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VSA Affiliation

VSA Ohio is an affiliate of VSA, an international organization founded by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith in 1974. VSA is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with primary funding under an award from the U.S. Department of Education.

VSA works with affiliated organizations nationwide and in 51 countries worldwide. Within the United States, VSA programs are conducted by a network of VSA state organizations with their own 501-c-3 status or in collaboration with an affiliated organization. Organizations within the VSA network maintain strong connections to the home office in Washington, D.C., in a relationship that includes funding, participation in conferences, networking, the use of resources, technical assistance and programming, as well as sharing best practices and strategies among peers.

Domestic organizations apply annually for affiliation and funding in a process designed to ensure that they meet with fiscal and operational standards and as a way to gauge and encourage growth in all areas. International affiliates do not receive funding from VSA.

VSA defines four priority program areas in education, professional development, cultural access, and public awareness outreach. VSA programming and initiatives are guided by four essential principles:

Evolution of a name

VSA has played a significant role over the years in changing society's attitudes toward people with disabilities. With that change, the organization has regularly looked at its own identity to ensure it is consistent with current attitudes and language used by the disability community.
1974: National Committee - Arts for the Handicapped
1985: Very Special Arts
1999: VSA arts
2009: VSA 
VSA was long known as Very Special Arts. Words such as 'special' and 'handicapped' do not reflect current language trends in the United States and many other countries. Therefore, we are now just VSA —The International Organization on Arts and Disability. We look forward to working with you to continue advancing efforts for equal access and inclusion.

Learn more about VSA and its many programs, opportunities, and resources by visiting