Blog For All!
2013 Archive

New All Access Pass Tour Dates Announced

Posted Thursday December 26 2013 at 3:32 pm in News

VSA All Access Pass Badge

Please 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:
Thursday, January 9, 2014    5:45pm - 6:45pm
Wednesday, February 5, 2014    12:00pm - 1:00pm
Thursday, March 6, 2014    5:45pm - 6:45pm
Tuesday, April 8, 2014    12:00pm - 1:00pm
Wednesday, May 14, 2014    5:45pm - 6:45pm

People have told us they are inspired by our stories and are impressed by our Open Door Gallery.  Daytime and evening hours are available.  We can also host a tour if you have a group interested in visiting on a different date.

To reserve a spot and request ASL interpretation or other accommodations, contact Charlie Washburn at 617-350-7713 x102 or cjwashburn@vsamass.org.



Meet the Teaching Artist: Emily Isaacson

Posted Thursday December 19 2013 at 9:59 pm in Education

Emily Isaacson with students

I teach creativity and self-confidence.

In the twentieth century, we need innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors and there is no better place than the arts to practice creative thinking and intellectual risk-taking.  In my work I set up many different entrance and exit points so students of all abilities and interests can feel challenged but successful.  Through music composition students learn how to analyze, organize, edit and critique their own ideas, as well as express their emotions.

My aim is for our project to support and enrich your curriculum goals.  I am a collaborative and organized teacher.  I like to develop a joint plan, so all students and teachers have a clear sense of purpose and direction, but meet often so that we can be flexible in addressing student and teacher needs.

My work centers around two kinds of audio projects that can be modified to fit your curriculum.  Both projects use the software GarageBand but no previous knowledge of music or GarageBand is needed to participate.

Read More →

Critter Day - Jungle Encounters, ASL-Interpreted at Boston Children's Museum

Posted Tuesday December 17 2013 at 10:28 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Critter Day Cat

The health and population of wild cats teaches us about the entire animal kingdom.  Watch these cats, and learn about each species, where it is native to, and how its wild cousins survive. 

December 21, 2013  11:15 am and 12:15 pm  ASL-Interpreted
Free with paid Museum admission.  Free tickets distributed first-come, first-served one hour before each program.

To protect the audience and to provide you with the safest show possible, we can only allow kids ages 6 and up at this program.

For more information, visit the Museum website or contact:
Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Specialist
Iwamoto@BostonChildrensMuseum.org
617-986-3697



Meet the Teaching Artist: Tim Archibald

Posted Saturday December 14 2013 at 5:42 pm in Education

Tim Archibald

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy, it's the universal language of mankind."

I teach music/performing arts at the Henderson Inclusion Elementary School in Dorchester, MA.  I believe music opens up connections to the student's soul, mind and body.  It enables all to communicate in a universal language.  Using a UDL approach, all students are included to find their voice.

I support literacy by communicating songs, stories, history and ideas through music and performance.  My arts team and students create, plan and present musical theater using many ways to represent a theme.  Using multiple modalities, (aural, visual, and kinesthetic) we make meaning out of complex ideas.  The performances are shown and shared to a wide audience.  Our auditorium is packed to capacity.

Read More →

Meet the Teaching Artist: Deborah Kronenberg

Posted Friday December 13 2013 at 09:59 am in Education

I use theatre techniques as tools for all students to deeply engage in content, making their own meaning as part of a student-centered, strengths-based community of artists and learners.

Kids Acting in Class

Theatre in the classroom is much more than putting on a play.  It is an opportunity for students to express their ideas and connections to the curriculum, take on others' perspectives, build non-cognitive skills like grit, tenacity, and self-control, and strengthen 21st century skills like communication and collaboration.  Creating theatre is intrinsically inclusive, generating opportunities for students of all abilities to take positive risks and showcase new skills.  As students perform and interpret original work, they naturally build expressive and analytic skills necessary for success academically and beyond.

Read More →

Call for Visual Arts Teaching Artist to work in Early Childhood classrooms in Mattapan

Posted Wednesday December 11 2013 at 10:58 pm in Education

Painted hands

VSA MA COOL Schools seeks a visual arts teaching artist to create an arts-integrated program with teachers in grades K0 - 1st grade in a school in Mattapan, MA.  The program will run from January - June, 2014 one day a week from 8am - 4pm.

Requirements
Candidates should have demonstrated experience in visual arts and a minimum of two years experience teaching school-aged children (grades pre-k to 2) in a public school setting.  We are particularly interested in candidates who have experience working with students with disabilities and English Language Learners.  The candidate should be comfortable interacting with school administration and teachers.  Strong oral and written communication skills and an ability to work as part of a team are necessary.  Candidates must also be committed to on-going professional development as an arts practitioner and educator and to participating in other VSA Massachusetts community events.

Please send a resume and cover letter providing more information on your artistic and professional experience, and sample lesson plan/curriculum to education@vsamass.org by January 1, 2014.

VSA MA COOL Schools Program
We believe the arts provide lenses that are unique and give students an opportunity to learn and express what they know in alternative ways.  Our collaborative model provides teachers with an opportunity to engage their students through the arts, see their students responding in new ways, and experience content, skills, or concepts from the unique perspective found through the arts.

In COOL programs, artists collaborate with classroom teachers to create arts-integrated learning experiences for students of all abilities.  The teaching artist and classroom teachers collaborate to address specific learning standards and Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals through arts-integrated teaching.  Our program promotes the arts as an alternative way to experience teaching and learning.  VSA MA works with the artists and teachers to focus on developing teaching strategies inherent in the arts to include every student and support their learning in the arts as well as in other academic subject areas through the arts.



CapeCodCAN! In The News

Posted Sunday December 08 2013 at 09:44 am in News

CapeCodCAN! was featured in the news recently including the above Sandwich Community Television video with interviews of Jim Hurley, Managing Director and Tessa D'Agostino who ran the "Art is my Music" program.

Other recent press coverage is an article in The Falmouth Enterprise.



Webster House Gallery's Annual Exhibit and Holiday Card Sale

Posted Friday December 06 2013 at 10:48 pm in News

SKY by Edward Fahey, Acrylic on Paper

Edward Fahey, SKY, Acrylic on Paper

Webster House Gallery will be hosting an opening reception for their annual exhibit and holiday card sale on Tuesday, December 10 from 4:00 – 6:30 pm at 20 Webster Place in Brookline, MA.  Refreshments will be served.  The show will continue through February 28, 2014.  For more information about the event, contact Webster House at 617-739-5461 or info-websterhouse@vinfen.org.

Webster House, a Vinfen program, is a clubhouse providing mental health recovery support to adults through work, education, wellness, art, and social enrichment.



The New York Times Asks "Why Shouldn't Prosthetics Be Works of Art"

Posted Sunday December 01 2013 at 7:16 pm in News

Woman sitting with artful prosthetic leg

The New York Times - November 1, 2013 - "Far Out on a Limb" by Deirdre Dolan - Photographs by Nadav Kander

Sophie de Oliveira Barata works out of a bright white, semidisheveled northwest London studio surrounded by feet and fingers, legs leaning against walls and hands that look real enough to shake.  With a background in art and special-effects makeup, she worked for eight years for a prosthetics manufacturer before deciding to become a creator of bespoke limbs.  "It meant I could use my creative skills and do something massively rewarding," she said, dropping an oddly appealing man's foot in my lap.  "Making an alternative limb is like entering a child's imagination and playing with their alter ego," she said.  "You're trying to find the essence of the person."  In 2011, de Oliveira Barata started the Alternative Limb Project and soon found interested clients.  She created one leg with a stereo embedded in it, another with removable muscles and a third, among others, that housed minidrawers.  Recently she began collaborating with artists skilled in animatronics, 3-D printing, metalwork and carbon fiber.  "After losing a limb, a person isn't the same," de Oliveira Barata said.  "So this is a form of expression, an empowerment, a celebration.  It's their choice of how to complete their body — whether that means having a realistic match or something from an unexplored imagination."

Visit The New York Times article to view more of de Oliveira Barata's creations and read about the amputees they were created for.



"AKA Doc Pomus" Boston Film Premiere Event

Posted Tuesday November 26 2013 at 10:44 pm in News

Jerome Solon Felder was the most unlikely of rock & roll icons.  Paralyzed with polio as a child, Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder reinvented himself first as a blues singer, renaming himself Doc Pomus, then emerged as a one of the most brilliant songwriters of the early rock and roll era, writing "Save the Last Dance for Me", "This Magic Moment", "A Teenager in Love", "Viva Las Vegas", and dozens of other hits.

What: "AKA Doc Pomus" Boston Film Premiere Event followed by Q&A with Director Peter Miller
When: December 12, 2013 7:30pm
Where: Regent Theatre, Arlington
Price: General Admission Tickets: $10 - Purchase Tickets



Handmade Holiday Market at the Open Door Gallery

Posted Monday November 25 2013 at 06:49 am in Open Door Gallery

Handmade Holiday

Shop this holiday season at the state's alternative craft and art market.  Handmade Holiday features scarves, jewelry, felted ornaments, cards, painting, and other gifts by local crafters and artists.

November 14, 2013 - January 10, 2014

Opening Reception - Thursday December 5, 2013, 4 pm to 7 pm

Visit our gallery webpage for more information and photos.



"The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is very close to the center of a nation's purpose...and is a test of the quality of a nation's civilization." - John F. Kennedy, 1963

Posted Friday November 22 2013 at 8:11 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Bust of John Kennedy

Statement prepared for Creative America, 1963.  (Inscribed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts)



An Introduction to Audio Description: Making your Cultural Program and Experience Accessible

Posted Tuesday November 19 2013 at 06:25 am in Cultural Inclusion

Audio Description Symbol

Cultural Access New England presents "An Introduction to Audio Description: Making your Cultural Program and Experience Accessible to People who are Blind or Have Low-Vision", December 12, 2013 10:00am - 2:00pm, Wheelock College.

Cultural organizations can use audio description throughout their programs to make the experience more meaningful and engaging to people who are blind, have low vision or experience other barriers to text.  This workshop will familiarize participants with various approaches that cultural organizations are using.  We will share examples of audio description in live theater, recorded tours and live gallery settings.  You will have the opportunity to explore with experienced colleagues how audio description might work for your organization.  While you will not leave with all the skills you need to start providing audio description, you will have a list of the resources you will need and a vision for how to proceed.

The meeting will be held at Wheelock College.  Details provided when you register.  Buy lunch in the cafeteria or you are welcome to bring your own.  The registration fee is $10.  Register using the form below or visit audiodescription.eventbrite.com.



Alternatives & Valley CAST Sponsor One-Act Play Festival

Posted Sunday November 17 2013 at 8:39 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Theatre Masks

Alternatives and Valley CAST have come together to sponsor the One-Act Play Festival on the Mumford and they are encouraging everyone to join them in celebrating actors of all abilities.

Submit your play for inclusion.  Deadline: November 29, 2013.

Festival dates: January 10 - 12, 2014.

Full information

Submission form (pdf)



"Historic Preservation & Accessible Design" - Free Public Lecture

Posted Saturday November 16 2013 at 10:34 pm in News

Nurses' Hall at the Massachusetts State House

"Historic Preservation & Accessible Design"
Dr. David Bonnet, RIBA, FRSA
November 19, 2013 noon - 1:30pm
Massachusetts State House, Nurses Hall, 2nd floor

David Bonnett is a consultant architect with a background in both local authority and private practice.  In 1994 David completed his Research Degree (Ph.D) on "Design Effectiveness for People with Severe Disabilities".  This, as well as his personal knowledge of disability, has made David a leading figure on the subject.  He has worked on a wide range of projects including the Roundhouse in Camden, Tate Britain, Royal Festival Hall, King's Cross Station, Ashmolean Egypt Galleries, Sir John Soanes Museum, Sadler's Wells Dancehouse.

David Bonnett Architects was established in 1994 in response to the demand for his particular experience and skills as Architect-Access Consultant.  Following expansion, the practice was reformed as David Bonnett Associates (DBA) in 2001.  DBA is now one of the leading access consultancy practices in the UK, working on significant projects and with many of the major architectural practices in the UK and Europe.

- Sponsored by the Bureau of the Statehouse and Institute for Human Centered Design.
- You are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch.
- Assisted listening devices are available.
- Please RSVP to vfletcher@ihcdesign.org the number who will be attending.



Free Webinar Series - VSA/Kennedy Center

Posted Saturday November 16 2013 at 09:30 am in Education

Kennedy Center Logo

More free webinars scheduled by the Office of VSA & Accessibility, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  All are welcome.

Working with Students Who Are Blind/Low-Vision
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenters: Minda Tayam, Art Teacher and Dr. Stuart Wittenstein, Superintendent both from California School for the Blind
More info and registration

Working with Students Who Are Deaf or Have Hearing Loss
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenter: Dr. Peter Geisser, Former Art Director at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf
More info and registration

Making Dance Accessible for Students with Disabilities
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenter: Alisa Rasera, Professional Learning Manager at Luna Dance Institute
More info and registration

Real-time captioning will be available at http://www.streamtext.net/player?event=JFKCENTER during each webinar presentation.



Boston Children's Museum Presents ASL-Interpreted Magic Show

Posted Monday November 11 2013 at 6:02 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Magician Matt Roberts Logo

Join Boston Children's Museum for an ASL-interpreted magic show with Emmy nominated magician and comedian Matt Roberts.

November 15, 2013 7:00 pm to 7:45 pm
Free with paid Museum admission.
(Target $1 Friday Night after 5 pm)
ASL interpreter will also be available to assist you from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm and 7:45 pm to 8:30 pm.

