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VSA Michigan focuses on Arts Education and Access

People with disabilities have much to contribute. The arts can empower the powerless to express themselves and communicate, tearing down preconceptions. That is what VSA Michigan is about: inclusion, accessibility, arts for all.

We believe

•Every person deserves access to appropriate learning experiences in the arts.
•The arts promote understanding and communication for everyone.
•The arts are more than a product, they are a process – it’s the journey that counts.
•The arts in their many forms enhance a person’ humanity.

We focus on ability, not disability. We focus on creativity and achievement.



help us change our name campaign vsa

Since 1977, VSA Michigan – The State Organization on Arts and Disability has demonstrated the need for arts education, and has increased opportunities for experiences and training within educational and community programs for individuals with disabilities.

In 2019, after being an affiliate of the international network of the VSA and Accessibility Department of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, VSA Michigan now faces a new and exciting challenge of being an independent non-profit organization-- and the need to change its current name.

We are launching our Name Change Contest to ask for YOUR help in the next phase of VSA Michigan!

Beginning July 16, 2018, we are encouraging everyone to submit their nomination for the organization’s new name, or a combination of name and tagline), along with an explanation as to why the name suggestion perfectly embodies VSA Michigan and its core values. We are giving away a $500 Visa Gift Card to the lucky winner!

Submissions are open until September 10, 2018. The VSA Board Members will then narrow it to 5 top entries, and the winning entry will be announced sometime early October.

Please email your entries in the following format to no later than September 10, 2018:


Phone Number and Email:

Name/Name and Tagline Suggestion:

Brief Explanation:

Contest open for Michigan residents 18 and above. Please refer to our current website,, for more information. You can also contact Executive Director Coleen Downey at 313-970-9624 for more information. Good luck!



2018 community of practice workshop vsa michigan

Our annual Community of Practice Workshop is back and will be taking place August 19-21, at Higgins Lake.  This year, we are focusing on learning strategies for teaching students who are on the autism spectrum and who have behavioral challenges.  We are especially pleased to have Anne Rhodes, a national VSA trainer, joining us to lead us through this learning process.

Please see the attached flyer and descriptions of key workshop presentations, bios of the presenters, and more details about our workshop in our Community of Practice Information Page here.

Educators and teaching artists are invited to join us at our annual Community of Practice workshop to take place at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center on Higgins Lake in Roscommon, MI. Participants will be engaged in learning inclusive strategies to create a successful environment in the classroom and for teaching the arts to differentiated learners. Further information may be found under the Professional Development page of Programs & Services.

Registration Form 2018 VSAMI Community of Practice

VSAMI 2018 Community of Practice Workshop


This school year VSAMI is engaging 1,296 students, 898 of whom have disabilities, 101 classroom teachers and 205 paraprofessionals in an average of 12 hours of learning in and through the arts taught by professional dancers, actors, musicians, storytellers, filmmakers and visual artists. Artists-in-Residence programs are taking place in Alma, Baraga, Bloomfield Hills, Cheboygan, Clio, Ferndale, Flint, Flushing, Gaylord, Hancock, Houghton, Marquette, Mt. Pleasant, Onaway, Petoskey, Rochester, St. Louis, West Bloomfield
Over 45 adults with disabilities have been engaged in creating art in the Club Create programs in Swartz Creek and Clarkston. A total of 50 artists and educators received 5-20 hours of training provided by VSAMI in a series of professional development workshops, one of which was a 3-day immersion in the arts. This past spring more than 800 students celebrated the arts at VSA festivals in Dearborn, Detroit, Flint and Flushing.


People with disabilities are a growing segment of the community as patrons, administrators, artists, students, older adults and benefactors. Yet, many people with disabilities who want to participate in the arts cannot, because they encounter barriers to access. VSA Michigan is uniquely qualified to offer tools and strategies to enhance an organization’s ability to engage this vital community and achieve greater ADA compliance. If you are an arts or cultural organization needing assistance in making your facility, programs and communication tools more accessible contact us.
If you are interested in assisting us, contact us. We will train you on how to conduct an access audit. We are preparing to visit cultural arts events, and observe access needs and features of the venues. We need your help! Get involved!

The programs and services of VSA Michigan are provided to all regardless of age, race, creed, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation and ethnicity.