact Erin before Friday October 13th if you want to join us. If you need to make access arrangements, Erin is happy to coordinate.

If you've never been to the opera -- take a chance -- it isn't what you think it is!

Erin can be contacted by phone at 804.230.0246 or by e-mail at

Tickets $5 for students and chaperones
Landmark Theater
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 7:15 pm
The opera will be sung in French with English supertitles

Relevant Virginia SOLs:
Science: 5.2, PH.10, PH.11
English: 4.4, 4.5, 5.4, 5.5, 5.8, 6.2, 6.4, 6.6, 7.2, 7.5, 8.2, 8.3, 9.1, 9.3, 9.5, 10.3, 10.6, 10.8
History: 7.8, 9.5, 10.1, 10.4, 10.7, 10.11
French: FI.3, FI.8, FI.12, FII.3, FII.4, FII.7, FII.11, FIII.3, FIII.5, FIII.10, FIV.3, FIV.10
Music: 4.6-4.8, 4.12, 4.13, 5.5, 5.6, 5.11, MS.5-MS.9, HS.1, HS.5-HS.9, CB.11, CI.11, CAD.11, CAR.11
Theatre Arts: M.13, M.14 , TI.11-TI.13, TII.12, TII.14, TII.15
Visual Arts: 4.16, 6.19, 8.16, AII.11

More info about the opera and the composer:

From the website: "Carmen is a seductive Spanish gypsy, dancing dangerously with passion in the smoldering town of Seville where men fall easily to her charms. The free-spirited temptress gets more than she bargained for, however, when she ends a fleeting relationship with an army corporal who abandoned almost everything to be with her. In the end, even the handsome bullfighter she clings to cannot protect her from the jealous rage of the obsessed solider whose love she scorned."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

CORE: Defining Ourselves

The Arts and Disability Network and Arts and Services for Disabled, Inc. are organizing a sequel to last year’s successful CORE: Defining Ourselves exhibition. The purpose of CORE 2 is to showcase artwork, literature, and performances by artists with disabilities, and to provide a space for arts and disability advocates to build common bonds within the greater Southern California community. The exhibition will open November 16, 2006. Entries must be received by: Friday, October 6, 2006.

For eligibility and application guidelines for CORE 2 (please specify visual art or performance) contact:

Monica Ritson


Arts and Services for Disabled, Inc

1903 169th St

Gardena, CA 90247

Phone: (562) 982 0247 Fax: (562) 982 0254


Friday, September 08, 2006

National Art Contest from NCCRESt

Showing Schools That Value & Include All Students

The National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt) is sponsoring a national art contest in conjunction with its National Forum.

It is looking for artistic representations of what schools look like that value and include the backgrounds, experiences, and heritage of all students.

Work submitted to this contest will be used on products and materials developed by NCCRESt to raise awareness and to help people across the nation understand the vision of inclusive, culturally responsive education.

The contest is open to students in grades K-12 and adults. The grand prize winner will receive a $300 cash award and a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend the 2007 National Forum on Disproportionality in Education, February 7-9, 2007. At this national forum, the grand prize winner will be honored at a reception and artwork will be on display.

Contest applications must be submitted by October 31, 2006.

For more information, visit the NCCREST Web site.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Call for Art for Artists With Disabilities

VSA arts of Virginia is proud to announce new visual art exhibition opportunities for artists with disabilities

VSA arts of Virginia works to ensure adults, youth and children with disabilities and others with limited arts access to express themselves through visual, literary and performing arts. Our programs assist participants to develop confidence, inspire creativity and provide opportunities to use their imaginations in creative and nurturing settings. VSAVA showcases the talents and strengths of each participant and promotes a greater awareness of the benefits of the arts in the lives of all people.

The Outside the Lines Exhibitions Program, is open to adults, youth and children and offers local and regional and national artists with disabilities and others with limited arts access ways to showcase their work for sale while learning how to professionally submit art for consideration in juried and curated art exhibitions. Other arts non-profits that serve artists with disabilities, as well as schools and other agencies that support artists with disabilities are encouraged to submit works by groups of artists with disabilties. Preference will be given to submissions from artists in VSAVA statewide districts but please do not feel limited by this; the criteria for selection will be broad.

Outside the Lines defines "outsider art" as work of artists, often with disabilities, who demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and who seem instead motivated by their unique personal visions. This includes what is known as self-taught art, art brut, non-traditional folk art, intuitive and visionary art.