For more information visit Boston Children's Museum website or contact:
Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Specialist
Iwamoto@BostonChildrensMuseum.org
617-986-3697



Calling All Artists & Graphic Designers

Posted Sunday November 10 2013 at 8:25 pm in Call For Artists

A message from Betsy Pillsbury, Disability Resource Coordinator, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital:

We are seeking artists who are interested in creating a name and logo for a new medical equipment recycling program.

One design will be chosen by the project Team and awarded a $500 honorarium!

Help us develop a consumer-friendly logo for a new medical equipment re-use program in Massachusetts.  Funded by the Shapiro Family Foundation, Mass Rehab Commission and Spaulding Rehab Hospital, a new pilot program is starting up to collect donations of gently-used wheelchairs, electric beds, ramps and other medical equipment and re-distribute them free of charge to people in need.  Program information and available items will be viewable from MRC's assistive technology website.  This new program supports MRC's effort to promote equipment and assistive technology recycling.  The pilot program will be starting this fall and expand statewide later in 2014.

Read More →

"Handicap This!"  Boston Tour 2013

Posted Sunday November 10 2013 at 6:07 pm in News

Handicap This! is a true story that started in 2001 and continues to this day.  Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach hope this show will further their message of 'Judgment Not Allowed' and inspire all of us to do more with what we have.  Handicap This! will stir your senses, challenge your thinking and wake up your attitude.  It's a look at breaking down barriers and living with disabilities - most of all about everyone's potential.

In this 78-minute journey you will experience an entertaining message of possibilities.  Mike Berkson, one of the stars of the show has cerebral palsy, but this show is much more than a disability awareness piece.  You will be inspired to do more with what you have and everyone will enjoy every minute of this roller-coaster ride of emotions.

Wednesday and Thursday, November 13 and 14, 2013
Brookline Teen Center
40 Aspinwall Ave., Brookline
7:30pm - 9pm
General Admission: $15
Student Ticket: $10

Buy tickets to Wednesday's show
Buy tickets to Thursday's show

Questions?  Contact Adriana at 617-935-2177 or amallozzi@gmail.com



Assistive Technology Regional Center Fall-Winter Events

Posted Sunday November 10 2013 at 4:02 pm in News

Easter Seals announced upcoming events at the Assistive Technology Regional Center (ATRC).  All events are FREE.

November 13, 2013, Wednesday 3pm - 4:30pm - Linux OS and SONAR.  Hear and meet, Jonathan Nadeau, a Linux computer expert, who will be demonstrating the accessibility features of SONAR, a program designed using the Linux open source operating system.

December 12, 2013, Thursday 10:30am – 12:00 noon - Switch Accessibility with the iPad  Switch accessibility for the iPad is a reality and expanding all the time.  Not sure what the options are or what kind of technology you need?  We will discuss switch accessible apps, switch adapters, and switch accessibility with iOS 7.  Bring your iPads and your questions!

Read More →

Upcoming All Access Pass Tours

Posted Thursday November 07 2013 at 9:43 pm in News

VSA All Access Pass Badge

Please 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, November 20, 2013    12:00pm - 1:00pm
Tuesday, December 10, 2013    12:00pm - 1:00pm
Thursday, January 9, 2014    5:45pm - 6:45pm

People have told us they are inspired by our stories and are impressed by our Open Door Gallery.  Daytime and evening hours are available.  We can also host a tour if you have a group interested in visiting on a different date.

To reserve a spot and request ASL interpretation or other accommodations, contact Kati Blair Kotrc at 617-350-7713 x101 or kati@vsamass.org.



Cape Cod C.A.N. Art is for Everyone Exhibition Opening Reception

Posted Sunday November 03 2013 at 09:21 am in News

Art is for Everyone

The Opening Reception for the Cape Cod Collaborative Arts Network (CapeCodCAN!) Art is for Everyone program is Saturday, November 9, 2013 and YOU ARE INVITED!

Art is for Everyone Program, Exhibit November 9th through 23rd - featuring art works from 100 people with disabilities, representing 12 organizations on Cape Cod, developed under the tutelage of local Cape artists to the common theme: Art is My Music.

Where: Atria Woodbriar Facility, 389 Gifford Street, Falmouth, MA 02563
Opening Reception: November 9th, 4 to 7 PM.  Public Welcome, art works will be available for purchase.

Please let CapeCodCAN! know if you will be coming so they can plan accordingly.  capecodcan@gmail.com



Kennedy Center Announces Fall 2013 Artist Opportunities

Posted Saturday November 02 2013 at 10:30 pm in Call For Artists

VSA Artist Opportunities

The Artist Services Team of the Kennedy Center's Department of VSA and Accessibility put together this list of calls for art, professional development opportunities, and upcoming events.

Be an Artist-in-Residence at the National Park Service
Deadline: Ongoing
There are programs for visual artists, writers, musicians and other creative media.  Programs vary, but residencies are typically 2-4 weeks in length and most include lodging.  Often artists are invited to participate in park programs by sharing their art with the public.  Each park in this directory has its own application process and timeline so visit the park's website for further information.

National Music Centre Residency
Deadline: Ongoing
The National Music Centre's Artist-in-Residence program is designed to feed and nurture artistic creativity and technical innovation by providing artists at various levels of professional development with uninterrupted time and space, and the use of our unique collection and expertise, to create new and innovative works in a unique and supportive world class facility.

Read More →

A Message From David Morrissey, U.S. International Council on Disabilities

Posted Friday November 01 2013 at 2:25 pm in News

Inclusion, Dignity, Equality

CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) Hearing in the United States Senate - November 5th.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

The end is in sight!  Now is the time to have our voices be heard!

Chairman Menendez has scheduled the first of two Hearings on the CRPD on Nov 5th!

The coalition has launched today a new citizen action portal to make it easier than ever for you to reach your Senator with the calls, letters, e-mails, petitions and social media we need.

Senator Menendez and Senator Corker need to hear from everyone; they are logging all call and contacts made state by state.  Your help spreading the word will determine if and when we get floor time passage of this treaty!  It is time for action NOW!

Let them hear you now so that when Medicaid, Education and other issues come to the Hill they once again know the power of the disability movement!

Read More →

Handel and Haydn Society Offers VSA Complimentary Tickets

Posted Sunday October 27 2013 at 12:22 am in News

Violins

The Handel and Haydn Society is offering VSA complimentary tickets to upcoming performances of Mozart and Beethoven, November 1, 2013 at 8pm and November 3, 2013 at 3pm.  These tickets are offered through H&H's Heartstrings program.

Former Music Director Grant Llewellyn returns to H&H for the first time since 2008 to lead the Period Instrument Orchestra in Beethoven's clever Symphony No. 2 and Mozart's brilliant Haffner Symphony.  The program also features H&H's own talented principal players as soloists in Haydn's virtuosic Sinfonia Concertante.

To reserve your tickets, please RSVP here as soon as possible.

For more information, contact Emily Reed at 617-262-1815 or ereed@handelandhaydn.org.



VSA Exhibition "In/finite Earth" Now at Smithsonian in Washington DC

Posted Friday October 18 2013 at 4:45 pm in News

Infinite Earth Logo

In/finite Earth is the twelfth exhibition of VSA and Volkswagen Group of America's annual Emerging Artists Program.  This longtime collaboration is an opportunity for visual artists, ages 16-25, with disabilities to receive national recognition at the start of their careers.

Fifteen award recipients received a total of $60,000 in prize money provided by Volkswagen.  Of the 15 recipients, 2 are from Massachusetts.

In/finite Earth asks emerging artists to showcase work that illuminates innovative viewpoints at the intersection of environmentalism, creativity, and disability.  In/finite Earth is a call to artists to engage in the physical, emotional, and creative ties we share across our planet, and present their artistic perspectives regarding the natural world, sustainability, and our collective future.

View the artwork of this year's award winners.



Hanover Theatre Presents Numerous ASL-Interpreted Shows

Posted Tuesday October 15 2013 at 10:13 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Hanover Theatre - Worcester

The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts has announced a number of American Sign Language interpreted shows they will be presenting.  In addition, the theatre always offers assistive listening devices available at the box office for any performance.

The theatre, located in downtown Worcester, is recognized by Pollstar as one of the Top 50 Theatres in the World.  After undergoing many name changes and renovations over the decades since its 1926 birth, The Hanover Theatre reopened in March 2008 following a $32 million historic restoration.  Since then, the theatre has won numerous honors, including The National Trust for Historic Preservation Award.

ASL-Interpreted shows include:

Read More →

Autism-Friendly Performance of Oklahoma at Boston Conservatory

Posted Monday October 14 2013 at 10:03 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Oklahoma

The Boston Conservatory presents an Autism-Friendly performance of the musical "Oklahoma" in the Boston Conservatory Theater at 31 Hemenway Street, Boston.

For detailed information about the performance, visit the Boston Conservatory website which includes a video to help prepare individuals on the autism spectrum for the performance, as well as a social story, a plot synopsis, and a character guide.

Also explained at the Conservatory website is ways in which the performance and the environment will be altered to make the entire experience Autism-Friendly.  For example: lights remain on but dimmed low, comfortable volume and consistent sound levels, an extended intermission, and many other accommodations.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 2 pm
Boston Conservatory Theater
31 Hemenway Street, Boston
Adults $20, Children $10

Purchase tickets



Boston Children's Museum Presents ASL-Interpreted Wingmasters

Posted Saturday October 12 2013 at 3:25 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Red-Tailed Hawk

Hawks and owls are amazing birds but aren't often seen.  This presentation will teach you about these winged hunters while you have a chance to take a really close look.

October 19, 2013 11:15 am and 12:15 pm
Free with Museum admission.
Tickets are distributed first-come, first-served one hour before each program.

For more information visit Boston Children's Museum website or contact:
Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Specialist
Iwamoto@BostonChildrensMuseum.org
617-986-3697



CANE Open Meeting, Friday, October 18, 2013 9-11am

Posted Monday October 07 2013 at 10:43 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Have you attended a CANE workshop in the past?  Do you want to make your institution more welcoming to visitors with disabilities?  Cultural Access New England is here to serve you.  Join CANE for an Open Meeting for current and new members at the Massachusetts State House, Great Hall, Friday, October 18, 2013 9-11 a.m.

The Open Meeting will include a continental breakfast; discussion about a new Massachusetts Cultural Council accessibility initiative; resource tables for accessibility information; and a chance to share how CANE can help you meet your access goals.

- Breakfast starts at 9:00 a.m.
- Remarks followed by the Open Meeting at 9:30 a.m.
- Resource fair and networking at 10:30 a.m.

Resource tables will include: Accommodations for People who are Blind, Low Vision, Deaf or Hard of Hearing; Basic Accessibility Etiquette; Universal Design and information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and Universal Design for Learning.

Please join us!  This event is free.  Please RSVP to info@ca-ne.org by October 10, 2013.

ASL interpreters, CART, and sighted guides provided.



Audio Description of Kimball Anderson's Exhibit "Inside/Outside" Now Available

Posted Monday October 07 2013 at 07:02 am in Open Door Gallery

Kimball Anderson's Artwork Titled White

Audio Description provides access to visitors who are blind or have low vision by describing the Open Door Gallery and each piece in the exhibition.  Even though the tour is designed to provide access to visitors with limited vision, sighted visitors might be surprised by how much more they see with an audio describer's guidance.

Visit the gallery page and hear or read the audio description.



Meet the Intern: Leigh Dale

Posted Friday October 04 2013 at 7:44 pm in News

Meet the Intern: The Muppet's Swedish Chef and Leigh Dale

What are your favorite pastimes?
      "I deeply love listening to podcasts – they're free, and it's just so great to be just commuting to school or work, and absorbing information and culture like a sponge.  (Thanks, NPR!)  I also love traveling, making art with kids, visiting flea markets, swimming in lakes, eating treats, and singing."

If you could be a cartoon character, who would you be?
      "It's not exactly a cartoon character, but 100% the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.  I'd just throw food around and sing in gibberish all day.  That sounds like a great day."

Read More →

100 Year Birthday Celebration at Boston Children's Museum

Posted Wednesday October 02 2013 at 12:08 am in News

Children's Museum 100th Birthday Logo

Join Boston Children's Museum for a weekend of music, making, and movement in celebration of their 100 year birthday!

On October 4-6, 2013, the museum will celebrate its birthday with a festival of indoor and outdoor music, performing arts, STEM, fitness, live animals, a floating birthday cake, and more.

ASL interpreters are available for the following programs on Sunday, October 6, 2013:
11:30 am - 12:00 pm Urasenke Boston Japanese Tea Ceremony Demonstration
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Live Animal Presentation: Animal World Experience
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Over Hear and Here: DAY 100 Artist workshop with Crank Sturgeon

For more information, contact:
Iwamoto@BostonChildrensMuseum.org
617-986-3697



Artweek Boston Events Include Open Door Gallery's Theatrical Presentation of Kimball Anderson's "I don't get it"

Posted Monday September 30 2013 at 06:24 am in Open Door Gallery

Artweek Boston logo

ArtWeek Boston is an initiative of the Citi Performing Arts Center, whose mission is to be a champion for nonprofit innovation in Boston and provide arts and entertainment to the greater community.  ArtWeek Boston is a biannual celebration of the arts and allows arts patrons of all kinds to have a unique curated experience.  Fall ArtWeek will be held September 27-October 6, and Spring ArtWeek will be April 25-May 6, 2014.

VSA MA's Open Door Gallery exhibit of Kimball Anderson's Inside/Outside and the theatrical presentation of his abstract comic "I Don't Get It" are included as official ArtWeek events.

The Inside/Outside opening reception is Thursday October 3, 2013 from 4 - 7 pm and "I Don't Get It" will be performed at 6 pm.



