Children kneel, absorbed, while painting outdoors.

Children kneel on a mat while painting outside at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington as part of a Home In The Arts curriculum to link art with literacy and nutrition.

VSA Vermont (VSA VT) offers skill-building classes and workshops in a variety of artistic genres to people of all ages and abilities around the state. Working with program partners such as disability service agencies, schools and community organizations, VSA VT brings skilled artists trained in inclusive teaching methods to sites where people can explore and develop their strongest voices. Our partnerships with schools, based in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), help teachers engage students of varied abilities and backgrounds in core curriculum subjects. Our preschool program helps engage the youngest children in literacy through arts-based activities. Our adult and transition programs help youth and adults to advocate and engage in community events and opportunities. All our arts education programs create opportunities for participants to engage with others based on their strengths and to use their skills in contexts beyond the arts education class time.

Classes can be scheduled to fit the needs of partnering organizations. For more information, contact us.

Results of our education classes are shared within communities as part of our Cultural Access programs. Family and friends are invited to exhibits and performances at libraries, hospitals and cafĂ©’s. Artwork can be sold at galleries and conferences.

Creating opportunities for acknowledgment of the artistic expression of people with disabilities is key to community inclusion and the reduction of stigma and the promotion of inclusion in the cultural life of communities.

Preschool Arts-Based Literacy

Children ages birth to 5 explore books and early literacy skills through the arts in VSA VT’s Start With The Arts program at home-based childcare sites and licensed centers in every county. Learn more.

“The kids can sit now and listen to a story and stay with an activity afterward. I had never thought to do that with kids this young. But you showed me it’s easy.”

Childcare Provider in VSA VT’s Start With The Arts early literacy program

Smiling boy holds quilt squares in page protector.

An elementary school aged boy with sandy blond hair and a broad smile that shows a new front tooth growing in, stands holding a page with brightly colored, multi-shaped fabric pieces collaged together in a set of 6 squares that he made in VSA Vermont’s afterschool program in Franklin County.

Inclusive Arts Education for K-8 Students

School-aged children can deepen their engagement in learning in our arts integrated curriculum units at public schools such as Burlington’s Integrated Arts Academy and at specialized schools such as HowardCenter’s Baird School. Children also engage in the arts after school in VSA VT residencies at school-based and private after-school programs. Learn more.

“The students in my class apply themselves with far greater concentration with the use of puppetry as they are so invested in the process. The value of this work extends beyond the VSA VT residency.”

Lynda Seigel, English Language teacher, Burlington

“I don’t think I would have perceived the depth of my student’s understanding of concepts in the past. I feel like a whole different teacher. It freed me up to have more fun in my job. Once each child is learning or expressing knowledge in a way that works for them, your classroom management as a teacher is done for you. Engagement!”

Third grade elementary school teacher

Arts & Advocacy Education for High School Students

High school students preparing for the ending of their Special Education services and their entrance into adult life develop advocacy skills and create community connections for use after graduation in VSA VT programs. Communication, civic engagement, cultural ambassadorships, and self-advocacy topics, are addressed through an arts-based process. Learn more.

“It was amazing to see how our minds shifted when we focused on movement to express our ideas. The mirroring exercise has been a form of communication my students uss daily. They have increased their communication skills this year and this gives them a new form for communicating with others.”

Special Educator in the Bridging Program

Skill Building Arts Education for Adults

Adults with disabilities participate in skill-building classes in a variety of artistic genres through contracts with service agencies such as the Mount Ascutney Medical Center’s spinal cord injury program, the HowardCenter , Champlain Community Services or Springfield Adult Day Services. Learn more.

“I can’t see well, but I can feel the clay and I love it. Please keep our teacher coming. She is a life saver.”

87-year old student in a clay class at Springfield Adult Day Services

A close-up of people working on a glass project.

A window pane lies on a large art table that is strewn with containers of cut glass and a tube of caulk. Two hands place pieces of colored glass to color a drawing of two flowers at the Burlington Community Glass Studio.


Recent supporters of VSA VT education programs include:

Find Funds for VSA VT Education Programs

Learn more about how organizations can find funds for VSA VT education programs.