This year we are excited to announce we are accepting work from artists with disabilities from Virginia and beyond to promote a global community and to help dissipate the isolation and loneliness that sometimes exist for artists with disabilities.

Materials must be received by VSAVA by January 1, 2007 for consideration. Questions? Contact Krishanna Spencer, State Exhibition Curator by phone at 804.230.0246 or by e-mail at


· Artists with disabilities working in two-dimensional visual media or three-dimensional hanging works are invited to submit work for consideration in rotating art exhibits and shows for the 2006-2007 calendar year.

· Only original works created within the last 3 years and not previously shown by VSAVA will be accepted. All media, styles, and techniques are eligible.


· Outside the Lines is open to all artists with disabilities. There is no entry fee. Exhibit is open to all media. If special considerations are needed, please call Krishanna Spencer at 804.230.0246 for questions.

· Works may not exceed 3'x3'. Works on paper must be framed and preferably Plexiglas or glass and ready for hanging.

· Works on stretchers (i.e. canvases) don't need to be framed, but must have finished edges and should be wired or have saw-toothed hangers attached.

· Any other types of work are acceptable, as long as they can be hung from a nail. Weight of artwork cannot exceed 35 lbs.


To be considered, proposals must include the following items:

1. Introductory letter

2. A maximum of five (5) prints or CD digital format. If you are mailing work on prints, each picture must be labeled with the following: name, title, date, media, and dimensions (width x length x depth). Contact Krishanna for questions or assistance.

3. If you are submitting digital images on CD-rom, images must be in .jpeg format, 1200 x 900 pixels and 300 DPI, no larger than 4”x 6”. The file name should follow this format: last name, first name, image number, and the title. Example: DoeJane1Untitled. Photos/CDs will not be returned for selected works. Contact Krishanna for questions or assistance.

4. A one-page artist statement (to be displayed with artwork)

5. A SASE for returning materials

6. Signed copy of the attached Artist’s Agreement and submission forms


Reasonable care will be taken with all submitted materials. None of VSAVA’s, venue[s], their officers, staff, volunteers, jurors, or anyone connected with the exhibition will be responsible for loss or damage however caused. Your entry into this exhibition constitutes agreement with these terms and conditions set forth by this prospectus.

Selected Work

All artists will be mailed a notification letter upon selection. This notification letter will include shipping and hand delivery deadlines, as well as shipping and pick up dates.

Works selected for exhibition must have a completed label affixed to the lower right-hand corner on the back of the work. Label must include artist’s name, address, phone number, e-mail, title of work, medium year the work was completed, dimensions and price. Contact Krishanna for questions or assistance.

Artists will receive 70% of the sales from their work. Exhibitions will be held at one of the following venues below, unless otherwise specified in the acceptance letter.

Outside the Lines Exhibition Venues

Max’s Positive Vibe Café, a training restaurant in Richmond providing a hands-on teaching environment for people with disabilities to learn basic and chef level food service skills, has generously donated the walls of its foyer and dining room to VSAVA to give artists with disabilities a venue in which to show and sell their work.

The Children’s Museum of Richmond is a Universally designed museum, providing a hands-on learning environment for children of all abilities. The museum generously provides exhibition space for our children’s art programs and is home to our MusicLink program.

Nextel Communications Headquarters has donated wall space (approximately 22 ft.) in their headquarters to VSAVA giving artists with disabilities another venue in which to show and sell their work in a corporate environment.

Outside the Lines is VSAVA’s gallery space. Located at the state VSA arts of Virginia office its mission is to promote public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of outsider art through education and exhibition.

We are also developing other exhibition venues around Richmond in prominent areas to be announced as they are added.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ten Commandments of Etiquette for Communicating with Persons with Disabilities

1. When talking with a person with a disability, speak directly to that person rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter.

2. When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually shake hands.

3. When meeting a person with a visual impairment, always identify yourself and others who maybe with you.When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking.

4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for instructions.

5. Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names only when extending the same familiarity to all others. (Never patronize people who use wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.)

6. Leaning or hanging on a person’s wheelchair is similar to leaning or hanging on a person and is generally consider inappropriate. The chair is part of the personal body space of the person who uses it.

7. Listen attentively when you’re talking with a person who has difficulty speaking. Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for the person. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, a nod, or shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having
difficulty doing so. Instead, repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond. The response will guide your understanding.

8. When speaking with a person in a wheelchair or a person who uses crutches, place yourself at eye level in front of the person to facilitate the conversation.

