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The Kennedy Center

VSA International Art Program for Children with Disabilities
A Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program

Motivated to Create Logo

The Office of VSA and Accessibility, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, proudly presents an exciting opportunity for children with disabilities from around the world to display their artwork side-by-side in an online exhibition. A selection of artwork from the online entries will be chosen for a live exhibition in Washington, D.C.!

Deadline to submit: June 6, 2018
Who may submit: Children with a disability, grades pre-kindergarten–12 (or equivalent). Group projects are accepted as long as all artists are students with disabilities.

Artwork specifications: Both two-dimensional (preferred) and three-dimensional works accepted. We do not accept work larger than 18 x 24 inches.

We invite students with disabilities to share images of their artwork addressing this year's theme:
Yo Soy...Je Suis...I Am... Motivated to Create

Humans create art for many reasons—to capture images we find appealing, to process experiences, to share our views with others—but above all the creation of art is a way to actively participate in the cultural fabric of our world. President John F. Kennedy understood that the contributions of art are central to any society, and that artists push everyone to better engage in the community around them. How do you create understanding, harmony, and change in your community? Show us!

The fifth edition of VSA’s Teacher Resource Guide provides lessons that will challenge students to use their artistic voices to explore how the arts contribute to our understanding of the world, to our relationships with others, and to the betterment of our communities.


  • The World in Color (Grade level K-4)
  • Motion and Balance (Grade level 5-8)
  • Looking in the Mirror (Grade level 5-8)


  • Motivated by Music (pre-K)
  • Motivated by Music II (Grade level 6-12)
  • Merging Dots (Grade level 3-8)


  • Portrait of a Leader (Grade level 9-12)
  • Visual Activism (Grade level 6-12)
  • Mural Painting for Social Change (Grade level 3-8)

Submit your artwork!

View the online gallery!

Please note: The call for artwork requires additional information for each entry:

  • About the Submitter - Name, Email, Phone and Relationship to the artist
  • About the Artist - Name, Age, Location, and Disability
  • Artist Statement - Describe the artwork. What is your artwork about?
  • About the Artwork - Title, Size, and Medium

Parental Permission Form


2017 UBUNTU: Yo Soy...Je Suis...I Am...Because You Are

Ubuntu Logo

View the online gallery

Student-artists were asked to create art inspired by meaningful connections in their lives and in the world around them. Their art also reflects the universally human ideals President Kennedy championed in his lifetime: service, freedom, justice, courage, and gratitude.

2016 Yo Soy...Je Suis...I Am...The World

Yo Soy... Je Suis... I Am...

View the online gallery

Children were asked to reflect on their personal cultural identities: How can I change the world I live in? What is unique about my world? The artworks shown here represent a variety of ethnicities, backgrounds, experiences, and demographic locations reflecting the differences and commonalities in us all.

2015 Yo Soy...Je Suis...I Am...The Future

Children's Art

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Children with disabilities were encouraged to imagine their future. Student-artists were asked to consider what their future holds: Who will I be? Where will I live? How will I change the world? In response, the artists help us see the environments in which they will live, learn and play, and explore how they can impact the future. The resulting artwork testifies to the vital role of arts education in unlocking every child's potential, not only in the arts, but in all facets of their lives.

2014 Yo Soy...Je Suis...I Am...My Neighborhood

Children's Art

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Children with disabilities were encouraged to create a portrait of themselves within the context of their neighborhood. What makes your neighborhood come alive? Interesting neighbors? Varied architecture? A great park or playground? Student-artists are encouraged to illustrate all the important people, places, and landscapes of their local space that shape who they are and who they will be in the future.

2013 Yo Soy...Je Suis...I Am...My Family

Student's art

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Student-artists in 2013 illustrate themselves among the people that provide love, support, and encouragement in their lives – their families! Portraying themselves with some of the most important people in their lives gives testament to the idea that family – no matter how big or how small – help shape who we are and provide the foundation for who we will be.