Blog For All!
2012 Archive

New Year's Resolution: Attend An All Access Pass Tour

Posted Monday December 31 2012 at 4:14 pm in News

All Access Pass Tour

Join us at an All Access Pass tour to learn more about our work towards educational and cultural inclusion in the arts.  We are hosting tours of VSA Massachusetts as a way to bring our mission to a wider audience.  The tour takes no more than one hour.  You'll hear a welcome from board and staff members and then take a guided tour of our work.  We'll share some inspiring stories about how the arts transform our communities and create opportunities for inclusion.

Upcoming tour dates:
Wednesday, January 16, 5:45pm
Wednesday, February 13, 12:00pm
Thursday, March 14, 5:45pm
Tuesday, April 23, 12:00pm

89 South Street, Suite 101, Boston 02111

To reserve a spot and request ASL interpretation or other accommodations, call Kati Blair Kotrc at 617-350-7713 x101 or email

VSA International Young Soloists Award Program

Posted Saturday December 29 2012 at 08:26 am in Call For Artists

VSA International Young Soloist Competition

Since 1984, the VSA International Young Soloists Program has identified talented musicians, aged 14-25, who have a disability.  The VSA International Young Soloists Competition annually selects up to four outstanding musicians from the United States and the international arena, and supports and encourages them in their pursuit of a career.  These emerging musicians receive $2,500, professional development opportunities, and a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Applications are accepted online.
Submission deadline is January 15, 2013.
Learn more about the competition.

Institute on Disability Webinar: iPad Adaptations in Minutes

Posted Thursday December 27 2012 at 11:25 am in Education

Institute on Disability Webinar Logo

While the iPad is promoted as a universally-designed tool, individuals with various disabilities often benefit from the added support of adaptations.  This webinar will demonstrate over 30 ways an iPad can be adapted in five minutes or less using everyday materials.

Who: Institute on Disability
When: January 8, 2013 3:30pm
Cost: $59

ASL-Interpreted Performance of Arabian Nights

Posted Sunday December 23 2012 at 6:06 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Arabian Nights

Enter ancient Persia and be transformed by the power of storytelling – again!  The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater revive their award-winning production (2012 Independent Reviewers of New England Awards for Best Ensemble, Best Puppetry, Best Costumes, and Best Director) of Dominic Cooke’s Arabian Nights.  Based on One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of folk tales from the Middle East and Asia, Arabian Nights is rich with suspense, romance and hilarity – stories irresistible for all ages.  At its heart is the power of the imagination to heal, inspire, and transform.

Where: Central Square Theater
When: Saturday, December 29 2011, 3pm
How: Phone Martine at 617-576-9278 x 210.  Mention you would like to purchase $25 ASL Tickets.

Arts as Antidote for Academic Ills - New York Times

Posted Saturday December 22 2012 at 10:31 am in Education

Chuck Close

New York Times, 12/18/2012
Written by Patricia Cohen
Photo by Kirsten Luce

Stationed in front of one of his large self-portraits, the artist Chuck Close raised his customized wheelchair to balance on two wheels, seeming to defy the laws of gravity.

The chair’s unlikely gymnastics underlined the points that Mr. Close was making to his audience, 40 seventh and eighth graders from Bridgeport, Conn.: Break the rules and use limitations to your advantage.

The message had particular resonance for these students, and a few educators and parents, who had come by bus on Monday from Roosevelt School to the Pace Gallery in Chelsea for a private tour of Mr. Close’s show.  Roosevelt, located in a community with high unemployment and crushing poverty, recently had one of the worst records of any school in the state, with 80 percent of its seventh graders testing below grade level in reading and math.

Read More →

Violinist With One Hand Inspires Young Musicians - Boston Globe

Posted Saturday December 22 2012 at 08:07 am in Education

Adrian Anantawan

Boston Globe, 12/20/2012
Written by Geoff Edgers/Globe Reporter
Photo by Josh Reynolds

The first time the students saw Adrian Anantawan play his violin, they were stunned.  He had no right hand, and yet an attachment he called “the spatula” allowed him to play an arrangement of the Beatles song, “Yesterday.”

“I was astonished,” says Kelly Exilus, 11, a violist from Jamaica Plain and one of the students that spring day at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton.  “I thought, ‘Wow.’ ”

Nobody at the school talks much these days about Anantawan’s right arm.  They’re too busy practicing, while also learning a greater truth from their teacher: Music is the great equalizer.

