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Know a young musician with a disability?

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Know a musician (ages 14-25) with disabilities who would like to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.? Encourage them to apply for the VSA International Young Musicians Award Program.

Disability is a broad umbrella that covers a variety of lived experiences. Eligible musicians may have visible, physical, and/or sensory conditions as well as less visible conditions like anxiety, ADHD, depression, chronic illness/pain, PTSD, OCD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, neurodivergence, and more. This program is open to soloists and ensembles of all genres (classical, jazz, hip hop, bluegrass, rock, and more). Winners receive $2,000 and perform live at the Kennedy Center in July 2023. Review full eligibility requirements and application details on the VSA website.  

Jason Rapp

Hub E-vents: July 27+

You want art. You crave art.

#SCartists and arts organizations want to fill that void. They live for that. It’s a calling. Yet in times of social distancing, that’s hard to do. Through the wonders of modern technology, many are trying and succeeding. So while we’re all staying home to protect vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors,  The Hub is stepping up to fill the void between artists and arts lovers. (Learn more about Hub E-vents here.)

South Arts, Kennedy Center partner for "Arts Across America"

[caption id="attachment_37970" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington.[/caption] Beginning today, over 200 artists will be featured in a curated series broadcast by the Kennedy Center. Produced by the Kennedy Center's Social Impact initiatives, Arts Across America will uplift artists and showcase art from communities and regions across the country in this time of uncertainty. Over 20 weeks, Arts Across America will feature free, digital performances from over 200 diverse, visionary artists who play leadership roles in their communities, exemplify unique regional artistic styles, and frequently use their medium as a tool for advocacy and social justice. Arts Across America is made possible and livestreamed by Facebook and will continue through Dec. 11, 2020.

“Bringing the world closer together is at the core of Facebook and that’s exactly why we’re supporting the Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America program to help people around the country connect virtually through their appreciation for the arts,” said Facebook’s Director of Public Affairs Robert Traynham. “We look forward to seeing the diverse artists share their talents through this innovative program.”

Arts Across America will be available on Facebook Live, YouTube, and the Kennedy Center website, five days a week at 4 p.m. ET. A rotating performance schedule will feature performers presented by the Kennedy Center and presenting partner organizations invited to curate performances as identified by the National Endowment for the Arts’s Regional Artist Organizations: Arts Midwest; Mid-America Arts Alliance; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation; New England Foundation for the Arts; South Arts; Western States Arts Federation; jurisdictional arts agencies representing U.S. territories; and Sankofa.org. An initial calendar for this celebration of all who contribute to the culture of the U.S. is below:
  • July 27: Minneapolis, Minnesota – Arts Midwest: TruArtSpeaks
  • July 28: Virginia – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and The Floyd Country Store: Earl White and Eddie Bond
  • July 30: Miami, Florida – South Arts: Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, Sammy Figueroa, and Celia & Paco Fonta
  • July 31: Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona – West Arts: Brian Lopez
  • August 3: Burlington, Vermont – New England Foundation for the Arts and The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts: Christal Brown
  • August 4: Kansas City, Missouri – Mid-America Arts Alliance, The Bruce R. Watkins Center, and 1KC Radio: Glenn North
  • August 6: The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts: Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights and the AY AY Cultural Dancers
  • August 11: Maryland – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation: Joe’s Movement Emporium
  • August 13: Tennessee and Kentucky – South Arts: Amythyst Kiah and The Local Honeys
More information about Arts Across America can be found on the Kennedy Center's website.
South Arts is a strategic partner of the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Jason Rapp