Building Community Through Drama Webinar Series - Arkansas Arts Council

Posted Saturday September 28 2013 at 3:25 pm in Education

Building community through drama

This 3-day professional development webinar series is designed to introduce classroom teachers, special education teachers, and teaching artists specific drama activities that create strong collaborative learning communities.  Each strategy helps build students' social skills (concentration, cooperation, eye contact, active listening) and engages all students, with and without disabilities.

- Webinar 1: Building Community Through Theatre: Mirrors - Monday, September 30, 2013

- Webinar 2: Building Community Through Theatre: Yes! - Tuesday, October 1, 2013

- Webinar 3: Building Community Through Theatre: Yes, and . . . - Thursday, October 3, 2013

All webinars are 4:30 - 5:30 PM Eastern Time

Advance registration is required.  Once registered you will receive an email confirmation with information needed to join the Webinar.

For additional details including presenters, system requirements, videos, and handouts visit the Arkansas Arts Council website.



Play Me, I'm Yours! - Street Pianos Boston

Posted Friday September 27 2013 at 8:07 pm in News

Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I'm Yours is an arts project by artist Luke Jerram.  Over 1000 street pianos have been installed in 37 cities across the globe, bearing the simple invitation to Play Me, I'm Yours!  The project has already reached more than four million people worldwide.

As a thank you to millions of loyal patrons and to celebrate its 75th anniversary season, Celebrity Series of Boston is presenting Play Me, I'm Yours ‘the Street Pianos Boston Festival’ from now until October 14, 2013.  Located in public spaces in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline, 75 pianos are available for anyone to play and enjoy.

Download a pdf map showing piano locations or view photos and videos of the pianos online and feel free to post and share your films, photos, and stories.

A wide range of local artists and community-based organizations have decorated the pianos, and Celebrity Series has scheduled several solo or ensemble performances.  Save the date for the Celebrity Series' 75th season Kick-Off Party on October 5, 2013.

For street piano questions, contact streetpianos@celebrityseries.org or call 617-598-3219.



With Two Sold Out ASL-Interpreted Performances of "Tribes", SpeakEasy Adds Third

Posted Thursday September 26 2013 at 11:46 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Speakeasy Stage Company has now added a third ASL-Interpreted performance of "Tribes" as the originally scheduled two performances have sold out.  The new date is Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 3pm.  Contact Jackie at jackiehowe@speakeasystage.com to purchase tickets.



Watertown Commission on Disabilities Seeks Artists with Disabilities for November Exhibit

Posted Tuesday September 24 2013 at 06:42 am in Call For Artists

Watertown Free Public Library logo

The Watertown Commission on Disabilities is sponsoring the 3rd annual Able Arts exhibit November 1 - 21, 2013 which will showcase artists with disabilities and their works.  The exhibit will be located at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main Street, Watertown MA.  An artist reception will be held November 10, 2013 from 12-3pm at the library's 2nd floor gallery.

The exhibit application can be accessed herePlease note: the application says the submission deadline is September 9, but we have been assured the date is extended.



ASL and ASL-Interpreted Events at Museum of Fine Arts

Posted Sunday September 22 2013 at 6:20 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Museum of Fine Arts ASL Tour

American Sign Language tours with no spoken English - Free
For visitors who are Deaf and fluent in American Sign Language and their invited guests.

October 9, 2013, 6pm - European Old Masters.  No pre-registration required.

October 20, 2013, 11am - John Singer Sargent Watercolors.  Pre-register by Tuesday, October 15

November 13, 2013, 6pm - Art of Africa.  No pre-registration required.

December 11, 2013, 6pm - Egyptian and Nubian Art.  No pre-registration required.

ASL Interpreted Events - Some events are free with Museum admission; some require tickets.
Open to all visitors.

October 17, 2013, 6:30pm - Shapiro Celebrity Lecture: Shirin Neshat
Ticket required.  For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the MFA website.

October 20, 2013, 12-3pm - Artist Demo: The Art of Watercolor Painting with Wendy Soneson
Free with Museum Admission.

December 12, 2013, 6:30pm - Shapiro Celebrity Lecture: Richard Blanco
Ticket required.  For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the MFA website.



Critter Day ASL-Interpreted - Boston Children's Museum

Posted Monday September 16 2013 at 11:09 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Cat and Dog Lying Together

Animals make great companions and are a lot of fun to have around, but they also require a lot of care and attention.  Visit Boston Children's Museum and hear the MSPCA talk about what it takes to keep an animal healthy and happy in your home.

September 21, 2013 10:30 am and 12:00 pm
Free with Museum admission

For more information, contact:
Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Specialist
Iwamoto@BostonChildrensMuseum.org
617-986-3697



ASL-Interpreted Performance of Potted Potter at Paramount Center Mainstage

Posted Thursday September 12 2013 at 9:16 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Potted Potter Logo

Critically acclaimed Potted Potter, The Unauthorized Harry Experience, A Parody by Dan and Jeff comes to Boston after a hugely successful tour.  All seven Harry Potter books in 70 hilarious minutes playing September 17 – October 6, 2013 at the Paramount Center Mainstage, 559 Washington Street, Boston.

ASL-Interpreted performance September 19 at 7:30 pm with interpreters Jennifer Gibbons and Wendy Watson.  Tickets can be purchased by contacting: Craig_Melzer@emerson.edu

Written by former BBC Television hosts Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, Potted Potter takes on the ultimate challenge of condensing, or "potting" all seven Harry Potter books into 70 madcap minutes, aided only by multiple costume changes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic.  The show also invites audiences to engage with a real life game of Quidditch, according to Clarkson and Turner's unique set of rules.



Come See the Temporary Parklet on Park(ing) Day

Posted Tuesday September 10 2013 at 9:20 pm in News

Parking Day Logo

Park(ing) Day is an international reclamation of the streets through temporary (one-day-long) parklet construction.  Using anything from yoga mats to hay bales, people all over the world build mini-parks in metered parking spaces in an effort to raise awareness about the need for streets to be more human-centered, green and accessible.

Through the Parkolation Project, high school students at Boston Green Academy will be building a permanent parklet in the spring of 2014 with expert consultation from Copley Wolff Design Group.  This will be the culmination of their work designing parklets this fall, as part of the COOL Schools program at VSA Massachusetts.  In order to raise awareness and money for this project, these students will be participating in Park(ing) Day by building a temporary park in front of VSA MA's office.

Where: 89 South St. (2 minute walk from South Station)
When: 9am – 5pm, September 20, 2013

Come join us to:
- Meet high school student designers
- Lounge in a temporary parklet
- Learn more about our project
- Make the most of your lunch break
- Share your parklet dreams



ASL-Interpreted Performance of TRIBES at SpeakEasy Stage Company

Posted Sunday September 08 2013 at 9:52 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Tribes

SpeakEasy Stage Company presents the New England premiere of TRIBES, the hit London and Off-Broadway drama by Nina Raine, from September 13 through October 12, 2013.

There will be two ASL-interpreted performances: Sunday, October 6 at 7PM and Friday, October 11 at 8PM.  (Please note that both performances are sold out as of September 20.  A third ASL-Interpreted show has now been added.  See our blog post for details.)  There will be a talkback following the October 6 performance moderated by John Pirone, Director of the ASL/Deaf Studies Program at the College of the Holy Cross and the former Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf (MSAD).

A 2011 Olivier nominee for Best Play and winner of the 2012 Drama Desk and Off- Broadway Alliance Awards for Best Play, TRIBES is a penetrating new work about belonging, family, and the limitations of communication.  Born deaf into a fiercely intellectual and opinionated British family, Billy was pushed to assimilate into the hearing world as best he could by reading lips and staying out of the way.  But when a young woman introduces him to the Deaf community, Billy decides it is time his family learns to communicate with him on his terms.

Read More →

Attend Abilities Expo Boston and Visit VSA MA at the Artist Market

Posted Saturday September 07 2013 at 10:28 am in News

Abilities Expo Logo

VSA MA is proud sponsor of the Artist Market at Boston Abilities Expo September 20-22, 2013 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (Hall C).  In addition to us, there will be nearly 150 suppliers of products and services that will increase your quality of life through new technology, great seminars on important issues and fun activities for the whole family.  Don't miss THE leading event for people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals.

There is no charge for admission so pre-register now and receive priority entrance to the show onsite where you will experience:

Read More →

Embodying Literacy

Posted Tuesday September 03 2013 at 07:20 am in Education

Embodying Literacy

A professional learning community tailored to your needs as an arts educator . . .

- Learn effective inclusive strategies using the arts.
- Collaborate with peer arts educators.
- Examine literacy through drama and dance.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITY

The Embodying Literacy professional development program will enable 12 BPS Arts Teachers to explore arts integration strategies to support literacy and inclusion of students with and without disabilities.  Through discussions with fellow participants and coaching from the instructors, participants will develop inclusive, arts-integrated literacy curricula based on Dance, Drama and English Language Arts Common Core standards.  The program is open to arts teachers in any discipline, but will focus on drama and dance techniques and processes.  It will be led by two VSA MA master teaching artists; dance instructor Priscilla Harmel, M.Ed, BC-DMT and drama instructor Marianne Adams, M.Ed.; both faculty members at Lesley University.  Each participant will receive a $400 stipend and up to 23 PDPs after completing the program between November 2013 - June 2014.

First Meeting: Saturday, November 16th 9:30 - 3:30
Location: The NonProfit Center, 89 South Street #101, Boston, MA 02111
*Four additional meeting dates and locations will be decided by each cohort of teachers
Register by Friday, October 4th on BPS My Learning Plan
Contact education@vsamass.org or 617.350.7713 for more information.

This program is made possible through a generous award granted by the BPS Arts Expansion Initiative.



Get Inspired!  Take a Tour of VSA MA!

Posted Wednesday August 28 2013 at 11:19 pm in News

All Access Pass Tours

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, September 18, 12:00pm
Tuesday, October 29, 5:45pm
Wednesday, November 20, 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 kati@vsamass.org.



COOL Schools 2012-2013 Report Now Available

Posted Sunday August 25 2013 at 6:20 pm in Education

COOL

The air is crisp, school supplies are arriving on store shelves and the VSA MA team is gearing up for another great year of transformation through the arts in our COOL Schools program.  During the summer we have the opportunity to reflect on learnings from last year and to celebrate successes both for individual students and for school communities as a whole.  As we read through teacher reflections, our mission was reaffirmed in the words of the teachers.

A teacher working with high school students in an institutional setting saw the power of the poetry and spoken word to build self expression and engagement in writing.  She explained that, "Some [students] were reluctant to express and share their thoughts and feelings at first but all became proud of what they accomplished and we saw significant emotional growth and self-awareness in all, plus-writing became a positive experience!  (Many hated writing at first)."  As we continue to work with these students next year, we hope to see their comfort with writing increase and the artist within each of them grow.

Read More →

Broadway in Boston Seeks Open-Captioned, ASL Interpreted, and Audio Described Programming Assistance

Posted Saturday August 24 2013 at 11:16 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Broadway in Boston Logo

A message from Broadway in Boston:

We strive to present Open-Captioned, American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreted, and Audio Described performances each season.  As the 2013/2014 season approaches, we hope to present performances that are both exciting and convenient for our patrons who are blind or have low vision, and from the Deaf and hard of hearing community.  Please complete these surveys to help us provide programming to you in a manner you desire.

Audio Description Survey

ASL/Open-Caption Survey



Audio Description of Liz Doles' Sri Lanka Exhibit Now Available

Posted Saturday August 24 2013 at 12:55 am in Open Door Gallery

Liz Doles' Pinhole Photo with Audio Description Symbol

If you missed Liz Doles' Open Door Gallery Sri Lanka exhibit, you can now hear all about it.

This summer we launched our volunteer Audio Describer program with two enthusiastic volunteers, Hannah Schenk and Adrienne Wetmore.  After taking an online course on Audio Description, Hannah and Adrienne created an Audio Described tour of Sri Lanka: Pinhole Photography and Portraits that is now available on our website for all to enjoy.

The Audio Description provides access to visitors who are blind or have low vision by describing the Open Door Gallery and each piece in the exhibition.  Even though the tour is designed to provide access to visitors with limited vision, sighted visitors might be surprised by how much more they see with an audio describer's guidance.



Free Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Webcast Performances

Posted Tuesday August 20 2013 at 06:22 am in News

Nicholas McCarthy

Mary Theresa Archbold

August 22, 2013 6:00 pm: Nicholas McCarthy
Award-winning pianist born without his right hand.

August 23, 2013 6:00 pm: Jazz Hand
A two-person sketch that addresses awkward and absurd situations that actor Mary Theresa Archbold has encountered regarding her prosthetic arm.

Watch these live performances free online.



Landmarks Orchestra Presents Free ASL-Interpreted Performances at the Hatch Shell

Posted Sunday August 18 2013 at 11:55 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Landmarks Orchestra Logo

Landmarks Orchestra presents free ASL-Interpreted performances at the Hatch Shell in Boston.

Cole Porter's "Kiss me Kate" presented in collaboration with the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 7:00 PM
A semi-staged production of Porter's theatrical masterpiece, featuring Boston's leading actors and a live symphony orchestra.
More information

"I Have a Dream" 50th Anniversary Concert
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 7:00 PM
To honor one of the greatest speeches in American history, the orchestra presents Boston's musical tribute to the inspiration and ideals that lie at the heart of Dr. King's dream.
More information



CNET Features Story About Kimball Anderson's Comics

Posted Wednesday August 14 2013 at 3:25 pm in Open Door Gallery

cnet logo

Leslie Katz, Senior Editor of CNET's "Crave" section, authored a story published August 12, 2013 about Kimball Anderson and the artist's comics.  Kimball's exhibit "Inside/Outside" is currently on display at the VSA MA Open Door Gallery.

"Kimball Anderson's comics feature superheroes, but not the kind with capes and X-ray vision.  Anderson's superheroes summon extraordinary strength just to do the things most people take for granted -- walking out the front door or making small talk with a neighbor."

