History

Originally named Very Special Arts of Vermont, Inclusive Arts Vermont was founded in 1986 as a member of the national VSA network, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We are a 501(c)3 charitable not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to use the magic of the arts to engage the capabilities and enhance the confidence of children and adults with disabilities.

Over the years our organization has seen many changes in programs and scope, but our purpose has always remained the same: to spark opportunities for expression, joy, and inclusion through creativity. Our programs continually evolve to meet the needs of Vermonters as they arise and reach thousands of participants annually.

About Our Name:

VSA National was founded in 1974 as the National Committee – Arts for the Handicapped. In 1985 the name was changed to Very Special Arts. Like many other organizations, VSA has a long and treasured history with a great deal of national recognition for the acronym version of the name. Since words such as “special” and “handicapped” do not reflect current language trends in the United States and many other countries, in 1999 we became VSA Arts Vermont. In 2010, the national organization became VSA and we became VSA Vermont. In 2011 the national VSA organization merged with the Kennedy Center’s Office on Accessibility to become the Department of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2019, with encouragement from VSA National, VSA Vermont renamed to Inclusive Arts Vermont.

FAQs regarding our 2019 name change can be found here.

More information on VSA International can be found on their website.