A Very Special Arts Festival (AVSAF) is a celebration of the skills and abilities of exceptional children in all of the arts that brings together children of challenged circumstances to have a day of fun. Dogwood Arts Festival hosts this very special day of activities and art education in an integrated atmosphere – mainstreaming these children into a normal school day environment.
A weeklong residential camp where campers participate in a songwriting workshop, recording session, songwriter's night and a live performance on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
A modern dance company whose mission is to provide every person the opportunity to dance.
InterAct Children's Theatre for the Deaf is a not-for-profit children's theatre company that performs all shows simultaneously in spoken English and American Sign Language.
SENSE Theatre is a unique theatrical intervention research program designed to improve the social and emotional functioning of children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders.
The statewide professional organization of certified Art Therapist in Tennessee.
Tennessee Arts Commission promotes inclusion of persons with disabilities in the performing, visual, and literary arts.
The HeartSong Center for Accessible Music and Art provides year-round accessible music and art activities to children with disabilities through its programs and those of other organizations in East Tennessee. The HeartSong Center also promotes accessible and inclusive art and music programs provided by other agencies.
The Renaissance Center is a state-of-the-art facility utilizing the latest technology to promote a variety of educational programs and initiatives. Many of the classes offered include persons with disabilities.
Since 1994, the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center has sponsored exhibits of art by and about people with disabilities in order to demonstrate the diverse talents of individuals with disabilities.
The mission of VSA arts Tennessee is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in and express themselves through the arts and arts education.
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Links
Other Links and Resources
- Week of the Young Child
The National Week of the Young Child focuses public attention on the rights and needs of young children. It is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which is dedicated to improving the quality of early childhood education for all young children and their families.
Printable Materials and Resources
News Releases and Media Mentions
- Art provides income for autistic teen
Local teen Grace Goad is a flourishing working artist despite the fact that she has severe autism. Carolyn Hughes, professor of special education and VKC Member, is quoted.
In 2011, with VSA national funding, VSA Tennessee began a
“dream” project: a fashion design course for young people with
autism focused on creating Superhero costumes. In March
and April, 23 youth attended sessions in the Human Sciences
Department of Middle Tennessee State University. The youth
created hand sketches and renderings, worked on Adobe
Illustrator and InDesign, operated Brother Innovis 500D sewing
machines, and presented a public style show of their costumes.
VSA Tennessee (www.vsatn.org) provides opportunities for
people with disabilities to participate in and express themselves
through the arts and arts education. It is an affiliate of VSA
(www.vsarts.org), a part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and was founded in 1974
by Jean Kennedy Smith.
- Provocateurs Entrepreneurs Image Gallery
Jerry Adams and Matthew Drumright are artists whose creative
expression in various media provokes fresh insights. Each artist
has a developmental disability. Thus their art also provokes us
to see ability beyond disability. They are entrepreneurs who
have focused their careers on art.
View their art in this exhibit and on the artists’ websites:
(Februrary - May 2012)
- KALEIDOSCOPE - Art of Paul Miktarian
Paul Miktarian discovered his artistic talent when he created
his first cats 8 years ago for “Painting the Tale,” an art program
organized by Pacesetters, Inc. A Sparta resident, Miktarian
applied for a small vocational grant for art supplies and set up
a home studio. Today he is a successful artist whose paintings
of cats, dogs, owls, other animals, and especially his houses are
purchased by collectors. He has had four one-person exhibits.
His honors include Best of Show in WAVES’ exhibit “Through
the Artist Window” and being selected for the “Artists Voices”
exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville.
Pacesetters, Inc., is a nonprofit agency with five centers serving
persons with disabilities. Pacesetters’ “Painting the Tale” art
program is led by visual artists Merritt Ireland, Ramie Nunnley,
and storyteller Marcia Donovan as artists-in-residence.
(January - April, 2013)
- Creative Expressions XVIII Art Show
Jointly sponsored by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the
Nashville Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with
Disabilities, this annual exhibit features work in a variety of
media by artists with a wide range of abilities/disabilities and
ages. Since its inception in 1976, the Mayor’s Advisory
Committee has promoted public education and awareness,
and advocated for persons with disabilities and their family
members. Selected works will be exhibited and artists will
be recognized at the 31st Annual Awards Celebration of the
Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Thursday, October 25, at
5:30 p.m. at the downtown Farmer’s Market, 900 Rosa Parks
Blvd.The public is welcome.
(September 1–December 31, 2012)
- Creative Expressions XVII Image Gallery
Jointly sponsored by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Nashville Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, this annual exhibit features work in a variety of media by artists with a wide range of abilities/disabilities and ages. (September 1–December 31, 2011)
- Art of Autism
The ART of AUTISM features artists from around the world.
Their mission is to find places and spaces for artists on the
spectrum to be seen and heard. This exhibit at the Vanderbilt
Kennedy Center organized by The Art of Autism features
participating artists from Tennessee and neighboring states.
The ART of AUTISM (www.the-art-of-autism.com) is a socialentrepreneurship
project that connects artists and performers
of all ages on the autism spectrum with opportunities and
venues to showcase their varied talents. They help artists
through mentorships, building resumés, portfolios, and direct
work experience in the arts.
By showcasing the artistic gifts of people on the spectrum,
the ART of AUTISM inspires the general public, gives hope
to parents of children on the spectrum, and provides selfadvocates
with tools for professional development.
(April - July, 2013)