Mini-Slide Show: Kennedy Center Shows Off VSA Commissions

BY Molly Finnegan  February 1, 2011 at 1:58 PM EDT

The Arts of Life gallery artists with their work, a multimedia installation in the Kennedy Center Hall of States. Photo: Scavone Photography

_The Arts of Life gallery artists with their work, a multimedia installation in the Kennedy Center Hall of States. Photo: Scavone Photography_

Last month, the Kennedy Center began a flurry of celebrations and performances to honor its namesake, John F. Kennedy, on the 50th anniversary of his presidential inauguration.

Among the festivities meant to reflect the cultural agenda put forth by the Kennedy administration is an exhibit of works that also reflects a piece of Kennedy’s social and public health agenda: addressing the treatment and perception of people with mental illness or disability.

In 1974, Jean Kennedy Smith, sister to the late president, founded VSA, the International Organization on Arts and Disability. Last year, VSA commissioned art studios in Washington, Chicago and New York, which support and engage artists with disabilities and mental illness, to create large-scale multimedia installations.

The three installations, “Diverse Design,” “Finding the Way to Balance” and “Sticky Situations,” are on show through February 13, 2011 at the Kennedy Center.