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VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education
A Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The Kennedy Center believes that engagement in the arts is an essential, ongoing part of the education of students with disabilities and is working to make it standard practice throughout the country. In 2012 the Kennedy Center hosted a national forum, Examining the Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education: A National Forum , that examined the changing demands and challenges of education for students with disabilities and explored how those demands will impact arts education in the future. Recommendations from this convening resulted in VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program.

The first annual VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference took place in 2013 in Washington, DC. VSA Intersections addresses topics such as research, practice, program development, curricula, and policy and places them all at the intersection of arts education and special education. The conference works to bring together those who work towards improving the education of students with disabilities in and through the arts. The 2016 conference will take place August 1-2, 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA. Please click here to visit the 2016 conference page to learn more and to register.

In addition to the VSA Intersections conference, the Kennedy Center offers further programming around the converging fields of arts education and special education:

  1. Resources for Parents and Educators , include publications, lesson plans, and activities like Start with the Arts , Visual Arts Teacher Resource Guides , and more.
  2. Webinars for teachers and teaching artists that provide professional development in arts education and special education.
  3. Work throughout the year with national leaders on arts education and special education initiatives, like the National Core Arts Standards and more.
  4. A bibliography of journal articles on arts education and special education.
  5. For more educational resources, visit Arts Edge, the Kennedy Center's free digital resource for teaching and learning in, through, and about the arts.