Read the rest of the story on the CNET website.



VSA MA Receives Cultural Access Award for Inclusive By Design

Posted Tuesday August 13 2013 at 11:30 pm in Cultural Inclusion

VSA 2013 Award for Excellence in Cultural Access

VSA MA Executive Director Charles Washburn was in Washington, DC last week to receive the VSA Affiliate Council's 2013 Award for Excellence in Cultural Access.

The award was presented by VSA founder Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith for advancing the guiding principle that everyone should have complete access to cultural facilities and activities.

VSA MA implements this principle through our presentation of "Inclusive By Design" concerts in which a team of musicians, visual artists, American Sign Language interpreters, audio describers, and captioners produce performances which are inclusive to all.

Follow these links for video of Inclusive by Design concerts:
Adrian Anantawan - 2012
Henry Butler - 2009



Free Webinar Series - VSA/Kennedy Center

Posted Friday August 09 2013 at 2:31 pm in Education

Kennedy Center Logo

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

Teaching Artists: What You Need to Know BEFORE the Special Education Residency
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenter: Stephen Yaffe, Chair of The Arts in Special Education Consortium.
More info and registration

Demystifying Individualized Education Plans (IEP): An Introduction to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act & IEPs
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenters: Jennifer Zielinski, Program Coordinator/Parent Education Coordinator, Idaho Parents Unlimited; and Heather Kirk Skinner, Arts Coordinator/Parent Educator, Idaho Parents Unlimited
More info and registration

Individualized Education Plans and 21st Century Learning Skills
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenters: Angela Lindig, Executive Director, Idaho Parents Unlimited; and Heather Kirk Skinner, Arts Coordinator/Parent Educator, Idaho Parents Unlimited
More info and registration

Real-time captioning will be available at http://www.streamtext.net/player?event=JFKCENTER during each webinar presentation.  If you are unable to attend live, register to receive a link to a recording one hour following webinar completion.



Art for Everyone: The Importance of Accessibility in Arts Organizations

Posted Sunday August 04 2013 at 11:20 pm in News

Boston Photography Focus Blog Logo

The following is reprinted from a July 25, 2013 Boston Photography Focus blog post written by VSA's own Kati Blair Kotrc.  View the original post.

Inclusion is an imperative for the health of all cultural organizations. Not only do the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state regulations legally mandate including people with disabilities, it also makes good business sense.  11% of the population in Massachusetts are people with disabilities, 13% are over 65 and experiencing the loss of vision, hearing and mobility associated with aging.  Add to that the family and friends that they travel with and you have a sizable potential audience.  Furthermore, whatever is done to address the particular needs of an individual or group typically improves the experience for everyone.  Who hasn’t rolled a suitcase over a curb cut intended to provide access to the sidewalk for someone using a wheelchair?  Similarly, once a large print guide is created it often becomes more popular than the standard print version because everyone can use it easily.  Any organization that isn’t deliberately designing for access and inclusion is likely coming up short.

Read More →

VSA MA Receives 5-Year $850,000 Contract from Mass. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education

Posted Wednesday July 31 2013 at 11:44 pm in News

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo

It's official!

VSA Massachusetts has received a renewal of the Arts for Inclusion contract with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DOESE).  This 5 year contract, worth $850,000, will help us provide inclusive arts education opportunities for students and educators throughout the state.  The COOL Schools program will serve 2,000 students with and without disabilities and 300 teachers each year in schools in Boston, Tewksbury, Worcester and Gardner.

Through arts integration, students sing, dance, draw and act their way into their curriculum, making learning more accessible and engaging for all.  COOL students will also attend inclusive arts festivals and field trips to cultural organizations, expanding inclusive arts learning opportunities outside the school.  Professional development will give educators resources on best practices to support inclusion through the arts.

Thank you for the vote of confidence, DOESE!



The Museum of Science Needs Your Help!

Posted Tuesday July 30 2013 at 06:49 am in Cultural Inclusion

A message from the Museum of Science:

The Museum of Science, Boston is committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities and strives to create an environment that is inviting, engaging, and accessible for everyone.  To work toward achieving this goal, there are times throughout the year when the Museum seeks people with a variety of abilities and disabilities to help improve the accessibility of our Museum.  Hearing from people with disabilities expands our knowledge about the museum experience and informs how we design museum offerings, such as exhibits and programs, in the future.

Read More →

The Open Door Gallery Presents Kimball Anderson - Inside/Outside

Posted Sunday July 28 2013 at 9:11 pm in Open Door Gallery

Kimball Anderson's Artwork Titled White

The Open Door Gallery presents an exhibit which explores the separation of self and environment.  Kimball Anderson is an artist whose experiences of chronic fatigue syndrome and agoraphobia inform the art he creates, manifesting in themes of isolation, recursion of self, inaction, and first person experience.  The artwork explores the quiet and the gentle, while searching for something ambiguous underneath and reflects the period when the artist began to overcome agoraphobia and enter the world.

Kimball Anderson - Inside/Outside.  July 29 - November 8, 2013.
Reception: October 3, 2013, 4pm to 7pm.
Featured during the reception is a theatrical presentation of Kimball's abstract comic "I Don't Get It" at 6 pm.  The piece explores ambiguities around identity and interpersonal relationships.

Read More →

Join in the Creative Explosion: 3-Day Workshop Series

Posted Wednesday July 24 2013 at 11:12 pm in News

Creative Explosion

Creative Explosion is a 3-Day Workshop Series open to young people 15+ with and without disabilities who want opportunity to play with theatrical improvisation, movement, visual arts, and music in countless combinations.

How do you want to explore?
Improvisation: exploring personal communication options, character development, and the creativity surrounding spontaneity.
Movement as personal expression: creating physical representations of thought and emotions; exploring emotional outputs through movement.
Music: an outlet and tool to express and enhance creativity.
Visual Arts: the visual/physical representation of internal creativity.  How will the visual arts influence improv, movement, and music?

When: Wednesday, August 7; Thursday, August 8; and Friday, August 9; 10am - 3pm
Where: Massachusetts College of Art, The Pozen Center, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston
Call: 617-426-4737 or
E-mail: mystical@RCN.com

All learning styles will be accommodated.  Participants are asked to make a commitment to the entire program and should plan to attend all three sessions.  Be sure to wear comfortable clothing.

Presented through a collaboration of Center for Art and Community Partnerships/Mass Art, Until Tomorrow Productions, and VSA Massachusetts.



Free Webinar - "Including Students with Emotional Disabilities and Behavior Challenges in Arts Education"

Posted Monday July 22 2013 at 06:11 am in Education

Arts Access Logo

Arts Access presents a webinar on methods for creating an inclusive arts education experience for students with emotional disabilities and behavior challenges.  Staff from Haven House and Project Enlightenment will present information on understanding emotional disabilities and implementing positive behavior support in the classroom.  Haven House staff will focus on older students ages 10 to 21 and Project Enlightenment staff will focus on elementary and pre-school age students.  Additional presenters include arts educators who will share information and resources on innovative programs in the arts serving students with emotional disabilities.  The webinar is geared toward arts educators but all educators are welcome.

When: July 26, 2013 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Registration: gotomeeting.com



Artists Beyond Challenge Exhibit Artwork in Boston Mayor Menino's Office

Posted Saturday July 20 2013 at 9:09 pm in News

Artists Beyond Challenge exhibit artwork in Boston Mayor Menino's Office

A group of artists from Artists Beyond Challenge are exhibiting their artwork in the office of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.  The show is sponsored by the Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events and can be seen in The Mayor's Gallery on the 5th Floor of Boston City Hall Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm through August 9, 2013.

Shown in the photograph above are artist Raine Newman, who curated the exhibit, Lisa Weber, the program's coordinator from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, and artists tSofi Inbar, Greg Rogers, Lisa Fay, and Sebough Kandilian.  The exhibit also includes artwork by Sarah Gately, Millicent Holoder, and Paula Peters.



Live Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Webcasts

Posted Thursday July 18 2013 at 11:14 pm in News

Mandy Harvey

New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra

July 25, 2013 6:00 pm: Mandy Harvey
The jazz vocalist, who, despite her loss of hearing, has performed live all over the U.S., gives a concert in celebration of the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and National Council on Independent Living Conference.

July 30, 2013 6:00 pm: New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra
The orchestra, which brings together musicians of different ages and abilities to promote mutual growth and understanding through musical performance, performs a concert.

Watch these live performances free online.



CATA's "I Am a Part of Art" Opening Reception

Posted Wednesday July 17 2013 at 06:10 am in News

Community Access to the Arts

The Berkshire Museum is hosting Community Access to the Arts' "I Am a Part of Art" Annual Art Show & Poetry Reading in celebration of CATA's 20th Anniversary this year!

When: July 25th – August 25 with an opening on Thursday, July 25th from 5:30-7:30
Where: The Berkshire Museum, 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA

NOTE: Admission to the opening reception is FREE, however, standard museum admission is required for the duration of the exhibit.

The exhibit features over 100 works of art created in CATA's many visual arts workshops throughout the year in settings such as Adult Day Health, Berkshire County ARC, Taconic and Lee High Schools, Blue Q, and in CATA's own studio in Great Barrington.  Also included are paintings from CATA's A.R.T. (Artistic Realization Technologies) workshops.

The poetry reading features a number of guest readers and poems from CATA's new poetry anthology, "going for a flower".



Laugh and Learn: Comedians with Disabilities Panel Discussion

Posted Monday July 15 2013 at 12:11 am in Cultural Inclusion

Disabled Comedy Only

Join a lively panel discussion hosted by ADA New England and the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) featuring comedians with disabilities, who will share their experiences with wit and honesty.  Celebrate the 23rd Anniversary of the ADA with Jack, Veronica, Will, and Joe.  They will surely make you laugh while raising awareness at the same time.

Event Details:
Where: Institute for Human Centered Design, 200 Portland St. Boston
When: July 24 2013, 6:30pm - 8pm
This event is free and open to the public.
Snacks, beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks will be available.

Space is limited, so sign up today by calling 617-695-1225 ext. 235 or emailing Willa Crolius at wcrolius@IHCdesign.org.

For more information about the four performers who will be participating in Laugh and Learn, read the ADA New England press release.



A.D.A. Celebration Day in Boston

Posted Friday July 12 2013 at 01:02 am in News

Americans with Disabilities Act Logo

Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities invites everyone to attend A.D.A. Celebration Day Thursday, July 25 2013, 12 noon – 3 p.m. at Boston City Hall Plaza.

Food, Music, Info, T-Shirts, Friends, Fun.

Additional New Feature This Year! - "Civic Involvement Breakfast" at 10:30 a.m. – Boston City Hall, 5th Floor.  Learn ways to participate in city government, register to vote, view Council Chamber, visit City Councilors' offices, tour city hall.

Breakfast attendees receive early registration to ADA Day & T-Shirt.

To request accommodations, call 617-635-3682, or email disability@cityofboston.gov  For more information & updates, visit cityofboston.gov/disability.



Artists: Apply for One-Year Residency with Community Groups

Posted Sunday July 07 2013 at 5:28 pm in Call For Artists

Department of Public Imagination Logo

The Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI) and Community Labor United are excited to announce a new Boston-based fellowship and residency program for socially engaged artists - The Department of Public Imagination.  For our pilot year, which will run from September 2013 to April 2014, three artists will be selected to participate in an interdisciplinary program that builds creative partnerships between artists and member-led community groups in the greater Boston area.

Each artist who is selected to participate in the program will receive a stipend, shared workspace at DS4SI, and will participate in an ongoing training workshop that brings together leaders in the arts and social justice sectors.

For more information, visit the residency webpage.

Application deadline is July 19, 2013.



Frisbee Fest at Boston Children's Museum Available in ASL

Posted Monday July 01 2013 at 06:28 am in News

Frisbee

Meet Frisbee Champion Todd Brodeur, and watch him demonstrate some amazing tricks, catches and combinations.  Todd will also explain the science behind the Frisbee and tell a little about its history.  Following the shows, there is 30 minute "PlayShops" where kids can learn some Frisbee tricks of their own.  PlayShops are for kids 7 and up and require a free ticket available 30 minutes before each show.

Tuesday, July 16 2013
Shows: 11:00 am and 12:30 pm
PlayShop: 11:45 am
(There will also be another PlayShop at 1:15 pm without ASL interpretation.)
Boston Children’s Museum
Free with Museum admission.

For more information, please contact:
Saki Iwamoto, Health and Wellness Educator
Iwamoto@BostonChildrensMuseum.org
617-986-3697



MFA Boston Talk - Art + Medicine: The Colors of Sound

Posted Wednesday June 26 2013 at 06:18 am in News

Art and Medicine

Have you ever wondered what it's like to hear color?  This Museum of Fine Arts gallery talk will unite art and medicine through a discussion of synesthesia, a neurologic condition that causes the blending of the senses.  Particularly focusing on American artists influenced by music, such as Arthur Dove, Stuart Davis, and Joan Mitchell, we will explore the visual interpretation of these artists' auditory experiences.  Join Chris and Erin Yuskaitis, physician-scientist and arts administrator respectively, for a truly unique gallery talk that combines art and science in the same breath.

June 30 2013, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Free with cost of admission.
More information at the MFA website.



Trish Lampron Presented Arts|Learning Principal Award

Posted Monday June 24 2013 at 07:11 am in Education

Trish Lampron Presented Arts|Learning Prinicpal Award

Trish Lampron of Henderson Elementary School was presented the prestigious 2013 Arts|Learning "Excellence in School Administration--Principal Award" for her efforts in providing, supporting, and advocating for quality arts education.  The presentation was made at the recent Champions of the Arts Advocacy Awards Ceremony and Symposium at Lesley University.



