What We Do


Arts and cultural venues collaborate with VSA arts of Georgia to provide opportunities for people who have disabilities, who live with very low income or who fit one of the other constituent populations we work with. The application process to the program collects demographic information that we use to assure alignment with our mission. The program allows constituent groups to attend performances or special events through free admission. For many of our venue partners, working with VSA arts of Georgia is the ONLY way they distribute free tickets to the community.

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 THE HISTORY OF VSA ARTS OF GEORGIA…

VSA arts of Georgia has a long history of making the arts accessible to Georgians who are disabled and/or living with low income. The organization was founded by Don Robinson in 1974 as Hospital Audiences, with a mission to make the arts accessible to Georgians who are disabled, disadvantaged and institutionalized. Original programs included providing donated tickets to arts and cultural events and taking artists into human service agencies for performances and workshops.

The organization incorporated in 1977 under the name Special Audiences, Inc. (SAI), and services were later expanded to include audio description and American Sign Language interpreting services for arts and cultural venues, as well as accessibility training and site surveys for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In 1987, Very Special Arts Georgia (VSAG) was created as a subsidiary of Special Audiences, and became part of a national network of arts organizations dedicated to serving persons with disabilities. VSAG shared office space with SAI and collaborated on a number of projects. VSAG programming included  coordinating festivals for students with disabilities and bringing arts programming into schools throughout the state.

In 1996 Special Audiences and Very Special Arts Georgia worked closely with the Olympic and Paralympic committees to provide access to people with disabilities for the Cultural Olympiad, as well as tickets to disadvantaged youth through the Children's Ticket fund and the Paralympic Ticket Fund.  In collaboration with many other arts and culture organizations, the two organizations led the first Cultural Paralympiad.  This involved artists with disabilities from around the world performing and exhibiting their artwork during the 1996 Paralympics.  The Atlanta Arts and Business Council presented Special Audiences and Very Special Arts Georgia the ABBY Award for their work on these events.

In 1997, the two organizations merged into one entity, under the name Arts for All.  The following year, the administrative office was moved to the Healey Building, in Downtown Atlanta's historic Fairlie-Poplar district.  Funding from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation enabled the new organization to create a new program, Arts for All Gallery, a visual art exhibition space dedicated to exhibiting artwork by artists with disabilities.

In September 2000, the organization joined the international VSA network as a full-fledged and accredited affiliate under the name VSA arts of Georgia, continuing our efforts to fulfill our vision of an inclusive community that encourages everyone to enjoy and participate in the arts.

In 2010, the national organization known as VSA became the Office of VSA & Accessibility, within the Education Program at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.  VSA arts of Georgia continues to serve as the state affiliate serving the citizens of Georgia.


Individual Contributions


  • Ms. Shyann Bell

  • Amanda and Darryl Breckenridge

  • Mr. Roger Caplan

  • Mr. Tom Carter

  • Andrea R. Chambers

  • Jaehn Clare

  • Gerri Combs

  • Patricia L. Cox

  • C.L. Cunningham

  • J. Cecil Daniels

  • Maxine Denniston

  • Ms. Jena Digiacomo

  • Gerald Fazzari

  • Yvonne Forbes

  • Genuine Parts

  • Mr. Richard Garner

  • Michael Gerace

  • Patrick and Kathryn Golan

  • Subie and Phil Green

  • John and Amy Gresens

  • Ms. Louise Staton Gunn

  • Ms. Mary Elizabeth Harmon

  • Ginny Herzog

  • Mitzi L. Hill

  • John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods Second Mile

  • Ms. Elena Kaplan

  • Mark Karelson

  • Ms. Ellen Kierr Stein

 

  • Marisa Puthoff

  • Paul E. Reiff

  • Mr. Don C. Robinson

  • Ms. Cristine Rollins

  • Stuart Shapiro

  • Douglas Scott

  • Jennifer W. Sedlack

  • Louise Shaw

  • Lisa Smith

  • Mr. John Stephens, Theatre Gael

  • Target

  • Twinhouse LLC

  • Van Michael Salon, Inc

  • David and Elizabeth Wachtel

  • Mr. Walter Wilczynski and Ms. Deborah Green

  • Ms. Rosetta Williams

  • Charles W. and Rebecca B. Yeatman

  • Ms. Janie Silver Yorker

  • Gary C. Young

  • Michael and Elizabeth Labbe-Webb

  • Ms. Mollie Quinlan-Hayes

  • Christina Lennon

  • Harold McNaron

  • Ms. C. Mitchell

  • National Association of Independent Artists

  • Bob Pickens

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 Our Team

 
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JOAN PUCKETT
Community Events Coordinator
Joan.Puckett@VSAartsGA.org

Joan is a professional photographer and documentary artist who has worked internationally to highlight the diversity of the human condition. She has volunteered for more than 20 years with global non-profits such as Doctors Without Borders and been featured in solo shows since 1986. She is the founder of the Photography Center of Atlanta. Joan joined VSA arts of Georgia in July 2009 as a part-time employee and was promoted to her current position in January 2010.

 

LOWELL FUCHS
Special Events Assistant
Lowell.Fuchs@gacommunity.org

Lowell is an artist with an expanded practice that includes sound, interactive installations, and social practice. Lowell’s work is the amalgamation of sound art, participatory/interactive installations, public workshops, and his work in nonprofit for underserved populations. Lowell joined InCommunity and VSA Arts of Georgia in April 2019.

 

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