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National VSA Mission Statement
"To promote the creative power in people with disabilities."
VSA arts of Iowa Vision Statement
"Connecting Iowans of all abilities through arts experiences and education."
VSA was founded in 1974 by Jean Kennedy Smith as an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The purpose of VSA arts is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and their communities by providing artistic opportunity. To accomplish this mission, VSA operates affiliates with a nationwide and in over 60 countries.
VSA Iowa (VSAI) was founded in 1977 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, and it is the parent organization’s affiliate in charge of all Iowa programming. The only organization of its kind in Iowa, VSAI is responsible for the implementation of all VSA arts programming within the state. With its eight member Board of Directors and one full time and three part time staff, VSAI has a mission to provide artistic opportunity for Iowans with disabilities and "at-risk" conditions. VSAI enhances their quality of life through every program provided. VSAI accomplishes its mission through four program areas: The Arts for Children Educational Program (AFC), Professional Development Teacher Training Program, Cultural Access, which includes the Governor’s VSA arts of Iowa Festival and Traveling Art Exhibit, and Community Awareness. Each year, VSAI directly serves approximately 30,000 Iowans through our ongoing programming from all parts of the state.
Over the past three years, VSAI has been recognized by the national organization as an outstanding agency. In 2007, VSAI received the Award of Excellence in Professional Development. Last year, VSAI received the National Award for Outstanding Leadership. In 2009, VSAI was the Award of Excellence recipient for excellence in public awareness and outreach for the Governor’s VSA Iowa Festival.
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