9. To get the attention of a person who is Deaf or hard of hearing, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and expressively to determine if the person can read your lips. Not all people who are hard of hearing can lip-read. For those that do not lip-read, be sensitive to their needs by placing yourself so that you face the light source and keep hands, cigarettes, and food away from your mouth while speaking.

10. Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted, common expression such as “See you later.” or “Did you hear about that?” that seem to relate to a person’s disability.

People First Language

It seems so simple. Think of the person, not the disability. Thinking of the person first will allow the disability awareness to come quite naturally.

The following information might help you. Below are two excerpts from Access and Opportunities: A Guide to Disability Awareness, a publication written and distributed by VSA arts.

Language shapes the way those around us speak and act toward one another and conveys the respect we
have for others. The use of appropriate language about people with disabilities can be an important tool in
building a community that accepts all people.

Suggestions to Improve Access and Positive Interactions

Please avoid euphemisms such as “physically-challenged,” or “differently-abled.” Many disability groups feel these phrases reinforce the idea that disabilities cannot be spoken of in an upfront and direct manner.

**Think of it this way: you wouldn’t call a friend with cancer “my cancerous friend,” so why would you call a friend who is Deaf, “my Deaf friend”?

Using terms such as “afflicted with,” “suffers from,” or “crippled with” sensationalizes the disability. These
expressions are considered inaccurate to people with disabilities.

When referring to people who use wheelchairs, avoid using terms such as “wheelchair bound” or “confined to a wheelchair.” Wheelchairs do not confine people with disabilities—they provide freedom of movement to assist them in traveling throughout the community.

Basic Guidelines for Disability Awareness
• Person with a disability;
• Person who is blind; person with a visual impairment
• Person who is Deaf; person who is hard of hearing
• Person with a mental illness
• Person with a developmental disability; person with mental retardation
• Person who uses a wheelchair
• Person with a physical disability; person with a mobility impairment

Congratulations are in order!

VSA arts of Virginia would like to extend our warm congratulations to Josh Blue on becoming the Last Comic Standing!! You know NBC's stand-up comedy competition....

For those of you who aren't familiar with Josh, he is an exceptionally talented comedian, ParaOlympic soccer player and awesome artist. Oh yeah. And he just happens to have Cerebral Palsy.

You can see his his Last Comic Standing skits on YouTube .

You can learn more about Josh, talk to Josh, listen to Josh, see Josh's are, find out where Josh is, laugh a lot and buy his CD buy going to his website.

Congrats, Josh!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Benefit Concert

When and Where:
August 1, 2006

6:45pm Meet & Greet at Bottoms Up
8:00pm Concert at Have a Nice Day Café
$30 Concert only in advance $35 Concert only at door
$60 Meet & Greet and Concert in advance only
Tickets available through Have a Nice Day Café on July 6th. Call 804.771.1700 for tickets by phone.

VSA arts of VA brings you Constantine Maroulis in the First Annual Creative Power Benefit Concert

During his run on American Idol Season 4 Constantine Maroulis conquered hearts nationwide. Since then, fans have been trekking from city to city to see him perform. Some of his fans have also been raising money for VSA arts of Virginia in his honor. Those fans facilitated a connection with the artist that has led to the planning of a benefit show launching Constantine’s fall tour.

VSA arts of Virginia (VSAVA) provides art, education and cultural opportunities by/for/with people with disabilities. Executive Director Erin Hickey says “The relationship we have with Constantine’s fans has enabled us to share our organization with a new audience. We’re so fortunate to have the support. It’s a lot of fun to watch such an engaging performer and to know that you’re supporting arts access for everyone.” Hickey states that VSAVA’s search for a venue demonstrates how people with disabilities are marginalized. The organization received a generous offer from a local venue to host the event but had to decline because of inadequate accommodations for people with disabilities. Several other accessible venues were considered but not chosen because they lacked the atmosphere a rock concert requires. “People with disabilities like all of the same forms of entertainment everyone else enjoys” says Hickey “There is every reason to believe that you’d see many more people with disabilities at this kind of event if their needs were taken into consideration at the beginning of the planning process”.

VSA arts of Virginia can provide the photo of Constantine for this event and a fact sheet about the organization upon request.

Event sponsored in part by FOX Richmond.