Let’s give teachers more than an apple

Nomination deadline: Monday, Dec. 31, 2018

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is accepting nominations for the 2019 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards. This series of annual $10,000 grants recognizes inspiring teachers across the United States.  The awards were created in honor of Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday and were initiated and funded through the support of Freddie and Myrna Gershon. Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim frequently attributes his success to the teachers in his life. The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards are presented each year on Sondheim’s birthday – March 22 – to a handful of teachers, kindergarten through college, who are nominated via the Kennedy Center website (www.kennedy-center.org/sondheimteacherawards). By spotlighting the extraordinary impact teachers have on the lives of their students, the awards celebrate the teaching profession, the important role of teachers in society, and seek to inspire others to pursue this noble profession. Along with the $10,000 award, the selected teachers are showcased on the Kennedy Center website. Nominees must be legal U.S. residents who currently teach or have taught in a K-12 school, college, or university in the United States. Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas are eligible. For posthumous awards, the $10,000 shall be donated in the name of the nominated teacher, to an eligible non-profit educational organization. Such organization must be affiliated with a K-12 school, school system, college or university in the United States.  To nominate a teacher, you must be at least 18 years of age and must have been the Nominee’s student. Nominations can be a written, audio, or video story. All required materials must be submitted online or postmarked by Monday, December 31, 2018. For more information, official rules, and nomination information, visit the website: www.kennedy-center.org/sondheimteacherawards

Nominate an emerging artist for Kennedy Center program

Nomination deadline: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018

The Kennedy Center is currently accepting nominations for its Citizen Artist Fellow Program. The Kennedy Center, a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, honors our 35th President everyday by uplifting ideals from his legacy (service, justice, freedom, courage, and gratitude) that live through the arts. As part of this celebration of legacy, the Kennedy Center launched the "Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition" in 2016, which celebrates emerging artists across the country who utilize their art form for positive impact on communities. Through the Citizen Artists Fellows program, the Kennedy Center uplifts citizen artistry, providing selected fellows with customized resources and support to advance their work. During their year-long engagement, Citizen Artist Fellows develop and strengthen connections in their fields, receive opportunities for artistic collaboration and presentation, and gain access to Kennedy Center staff and artistic partners for individual professional development. In return, the Citizen Artists enrich the Kennedy Center community, helping us understand broader issues, reach new audiences, and learn through the power of their art. Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellows represent the overall diversity of the national audience the Kennedy Center strives to reflect and serve. Here is a brief summary of the Citizen Artist Fellow Program:
  • The year-long program celebrates artists in the U.S. utilizing their work for positive community impact and connection.
  • The Kennedy Center provides fellows with resources, opportunities, and support to strengthen connections in their field and advance their work.
  • The fellows help the Kennedy Center understand broader issues, reach new audiences, and learn through their art.
Read more about the format and content of the program here. Below are two examples of current Citizen Artist Fellows (more on the 2018/2019 fellows available here).
  • Omar Offendum is a Syrian-American rapper/poet living in Los Angeles. Known for his blend of hip-hop and Arabic poetry, he’s appeared on prominent news outlets, at prestigious academic institutions, major cultural organizations, and helped raise millions for humanitarian groups.
  • Musician/composer Shaw Pong Liu engages communities through multidisciplinary collaborations, music, and social dialogue. She started Code Listen, a project using music to build relationships between Boston police, teen artists, families surviving homicide, and local musicians, to support healing and dialogue around gun violence, racism, and police practices.
Information about eligibility as well as the nomination form can be found here. Nominations are due by December 22, 2018.

Submitted material

Call for art: Kennedy Center competition for emerging young artists with disabilities

The Kennedy Center’s office of VSA & Accessibility, with support from Volkswagen Group of America, announces this year’s Emerging Young Artist program: (Re)Invention: Art + Innovation + Disability + Design, a juried exhibition of emerging young artists with disabilities, ages 16-25, showcasing artwork created at the intersection of technology, innovation, and disability. Fifteen winners share a total of $60,000 in cash prizes, with a 1st prize of $20,000. Winners are flown to Washington, D.C. to attend the exhibit opening on Capitol Hill and take part in a three-day intensive professional development workshop. (Re)Invention will be exhibited at the Kennedy Center as part of a year-long national tour. Application deadline is June 1, 2016. Find out more and apply. Via: Kennedy Center Office of VSA & Accessibility

