VSA California of Orange County provides arts, education, and cultural opportunities by, with, and for people with disabilities, making the arts accessible to people of all abilities.
- To develop and broaden quality year-round arts programs that include and promote individuals of all abilities.
- To foster and maintain collaborations among schools, organizations, and individuals in the development of arts programs, and opportunities for persons of all abilities.
- To provide arts-related training and technical assistance to constituents.
- To increase public awareness as to the need for, and benefits of, arts opportunities and trainings for persons of all abilities.
VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, was founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all. With 52 international affiliates and a network of national affiliates, VSA is changing perceptions about people with disabilities around the world. Each year, 7 million people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs, in every aspect of the arts - from visual arts, performing arts, to the literary arts. VSA is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
VSA has undergone several name changes. As society evolves, the attitudes and language used by the disability community also evolves. When founded in 1974, the organization was named the National Committee - Arts for the Handicapped. In 1985 the name changed to Very Special Arts. 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, to reflect these changing language trends. In 2010, we became simply VSA - The International Organization on Arts and Disability.
In 1976, the Orange County Department of Education developed California's first program, which has grown to include sites throughout the state. We are a site of VSA California - the State Organization on Arts and Disability.