VSA Minnesota’s mission is to create a community where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and access the arts.
VSA Minnesota is dedicated to ensuring that music, theater, dance, creative writing, and visual and media arts play a part in the lives of all people. In addition, VSA Minnesota believes that experiences in the arts enhance personal growth, increase educational achievement and enable career success. Participation in the arts promotes acceptance and inclusion in all aspects of life.
VSA Minnesota was incorporated in 1986 by an originating board of artists with disabilities, professionals in arts and special education and others connected to the Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education’s Committee of Arts for the Handicapped. Its first office was in what is now known as the Edina Community Education Center.
VSA Minnesota moved its office to Hennepin Center for the Arts, now known as the Education Wing of the Cowles Center, in 1989. Over the years, our programs and services have touched the lives of thousands of children and adults with disabilities in all parts of the state.
VSA Minnesota is a member of the VSA Affiliate Network, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The affiliate network includes organizations from 36 states and 52 countries. The national VSA entity was established in 1974 when it was founded by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith. Over the years the organization’s name has evolved in the following ways:
1974: National Committee – Arts for the Handicapped
1986: Very Special Arts Minnesota
1999: VSA arts of Minnesota
2010: VSA Minnesota
Although many people still think of VSA as Very Special Arts, words such as special, very special and handicapped do not reflect current language trends in the United States and many other countries. Therefore, we are now just VSA.