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The Kennedy Center

VSA Research

The VSA research agenda seeks to strengthen our understanding of how the arts meet the educational needs of individuals with disabilities. Whether by investigating inclusive teaching practice, developing a database focused on arts, education, and disability information, or by tapping into the resource of our domestic affiliate network to glean a better idea of how students learn in and through the arts, VSA plays an important role in building knowledge about how the arts contribute to learning.

Here are a number of research efforts and resources developed by VSA:


  • VSA arts Research Symposium Proceedings 1.94 KB
    The Contours of Inclusion: Frameworks and Tools for Evaluating Arts in Education
  • The Institute Brief 324 KB
    Effective Career Development Strategies for Young Artists with Disabilities by Heike Boeltzig, Rooshey Hasnain, and Jennifer S. Sulewski from the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston
  • Start with the Arts 92.0 KB
    Current Issues and Evidence Based Practices in Using Art to Teach Literacy Skills
  • Start with the Arts 168 KB
    Issues and Evidence Based Practices in Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Education

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  • Arts-Based Teaching and Learning 212 KB
    Review of the Literature
    Westat's comprehensive review of literature focused on arts-based teaching and learning synthesizes current research that investigates the impact of the arts.
  • How Students with Disabilities Learn In and Through the Arts 292 KB
    An Investigation of Educator Perceptions
    This report represents the findings of the 2004 VSA arts Affiliate Research Project. Specifically, the findings address the way in which educators understand the value of the arts within their school.
  • Using the Arts to Help Special Education Students Meet Their
    Learning Goals
    2.38 MB
    This study investigates the way in which arts-based strategies create a successful learning environment for students with disabilities.
  • Evaluation of VSA arts Affiliate Programs 188 KB
    A Model for Evaluating The Impact of the Arts on Academic, Social, and Arts Learning for Students with Disabilities
    This document suggests specific ways in which rubrics can be utilized to capture the social, cognitive, academic, and artistic growth of students.

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  • SAIL Effect
    This report highlights the development of a model for measuring the effectiveness of the arts as an instrumental element in overall academic and social development for students in an arts-infused, charter elementary school in Washington D.C.
  • Broad Brush 1.49 MB
    Building on the work of Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts That Value Arts Education (President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and Arts Education Partnership, 1999) this work examines the strengths, challenges, and advice school districts encounter in trying to provide access to the arts for students with disabilities.