New East Aiken School of the Arts teacher brings passion for the dance

From the Aiken Standard: Story and photo by Rob Novit

When she was 3, Adrienne Robinson’s mother decided her daughter walked too much like her dad. So soon, the child began ballet lessons and remains immersed in the dance. She would later graduate from the Davidson School of the Arts. Robinson recently was appointed as the new dance teacher at East Aiken School of the Arts. “Kids want to learn and get excited,” the Augusta native said. “That’s what drives me – a passion for the kids and their education. I want to share what I know and have something special.” While many people might not be familiar with Suzanne Farrell, the legendary ballerina and teacher, Robinson certainly is. While at Columbia College in 2007, she was accepted for an internship at the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. “I would get to watch Mrs. Farrell and interact with her (high school) kids from all over the world,” Robinson. “I attended workshops to see how to put on a program.” After graduation, she worked in arts-related and other fields before seeking a position as a dance teacher. Robinson heard that East Aiken was seeking someone for that position and was amazed and delighted that the school is a formal arts facility – focusing in large part on arts integration with other subjects like English, science and math. Robinson’s arrival completes an arts journey for the school. She has joined Kathy Linton, physical education; Carrie Power, visual arts; Megan Jensen, the music educator; and Chrissie Sturgis, the drama teacher who arrived in August. “It’s so exciting to have new full-time theater and dance teachers,” Power said. “Now we can give every student a comprehensive arts education.” Principal Lisa Fallaw said East Aiken is fortunate to find Robinson. “She has so much energy and fantastic ideas and comes with really good experience,” Fallaw said. “Her Kennedy (internship) really stood out.” Tonya Johnson directs an after-school dance program at East Aiken and has served as substitute to help with collaborative arts programs – such as the holiday concert scheduled on Thursday. “I shadowed her in the classes and bounced ideas on how she has done things,” Robinson said. “I’ll bring in some things I can add on to that.” She plans to introduce the children to dance history, dances new to them and others they can create themselves. “We’ll do the shag, too,” Robinson said with a smile. “I had no idea it even existed at one time. I just want to expose them to different things.” Image: Adrienne Robinson, the new dance teacher at East Aiken School of the Arts, is joined by students, from left, Anna Thompson, Angellyna Ergle and Kaylin Kight.

Nearly 20 opportunities for performing and visual artists, plus young artists!