Information about writing with “people first language” can be obtained at

The official American Idol website posted the announcement here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy (VOPA) Survey

The Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy wants your feedback.
Please visit VOPA site and fill out the public input survey by clicking here. Give them your thoughts on the work they have been doing and the work you think they need to be doing more of. If you'd like a paper copy of the survey instead, please call 1-800- 552-4962 and ask for a copy of the public input survey to be mailed to you.
For more information, please contact:

Virginia Office of Protection & Advocacy
Richmond Field/Central Office
1910 Byrd Avenue, Suite 5
Richmond, VA 23230
Phone: 800-552-3962 (Toll-Free in Virginia)
Phone: 804-225-2042 (Voice/TTY)
Fax: 804-662-7057

State Special Education Advisory Committee (SSEAC) Vacancies

The State Special Education Advisory Committee is currently seeking nominees to fill the following vacancies:

- A person with a disability (no geographic designation)
- Teacher (no geographic designation)
- Parent of a Child with Disabilities - Regional Study Group 1
- Parent of a Child with Disabilities - Regional Study Group 8

The Nomination Form to apply for vacancies, an overview of the responsibilities and activities of the SSEAC, as well as the areas covered by Regional Study Groups 1 & 8, may be found by clicking here. For further information, please contact:

Patricia Abrams, Ed.D.
Virginia Department of Education
Office of Special Education Instructional Services
PO Box 2120
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120
Phone: (804) 225-2707
Fax: (804) 371-8796

Friday, June 16, 2006

Open Call for Artists with Disabilities living in the Central Virginia area.

Deadline (Postmark): October 1, 2006

Artists with disabilities working in two-dimensional visual media (watercolors, oils, acrylics, gouache, photography, etc.) or three-dimensional hanging works are invited to submit work for consideration rotating art exhibits and shows for the 2007 calendar year.

VSA arts of Virginia (VSAVA) works to ensure adults, youth and children with disabilities and others with limited arts access to express themselves through visual, literary and performing arts. Our programs assist participants to develop confidence, inspire creativity and provide opportunities to use their imaginations in creative and nurturing settings. Through theatre, music, visual and literary arts, arts exhibitions and education programming, VSAVA– Richmond showcases the talents and strengths of each participant and promotes a greater awareness of the benefits of the arts in the lives of all people.

VSAVA’s statewide Exhibitions Program, is open to adults, youth and children and offers local and regional artists with disabilities and others with limited arts access ways to showcase their work for sale while learning how to professionally submit art for consideration in juried and curated art exhibitions. These spaces are available to VSA of Virginia statewide districts and the general public in the Central Virginia area. We have 3 venues for adults and are actively looking to add more.

For guidelines and an application and/or more information, please e-mail Krishanna at

Logo Contest

The Advisory Committee to the Office of Child and Family Services at the Virginia Dept of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services is looking for a logo which will be used in all future print campaigns. The logo should demonstrate an understanding of the term the Office's focus on children and families.

Who may enter? Any person under age 22 with a disability

What will be accepted? Submissions can include any piece of original artwork no larger than 8 ½ by 11 inches in size. The winning logo will be adjusted in size to allow for use in print advertising (as small as 1 inch X 1 inch). Works submitted may be in any medium with the final product to be the used in print advertising. Submissions may include, but are not limited to: water color, photography, sketches, and digitally created art.

When will logos be accepted? The deadline for submission is July 7, 2006. All submissions must include the original piece of artwork, a submission application and permission giving The Office of Child and Family Services approval to use the image in print advertising and/or to display it in different venues throughout Virginia.

For more information about the contest, please contact Monica Smyth at

Friday, June 02, 2006

MusicLink classes start in two weeks!

Attached is the flyer for the upcoming international cultural exchange program, MusicLink. Because the program follows a year-long timetable with our international partners, it is important that children who become involved are able to commit to a year of participation. There are still spaces left in the class, but register quickly! To read about the program activities click here. To see videos created by past participants follow click here.

Next Week

The staff at the VSAVA home office will be attending the International VSA arts Conference in Washington, D.C. next week. While we're there we'll be viewing the exhibition entitled Transformation and attending the Start With the Arts Festival. Read more about the events here.
Pre-registration has concluded, but you can still register at the door.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dreamers are at it again with a new production!

Everyone who is anyone will be at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center on Sunday, April 30 at 6:00 PM to see one of Richmond’s most innovative and interesting theatre troupes going to work to make the performing arts more accessible to everyone while breaking down those tired stereotypes of disability that exist in the world.

Last year the Dreamers playing to a standing room only audience, brought down the house at the Israel November Auditorium with their renditions of songs past in the Power of Music. This year’s show promises even more entertainment and fun as the Dreamers relate a typical day in high school, called Scrapbook Memories.