Read More →

CapeCodCAN! Presents Broadway and Beyond

Posted Thursday December 20 2012 at 10:16 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Broadway and Beyond

Broadway and Beyond is a musical revue of song, dance, poetry and beyond . . . bringing us back from the future to the heyday of Broadway and celebrating the capabilities and talents of the people of Cape Cod, including those with disabilities.  When two people come back from the year 2045 to the present to encounter Broadway as it used to be, anything can happen!

Presented live at Cotuit Center for the Arts, showtimes are Saturday January 12, 2013 at 6pm and Sunday January 13, 2013 at 2pm.  Tickets are $15 each.

Read More →

Huntington Theatre's "Our Town" ASL Interpreted

Posted Tuesday December 18 2012 at 06:44 am in Cultural Inclusion

Our Town Cast

Obie Award-winning visionary director David Cromer brings his groundbreaking and critically acclaimed new version of the beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning Our Town to the Huntington Theatre.  In 1901 Grover's Corners, George and Emily fall in love, marry, and live out their lives as one New England town becomes a microcosm of everyday life.  An Off Broadway smash playing for more than 600 performances, this wonderfully intimate staging marks the Huntington's first production in the Roberts Studio Theatre at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.

An ASL Interpreted performance will take place January 4, 2013 at 8pm.  Tickets are $15 for each Deaf or Hard of Hearing person and one guest.  As this is a small theatre TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED BY DECEMBER 21st!  To purchase tickets, contact Meg Obrien at 617-273-1558 or

Learn more by visiting the Huntington Theatre website.

Setting Up Success for Visual Artists - Webinar Archive Available

Posted Sunday December 16 2012 at 11:00 am in News

If you missed the December 11, 2012 free VSA webinar "Setting Up Success for Visual Artists", an archive is available until January 5, 2013.  To access the recording:

1. Visit GoToMeeting.  You will be prompted to enter your email address and contact information prior to viewing the webinar.
2. You must have Windows Media 9 or higher to view the recorded webinar.
3. You must install the GoToMeeting Codec, which can be found here.
4. You must have administrator rights on your PC to install the GoToMeeting Codec and view the recorded webinar in the GoToMeeting format.

Also available is a Quick Links document (pdf) from the presentation.

"I Am Light": An Evening of Disability Rights Poetry, Art, Expression, and Conversation

Posted Friday December 14 2012 at 7:20 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Accessible Icon

The Institute for Human Centered Design will host an informal evening with Eli Wolff, Sara Hendren, and others sharing disability rights poetry, art and expression, and to join in a conversation about the place of creative expression in the disability rights movement.

Inspired by disability-rights poet and artist Neil Marcus, Eli Wolff has been writing poetry from the perspective of disability rights and advocacy for the last year.  Eli will be reading "I am Light" and other poems from this experience.

Sara has been thinking a lot about adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, and all the political and cultural ways we comprehend and represent disability.  Among several projects, Sarah will discuss "The Accessible Icon Project" that provides supplies and services to transform the old International Symbol of Access into an active, engaged image.

When: December 19th at 7pm
Where: The Institute for Human Centered Design, 200 Portland Street, Boston
RSVP: or call 617-695-1225 x235

Wine, fruit and cheese, or hot chocolate will be provided!

Hanover Theatre Offers ASL Interpretation of A Christmas Carol

Posted Tuesday December 11 2012 at 9:58 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Hanover Theatre - A Christmas Carol

We previously blogged about Hanover Theatre's Broadway Series and the commitment to provide ASL interpreters.  "A Christmas Carol" has been added to the list of ASL interpreted plays.  The performance takes place Friday, December 21, 2012 at 7pm.

More information is available at Hanover Theatre's website.

Meet Me at the Coolidge . . . and Make Memories

Posted Sunday December 09 2012 at 10:43 pm in News

Meet Me at the Coolidge

ARTZ - Artists for Alzheimer's and Coolidge Corner Theatre present an interactive film program for people with memory loss and their care partners.

Meet Me at the Coolidge...and Make Memories is a one-of-a-kind film experience, designed specifically for people with memory loss and their care partners.  Short clips from classic films will be shown, followed by audience discussion and reminiscence, guided by a moderator.

Where: Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline MA
When: Thursdays - December 13 2012,  March 14 2013,  June 20 2013  10am -12noon

This program demonstrates how film can be a form of treatment for people with memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.  The cinema has the power to connect us with our deep-rooted emotional memories - the kind that never leave us.

For tickets, more information, or to volunteer, send an e-mail to Dee Brenner at or call 978-985-4427.

Admission, Parking, and Refreshments are FREE but please RSVP with the number of seats requested.

The Boston Globe Asks: "Is Art Therapy the Answer for Dementia?"

Posted Thursday December 06 2012 at 05:14 am in News

Art Therapy for Dementia

Boston Globe, 11/27/2012
Written by Karen Weintraub/Globe Correspondent
Photo by Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

DEDHAM — Carla shook a tambourine, while Dorothy played the xylophone and Leni tapped her palms gently on an African drum. Vivian declined an instrument, but shimmied her shoulders when the music moved her.

Their walkers stood ready and their voices were wispy with age, but the eight group members sang with purpose, remembering every word of the Doris Day classic without prompting.

“We were sailing along, on Moonlight Bay. We could hear the voices ringing . . .,” they sang.

When they had finished “love’s old sweet song” and given themselves a round of applause, Clara proclaimed the group “ready for Symphony Hall.”

Read More →

Community Partners Day at Museum of Science

Posted Wednesday December 05 2012 at 06:53 am in Cultural Inclusion

Join the Museum of Science Saturday December 8 for a Community Partners Day.  See the new traveling exhibit "Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age", and "Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure".  Registered guests will receive free exhibit hall admission for up to 4 people in total per reservation to view the exhibits up to 5PM when the Museum closes.  ASL interpreters will be available to visit exhibits with guests from 10AM to 2PM.

Guests can pick up tickets at the Community Relations registration table in the Museum lobby on the morning of December 8 between 10am and 1pm.

For questions, please contact Maria Cabrera (, 617-589-0418) or James Boyd (, 617-589-0315).

Please be sure to register in advance.

Arts Activities, Holiday Shopping, Refreshments at Handmade Holiday Opening Reception

Posted Tuesday December 04 2012 at 12:06 am in Open Door Gallery

Wreath Hanging on Door

Join us for an evening of arts activities, holiday shopping, and refreshments at the Handmade Holiday Opening Reception, Thursday December 6 2012 4-7pm, Open Door Gallery, 89 South Street #101, Boston MA.

Read More →

Free Webcast of Niv Ashkenazi Performing Live at Kennedy Center

Posted Friday November 30 2012 at 12:58 am in News

Niv Ashkenazi

Watch a live webcast of violinist Niv Ashkenazi on the Kennedy Center Millennium stage December 3 2012 at 6pm.  Ashkenazi is a 2007 VSA International Young Soloist Award recipient.

Learn more about Niv Ashkenazi by visiting his website.

MRC Artists Beyond Challenges Holiday Reception and Exhibit

Posted Thursday November 29 2012 at 06:07 am in Cultural Inclusion

Artists Beyond Challenges

Looking for holiday gift ideas?  Help welcome the Artists Beyond Challenges exhibit to the West Suburban YMCA.  Come meet the artists and learn about this Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission group.  Many kinds of artwork will be for sale.  Refreshments will be provided.

Saturday, December 1 2012, 2-4pm
West Suburban YMCA
276 Church Street
Newton Center, MA 02458

Silent Rhythms Offers ASL-Interpreted Latin Dance Workshops

Posted Tuesday November 27 2012 at 9:46 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Silent Rhythm - Salsa

Silent Rhythms has partnered with MetaMovements and Kerry Thompson (pictured above) to provide two ASL-interpreted workshops on Latin dancing.  The workshops will be held December 1 and 8, 2012 at Blackstone Community Center, which is the building next to where Salsa in the Park Summer was held.  After the workshops there will be a dance social so you can practice what you've learned or watch other folks dance.

Read More →

Black Friday . . . Cyber Monday . . . Giving Tuesday

Posted Tuesday November 27 2012 at 01:07 am in News

The giving starts November 27 on Giving Tuesday

We have a day for giving thanks.  We have a day for retail bargains.  We have a day for cyber deals.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a day for giving back?

Now we do.  Giving Tuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season.  It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.

Please help us continue our great work by giving to VSA Massachusetts this holiday season.

Thank you.

Free Screening of Closed Captioned "Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi"

Posted Monday November 26 2012 at 06:39 am in Cultural Inclusion

Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi

Watch a screening of "Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi", a coming-of-age movie that explores the life of an exceptional teenager and his hilariously complex and neurotic family, at Temple Emeth in Chestnut Hill MA, December 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm.

Read More →

ASL-Interpreted Events at The Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Posted Saturday November 24 2012 at 6:50 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Wednesday, November 28, 2012      6:00 pm
American Sign Language Tour with no spoken English for students of ASL and Deaf Studies

To participate, ask for a ticket from any cashier at any entrance.  The MFA is free after 4:00 pm on Wednesdays.  Meet the ASL Guide at 5:50 pm at the Sharf Visitor Center.  Participation will be limited to comply with the Museum’s guidelines for the size of groups in galleries.  This tour will be repeated on Wednesday, January 16, at 6:00 pm.

Sunday, December 9, 2012      Noon – 3:00 pm
ASL Interpreted Artist Demonstration – John Shulz, Printmaker

Free with Museum admission.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013      6:00 pm
American Sign Language Tour with no spoken English for students of ASL and Deaf Studies

To participate, ask for a ticket from any cashier at any entrance.  The MFA is free after 4:00 pm on Wednesdays.  Meet the ASL Guide at 5:50 pm at the Sharf Visitor Center.  Participation will be limited to comply with the Museum's guidelines for the size of groups in galleries.

Monday, January 21, 2013      10:00 am – 4:45 pm
Events in American Sign Language with no spoken English and ASL interpreted events during the MFA’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Open House

Admission is free for everyone.  Visit for the complete schedule.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013      10:00 am – 4:45 pm
ASL interpreted Family Programs including tours, storytelling and other events during February School Vacation Week

Free with Museum Admission.  Children 17 and under are admitted free when school is not in session.  Visit for the complete schedule.

CANE Workshop - "Making Your Theatre More Welcoming to People with Disabilities"

Posted Wednesday November 21 2012 at 8:11 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Cultural Access New England will present a free workshop "Making Your Theatre More Welcoming to People with Disabilities" at 9:30 am - noon December 6, 2012 at the Wheelock Family Theatre.

  • During a concert, the conductor complains about a patron's oxygen tank making too much noise.  How does the production manager respond?

  • At a show, a patron is concerned the ASL interpreters will be disruptive to their experience.  What does the box office attendant say?

  • While being seated, a patron is concerned about the service dog that is used by the adjacent patron.  What is the usher to do?

How do we understand the culture of expectations regarding patronage at a performance venue when making our venues accessible to all members of our society?

Learn more about this free workshop opportunity at the CANE website.

Handmade Holiday Market at Open Door Gallery

Posted Friday November 16 2012 at 12:53 am in Open Door Gallery

Holiday Painting

Come and do your holiday shopping at the state's alternative craft and art market.  Handmade Holiday features weaving, printmaking, jewelry, felting, cards, painting, and other gifts by local crafters and artists.

November 16, 2012 - January 4, 2013.

Opening Reception - December 6, 2012, 4 pm to 7 pm.

Visit our gallery webpage for more information and photos.

Third Annual Arts in Health Care Conference

Posted Monday November 12 2012 at 11:22 am in News

Arts In Health Care

Lesley University is teaming with the Boston Arts Consortium for Health, the International Association for Music and Medicine, the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, Harvard Medical School, Berklee College of Music, and the New England Conservatory to put on its 3rd annual conference dedicated to the arts and health.  Friday - Saturday, November 30 - December 1, 2012.

This year, the conference will focus on how space can be transformed through music, dance, drama and visual art and design to support mental, emotional and physical health.  Leaders in the field, including VSA MA Executive Director Charles Washburn, will share the work they've done both nationally and internationally.

Further information is available at the Lesley University website.

Website Resources: Arts Education and Disabilities

Posted Saturday November 10 2012 at 5:54 pm in Education

Website Resources

The Kennedy Center put together an annotated bibliography of websites related to arts and special education.  Anyone is free to view, download, or print the Microsoft Word document from Google Docs.  No account or log-in is required.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Access to Art

Posted Tuesday November 06 2012 at 10:53 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Museum of Fine Arts Blind Tour

Previously we blogged about the Museum of Fine Art's ASL tours held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.  The MFA has other noteworthy tours that you might be interested in.