Thanks to our friends at the VSA/Accessibility Office at the Kennedy Center for compiling this list of artist opportunities from across the country. You'll find calls for art, professional development opportunities and competitions for visual and performing artists with and without disabilities. Some opportunities are open to all artists in certain disciplines; other opportunities are just for young artists. Performing and Visual Arts Opportunities (listed in order of application deadline) Competition: 16th Annual Great American Song Contest Deadline: November 20, 2014 Are you ready to get your songs heard and reviewed by experienced music-industry pros? Are you looking for opportunities to win prizes, gain recognition and promote your songs with publishers, producers and the music media? The Great American Song Contest is uniquely designed to offer these very opportunities - and benefit every songwriter, lyricist and composer who participates. Call for Entry: “CORRESPONDENCE” An International Mail Art Exhibition Deadline: November 21, 2014 The Crossing Arts Alliance presents its upcoming exhibition, "CORRESPONDENCE", an international mail art exhibition, and invites artists from all over the world to participate. This exhibition is open to everyone, all ages and skill levels, and has an open theme, allowing artists to express their creativity and ideas to the fullest extent. This exhibition will be on display in the Q Gallery, in the Franklin Arts Center Call for Entry: International Call for Entry – Black and White 2014 Deadline: November 23, 2014 The New York Center for Photographic Arts (NYC4PA) invites photographers world-wide to submit images using any photographic process (print, image transfer, emulsion transfer, iphoneography, encaustic, black and white, etc.). Winners will receive $3,000 in cash awards and be featured in a New York Gallery Show and on the NYC4PA Online Gallery. The Grand Prize winning image will be posted on the NYC4PA home page. Residency: Art Omi International Artists Residency Deadline: November 30, 2014 Omi International Artists Residency invites visual artists from every continent, representing a wide diversity of artistic styles, to gather in rural New York State to experiment, collaborate and share ideas. During four weeks each June-July, concentrated time for creative work is balanced with the stimulation of cultural exchange and critical appraisal. Call for Entries: 17th Annual Postcards From the Edge Deadline: December 8, 2014 Postcards From the Edge is an exhibition and benefit sale of over 1,400 original, postcard-sized works of art by internationally renowned and emerging artists. It is the most exciting and affordable way to add to your art collection. Residency: Artspace Summer Artist Residency Deadline: December 9, 2014 The Summer Artist-In-Residence program at Artspace provides an artist with a month-long studio opportunity to work on a project of his/her choosing and to interact with the public and the artist community. It is also an opportunity for an artist to exhibit the work s/he creates immediately following the residency. During the residency period, the artist teaches up to two classes or workshops in conjunction with the Artspace Summer Arts Program (ASAP) and presents a public lecture or demonstration about his/her own work or a related topic. Competition: EXPO 34 (BJ Spoke Gallery’s competition) Deadline: December 10, 2014 EXPO 34, the BJ Spoke Gallery's annual competition, is open to all fine artists living in the U.S. It will be judged by Adrienne Rooney, Curatorial Assistant of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The award will be the exhibition of selected works, April 2015 at the gallery. Competition: The John Lennon Songwriting Contest Deadline: December 15, 2014 The John Lennon Songwriting Contest is an international songwriting contest that began in 1997. The contest is open to amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in any one of 12 categories. The JLSC is open year-round and features two sessions with 72 Finalists, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and 1 "Song of the Year." Competition: New Music for Young Musicians Composer Competition 2014 - 2015 Deadline: January 5, 2015 The James Madison University New Music for Young Musicians Composer Competition recognizes and encourages the efforts of composers studying composition or early in their careers (28 years of age and younger) nationwide who are involved in the creative process of composing music for younger ensembles in middle school through high school. Competition: South Florida Young Artist Solo Competition Deadline: January 15, 2015 This annual competition is open to Violin, Piano, and Guitar students in the United States who are middle, high school, or college students. Students compete in a preliminary round by submitting recorded work. The deadline for submission is January 15, 2015. The Final Round is held in Fort Lauderdale, FL on March 21, 2015 in front of a panel of judges. Cash prizes are awarded to the top winners in each age division. Residency: Yellow Barn’s Summer Chamber Music Program Deadline: January 15, 2015 (Live Auditions), February 2, 2015 (Videotaped Auditions) Yellow Barn's core program is a five-week intensive summer chamber music program for outstanding students and young professionals. Participants explore chamber music repertoire with an internationally renowned faculty, rehearsing and performing together in 20 concerts at the Big Barn, Yellow Barn's intimate concert hall in Putney, Vermont. Repertoire ranges from the Baroque period to the present day, and often affords participants the opportunity of working with visiting composers. Competition: 2015 Washington International Competition for Strings Deadline: March 9, 2015 The Washington International Competition for Strings is held every three years. The 2015 Competition for Strings semi-finals will take place at George Washington University in the Benjamin T. Rome Music Hall at 801 22nd Street, NW, in Room B-120 on both Friday, June 5, and Saturday, June 6. The finals will take place on June 7, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. in the Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Applicants must be neither younger than 18 nor older than 28 as of the competition date (birth certificate is required). Residency: Grin City Collective Emerging Artist Residency Deadline: March 10, 2015 Grin City Collective is located on a 320-acre farm in central Iowa a mile north of the town of Grinnell. During the summer, Grin City invites nine college level writers, visual or performance artists for a special, subsidized 4-week residency. Artists accepted into the Emerging Artist Residency receive individual housing and studio space. The residency ends in a final group show and reading in the downtown Grinnell Art Gallery. Competition: VSA International Young Soloists Competition Deadline: March 16, 2015 Coming soon! Each year, a select number of outstanding young musicians with disabilities, ages 14-25, from around the world receive the VSA International Young Soloists Award. These emerging musicians win a $2,500 prize, professional development experiences, and the opportunity to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Started by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith in 1984, the program, open to musicians of any instrument or genre, has provided opportunities for hundreds of emerging young musicians with disabilities. Call for Entry:  Unsigned Only Music Competition Deadline: March 18, 2015 Unsigned Only is a unique music competition designed for solo artists, bands, and singers all over the world who are not signed to a major label record company or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, or imprints. The goal of Unsigned Only is to find an outstanding, talented performer: a band, singer, or solo artist...a newcomer or veteran...raw or polished - the “gem” that needs to be discovered. Unsigned Only is looking for the total package. Competition: VSA International Art Program for Children with Disabilities: Yo Soy…Je Suis…I Am…The Future Deadline: March 30, 2015 Coming soon! VSA proudly presents a unique opportunity for student-artists 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.! Competition: Festival for Creative Pianists Deadline: April 1, 2015 This festival is the only competition of its kind in the world, combining both classical and jazz idioms in a constructive educational setting. Students (up to age 19) compete for standard baroque through contemporary repertory prizes, as well as for novel prizes that promote neglected but important creative skills and repertory. We seek to foster diverse and well-rounded musicianship that goes beyond the "autonomic wizardry" that is often overemphasized in other competitions. Above all, pianists are urged to develop and showcase their unique talents and perform with individuality, personality, exuberance, originality, and spontaneity. Competition: VSA Playwright Discovery Competition Deadline: April 13, 2015 Coming soon! The VSA Playwright Discovery Competition invites middle and high school students to take a closer look at the world around them, examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others, and express their views through the art of script writing. Writers may write from their own experience and observations, or create fictional characters and settings. Scripts can be comedies, dramas, or even musicals-be creative! Young writers with and without disabilities are encouraged to submit a script. Entries may be the work of an individual student or a collaboration by a group of students. Competition: Russell C. Wonderlic Competition Deadline: TBA Established in 1990 through a bequest of the late Russell C. Wonderlic, this competition alternates annually between voice and piano and has allowed many young artists the opportunity to launch international music careers. Pianists Awadagin Pratt and Eric Zuber and soprano Hyunah Yu are prominent past winners. Via: The Kennedy Center/VSA and Accessibility Office

