An Affiliate of Seven Hills Foundation
VSA Massachusetts Promotes the Involvement of People of All Abilities in the Cultural Life of our Communities.
VSA Massachusetts is part of an international network of VSA organizations affiliated with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Originally known as the National Committee Arts for the Handicapped 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 the disability community since the organization's inception.
“Access to and participation in the arts are fundamental human rights that should be available to everyone. Engaging in the arts allows us to get in touch with the deepest places in our souls, express our most profound and complex thoughts and emotions, and explore the common humanity that unites us all.” Nicole Agois Hurel, Managing Director.
Art Transforms Schools
The VSA Massachusetts COOL Schools model creates classrooms where students and teachers have a Creative Outlook on Learning. Through the arts, students have a variety of ways to experience academic content, express what they know, and engage in learning. COOL engages students and teachers through the arts to transform schools into inclusive communities. In COOL programs, teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to introduce strategies inherent in the arts to include every student and support their learning in the arts as well as in other academic subjects.
Arts and Culture for All
VSA Massachusetts’ Cultural Inclusion Programs promote participation by people of all abilities in the arts as audiences, artists and thought leaders. Our Open Door Gallery programs in Boston and at the Worcester Art Museum elevate the work of artists with disabilities and catalyze conversations about ability and intersectionality, framed by art. Through partnerships with cultural organizations and networks, we promote the use of Universal Design principles in visual and performing arts spaces that engage inclusive audiences and remove barriers to participation.