Dreamers is a group of dedicated actors who have the opportunity to showcase their abilities while learning and practicing transferable skills. Dreamers makes the performing arts more accessible to everyone while breaking down stereotypes of disabilities to the world at large.

Want to get involved? Dreamers seeks donations and volunteers to help make its program and productions successful. Dreamers is sponsored by VSA arts Virginia and the Weinstein Jewish Community Center.

Where? Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave, Richmond, VA
When? SUnday, April 30, 2006
What time? 6:00 PM

COST? $5.00 in advance; $6.00 at the door

Virginia High School Student Wins Prestigious Award

Jessica Bolden is not a typical high school senior. She is smart, talented, and a model student - but that is not why she’s atypical! The truth is; Jessica actually enjoys talking to her parents! Yes, that’s right. She says that her friends are confused by the fact that she shares her personal thoughts and feelings with her parents.

Jessica Bolden is a High School senior from Sussex, Virginia who was selected to be one of this year’s published authors in the VSA arts online literary journal, Infinite Difference. Her poem, “Category Five”, is a wonderfully fluid lyricism that tells the sad story of Hurricane Katrina's devastation through the eyes of a bird in flight. Jessica has been actively writing poems, short stories, and plays since she was a sophomore. One of her current stories is about a young girl who is dealing with verbally abusive parents. Jessica says that although she has never experienced anything like this, she feels great empathy for the kids who must struggle with it every day. Jessica says, “It’s always good to see something through someone else’s eyes...” I’m impressed! It’s hard enough for a seasoned adult to attempt this feat. It’s a wonder that Jessica has time to write. She stays extremely busy with a minimum of a dozen impressive school activities along with volunteer work at the regional hospital and a home for the elderly. Jessica says that writing is relaxing and she keeps a journal; “keeping a journal is a good idea, you can say things that you wouldn’t say out loud”. At this point she is not considering a career in writing. She doesn’t like deadlines; “Sometimes it takes five minutes and sometimes it takes five days...”. Jessica intends to study medicine and hopefully start a clinic that caters to women’s health needs. She certainly has the compassion and dedication to pursue any goal. Congratulations Jessica! We applaud your unique spirit.

To read Jessica’s poem along with the work of the other chosen authors: - click on Infinite Difference

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: Gallaudet University's Theatre Arts Department and Amaryllis Theatre Company Partner on Shakespeare in American Sign Language

Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Washington, DC’s Gallaudet University, the nation’s most esteemed university for deaf students, and Amaryllis Theatre Company, a professional company in Philadelphia that works with deaf and hearing actors on a regular basis, have partnered this year on a project to translate Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing into American Sign Language and co-produce the play in both cities with students and theatre faculty from Gallaudet and ten professional actors from around the country.

The project began in 2003 when Amaryllis started working on its second ASL Shakespeare production after a critically and popularly successful Twelfth Night, produced in 2001. “This time we wanted very much to open the project to students from Gallaudet,” explains Mimi Kenney Smith, Producing Artistic Director of Amaryllis and the director of the production. “Unlike hearing students around the world who read Shakespeare in English or in scholarly translations, Deaf students do not have the opportunity to study Shakespeare in their native language. Even though most are bi-lingual, Shakespeare is difficult for all students. When you communicate primarily through your body and eyes instead of through your voice and ears, reading Shakespeare’s complicated poetic language becomes that much more difficult, and except for Twelfth Night, scholarly translations in ASL simply do not exist.”

To change that situation, Amaryllis offered to provide the videotape of its Twelfth Night production as a model and to have two Shakespeare scholars associated with Amaryllis join with two Gallaudet professors in teaching a class on ASL translation at Gallaudet. That class, entitled “Hands on Shakespeare,” gave students from Gallaudet an in-depth look at both Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing and engaged them in actually creating translations of three scenes from Much Ado. Peter Novak from the University of San Francisco, who led a team of Deaf actors in the translation of Twelfth Night and directed the production at Amaryllis, conducted two workshops for the students on ASL translation, helping them to understand how to create rhyme, for example, in a non-sound based language, and how to incorporate mime into traditional ASL. Much Ado’s master translators Aaron Weir Kelstone from Rochester Institute of Technology and Robert De Mayo, an actor/translator from Amaryllis who also worked on Twelfth Night, gave workshops on themes and styles in the current translation. Then Stephen Smith, Assistant Chair of English at La Salle University in Philadelphia, the dramaturg for Much Ado, and Gallaudet professors Willy Conley, Chair of Theatre, and Jennifer Nelson, a Shakespeare scholar in the English Department, led the students in their own translations of selected scenes. The best of the students’ translations will be incorporated into the professional translation and used in the production this spring.