VSA Playwright Discovery Competition open to middle and high school students

Middle and high school students are invited to explore the disability experience—in their own lives, the lives of others, or through fictional characters—by writing a script. Writers with and without disabilities are encouraged to submit a one-act script for stage or screen. Entries may be the work of an individual student or a collaboration by up to five students. The VSA Playwright Discovery Competition has three divisions. One winning script is selected in each of the Primary and Junior Divisions (grades 6-7 and 8-9 respectively). Winners in these divisions will receive $500 for arts programs at their schools, along with an award recognizing the student for excellence in script writing. In the Senior Division (grades 10-12), a select number of applicants will be brought to Washington, D.C. for the VSA Playwright Discovery Weekend Intensive, which will include pre-professional activities such as playwriting workshops, roundtable discussions, and staged readings. A select number of Senior Division winners' scripts will be chosen for a Millennium Stage performance as part of the Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage festival. Application deadline is April 28, 2014. To learn more about the competition or to apply, visit the Kennedy Center's website. A free resource guide is also available. Image: Winners of the 2013 VSA Playwright Discovery Competition participate in a theater workshop. Via: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Young artists with disabilities invited to apply for exhibition

VSA and Volkswagen Group of America announce the 2014 Emerging Young Artists Program Call for Entries. Emerging young visual artists with disabilities, ages 16-25, are invited to reflect on the theme The Journey -- internal and external, personal and communal, human and technological. Our journeys shape our aesthetic and environmental terrain and define our daily lives. Fifteen artists will be selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for workshops and a reception on Capitol Hill. Selected work will tour nationally. With the generous support of Volkswagen, awards include a $20,000 grand prize, $10,000 for first place, $6,000 for second place, and 12 awards of excellence at $2,000 each. For more information and to apply, visit VSA's website. Deadline for entries is June 30, 2014.

DEADLINE EXTENDED for young musicians to enter soloists competition

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts invites musicians ages 14 to 25 with a disability to enter the 2014 VSA International Young Soloists Competition. The competition is open to individuals and ensembles of two to five members and musicians of all genres. The competition annually selects up to four outstanding musicians and supports and encourages them in their pursuit of a career. These emerging musicians receive $2,500, professional development opportunities and a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The deadline to apply has been extended to February 10, 2014. Complete guidelines and the application are available online. Via: The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts