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.
- Sandhill Cranes, Owls, and Elephants
This free exhibit features works of art produced by the artists of Pacesetters, Inc. An interest in protecting these species in Tennessee—or, for elephants, in the world—led to the exhibit focus. For the owls, an inspiration has been the story “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.”
Pacesetters, Inc., is a nonprofit agency with five centers providing services to persons with disabilities. www.pacesetterstn.com
Pacesetters’ “Painting the Tale” art program is led by visual artists Merritt Ireland, Ramie Nunley and storyteller Marcia Donovan as artists-in-residence. “Painting the Tale” began in 2000 with a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Since 2007, the program has been completely supported by Pacesetters, Inc.
Show on display August-September 2013.
- 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)
- Creative Expressions XIX
Co-sponsored by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Nashville Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, this free annual exhibit features works of art 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.
Art is displayed at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
Artists will be recognized at the 32nd Annual Awards Celebration of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Thursday, October 17 , at 5:30 p.m. at the downtown Farmer’s Market, 900 Rosa Parks Blvd. The public is welcome.
Show on display October-January 2014.
- Celebrating Art in Recovery - Healing Arts Project, Inc.
This exhibit comes to the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center from the Healing Arts Project, Inc. (HAPI). HAPI provides an avenue for persons in mental health and addiction recovery to express their creativity through a wide range of artistic endeavors (www.healingartsprojectinc.org). These endeavors raise awareness in the community and help combat stigma about these disorders, thus promoting understanding, acceptance, and success. Some of these artists and works have been featured in HAPI’s publication Faith, Hope and Recovery in Letters 2013 .
Show on display February-May 2014. Lain York, Preparator
- 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)