Legislators Launch Statewide Listening Tour Exploring the State of the Arts - MCC Press Release

Posted Wednesday June 19 2013 at 06:48 am in News

Massachusetts Cultural Council Logo

Contact: Samantha Schenk (617-722-2015) or Maria Syrniotis (617-722-1604)

Legislators Launch Statewide Listening Tour to Explore the State of the Arts & Tourism in MA.
Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development holds public forums to hear ideas from industry and communities.

(Boston, MA) State Representative Cory Atkins (D-Concord) and Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport)– Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development—announced today that the Committee will hold a series of public hearings in communities across the state beginning June 21.

The forums are meant to solicit ideas from the arts, cultural, and tourism communities, and the general public, to help the Committee develop policies that strengthen arts, culture, and tourism in Massachusetts.  From 2013 to 2014 the committee will visit each to the state’s cultural districts and regional tourism districts, touring some of the state’s cultural institutions and major tourism destinations.  Officials from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT), and the Regional Tourism Councils (RTCs) will take part in the forums.

Read More →

Visit the Open Door Gallery and Win a Free MFA Boston Ticket for Two

Posted Monday June 17 2013 at 10:07 pm in Open Door Gallery

Samurai Statute

We have free MFA Boston passes for the next ten visitors to VSA Massachusetts.  Come see "Sri Lanka: Pinhole Photography and Portraits" by Liz Doles at the Open Door Gallery and win a free ticket for two to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Open Door Gallery is open 10am - 4pm Monday through Friday.

Tickets expire June 30, 2013.

Hurry in, these passes won't last long!



AMC Theatres Presents Sensory Friendly Films

Posted Monday June 17 2013 at 06:05 am in Cultural Inclusion

AMC Sensory Friendly Films

AMC Theatres brings sensory friendly films to families affected by autism on a monthly basis to select communities.

The program provides a special opportunity for families to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment.  The auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!

Upcoming Screenings:
June 29, 2013 - Monsters University
July 13, 2013 - Despicable Me 2
August 10, 2013 - The Smurfs 2
August 31, 2013 - Planes
October 5, 2013 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
November 9, 2013 – Free Birds
December 7, 2013 - Frozen 2-D

In Massachusetts, participating theatres are located in Braintree, Burlington, Framingham, Methuen, Springfield, and Tyngsboro.

Learn more at the AMC Theatre website.



Meet the Intern: Lynn Yang

Posted Thursday June 13 2013 at 12:25 am in News

Meet the Intern: Lynn Yang

What are your favorite pastimes?
      "I enjoy a good absorbing read, looking for good food and good coffee places, cooking and cleaning (it was my way of de-stressing during finals when I was in school), spending time with my dogs when I’m back home in Singapore, going to and being in the theatre. "

If you could be a cartoon character, who would you be?
      "I would be Wile E. Coyote – he’s a really smart and innovative chap, but unfortunately keeps getting beaten by a bird that really just runs around really fast.  I'd make it my life goal to finally get that bird."

Read More →

SpeakEasy Stage Company Holding Auditions for TRIBES

Posted Tuesday June 11 2013 at 10:51 pm in Call For Artists

Tribes Banner

SpeakEasy Stage Company describes TRIBES as: Born deaf into a garrulous academic family, Billy was pushed to assimilate into the hearing world as best he could by reading lips and staying out of the way.  But when a young woman introduces him to the Deaf community, Billy decides it is time his family learns to communicate with him on his terms.

Audition for the following characters:

Billy (Male 20-30): Deaf since birth.  Brought up oral.  Wears hearing aids.  He meets Sylvia who teaches him to sign, opening him up to a world he never knew before.  Sheltered.  Considerate.  A gentle spirit.

Sylvia (Female 25-35): Born with hearing but now rapidly going deaf.  While she hasn't wanted to let someone in, she falls for Billy.  While Billy might see her as a vibrant new light in his life the rest of the family sees her as "nice and funny".  Experience with ASL and the piano a PLUS.

Read More →

Second Fridays are Free at the MIT Museum

Posted Monday June 10 2013 at 9:36 pm in Cultural Inclusion

MIT Museum Logo

Jump-start your weekend with the MIT Museum.  Get up close and personal with Kismet the Robot, or see the world in 3-D through our one-of-a-kind holography exhibit.  Enjoy performances, demonstrations, and lectures throughout the galleries.

Admission to the galleries plus additional activities is free the second friday of every month.  This Friday, June 14 2013, watch a concert by the MIT Glass Band.  More information is available at the museum's Second Friday web page.



Liz Doles' Open Door Gallery Exhibit in Artscope

Posted Thursday June 06 2013 at 11:12 pm in Open Door Gallery

Artscope Magazine Logo

Artscope magazine covered Fulbright artist, photographer and teacher, Liz Doles' exhibit "Sri Lanka: Pinhole Photographs and Portraits" at the Open Door Gallery in their recent email blast which reaches over 6,000 subscribers.  The email blast is additional bi-weekly coverage to complement the bi-monthly magazine.



ASL Interpreted Puppet Show at Boston Children’s Museum

Posted Monday June 03 2013 at 10:28 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Raccoon Tales Puppets

Boston Children's Museum presents "Raccoon Tales" by Puppet Showplace Theatre and their Artist in Residence: Brad Shur.

The animals in the forest are always getting into trouble playing tricks on each other.  Will they learn their lessons?  "Raccoon Tales" features three humorous stories inspired by the Native American just-so-stories of the Seneca tribe: How the Fox and the Raccoon Trick Each Other; Why the Blue Jay is Blue and the Gray Wolf Isn't; and Why the Bear has a Stumpy Tail.

Recommended for ages 5+
June 8 2013, 3:30pm
Free with Museum admission.



Broadway and Beyond Revisited

Posted Monday June 03 2013 at 05:45 am in Cultural Inclusion

Broadway and Beyond Logo

Cape Cod CAN's three January performances of Broadway and Beyond at The Cotuit Center for the Arts sold out!  Now's your chance to revisit the experience one night only at Sandwich Town Hall.

"Broadway and Beyond Revisited" is a multi-media revival of Broadway and Beyond presenting video integrated with live performances by original cast members.

When: Friday, June 7 2013
Where: Sandwich Public Library
Cost: $5 Per Person



Free Arts Access Webinar

Posted Wednesday May 29 2013 at 11:40 pm in Education

Arts Access Logo

Arts Access presents a webinar on methods for creating an inclusive arts education experience for students with physical disabilities and communication barriers.

Presenter Lisa Williams, director of Tadpole Lending Library, will inform participants about communication barriers faced by students with physical disabilities, and share strategies to overcome these obstacles. Panelists Betsy Ludwig, Sandy McMillan, and Kay McMillan will identify resources for assistive technology, communication systems, and adaptive equipment that may be useful for arts educators.

Presented in partnership with the Tadpole Lending Library, New Voices Foundation, NC Arts Council, NC Department of Public Instruction, and VSA.

When: June 5, 2013 3:30 - 4:30pm
Registration: gotomeeting.com



Assistive Technology Conference and Exposition

Posted Tuesday May 28 2013 at 11:32 pm in News

Easter Seals Logo

A full-day of assistive technology workshops and exhibits for people with disabilities, their families educators, therapists and professionals who work in the field of assistive technology.  Workshop topics relevant to employment, education, community living and communication.  Exhibitors demonstrating the latest products.

Where: DCU Center, Worcester
When: June 3, 2013
Attendee Registration Form
Presenter Bios
More Information



Join Us for an Opening Reception

Posted Monday May 27 2013 at 5:11 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Art from the Heart Exhibit

Artists from the Seven Hills community, in partnership with VSA Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Seven Hills Family Services, invite you to attend the opening reception for Art From The Heart.  This second annual juried art exhibit highlighting the work of artists with disabilities will be on display for the month of June.  Please join us in celebrating the special talents of these local artists for an opening reception on June 2, 2013.  Light refreshments will be served.

Courthouse Cafe
204 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608
Sunday, June 2, 2013
1:00 - 4:00 pm

For more information email Robert "Razz" Raslavsky at rraslavsky@sevenhills.org or call 508-661-9759.



Museum of Fine Arts - Free Memorial Day Community Weekend

Posted Wednesday May 22 2013 at 10:50 pm in News

Museum of Fine Arts

Boston's Museum of Fine Arts opens its doors - free of charge - to visitors from Boston and beyond for three days, May 25 to 27, 2013.  Enjoy special exhibitions - including three paintings on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, art making, gallery tours, family activities, and a community art project.  All on-site contributions this weekend will be donated to The One Fund Boston.

A 10 percent discount on all items, with a few exclusions, will be offered at the MFA Bookstore and Shop, Huntington Avenue Shop, and Exhibition Shop, as well as online.

Visit the MFA website for full details.



Meet the People Behind the Scenes at VSA MA

Posted Tuesday May 21 2013 at 11:00 am in News

Gallery Reception

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, June 26, 5:45pm
Tuesday, July 16, 12:00pm
Thursday, August 15, 5:45pm
Wednesday, September 18, 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 kati@vsamass.org.



Upcoming Submission, Application, and Registration Deadlines

Posted Sunday May 19 2013 at 09:35 am in Call For Artists

Deadline

Kennedy Center National Seminar for Teaching Artists
Registration Deadline: May 31, 2013

VSA Playwright Discovery Competition
Submission Deadline: June 1, 2013

Advanced Teaching Artist Training in NYC
Application Deadline: June 5, 2013

"Yo Soy...Je Suis...I Am...My Family" Online Art Exhibition
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2013



Igniting Innovation . . . Creative Leadership and High-Impact Practices

Posted Friday May 17 2013 at 11:00 am in Education

Artist Using Pencil

Arts|Learning and Lesley University Creativity Commons present "Igniting Innovation . . . Creative Leadership and High-Impact Practices".

Speakers and panelists include:
Dr. Tony Wagner, Harvard University
Una McAlinden, ArtsEd Washington
Roger Brown, Berklee College of Music
Dr. Carol Johnson, Boston Public Schools
Dr. Steve Seidel, Harvard University

Topics include:
Creating Innovators
Principals as Arts Leaders—What It Looks Like in a Real School
The Role of the Arts in the Balanced School Program
Evaluation of Arts Teachers in the Schools

When: Wednesday, May 22 2013, 8:00 AM TO 7:30 PM
Where: Lesley University, Cambridge MA
More Information and Registration: https://www.regonline.com/igniting_innovation
Questions: Call 508-650-5044 or email: info@artslearning.org



Free VSA Webinars

Posted Wednesday May 15 2013 at 12:13 am in Education

Webinar

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

Careers for People with Disabilities in the Arts
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenter: Kristina Davis-Smith, Community Development Manager & Accessibility Coordinator, Indiana Arts Commission
More info and registration

Autism and Music Education
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenter: Mary Adamek, The University of Iowa & Alice-Ann Darrow, The University of Kansas
More info and registration

Managing Behaviors during an Arts Residency
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Presenter: Deborah Stuart & Janice Hastings, both from VSA New Hampshire
More info and registration

Real-time captioning will be available at http://www.streamtext.net/player?event=JFKCENTER during each webinar presentation.



VSA MA Colleague Don Glass Published in Harvard Education Review

Posted Sunday May 12 2013 at 08:23 am in Education

Universal Design for Learning and the Arts

VSA MA colleague Don Glass has co-written "Universal Design for Learning and the Arts" which was recently published in the Harvard Education Review.

The full article is available for free download as a PDF.



Boston Children's Museum - Morningstar Access Program

Posted Thursday May 09 2013 at 06:59 am in Cultural Inclusion

MorningStar Access Logo

Morningstar Access Program at Boston Children's Museum offers children with special and medical needs the opportunity to visit the Museum at a time when there are only a few other visitors.  At these times, the number of guests is limited to 100, and children and their families can explore the Museum with less concern about infections and large crowds.

Monday October 9, 2017 (Columbus Day) from 8 am to 10 am
Saturday November 11, 2017 (Veterans Day) from 6 pm to 8 pm - Evening Edition!

All guests must pay admission at the Admissions Desk upon arrival.
- Non-members: Half admission price ($8 per person)
- Members: Free

Visit the museum website for more information, the required registration, and to download the social stories booklet "My Visit to Boston Children's Museum".



A Different Vision - Tactile Art Show

Posted Wednesday May 08 2013 at 06:20 am in Cultural Inclusion

Please Touch The Art

Plymouth Center for the Arts presents "A Different Vision" - Tactile Art Show.

Opening Reception: May 11, 2013 7pm
Exhibit: May 12 - June 1, 2013
Where: Plymouth Center for the Arts, 11 North Street, Plymouth MA
Cost: Free



"Distracted" By Lisa Loomer at Central Square Theater

Posted Monday May 06 2013 at 9:43 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Distracted - A Comedy By Lisa Loomer

Distracted by Lisa Loomer and directed by Wesley Savick will be presented May 9 - June 2, 2013 by Underground Railway Theater, at Central Square Theater.

Distracted poses questions about culture of medicating children, our relationship with technology, and how it impacts our family relationships.

Purchase tickets here.

Scientists, humanists, parents and teachers will engage audiences about how we define health in our media saturated society in a number of pre and post performance conversations as follows:

Read More →

Workshops for Musicians, Artists, and Arts Administrators

Posted Monday May 06 2013 at 10:00 am in News

The Arts & Business Council is sponsoring a series of workshops for musicians, artists, and arts administrators.

Saturday, May 11, 10:00am - 11:45am
Setting up Your Music Career for Long Term Success

Monday, May 13, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Copyright in the Digital Age

Thursday, May 16, 4:00pm - 6:30pm
Nonprofit Incorporation

Monday, May 20, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Successful Contract Negotiations

Tuesday, May 21, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Show Me the Money! Creative & Sound Financial Planning

Tuesday, May 28, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
The Business of Performance

Monday, June 3, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Artist Representation, Q&A

Thursday, June 20, 9:30am - 4:30pm
Human Resources Symposium for Arts Administrators


More details here.



