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Setting the Stage For Everyone’s Artistic Talents


Welcome artists, educators and parents! VSA Tennessee is your resource for ideas,

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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


You don’t want to miss Tellin’ Tales Featuring International Storyteller Estelle Condra on Thur., Oct. 12 at 7pm at the CMA lobby studio. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased at http://bit.ly/vsatales

Estelle Condra has had a diverse career in theatre arts on three continents, including work in South Africa, England, and the United states. After completing her drama studies in South Africa and England she worked for a variety of acting companies portraying roles such as Antigone, Medea, and Joan of Arc.

She enhanced her acting career with teaching, writing and speaking. She owned and operated speech and drama schools both in South Africa and the United States.

After marrying and moving to the States in 1973 she translated numerous African stories and folklore and adapted them for the stage. In Nashville Tennessee she became a member of actor’s equity and performed professionally for the Nashville Children’s Theatre and Tennessee Repertory Theatre. As her sight deteriorated she moved to solo theatre performances as an artist in residence for organizations such as the Nashville Institute for the Arts in conjunction with the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts and many others throughout the country.

In early 2006 Estelle started her own publishing company, Inclusive Books, LLC, “Stories about extraordinary children doing ordinary things.” She purchased the rights to her first book, See the Ocean, which is now available from Inclusive Books in its fifth edition.

Today she is known as a keynote performance artist as she travels from banquet hall to theatre stage. She is a sought-after keynoter with her inspirational and humorous one-woman shows. She has been described as a “powerful pack of creative dynamite ready to explode.”

Estelle is blind due to a hereditary disease known as Retinitis Pigmentosa. The threads of losing her sight gradually over many years are woven throughout much of her later work. She brings a unique perspective to creative problem solving and everything else she does, and she does a lot!

In 2011, Estelle received Tennessee’s highest award in the arts, the Governor’s Distinguished arts award, which was presented to her by Governor Bill Haslam in early April.



VSA TN Young Soloist Program Is Open

VSA Tennessee is searching for the recipient of the 2018 Young Soloist Award!  The VSA Young Soloist Award recognizes outstanding young vocalists and instrumentalists with a disability.  This is an opportunity for musically talented students and young professionals to earn scholarship funds and possibly an opportunity to perform in Washington, D.C. at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.   ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS Vocalist or instrumentalist Age 25 or younger by November 1, 2017 Must have a disability (physical, mental or emotional) Ensembles of 2-8 members may also apply. The ensemble can be anything from a rock band to a chamber quartet to a drum corp.  At least one member of the ensemble must have a disability and all members must fit the age requirement as noted above.   APPLICATION REQUIRMENTS Complete application form (attached) Link to Youtube performance or mp3 files   APPLICATION PROCESS Application requirements must be emailed to VSA Tennessee at userk7706@comcast.net before 5pm on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. All applicants must be available to perform on Wed. Feb.2, 2018 at MTSU at 7pm. Award winners will be announced at this time.   AWARD Cash prizes for the top two finalists Performance opportunity TBA     VSA arts TENNESSEE  YOUNG SOLOISTS AWARD (If this is a group, please provide applicant and contact info for all members and note which has a disability) 2018 Application Form   Applicant’s Name:   Date of Birth:   Street Address:   City:                                        Zip:   Telephone Number:  (       )                                         Email: Check the category in which you plan to apply.  If you are an instrumentalist, please list the instrument on which you... read more

The Great Collaboration

There is no better way to describe what is taking place this fall than The Great Collaboration. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is preparing for a wonderful exhibit of internationally renowned artist Nick Cave. In preparation of that exhibit, Teapot Diplomat artists Austin King, Hope McKee and Torie Summers continue to work diligently under the guidance of artist Dee Kimbrell to make costumes in a Nick Cave style. These will be worn by the VSA TN Movement Connection Dancers at their performance on Nov. 12. On Saturday mornings, the Movement Connection can be found rehearsing with Shabaz Ujima of the Nashville Ballet.The group is practicing for their performance at the Frist Center on Nov. 12 at 5pm. On Tuesday evenings, Kristen Freeman of the Nashville Symphony works through rhythms and percussion patterns with Young Soloists Drew Basham, Sarah Franklin, Allie Hemmings and Gregory Price-Stallings at the Casa Azafran.  This group will perform the live music for the dancers’ performance. Special thanks to the Christ Church YMCA and the Casa Azafran for serving as partners on this project by providing rehearsal space for the dancers and musicians as they practice. The project is funded through a grant from the Tennessee Arts... read more

IBEW Works With Corporate Arts Project

The Corporate Arts Program of VSA TN was created 3 years ago as a way for your adults with disabilities to learn how to create a commissioned piece of art for a client while learning about area companies and new art techniques. Artist Jennie Harriman is currently working on a a corporate arts project for the IBEW in East TN at the Marcella Center on Saturday mornings.  The IBEW has requested a piece of art that they can take to conferences and trade shows that demonstrates what they do. On Sept. 9, a member of the IBEW attended the first session of the corporate arts project to talk about what the IBEW does and the tools they use. Special thanks to Pam Weston for providing coordination of this project, to the Marcella Center for providing space for the workshops and to Hank Weston for trade expertise.          ... read more

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