This semester, another class at Gallaudet is participating in the project. Students from Gallaudet professor Angela Farrand’s “Drama Education” class are developing a study guide on CD-rom and paper and a series of workshops for elementary, middle and high school students from area schools who come to see the production.

The production of Much Ado will be acted in synchronized American Sign Language and spoken English, making the show accessible to all audiences. Director Smith explains an additional perk that comes with this kind of performance: “We would expect the ASL translation to make Shakespeare available to Deaf audiences; that’s the point. But what’s also interesting is that the combination of gesture and spoken English makes Shakespeare’s difficult language far more understandable to hearing audiences. It also creates amazing theatre.” Reviews of Amaryllis’ earlier ASL Shakespeare production confirm Smith’s opinion. A critic for New York’s Backstage, for example, wrote, “This Twelfth Night was most impressive for its clarity; once hearing audiences adjusted to voices coming from other actors, we were swept away by the translation’s mystifying beauty, which played like choreography,” while the Philadelphia Inquirer’s reviewer commented, “The lines are spoken with feeling and expressiveness and the acting is so vivid that the characters and scenes come immediately to life.”

Much Ado runs for eleven performances at Gallaudet’s Elstad Auditorium. The show previews on Thursday, April 20 at 8pm, opens Friday, April 21 at 7pm and runs on Saturday, April 22, Thursday, Friday and Saturday April 27 through 29 at 8pm and Sunday, April 23 and 30 at 2pm. Student matinees are scheduled for Saturday, April 22 at 2pm and Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28 at 10am. Post-show workshops are available after the two matinee performances. Ticket Prices: full-time Gallaudet University students receive one free ticket; $12 for non-Gallaudet students and groups of 10 people or more; $15 for Gallaudet faculty/ staff/alums and senior citizens 65 years and older; $20 for general public.

Tickets are available through Groups should contact Patrick Doran at 215-717-2173 or through e-mail at All performances are accessible to persons with disabilities, including wheelchair seating, assistive listening, audio description and Braille and large print programs.

Amaryllis Theatre Company is the professional theatrical producing arm of VSA arts of Pennsylvania. VSA arts, founded in 1974 by Jean Kennedy Smith, works through affiliates throughout the U.S. and in 60 countries to make sure that people with disabilities can learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. VSA arts is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

For more information or details please visit :

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Poetry Program Deadline April 28

n April, the Arlington Arts Center launched its bilingual poetry mentoring program: In Two Tongues/En dos lenguas.

The program offers emerging poets who reside in the Mid-Atlantic states the chance to:

1) Have their work published in George Mason University's bilingual journal

Hispanic Culture Review;

2) Appear in poetry readings with established poets at the Arlington Arts Center;

3) Participate in poetry master classes;

4) Have their work published in the Arlington Arts Center's


NYC-based artist Hilary Cooper is interested in touring her exhibit 'Divided Portraits: Identity and Disability', ref:

Cooper uses portraiture to confront the viewer's perception. 'In portraiture, the head always comes first. In human communication, the head - indeed the eyes - always come first, too. But with people in wheel chairs, the thing that comes first, and the thing that sets all priorities, is that odd chair. It tells the able-bodied at once and forever that the disabled are profoundly different.

These Divided Portraits are painted to right that wrong perception in a deeply visual and emotional way. The portraits are divided; we are not.' Cooper spent some time in a wheelchair, when she broke her neck in 1995. 'Divided Portraits' will be shown at VSA arts of Colorado's Gallery during February and March of 2006.

For more information, please contact Cooper directly at

BRIAN AYERS MEMORIAL CALL FOR ENTRIES: International Juried Art Exhibition Seeks Entries from Talented Artists with Learning Disabilities

The Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition celebrates the artistic ability of children with learning disabilities and dyslexia. This year, as a part of the tenth annual exhibition in Boone, North Carolina, twenty $50 prizes will be awarded to artists whose entries show special artistic merit. Fifteen more artists will receive $20 gift certificates from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff. The 2005 exhibition displayed 98 works from sixteen states and five continents. A piece from the 2004 exhibition is attached. There is no entry fee. Open to artists age 10-19. Entry deadline is May 8, 2006. The exhibition runs from May 23 to June 18, 2006. Visit the Brian Ayers Memorial Art Exhibition Web site, for an Entry Form.