CATA's 20th Annual Performance and Gala

Posted Monday May 06 2013 at 07:02 am in News

CATA - Celebrating 20 Years

Celebrate CATA’s 20th anniversary by attending their their Annual Performance & Gala!

When: Saturday, May 11 at 6pm & Sunday, May 12 at 1pm
Where: Tina Packer Playhouse, Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, Massachusetts

Purchase tickets in advance.



VSA Teaching Artist Nora Valdez Exhibits Sculpture at "Unlimited" Show

Posted Sunday May 05 2013 at 5:04 pm in News

Nora Valdez Sculpture Titled Immigrant

Unbound Visual Arts, founded to enliven the creative economy for all in Allston, Brighton and the surrounding towns, is presenting a new exhibit titled "Unlimited" at the Art Gallery at The Harvard Allston Education Portal.  The Education Portal is the Allston-Brighton community’s front door to Harvard's educational, cultural, arts, and recreational resources.

The "Unlimited" exhibit includes 14 sculptural artworks by six artists of the Boston Sculptural Gallery including VSA teaching artist Nora Valdez.  The exhibit interprets, explores, and presents concepts related to "unlimited" lives.

Where: 175 North Harvard St., Allston, MA
When: May 9 - June 30, 2013
Opening Reception: May 9, 2013 5:30 - 8pm



Learning Through Music, for All Abilities

Posted Thursday May 02 2013 at 11:41 pm in Education

Children in a Classroom

This is a guest blog post by Liz Buchanan.

I'm in a room with twenty-five children, four of whom use wheelchairs.  As the children act out a song about butterflies, I choose several students from the "typical" classroom to partner with the children with disabilities.  The students walk over cautiously at first.  But they seem to overcome their shyness as they dance about the kids in wheelchairs.  Smiles of pride come to their faces – they're just five years old, but they're doing something helpful that makes a difference in another child's life.

This is my third year as a teaching artist with VSA MA at the Condon School in South Boston, integrating music with the literacy curriculum for children in the early childhood classrooms through first grade.  Condon's student population includes many students with special needs, and VSA MA's main goal is to bring together children with a range of abilities through the arts.

This year, we combined classrooms in my music sessions to bring together students from Condon's Developmental Day Care (DDC) program with the Pre-K and kindergarten classes.  The DDC students face many obstacles in their daily lives – most have multiple, severe disabilities.

Read More →

Volunteer Your Helping Hands at VSA’s Fundraising Luncheon

Posted Monday April 29 2013 at 9:34 pm in Volunteer Opportunities

Multi-colored Hands Interlocking

We are looking for 11 - 14 volunteers to help us at our Creating the Future: A Celebration of Imagination and Inclusion fundraising luncheon.

When: Tuesday, May 14 2013, 11am - 1:30pm
Where: The Revere Hotel Boston Common, 200 Stuart Street, Boston
What: Greet guests and help us with set-up and take down

Interested volunteers can email kati@vsamass.org



An Introduction to Audio Description: Making your Cultural Program and Experience Accessible

Posted Sunday April 28 2013 at 11:52 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Audio Description Symbol

This Event Has Been Postponed Until Fall, 2013.  Sorry For The Inconvenience.

Cultural Access New England presents "An Introduction to Audio Description: Making your Cultural Program and Experience Accessible to People who are Blind or Have Low-Vision".

This workshop will familiarize participants with various approaches that cultural organizations are using.



Blind Talent: Art Is More Than Vision

Posted Sunday April 28 2013 at 11:03 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Blind Man Painting

The Cultural Center of Cape Cod is hosting an exhibit of artwork of the visually impaired and legally blind.  The artwork was gathered from participants of art classes held across the Cape by Sight Loss Services, Inc., a non-profit agency providing support, information and adaptive aids to those who are learning to cope with the loss of sight throughout Cape Cod and the Islands.

Exhibit: May 1 - 13, 2013
Artist Reception: May 5, 2013 noon to 2pm
307 Old Main Stret
South Yarmouth, MA



Art Deadlines List

Posted Friday April 26 2013 at 06:53 am in Call For Artists

A free listing of Calls for Artists is available at www.artdeadlineslist.com.

Public art commissions, art competitions, art jobs and internships, art scholarships and grants and fellowships, residencies, art festivals, call for entries/proposals/projects, and other opportunities, in all disciplines, for art students, art teachers, and artists of all ages, all skill levels, in all disciplines, everywhere.

A Premium list is also available for a fee which guarantees you'll be the first to view and have access to all announcements.



Free VSA Webinar - UDL 102: Universal Design for Learning in the Arts Classroom

Posted Thursday April 25 2013 at 11:22 pm in Education

The Kennedy Center is sponsoring a free webinar Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:00 - 2:00 pm given by Gordon Sasaki, Educator at the Museum of Modern Art and Former VSA Teaching Artist, entitled "UDL 102: Universal Design for Learning in the Arts Classroom".

This webinar presents approaches and ideas on what Universal Design for Learning (UDL) looks like when applied to the inclusive arts classroom.

The intended audience is teaching artists with little to no knowledge of UDL and participants of the UDL 101 Webinar which took place April 23rd.

Real-time captioning will be available during the webinar presentation.

Register now.



Volunteer to Audio Describe Our Exhibits

Posted Tuesday April 23 2013 at 9:52 pm in Volunteer Opportunities

Gallery patron listening to headphones while viewing art

We need a special volunteer to help make accommodations for people who are blind or who have low vision by audio describing our exhibits.

3 - 6 hours of online training are required prior to recording your description in the Open Door Gallery.

Your audio description would make the visual verbal to people in the gallery and also for visitors to the website!

Interested volunteers should email kati@vsamass.org



Liz Doles - Sri Lanka Pinhole Photography and Portraits April 22 - July 19, 2013

Posted Sunday April 21 2013 at 4:53 pm in Open Door Gallery

Liz Dales - Sri Lanka Pinhole Photography - Slave Island Arcade Colombo

The Open Door Gallery presents an intimate view of contemporary Sri Lanka photography by Fulbright Artist and Teacher Liz Doles.

Liz Doles - Sri Lanka Pinhole Photography and Portraits.  April 22 - July 19, 2013.
Opening Reception: April 25 2013, 4pm to 7pm.  Artist Talk at 6pm.

Artist's Statement

I traveled to Sri Lanka in 2011 on a Fulbright grant to capture the long lived and often overlooked architectural heritage of this corner of South Asia.  While traversing the country in buses, trains and trishaws, I was beguiled not only with the monuments and the myths of the powerful, but with more humble dwellings, shacks, shops and above all, with the countenance of the ordinary and the unsung.

Sri Lanka is a tiny country that looms large on the international scene.  For the past eighteen months, I have been living and photographing in the country formerly called Ceylon.  This exhibit embodies my vision of a nation poised at the edge of transformation from a land torn by horrific internecine strife into South Asia’s next miracle.

Read More →

Free VSA Webinar - UDL 101: An Introduction to Universal Design for Learning for Teaching Artists

Posted Saturday April 20 2013 at 11:18 pm in Education

The Kennedy Center is sponsoring a free webinar Tuesday, April 23, 2013 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm given by Ricki Sabia, Ed D, J.D., Education and Disability Consultant, entitled "UDL 101: An Introduction to Universal Design for Learning for Teaching Artists".

Ms. Sabia is the founder and former chair of the National UDL Task Force and was appointed by the Governor of Maryland as the UDL expert for the state UDL Task Force.   She recently left her position as Associate Director of Education for the National Down Syndrome Policy Center to be a disability and education consultant.

The intended audience is teaching artists with little to no knowledge of UDL.

Real-time captioning will be available during the webinar presentation.

Register now.



What’s in a Name?

Posted Monday April 15 2013 at 7:15 pm in News

From Very Special Arts to VSA Massachusetts

Over the past few years, staff and friends of VSA Massachusetts have raised a few brows when they begin to talk about three little letters . . . V S A.  It often goes something like this:

Parent:  Hi, I'm Sheila's Mom.
VSA Staff:  Hi, I'm staff from VSA Massachusetts.
Parent:  VSA?
VSA Staff:  Yes, VSA - followed by a somewhat lengthy description along these lines - VSA was founded by President Kennedy's sister, Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, at the time that the National Cultural Center was dedicated to President John F. Kennedy and is affiliated with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. today.  Originally known as the National Committee Arts for the Handicapped (OUCH!) and formerly named Very Special Arts, VSA changed its name in 1999, eliminating the use of the word "special" to honor the progress made by members of the disability community since the organization's inception.
Parent:  Oh, neat, what is it that you do here at the school?

What we do is not captured in our name, so most people continue to call us Very Special Arts, a name that seems to still resonate in the broader community.  However, "special" often does not resonate for those with disabilities or those who are advocates.

In the 1980's, when we were all running around in neon outfits, Very Special Arts seemed like a good fit.  Today, even though there are a few people reviving neon, we need to move past "special" and say VSA.

Think of it like CVS or CNBC - as soon as you hear it, you know what it means.  We don't go around, saying, "Oh, I need to pick up some toothpaste from the Consumer Value Store (CVS)."

VSA means arts for all in schools and in our communities.



ASL Interpreted Program at Boston Children's Museum

Posted Wednesday April 10 2013 at 10:08 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Critter Day

ASL Interpreted Critter Day during April School Vacation Week at Boston Children's Museum.
Thursday, April 18th, 2013 10:30 am and 11:30 am
This program is free with Museum admission.

Myths are for Monkeys
You'll have more fun than a barrel of monkeys as you learn the truth about common animal myths.

Fantastic Furries
This is an all-furry animal program perfect for the furry fanatic.

*As with any live animal, program is subject to change.



Internship Opportunity

Posted Monday April 08 2013 at 12:00 pm in Call For Artists

Williamstown Theatre festival

Williamstown Theatre Festival is excited to announce a partnership with the Rosemary Kennedy Internship Initiative / VSA that will fund scholarships for young theatre artists aged 18-25 with disabilities.  These scholarships will allow multiple young artists to participate in our renowned Apprentice Program this summer at no cost to them.  As an educator, you are invited to nominate a young artist from your community for this program.  Deadline to apply is April 19th, 2013.

Read More →

Volunteer to Help Install the Next Open Door Gallery Exhibit

Posted Sunday April 07 2013 at 7:12 pm in Volunteer Opportunities

Woman Hanging Art

Do you have experience installing art exhibits in galleries?  We are looking for a volunteer to help us install Liz Doles' exhibit – Sri Lanka: Pinhole Photography and Portraits.

When: During the week of April 15th

Where: The Open Door Gallery.

Interested Volunteers: Email kati@vsamass.org



ASL Programs at New England Aquarium

Posted Friday April 05 2013 at 4:13 pm in Cultural Inclusion

New England Aquarium Logo

The New England Aquarium is open and in the midst of a renovation that will renew its main building to the core.  Come see the transformation and celebrate the world of water with live animal presentations, hands on exhibits and talks about Caribbean coral reefs at the tropical ocean exhibit.

The Aquarium offers ASL interpreted programs from 12:30-4pm on the first Sunday of every month.  All programs are included in the admission price.  You can pick up a detailed schedule at our information desk the day of the program.  Email grubin@neaq.org for more information.

Groups of 15 or more can arrange a special guided tour ahead of time by calling 617-973-5206.  Assisted listening devices are available at the IMAX Theatre Box Office and Aquarium Information Desk.



Boston College Students Donate to VSA Massachusetts

Posted Tuesday April 02 2013 at 11:29 pm in Education

Boston College Logo

This is a guest blog post by Boston College students Laura Hymes and Trent Bielen.

Each year at Boston College, Professor Paul Schervish, an expert on studies of wealth and giving, teaches a class called Introduction to Philanthropy.  This past fall we had the pleasure of taking his class, and through it, we were fortunate enough to find VSA Massachusetts and to make a donation to their COOL Schools Program.

As we learned that the meaning of philanthropy can be found both informally and formally through relationships of giving and receiving in everyday life, our class was subsequently gaining the knowledge to make an actual charitable donation.  Thanks to generous donations made by Doris Buffet's Sunshine Lady Foundation, our class was given $10,000 so students may take a share of that money and donate to the organization of their choice.  The grant requires the gift be made to formal chartered charities within the Boston Metropolitan Area.  We, Trent Bielen and Laura Hymes, collaborated on this donation because we held a mutual interest in the principles underlying the COOL Schools Program.

Read More →

Symposium - Music and Science: Practice & Convergence

Posted Tuesday April 02 2013 at 10:41 pm in Education

Music and Science

Who Should Attend?
Musicians, scientists, educators, music therapists and educators, students, researchers, and others.

When and Where?
April 12, 2013
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts

Read More →

Volunteer at VSA's 2013 All Kids Can Festival

Posted Tuesday April 02 2013 at 06:08 am in Volunteer Opportunities

Girl Wearing a Mask

Come Volunteer at the 2013 All Kids Can Festival!

About the All Kids Can Festival:
The 2013 All Kids Can Festival will provide 150 children with and without disabilities in grades K-5 the opportunity to learn through hands-on activities in different artistic disciplines such as music, theater, visual arts and movement.  Students attending will also have the chance to explore the Children’s Museum’s current exhibits.

When and Where?
Boston Children’s Museum
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
9:30 am – 1:15 pm (Volunteers are asked to arrive at 8:30 am and stay until 2 pm)
Breakfast and lunch will be provided for volunteers

Read More →

Nominate an Arts Advocate!

Posted Monday April 01 2013 at 10:04 pm in News

Artist Using Pencil

The Arts|Learning's Champions of Arts Education Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made exceptional contributions to arts education advocacy and continue to make strides toward the goal of high quality arts education for every student in Massachusetts.

From 1984 through to the present, the Champion of Arts Education Awards have recognized over 225 teachers and arts advocates in our schools and communities for their accomplishments educating students and for supporting arts education.  Arts|Learning continues this tradition of recognizing excellence in arts education programs and advocacy.  Nominations may be submitted by any Massachusetts resident and current A|L members.  Self-nominations are encouraged.

Learn more and download forms from the Arts|Learning website.  Submission deadline is April 10, 2013.



ARTZ - An Interactive Music Workshop with Dr. Lisa Wong

Posted Friday March 29 2013 at 07:55 am in News

Lisa Wong Holding a Viola

ARTZ presents an interactive music workshop designed specifically for people with dementia and their care partners.  Dr. Lisa Wong, author of the critically acclaimed "Scales to Scalpels: Doctors who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine", will be leading the workshop.  Free and open to the public.

Brookline Public Library
361 Washington Street, Brookline
Thursday, April 4 2013, 2 - 3:30pm
RSVP required
Call or Email Dee Brenner: Brenner@artzalz.org, 978-985-4427



Museum of Science Community Partners Day

Posted Tuesday March 26 2013 at 11:27 pm in News

Museum of Science Design Zone Exhibit

Join the Museum of Science Saturday March 30, 2013 for a Community Partners Day.  See the new traveling exhibit Design Zone.  Registered guests will receive a total of 4 free exhibit hall admissions per reservation.  The Museum is open 9-5PM on Saturdays.  ASL interpreters will be available to visit exhibits with guests from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Guests can pick up tickets at the Community Relations registration table in the Museum lobby on the morning of March 30 between 10am and 1pm.

Registration is required.

For questions, please contact Maria Cabrera (mcabrera@mos.org, 617-589-0418) or James Boyd (jboyd@mos.org, 617-589-0315)

Tickets are limited.



Follow-up to January Performance of "The Mountaintop"

Posted Sunday March 24 2013 at 4:28 pm in Cultural Inclusion

The Mountaintop

Maurice Parent and Kami Smith in Underground Railway Theater's
production of "The Mountaintop" by Katori Hall, January 2013.
Photo by A.R. Sinclair Photography.

This is a guest blog post by Michael Muehe, Executive Director of The Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities

The Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities was very pleased to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Central Square Theater and Underground Railway Theater on a disability rights symposium in January.  This symposium was one of a series of events, each of which connected with several community organizations doing work on behalf of various human rights/civil rights constituencies.  Each event dovetailed with an ASL-Interpreted performance of The Mountaintop, a Katori Hall play that imagines the final evening on earth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., just prior to his assassination.

Local disability advocates and activists Joanne Daniels-Finegold, John Kelly, and I were featured speakers in the January 26 panel discussion.  The panel explored various dimensions of the legacy of Dr. King and how his civil rights strategies and tactics have been used by subsequent disability rights activists, right up to the present.  Both the panel discussion and subsequent performance were very well received by the audience.



We Have a Dream of Inclusion

Posted Wednesday March 20 2013 at 11:00 am in Cultural Inclusion

VSA intern Julia Beck filmed this video at our partner, The Henderson Inclusion School, a few weeks ago during their Black History Month Show.  We think it's pretty awesome and are hoping you'll agree and help to make it go viral with shares and likes.  If the video touches you, please share it on your Facebook page.  Don't use Facebook?  Leave a blog comment, Tweet it, email a link, etc.

The student saying the speech is a fifth grader with disabilities and it was a major accomplishment for him to be able to perform the speech in front of an auditorium full of parents and classmates.  Kati Blair Kotrc, VSA's Director of Education, met his mother before the performance and she was beaming with pride - "my son is the one who plays Martin Luther King, Jr. and says the 'I have a dream' speech."

We have a dream also . . . that one day, people of all abilities will have fair access to the arts and learning.



Live Webcast of Jazz Pianist Matt Savage on Millennium Stage

Posted Tuesday March 19 2013 at 10:29 am in News

Matt Savage Playing Piano

Sudbury Massachusetts native Matt Savage performs on the Kennedy Center Millennium stage April 2, 2013 at 6pm.  The performance will be broadcast live via webcast.

First labeled a "jazz prodigy" at age 8, Matt Savage, now 20, has been connected with some of the biggest names in jazz over the 12 years of his remarkable career.  He has been heralded by Dave Brubeck as "amazing" and "another Mozart", and by Chick Corea as "delightful and inspiring".  He has performed, on stage and in jam sessions, with the Ellington All Stars, Chaka Khan, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Clark Terry, and Chick Corea, just to name a few.  Savage's impressive roster of performances includes such venues as the famed Blue Note and Birdland in New York, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and at the prestigious Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Read More →

Vinfen's 6th Annual Moving Images Film Festival

Posted Thursday March 14 2013 at 10:34 pm in News

Trinity by Sharif O'neal

"Trinity" by Sharif O'neal

Vinfen presents the 6th Annual Moving Images Film Festival Saturday, March 23, 2013 at Harvard Medical School's Joseph B. Martin Conference Center.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: A funny and touching coming-of-age story based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky.  A modern classic that captures the dizzying highs and crushing lows of growing up.
Film screening 10:30am-12:15pm (Closed Captioned)
Panel discussion 12:15-12:45pm (CART available)

Deni Lovato's Stay Strong: In this one-hour documentary film, Demi Lovato lets the audience inside to witness her most private moments, during her very public recovery from her eating disorder.
Film screening 1:45-2:45pm
Panel discussion 2:45-3:15pm (CART available)

Read More →

Purchase A Signed Copy Of Eleanor Rubin's Book "Dreams of Repair"

Posted Tuesday March 12 2013 at 9:35 pm in Open Door Gallery

Image of Eleanor Rubin's book Dreams of Repair

Eleanor Rubin, currently exhibiting at VSA's Open Door Gallery, has graciously donated signed copies of her book "Dreams of Repair".

Interesting in purchasing your very own copy for $15 plus shipping?  Email Kati at VSA.



Congratulations To Our Partner, Adams Elementary School

Posted Sunday March 10 2013 at 4:51 pm in Education

Autistic Child Using iPad

The Adams Elementary School received a Community Grant from the Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest!  The grant funds will provide iPads to support learning and engagement for students with autism.

Michelle Lamacchia, the Autism Strand Specialist at the school describes: "We requested the iPads because they are highly motivating and effective in increasing student engagement.  We also have licenses for our students to use VizZle software; visually interactive lessons that can be customized to individual student learning objectives.  We know the iPads will increase the amount of time our students can engage in lessons specific to their learning needs."

Read More →

Connect Historic Boston Launches Public Art Ideas Competition

Posted Thursday March 07 2013 at 07:16 am in Call For Artists

Connect Historic Boston

Connect Historic Boston is an initiative between the National Park Service (NPS) and the City of Boston's Transportation Department to make walking, biking, and taking the T to National Park Service sites and other destinations in downtown Boston easy and fun.  As part of this initiative outreach has been expanded with a Public Art Ideas competition.

Submissions are welcome by New England (ME, MA, NH, VT, RI and CT) University and College Students (graduate and undergraduate) from all fields, particularly the visual and performing arts, landscape architecture, design and engineering.

Read More →

ASL-Interpreted Visiting Artist Workshop: Recycled Art

Posted Monday March 04 2013 at 06:42 am in News

Boston Children's Museum

Boston Children's Museum is offering an ASL-Interpreted Visiting Artist Workshop: Recycled Art with artist Sabrina Dennison Sunday, March 10 2013, from 11am to 1pm.

Have fun working with tissue paper, scissors, and plastic vessels.  Play and improvise with the materials creating abstract designs and patterns or messages directly on the vessel.

Visitors will leave with a completed work of art.  Perfect for gifts!

Read More →

How To Catch A Pair Of Flying Hands, A Reading By Deaf Writers

Posted Friday March 01 2013 at 06:41 am in Cultural Inclusion

Flying Hands

How many deaf writers do you know?  One, two?  No?  How about four?  Kristen Harmon, Raymond Luczak, Allison Polk, Kristen Ringman.  These deaf published writers welcome you with their poems, stories, and memoir excerpts on being treated differently.  Despite recent bestsellers featuring deaf characters by hearing writers, the media rarely listens to deaf writers themselves.  These writers provide a needed corrective to the stereotyping of deafness and the cliched symbolism of silence.

Read More →

ASL-Interpreted "Experience the Beatles with Rain" At Hanover Theatre in Worcester

Posted Wednesday February 27 2013 at 10:08 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Rain - Tribute to The Beatles

Hanover Theatre presents ASL-interpreted Experience the Beatles with Rain Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 6:30pm.

As "the next best thing to seeing The Beatles!" (Associated Press), Experience the Beatles with Rain performs the full range of The Beatles' discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience.  Together longer than The Beatles, Experience the Beatles with Rain has mastered every song, gesture and nuance of the legendary foursome, delivering a totally live, note-for-note performance in this multimedia concert, that's as infectious as it is transporting.  From the early hits to later classics "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Hard Day's Night," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Let It Be, Come Together," "Hey Jude" and more, this adoring tribute will take you back to a time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends!

For more information and to buy tickets visit the Hanover Theatre website.



Meet the Intern: Julia Beck

Posted Tuesday February 26 2013 at 10:57 pm in Education

Julia Beck

Julia Beck, M.Ed Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education '13

What are your favorite pastimes?
      "Participating in theatre in any way, going to markets (especially ones with samples!) and going to South Haven, Michigan with my family."

If you could be a cartoon character, who would you be?
      "Does Harry Potter count?  I would want to be Harry Potter."

Read More →

Music and the Deaf

Posted Sunday February 24 2013 at 5:09 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Music and the Deaf

Intrigued by our last blog post about a musician who is deaf?  Apparently it's not that uncommon, especially for those familiar with a United Kingdom registered charity founded in 1988 named Music and the Deaf.

Learn more by visiting the Music and the Deaf website.



Watch Signmark's Live Performance On Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage

Posted Tuesday February 19 2013 at 7:22 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Creator of the world's first sign language hip hop DVD, Signmark (aka Marko Vuoriheimo) has been performing around the world for more than a decade, touring such countries as Japan, the United States, Iceland, Spain, Ethiopia, and Namibia.  Leaping onto the international stage when asked to represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, Signmark became the first deaf person to be signed to a major international recording label.  Strong bass beats with low frequencies help Signmark adapt to rap and hip hop rhythms and vocalist Brandon Bauer joins Signmark on his albums, videos, and performances.

Watch Signmark live on Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage February 26, 2013 at 6:00pm.



Disability Reframed Presents: Benda Bilili! Documentary Film

Posted Sunday February 17 2013 at 08:28 am in News

Disability Reframed presents a free screening of the documentary film Benda Bilili!, followed by a lively audience discussion.  The screening will be held March 2, 2013 from 2pm to 5pm at the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center, 650 Dudley Street, Dorchester.

Benda Bilili! is a 2010 documentary that follows a group of homeless musicians with disabilities living on the streets of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  They form a musical group called Staff Benda Bilili and eventually reach a worldwide acclaim.  "Benda Bilili" translates as "look beyond appearances" in Lingala, one of the languages of the Congo.  Come to share in their infectious music and compelling personal visions.  This film's soundtrack is in Lingala and French, with English open captions.

Read More →

Free Webinar: Research on the Arts and Aging

Posted Saturday February 16 2013 at 2:04 pm in News

NEA's Art Works Logo

National Endowment for the Arts' Inter-agency Task Force will host a public webinar about Research on the Arts and Aging, February 20, 2013, 2:00 – 3:00 pm.

As the U.S. population ages, it faces more age-related diseases.  How can the arts serve to treat, prevent, or improve these conditions?  Representatives from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the University of California will discuss current investigations on the arts and aging, including new resources for researchers and arts practitioners.  The NEA also debuts a new publication on arts and aging research based on a convening at the National Academy of Sciences last fall.

The webinar is free and open to the public.  Please register in advance.



Meet the Intern: Alyson Finbow

Posted Thursday February 14 2013 at 11:01 pm in Education

Alyson Finbow

Hello, Kind Souls!  My name is Alyson.  I grew up in New Jersey, and have been there until coming to Massachusetts for college.  I am currently a student at Lesley University.  I am studying Art Therapy, because I love making art and also love helping people.  I have recently started helping out as an intern for VSA MA!

What are your favorite pastimes?
      "Drawing, playing volleyball, and singing."

If you could be a cartoon character, who would you be?
      "I would be Bugs Bunny."

Read More →

ASL-Interpreted Programs at Boston Children's Museum During February Vacation Week

Posted Wednesday February 13 2013 at 9:50 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Boston Children's Museum

Enjoy school vacation at Boston Children's Museum!  ASL-interpreted programs available Wednesday, February 20th, 2013:

11:00am – 12:00pm Music and Movement
12:00pm – 12:30pm Boston Black Tour
12:30pm – 12:50pm KidStage Play, Balancing Act
(schedule subject to change)

Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
617-426-6500



"Successfully Accessible" Webinar Series Presented by VSA Florida

Posted Tuesday February 12 2013 at 11:48 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Webinars

Florida's Division of Cultural Affairs and VSA Florida have partnered to present a series of webinars organized to help arts and cultural organizations design, create and implement successful accessible programming, events and environments for their patrons.  Each lunch hour webinar session takes place the fourth Wednesday of the month.  There will also be time for question and answers following each session.

Participants are encouraged to email specific questions they may have regarding each topic to Maureen McKloski prior to the session.  Registration is required for each webinar.

Read More →

"Jersey Boys" Audio Described 2/16/2013 and Open Captioned 2/23/2013

Posted Sunday February 10 2013 at 7:55 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2006, takes you up the charts, across the country and behind the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.  Discover the secret of a 40-year friendship: four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom.  Experience electrifying performances of the hits that took these guys all the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "My Eyes Adored You", and more.  As The New York Times says, "The crowd goes wild!"

Performances at the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston Street, Boston.

Read More →

Elaine Hall, Founder of The Miracle Project, To Speak at League School in Walpole

Posted Wednesday February 06 2013 at 9:08 pm in News

Elaine Hall

Elaine Hall, founder and President of The Miracle Project, will be speaking at League School of Greater Boston, located at 300 Providence Highway in Walpole, February 13, 2013 at 4:15pm.

Ms. Hall, also known as "Coach E!", and referenced by The New York Times as "the child whisperer", was a top Hollywood children's acting coach whose life changed dramatically after her son Neal, adopted from a Russian orphanage, was diagnosed with autism.  When traditional therapies did not work for him, she sought the esteemed Dr. Stanley Greenspan who encouraged her to rally actors and other creative people to join his world – the result was Neal slowly emerging out of his isolation.

Ms. Hall, is a keynote speaker and workshop leader at conferences around the globe.  Her book, Now I See the Moon: A mother, a Son, a Miracle was chosen for World Autism Awareness Day at the United Nations where she has spoken several times.  Ms. Hall's latest book, co-authored with Diane Isaacs, Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Creating Miracles In The Classroom is being used in universities across the United States.

Read More →

Community Access to the Arts (CATA) Wins Commonwealth Award

Posted Saturday February 02 2013 at 10:17 pm in News

Community Access to the Arts

Our friends at Community Access to the Arts (CATA) have been awarded a Commonwealth Award by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  Given every two years, the Commonwealth Awards shine a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions that the arts, humanities, and sciences make to education, economic vitality, and quality of life in communities across the state.  Other award recipients this year include Olympia Dukakis, Jared Bowen of WGBH, and The Boston Phoenix.

Past Commonwealth Award winners include leading artists, writers, scholars, and social innovators such as VSA MA, Jeremy Alliger, Yo-Yo Ma, Jacob's Pillow, and Aerosmith.

The Commonwealth Awards ceremony will take place Tuesday, February 19, 2013 from 1-4 pm at the Massachusetts State House.  The event is free and open to the public, however space is limited.  Please register to attend.



Perspectives on Music Therapy and Autism

Posted Tuesday January 29 2013 at 11:10 pm in Education

Music Therapy and Autism

The Boston Arts Consortium for Health (BACH) presents a special event at Berklee College of Music - "Perspectives on Music Therapy and Autism" February 12, 2013 9am – 3pm featuring:

Dr. Pam Heaton - Professor at Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. Catherine Wan - Instructor of Neurology at the Music and Neurology Laboratory at Harvard Medical School
Dr. Krystal Demaine - Assistant Professor of Creative Arts Therapy at Lesley University
and music therapy clinicians presenting examples of the benefits of music therapy.

Special Musical Performance by the Higashi School Jazz Band.

Berklee College of Music
David Friend Recital Hall
921 Boylston Street, Boston

Free of charge, RSVP to JSchiffman@Berklee.edu by February 1, 2013.



Sister Act - Open Captioned, ASL Interpreted, Audio Described

Posted Sunday January 27 2013 at 8:15 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Sister Act

Sister Act is Broadway’s feel-amazing musical comedy smash!  The New York Post calls it "RIDICULOUSLY FUN," and audiences are jumping to their feet in total agreement!  Featuring original music by 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors), Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a crime and the cops hide her in the last place anyone would think to look – a convent!  Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.  A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, Sister Act is reason to rejoice!

Open-Captioned and ASL Interpreted Performance - Saturday, February 2 at 2pm
Audio Described Performance - Sunday, February 3 at 1pm

Read More →

Reel Abilities - Disabilities Film Festival

Posted Thursday January 24 2013 at 10:44 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Reel Abilities - Disabilities Film Festival

Reel Abilities - Disabilities Film Festival comes to Boston January 31 - February 5, 2013 with 9 international films about people with disabilities that will rock your world.

Mary and Max: Claymation about a lonely 8-year-old outcast from near Melbourne, who becomes pen pals with an eccentric, but caring 44-year-old Jewish New Yorker with Asperger's.  Jan. 31, 7:00 p.m., West Newton Cinema.

The Straight Line: French sports drama about a blind runner, who trains with a former athlete with a criminal past.  In French with English option captions.  Feb. 2, 7:00 p.m., MFA.  Audio described.

Body and Soul: This powerful and uplifting documentary follows three young Mozambicans with physical disabilities.  Their resilient daily lives reveal their physical, psychological and emotional challenges.  In Portuguese with English open captions.  Feb. 3, noon, MFA.

Read More →

ASL-Interpreted "Invisible Man" At Huntington Theatre

Posted Tuesday January 22 2013 at 10:30 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Invisible Man at Huntington Theatre

Huntington Theatre Company will present ASL-interpreted Invisible Man on Friday, January 25th at 8pm.  Tickets are $15.00 for each Deaf or hard-of-hearing patron and one guest.  Contact Meg O'Brien at 617-273-1558 or mobrien@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu.

What is Invisible Man? - "I am an invisible man."  An idealistic young African-American man searches for identity and his place in the world in this epic journey through 1930s America.  Ellison' landmark American novel about race, power, freedom, and liberty comes to life in this Jefferson Award-winning gripping theatrical adaption direct from acclaimed runs in Chicago and D.C.

If you know ASL, here's the vlog (video blog) with more information.



VSA Events Inspired By Eleanor Rubin's Open Door Gallery Exhibit

Posted Monday January 21 2013 at 9:22 pm in Open Door Gallery

Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer’s

Currently at the Open Door Gallery is Eleanor Rubin's exhibit Progress of the Eclipse: Memory, Memory Loss and Imagination.  The artwork grew out of the artist's pain of being a caregiver for her mother, who was transformed and diminished by Alzheimer’s disease.  VSA MA is presenting two events related to Eleanor's work:

Film Screening - The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's - February 12, 2013 at 6pm

This Primetime Emmy award-winning documentary takes a dramatic, compassionate, all- encompassing look at the growing epidemic of Alzheimer's disease.  The cornerstone of the project is a 90-minute documentary based on David Shenk's best-selling book.  Like Shenk's book, the documentary weaves together the history and biology of the disease, the intense real-world experiences of Alzheimer's patients and caregivers, and the race to find a cure.

Read More →

CREATE: Stop Motion - Video Screening at Holy Cross

Posted Sunday January 20 2013 at 6:18 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Create: Stop Motion

Artists from Seven Hills Family Services in Worcester partnered with a Digital Arts class at the College of the Holy Cross to create stop motion videos of the artists' work.  Attend a screening of these videos in the Holy Cross Hogan Campus Center, Jenks Suites B/C on the 4th floor, Thursday, January 31 from 6:00 - 8:30 pm.

Light refreshments will be served.
Hogan Suite B/C
1 College Street
Worcester, MA 01610
Contact Info: Lauren Buckley
Email: lbuckley@holycross.edu
Phone: 508-793-3007



Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Arts: A Guide for Teaching Artists

Posted Friday January 18 2013 at 12:22 pm in Education

The Kennedy Center is sponsoring a free webinar Tuesday, January 29 2013 at 3pm given by Sharon M. Malley, Ed D, Special Education Specialist, Office of VSA & Accessibility at the Kennedy Center, entitled "Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Arts: A Guide for Teaching Artists".

The intended audience is teaching artists and others working with, or who intend to work with, students with autism in the arts.

The presentation will provide an overview of autism, the challenges and gifts associated with having autism, and teaching strategies when teaching students with autism in the arts.

Register now.



Boston Children’s Museum Presents Wheelock College Sign Choir

Posted Tuesday January 15 2013 at 8:44 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Boston Children's Museum

Sing with your hands.  Listen to the Wheelock College Sign Choir and learn some signs.  Join the performance integrating sign language with music.  Complementing the performance will be Baby Sign Language sessions in PlaySpace and opportunities to learn simple signs throughout the Museum.

Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
617-426-6500
Sunday, January 27 2013, 2-3pm



The Mountaintop - ASL Interpreted Performance

Posted Monday January 14 2013 at 10:35 pm in Cultural Inclusion

The Mountaintop

ASL Interpreted Performance of The Mountaintop at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Saturday, January 26 2013, 3pm

The date is April 3, 1968.  Having just delivered his magnificent oration "I've Been to the Mountaintop," at Mason Temple in support of a sanitation workers' strike, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. returns to Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.  A maid comes to his door with coffee.  An unlikely relationship is forged that ventures into the political and personal, compelling him to confront his destiny and the fate of the nation on the eve of one of the most critical moments in American History.  Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Play, The Mountaintop is presented in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Read More →

Action Alert: Governor Patrick and the FY14 Budget

Posted Sunday January 13 2013 at 8:52 pm in News

Mass Creative

Governor Patrick is preparing his FY2014 budget for release at the end of January and he will be deciding how much money to allocate to the creative community through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).  From now until July, the Governor, the State Senate and the House of Representatives will be debating how to allocate the estimated $32 billion in state revenue.

As the first action of MASSCreative's new Third Friday Advocacy Day series, please sign MASSCreative’s petition on or before Friday January 18th urging Governor Patrick to restore the Commonwealth’s investment in the arts and cultural community.  The Commonwealth’s investment in the creative community this year is less than half of what is was a decade ago.

The petition asks Governor Patrick to increase the MCC budget next year by $3 million to a total of $12.5+ million to help build vibrant and connected communities across the Commonwealth.

Sign here to send a strong message to the Governor to increase funding to the creative community.



Eleanor Rubin - Memory, Memory Loss and Imagination January 14 - April 12, 2013

Posted Friday January 11 2013 at 9:38 pm in Open Door Gallery

Elly Rubin - Progress of the Eclipse

The Open Door Gallery presents an exhibit and inquiry about Alzheimer's disease and its impact on elders and their families.

Artist's Statement

The body of work on view as part of Progress of The Eclipse: Memory, Memory Loss and Imagination was created over an extended period 1990 - present.

These woodcuts grew out of the pain of being a caregiver for a beloved person, my mother, who was transformed and diminished by Alzheimer’s disease and who died in 1992.  Even at this distance from the years of her illness, the losses she suffered suffuse my thoughts.  I am 20 years older now, at an age when friends are caregivers for spouses with Alzheimer’s disease.  And long-range concerns for my own memory are a part of my life as a woman in my 70s.

Creating images during the period of my mother's illness fulfilled a need for self-transformation during times when the emotional burden was too great to be relieved by words.  The work that grew out of this period of care giving developed a visual vocabulary for grief, disassociation and metamorphosis which became a visual language of resilience.

Read More →

Disability Reframed: A Community Film Series

Posted Wednesday January 09 2013 at 11:36 pm in Cultural Inclusion

Children of a Lesser God

Watch "Children of a Lesser God" FREE Saturday, January 12 from 2-5pm at Cambridge Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge.

Starring William Hurt, this 1986 romantic drama is notable in that it marked the film debut for deaf actress Marilee Matlin, who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.  Only 21 years old at the time, Matlin is the youngest actress to receive the award and the only deaf Academy Award recipient in any category.  Children of a Lesser God received praise from the Deaf community for its unusually realistic portrayal of conflicting ideologies on speech and deafness between two people in a romantic relationship.

Read More →

Assistive Technology Regional Center Upcoming Events

Posted Monday January 07 2013 at 10:25 pm in News

Easter Seals has announced upcoming events at the Assistive Technology Regional Center (ATRC).  All events are FREE.

January 16 2013, Wednesday 10am-12pm - Apple iDevices: An Introduction.  This presentation will focus on new users who may have received an iDevice (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) over the holidays and need help on how to get started.  This presentation is given by the ATRC Staff.  Space is limited so please RSVP.

February 7 2013, Thursday 10am-12pm - Courtney Hildebrand from Toby Churchill will demonstrate the company’s communication devices, including the popular LightWriter SL40 Connect and the new Swift.

Read More →

Kennedy Center Announces Winter 2013 Artist Opportunities

Posted Saturday January 05 2013 at 3:52 pm in Call For Artists

VSA Artist Opportunities

The Artist Services Team of the Kennedy Center's Department of VSA and Accessibility put together this list of notable opportunities in the visual and performing arts, for both emerging and established artists.

Visual Arts Opportunities

Exhibition: 50th Annual Juried Competition at Masur Museum of Art
Deadline: January 11, 2013
The Masur Museum of Art’s Annual Juried Competition showcases contemporary artists throughout the United States of America working in any medium.  George T.M. Shackelford, Senior Deputy Director of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, is the exhibit juror and a $1000 award will be given for Best in Show.

Exhibition: States of Mind at the University of Maryland's Stamp Gallery
Deadline: February 11, 2013
The University of Maryland presents a unique opportunity for practicing artists: This is not an exhibition emphasizing principles or output of therapeutic art; instead, we seek artists whose work sheds light on the depth of mental health.  We hope a broad representation of ideas and interpretations on this theme will be submitted for review.  All mediums will be considered.  Please visit our mission page for more information about the gallery.  A total of $1500 is available for artist honorariums.  Both visual artists and poets alike are invited to apply.

Read More →

Arisia 2013 - Where Science and Adventure Come Together

Posted Wednesday January 02 2013 at 11:48 pm in News

Arisia 2013

Arisia is New England's largest and most diverse Science Fiction Convention, and will be at the Westin Waterfront in Boston January 18-21 2013.  Activities and events include an art show, dealer booths, panel discussions, a film festival, masquerade, gaming, and much more.

Arisia also offers extensive access accommodations.