VSA New Jersey offers programs and services in all of the arts disciplines to individuals of all ages, particularly those with disabilities.
Founded in 1978 and co-sponsored by the Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission, VSA New Jersey has promoted the active involvement of people of all ages in education, participation, and enjoyment related to the arts throughout its history. Initiatives are centered on arts education, professional development, cultural access, and public awareness/outreach. VSA New Jersey works with organizations on issues related to disabilities and the arts as well as serving on the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education Committee and the Cultural Access Network of New Jersey.
Guided by the principles of accessibility and artistic excellence, VSA New Jersey has been recognized by the Monmouth County Arts Council as a Community Arts Education Leader and received 1st Annual Sustainer Award by the Cultural Access Network of New Jersey for sustained commitment, innovation and services in cultural access, among other awards. The organization also has been recognized for its educational programming by the New Jersey Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and by the international VSA program.
Arts programming and initiatives are guided by the principle that the arts belong to everyone. Initiatives include:
PROGRAMMING FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
The prevalence of autism in New Jersey is widely recognized and documented. For over 30 years, the Parent/Child Workshops in the Arts for Children with Autism promotes the artistic development of young people ages 3 to 21 with this disability by introducing them to the fundamentals of the visual and performing arts. As participants are exposed to the fundamentals of the visual and performing arts, they enhance knowledge of these forms while developing skills essential to academic success and personal growth.
ARTIST RESIDENCIES & AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMMING
Through its formalized artist residency program, VSA New Jersey collaborates with schools on the development of multi-session in-school and after school programs that are aligned with curricula and promote the development of artistic, behavioral, cognitive, communication, motor and social skills as well as the reinforcement of academic content knowledge.
In addition to focusing on the careers of artists with disabilities, VSA New Jersey is committed to ensuring that educators are prepared to foster student learning in and through the arts. Programs are offered on a wide range of topics in the arts, such as implementing universal design for learning and promoting the success of students with disabilities in mainstream classrooms.
ARTS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
VSA New Jersey recognizes high school students with disabilities who exhibit outstanding talent in and commitment to their art form and educators and administrators who develop exemplary arts programs that include students with disabilities. In addition to submission of a portfolio, work samples, and other pertinent information, all applicants participate in a live adjudication in their art form. Winners become candidates to receive the New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education, as VSA New Jersey is a member of the planning council for this awards program.
On a biennial basis, VSA New Jersey holds the Art Par Excellence touring exhibit of artwork created by students with disabilities in grades K to 12 from throughout the state. Additionally, VSA New Jersey tours exhibitions of artworks created by artists with disabilities to galleries, cultural organizations, schools, and community sites.
UNLIMITED POTENTIAL THEATER COMPANY (UPTCo)
Founded in 1988, UPTCo is an inclusive theater company that provides opportunities for adults with and without disabilities to be actively involved in all aspects of the performing arts. Components include an annual statewide writing competition and readers theater, touring performances, and disability sensitivity training.
Through initiatives with a sustained, proven record of actively involving people of all ages with disabilities in the creative aspects of the arts, VSA New Jersey significantly advances arts accessibility in New Jersey. The organization is dedicated to providing opportunities to nurture and hone artistic talent and to preparing professionals to effectively serve people with disabilities through the arts. By promoting the contributions of artists with disabilities, VSA New Jersey is committed to ensuring that their voices are a part of the vibrant cultural life of communities throughout the state.
RESOURCE AND REFERRAL SERVICES
VSA New Jersey provides information and assistance related to the arts, disability, and accessibility.
For Event Listings Click Here: http://www.vsanj.org
MAJOR FUNDING PROVIDED BY
Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission
United Way Central Jersey
NJ State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a partner agency of National Endowment for the Arts
NJ Dept. of Community Affairs