Kennedy Center seeks artists with disabilities for VSA program, Electrify!

Art should excite our senses, awaken our curiosity, and electrify our very being. It has the ability to invigorate and empower the artist and viewer alike, but just as important, art can spark empathy and ignite understanding.

The Kennedy Center is pleased to announce the call for art for the annual VSA Emerging Young Artists Program. This year’s VSA Emerging Young Artists Program’s theme is Electrify!, and we’re seeking artwork that is charged with ideas, that acts as a conduit for creative reflection on the past, explores the “now,” and invokes a future full of possibility and inclusivity.

Artwork will be judged by a panel of experts in the field of visual arts who will be looking for artwork that demonstrates a high level of skill, expresses original ideas, and reflects the Electrify! theme.

Since 2002, the Kennedy Center and Volkswagen Group of America have teamed up for the VSA Emerging Young Artists Program, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program, to recognize and showcase the work of emerging young artists with disabilities, ages 16–25, who are residing in the United States.

Fifteen winning artists share a total of $60,000 in awards. Grand Prize is $20,000, First Prize is $10,000, Second Prize is $6,000, and the remaining Awards of Excellence are $2,000 each. Winners exhibit their selected artwork in a year-long nationally touring exhibition, and attend an all-expenses-paid professional development workshop in Washington, DC.


* Artist must be between the ages of 16 and 25 on May 3, 2017 at 11:59 pm.

* Artist must reside in the United States.

* Artist must have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Note: artist must be comfortable identifying as a person and artist with a disability.

How to Apply

The deadline to apply has been extended to May 10, 2017. Applications must be submitted online at:

To request an accommodation or receive the application materials in an alternate format, contact Anne-Marie Walsh,

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