Very Special Arts Hellas
Very Special Arts Hellas (VSA Hellas) was founded in 1990 as a nonprofit organization for people with disabilities with the goal of encouraging their participation in cultural events and their right to artistic expression. This organization is the Greek member of the international organization VSA, The International Organization on Arts and Disability with numerous members worldwide. Since 1990, VSA Hellas runs weekly workshops for theater, music, dance and visual arts, and organizes exhibitions, trains artists, participates in festivals and raises awareness on disability issues.
VSA Hellas has also significantly contributed to the equal participation of persons with disabilities in cultural activities in various ways. It conducts research on accessibility of cultural venues and their related programs and organizes tours for disabled persons to museums and other cultural spaces. The theater teams put on 2 to 3 performances a year. It is important to state that all services are provided free of charge.
The grant regards the support of VSA Hellas’ program for the visits of museums and archaeological sites by people with disabilities, with an emphasis on elderly disabled persons. The goal of the program is to provide equal access for disabled persons to cultural venues so that they can benefit from the rich and unique experience that it can offer to them. VSA Hellas acts as the link between cultural institutions and organizations that serve persons with disabilities in order to offer them the best possible conditions for their visit. VSA Hellas selects the museums/archaeological sites to be visited and informs the organizations about the venues’ accessibility depending on the mobility capabilities of the potential visitors. VSA Hellas also looks into the possibility of providing audio descriptions or tactile tours for people with vision problems, which are available at certain museums. In essence, VSA Hellas customizes the visits according to the differing needs of each disabled group.
This particular program will research organizations that serve a large number of elderly disabled beneficiaries, in order to increase their participation in the program. The program will be year-long and will run on 2 trimesters. The direct beneficiaries will be over 800 people for the 2016-2017 program, with approximately 40% of the beneficiaries being elderly persons.