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Arts Ambassadors

The Arts Ambassador Program is designed to bring professional artists with disabilities into classrooms to engage people of all ages and abilities in a presentation that discusses the Ambassador’s art form, disability and work as a professional artist.

Through this program, students and staff are able to gain experience, knowledge and understanding about:

  • Various art forms including visual arts, music, theater and dance/movement and topics around Disability Culture;
  • The importance of and need for inclusion of people with disabilities in the arts; and
  • The similarities that connect the human spirit in all of us.

Each presentation will include the Artist Ambassador speaking about or demonstrating their particular art form with time allowed for student questions. A representative from VSA Minnesota will share information about artists with disabilities and will draw on materials available through organizational resources. The length of each presentation will be generally 45- 60 minutes. A VSA Minnesota staff member or volunteer will work with a designated teacher/administrator to determine if any presentation accommodations need to be made based on age, disability and/or classroom setting. Schools will be charged a fee to offset a portion of the project expenses, $125 for metro area schools, $150 for greater Minnesota.

Each student attending the presentation will complete a brief post-survey to assess their awareness of disability in general, of the activity of people with disabilities in the arts and of their feelings about people with disabilities. In addition to the student surveys, teachers will be asked to complete a questionnaire following the presentation. Some of the questions will be similar to those asked of the students but others will address issues of curricular relevance, age and ability appropriateness and suggestions for improvements.

Arts Ambassador Program graphic logo

Teachers or school administrators should call VSA Minnesota staff at 612-332-3888 or 1-800-801-3883 or email info@vsamn.org to learn more about the program or to arrange for a school presentation.

Arts Ambassador Ethan Heidlebaugh of Minneapolis answers a question from a student at Crookston High School about one of his pieces of visual artwork.

Arts Ambassador Ethan Heidlebaugh of Minneapolis answers a question from a student at Crookston High School about one of his pieces of visual artwork.

Visual artist Annie Young of Burnsville demonstrates the use of art materials to students at the Next Step Program in North St. Paul.

Visual artist Annie Young of Burnsville demonstrates the use of art materials to students at the Next Step Program in North St. Paul.