Read More →

Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards

Posted Monday November 05 2012 at 10:05 pm in Education

Teacher's Apple on Book

Each year, The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards solicits nominations from the general public and notable public figures, providing the opportunity to submit stories about teachers and professors who made a significant difference in their lives.

On March 22 2013, Stephen Sondheim's birthday, a select number of these teachers will each receive $10,000 in appreciation for their contributions to the field of teaching.  Awardees will also be showcased, along with the people they inspired, on The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards web site.

Application deadline is Sunday, December 16, 2012.  Eligibility requirements and all other details are available on the awards web site.

"Bob the Show" in Hanover MA, Thursday, November 8 2012

Posted Friday November 02 2012 at 3:52 pm in Cultural Inclusion

We blogged about "Bob the Show" previously but wanted to point out a newly scheduled, local performance at the Cardinal Cushing Center in Hanover MA, Thursday, November 8 2012 at 3pm.  Free for Health Care Providers.

Read More →

Free Webinars Scheduled

Posted Tuesday October 30 2012 at 8:36 pm in Education


Free webinars have been scheduled by the Office of VSA & Accessibility, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  All are welcome.

The State of Arts and Aging
Tuesday, November 13 2012, 3-4:30 PM EDT
Presenter: Dr. Gay Hanna, Executive Director of the National Center for Creative Aging

Strategies for Supporting Visual Artists
Tuesday, December 11 2012, 3-4:30 PM EDT
Presenter: Sonja Cendak, Artist Services Assistant Manager, Office of VSA & Accessibility, Kennedy Center

Setting Up Success for Performing Artists
Tuesday, February 26 2013, 3-4 PM EDT
Presenter: Liz Miller, arts consultant and former VSA Artist Services Manager at The Kennedy Center
Real-time captioning will be available at during the Webinar presentation.

The Life of Bonnie Kaplan - Deaf Community News

Posted Friday October 26 2012 at 06:26 am in News

Bonnie Kaplan

The Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf interviewed VSA's Bonnie Kaplan (BK) for the Autumn 2012 issue of Deaf Community News (DCN).

DCN:  Hi, glad you could join us for this interview.  Please tell us about who you are, where you went to school all your life, and how did you get to where you are now?

BK:  I was born to hearing parents and have a younger Deaf brother.  I attended the Boston School for the Deaf from the time I was 4 years old in 1964, and stayed until 1972.  In 6th grade I was mainstreamed at a private school for girls, Brimmer and May, which is located in Chestnut Hill, and was their first Deaf student.  I excelled in sports and went on to graduate in 1979.  After high school I went to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and majored in Food Service Management.  In 1981, I moved out to LA and worked for Lorimar Productions as a Research Associate for several years.  We studio was known for its TV shows such as "Dallas", "The Waltons", "Falcon Crest", "Perfect Strangers", "Little House on the Prairie", etc., and other TV mini series.

Read More →

Learning & the Brain Conference in Boston

Posted Wednesday October 24 2012 at 11:10 pm in Education

Learning and the Brain

"Educating Diverse Minds: Using Individual Brain Differences to Teach and Reach All Learners"
November 16 - 18, 2012
Discount Registration Deadline November 2

Read More →

Discovery Museums - Evening for Families with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children

Posted Monday October 22 2012 at 11:19 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Discovery Museums Logo

Join a special free evening of fun at the Discovery Museums in Acton, MA for deaf and hard of hearing children between the ages of 2-14, their siblings, parents, grandparents, and other family members.  Saturday November 3, 2012 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  Pizza and beverages will be served.

Pre-registration is required.

ASL Interpreters will be available.

Teaching Artists & the Future of New England

Posted Friday October 19 2012 at 5:56 pm in Education

Teaching Artists Dancing and Drumming

New England Consortium of Artist-Educator Professionals (NECAP) and its local partners, the Rhode Island Foundation and Lesley University are convening gatherings with Nick Rabkin, Principal Investigator, Teaching Artist Research Project, NORC at University of Chicago.  Nick will review and discuss the policy implications of his study, the Teaching Artist Research Project (TARP).  Boston and Providence are two of the twelve TARP study sites.

Join the dialogue!

  • November 8 2012, 4-6pm, Rhode Island Foundation, Providence RI
  • November 9 2012, 2-4pm, Lesley University, Cambridge MA
  • Read More →