FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 21, 2006
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lori Kissinger, 615-210-8819
GROUP GARNERS NATIONAL HONOR FOR OUTREACH EFFORTS
ON BEHALF OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES AND THE ARTS
(MURFREESBORO)—VSA arts Tennessee, a statewide nonprofit organization with a mission to empower individuals with disabilities through the arts, recently was awarded the 2006 National Award for Public Awareness and Outreach.
The award was presented to the Gallatin-based VSA arts Tennessee on June 9 in Washington, D.C., reported Lori Kissinger, executive director for VSA arts Tennessee and an instructor in MTSU’s Department of Speech and Theatre.
Soula Anotoniou, president of VSA arts International, said the award was given to VSA arts Tennessee because “the recipient took innovative approaches to conduct statewide education-infused awareness activities and connected the state’s historical musical roots to its programming.”
“This is a tremendous honor for our organization,” Kissinger remarked. “I am thrilled with the award and excited about the opportunities that are ahead for our organization.
“We were also thrilled and excited to be the only VSA arts affiliate to receive the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grant for 2006 and the only nonprofit to receive this award in middle Tennessee for our Ryman Auditorium project on Oct. 25,” she added.
Members of the Tennessee chapter of VSA arts, as part of the organization’s “Keymunicate” arts relay in 2005, actively worked to position artists with disabilities on the stage of Nashville’s Bluebird Café in 2004 and 2005. The group, in its ongoing outreach programming efforts, also has planned a Ryman Auditorium project that will take place in October 2006.
Regarding the arts group’s latest national recognitions, Kissinger said, “We are hopeful that middle Tennessee, and Nashville in particular, will embrace these national recognitions and help us make the Ryman project something that Tennessee can truly be proud.”
In recognizing the area-based VSA arts for its many contributions, Kissinger said the group also was commended for its connections to higher education—namely, its relationship with Belmont University’s annual awards program; its annual weeklong art institute at Volunteer State Community College; and for the group’s connections to MTSU and the ongoing support it receives for its numerous VSA projects and programs via that university, including service-learning opportunities that MTSU students participate in.
• For more information about VSA arts Tennessee or its upcoming programs, including its art institute for children, a career forum for professional artists with disabilities or its Ryman Auditorium project, please access its Web site at www.vsaartstennessee.org.
ATTENTION, MEDIA: Those wishing to interview Kissinger about VSA art Tennessee may contact her directly at 615-210-8819 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.