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VSA Tennessee provides opportunities for young people with disabilities to participate in and express themselves through the arts and arts education.


Featured News & Events

Holston 9

Each school year, VSA Tennessee is pleased to provide 4 “artists-in-residence” to special education classrooms through a contract with the TN Dept of Education. We are currently accepting applications for this program for the 2017-2018 school year. The program is filled on a first request basis with emphasis of having at least 1 residency in each of the 3 major divisions of the State.

Artist-In- Residence Program Details:
– Residencies are 3 to 5 days in length. These days can be done consecutively or they can be split up over several weeks. The set-up of the dates are determined by the needs of the classroom teacher and the availability of the artist.
– Residencies can take place from Sept. 1 – May 1 of the school year.
– There is no cost to the school for the artist or the supplies used during the residency.
– The artist will utilize his/her artistic skills to focus on math and/or science curriculum.
– The participating teacher receives a $300 stipend for participation.
– All lesson plans and materials used during the residency will be compiled by VSA TN and placed into a curriculum guide, which can be found on the VSA TN website at www.vsatn.org.

If you are interested in receiving this program in your classroom, please contact: Lori Kissinger, userk7706@comcast.net or (615) 210-8819.

Please include the following information:
– Name of your school
– Age group for which you would like the residency
– Number of students
– Types of disabilities
– If you have a preference on an art form (dance, drama, music or visual arts), please let us know and rank order your preference



Teapot Diplomat Induction Ceremony

Very Special Opportunity from VSA TN. On Saturday, June 10 at 10am-11am at the Clay Lady Studios, 1416 Lebanon Pike in Nashville, VSA TN will induct our first 10 Teapot Diplomats to include: Adam A.j. Boyd, Bethany Dillon, Austin King, Hope McKee, Collin Ranson, Alyssa Ray, Jennifer Scallorn, Wanda Sowell, Torie Summers and Morgan Vice. Charlie B. Kellett will be our keynote speaker. Charlie worked for the Peace Corp where he spent time in Morocco and developed a concept he called Teapot Diplomacy. In 2015, Charlie’s path crossed with VSA TN . Charlie currently works at the US State Department and VSA TN was doing a quilt that become part of the State Department’s Art in Embassies program. Our Teapot Diplomat Program grew from this interaction. Charlie will talk about his time in the Peace Corp and what led to Teapot Diplomacy. He may also share a few insights into current international initiatives for people with disabilities. The event will also showcase and provide a sales opportunity for the products that have been made by the Teapot Diplomats over the past year. Due to limited space, this event is registration only to the first 50 individuals. The pilot program was made possible through a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. We are very excited about this program. Please contact me ASAP if you wish to... read more

Tennessee Young Soloist Wins International Young Soloist Title

Congratulations to Elliott McClain. Elliott McClain has been associated with the VSA TN Young Soloist program since he was in the 7th grade at the Tennessee School for the Blind. When Elliott was a Freshman in high school, he began working with a jazz trio called Lake Rise Place, which won the VSA TN Young Soloist competition 4 times, performed at the Ryman as well as several top venues, and represented TN at the International VSA Festival in Washington DC. The group performed for numerous VSA TN functions until the performers went their separate ways in college. However, Elliott continued to participate in the the VSA TN Young Soloist program and won as an individual performer in 2016. We are pleased to announce that Elliott has just become the first musician from Tennessee to be selected as a winner of the VSA International Young Soloist Program. As a winner of the 33rd annual competition, he will spend May 24 & 25 in Washington DC in a full array of pre-professional activities including rehearsals and round table discussions with music professionals. The two-day intensive culminates with a performance on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on May 25 at 6pm (Eastern time). The performance is free and open to the public and will be streamed online at kennedy-center.org/video/upcoming. Ellliott is currently a 23 year old graduate student at Belmont University studying commercial music. Blind since birth, Elliott specializes in jazz piano. He will be joined on stage by the other 3 winners who include Kohlin Sekizawa (a classical pianist from California), Natalie Sheppard (a mezzo soprano from Ohio), and Jessica Tucker... read more

Memorial Park Mosaic Wall Project

The Memorial Park Mosaic Wall Project is an extensive and intensive public arts project that will be taking place through the end of October. Throughout this summer, VSA TN intern, Alex Evans, will be providing weekly stories on the reason for doing this project, background on various key players in the project, and updates on the group that will be working on the project. Here is a first in the series by Alex Evans. It was when local artist Yvette Reneé began taking her daughter to the playground at Memorial Park three years ago that the walls first caught her attention. Once a way to raise money to build the original playground, these 12 walls had become decrepit, suffering years of weathering, vandalism, and the effects of the flood of 2010. After much contemplating, Yvette decided to pursue restoring the walls, leading her to collaborate with Lori Kissinger and VSA TN. The Hendersonville Parks Department informed Yvette that the city had been planning to tear the walls down completely, but she presented them with an alternative: a community project focused on restoring the walls with mosaic art, with a special emphasis on child involvement. After approval, Yvette spent months collecting supplies for the project and connecting with artists and organizations interested in participating. She is currently in the process of grinding down the walls and removing remnants of tiles that used to line them. This will provide a clean slate for the mosaic project. There are at least 20 groups and several hundred people who are already scheduled to participate, with Registration Day on May 20th at Memorial Park... read more

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