VSA Texas is spotlighted on the I Live Here I Give Here website with an interview with Board President Danney Ursery.
Danney Ursery, Board President, Professor of Philosophy, St. Edward’s University
"The arts are important in understanding not only who we are as individuals, but also who we are as a community. I volunteer and support the goals of VSA because they create an accessible and inclusive space for artists who often do not have a place in our society. This allows new and different voices to express themselves through their art and further creates in people a sense of dignity and worth. My working with VSA is something I do so I can give back to our community."
Susanne Graves, Past Board President, UT at Austin, Graduate Program Coordinator
"I have been a huge supporter of VSA Texas for many years, and served on their Board for nine years. I believe their work with making the arts accessible to all people is vitally important to our communities. The services they provide to artists and individuals with disabilities are countless. From offering opportunities for artists to showcase and sell their art, to training teachers how to utilize the arts in special needs classrooms to help students with learning and life skills, to making theatre productions accessible to all patrons, regardless of their disability, the impact of VSA Texas is endless. Every time I participate in a VSA function, I see the importance of what they do and I am thankful and honored to be a small part of it."
Leigh Ann Montgomery, Ph.D., Board Vice-President, Licensed Psychologist
Brittany Wisdom, Board Treasurer, CPA, CIA, CGFM, Texas General Land Office
Haven Street-Allen, SPHR, Board Secretary
"VSA is one of the best kept secrets in Texas, fortunately not from its clients but only the general public. I guess it's because people who are busy doing good don't have time to blow their own horn. Once I learned the depth and breadth of the services available, the efficiency with which they are provided, and the competent and commitment of the staff, I was inspired. Now that I am a volunteer and a donor, I am a part of something fine, something that impacts people's lives and the community in a positive way. It doesn't get any better than this!"
Doug Barnes, TX Dept of Family and Protective Services
"Art is a tremendous medium for eliminating isolation that some people may otherwise suffer because of a disability. A disability can even be a person's defining strength as an artist. As a member of VSA's board, I have had an opportunity to support the overlapping relationship between art and community."
Juan M. Muñoz, Private Driver
Was born and raised in Santa Maria, California until he moved to Austin in 1992. Since then, he has had various jobs working with people who have disabilities as a job developer, job coach, and a driver. He sits on the Austin Interfaith Inclusive Network Project Advisory Committee which is trying to make all places of worship accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities. In 2008, Juan became familiar with VSA Texas when he joined Actual Lives, their theatre group. He also became involved with mixed ability dance after meeting the Artistic Director of Forklift Danceworks, Allison Orr. As an artist with a disability, he has developed his unique voice that is being heard by the Austin community and beyond. By sitting on the VSA Board, he hopes to help others find their voice in society.
Maren Strachan, Senior Consultant
"VSA Texas has inspired me because it encourages people’s voices to be heard and considered. Voices and stories in all mediums enrich our community by offering us deep paths to understand ourselves, and a sometimes wordless ways to connect and augment."
Jema Marchi, formally President of Dance Umbrella
"I had the privilege of working with VSA and love the mission. Bringing to the table Bingo Chair Position."
Nancy Baden, Speech/Language Pathologist
"My participation in another non-profit that emphasizes inclusion activities of all kinds inspired me to get involved with VSA. Having spent many years supporting improved access and independence for people with communication disabilities, it was a natural fit."
Tanya Winters, Travis County Constable 5, Disabled Parking Enforcement Volunteer Coordinator
"I became affiliated with VSA Texas in 2005 through Actual Lives Austin where, during my first performance, I was so nervous that I read my poetry with my back to the audience. Eight years later, I am proud to say I’m a disability rights advocate, a dancer, a writer, and an actor. VSA Texas inspires me to believe in myself, and to learn more about my disability through working, moving & laughing with others who may or may not have disabilities. As a board member, I want to help others understand that disability is not a stigma to live under, but rather a strength to live by."
Celia M. Hughes
April Sullivan, Artworks Director
"Before VSA Texas was a VSA affiliate, it was called Access Arts Austin. I was the first employee for Access Arts Austin starting at just 8 hours a week in 1997. I left in 1999 to continue my arts administration career at a full time job. I returned in 2002 after Access Arts Austin had become VSA Texas and was able to offer me a full time job. The philosophy of arts being accessible to all people is what drew me to this organization in the first place, what brought me back, and what keeps me going for all these years. Each day is a new adventure and it is a joy to be a part of people's lives as they discover their artistic talents."
Lynn Johnson, Community Relations and Outreach Services
"I came to VSA Texas in 2007 excited to be in the world of art as well as theater. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater I pursued different careers in Film and professional theater as a Props Designer, back stage and House Manager and volunteer. Having theater and film as my passion, I hadn’t fully realized that what I took for granted in being in these professions was not accessible to so many in our community and a new vision approached me. The culture of arts is for everybody and being a part of that mission opened up a new way of participation."
Micaela Perez, Financial Manager
She came to VSA Texas after working 6 years with AISD as their Bookkeeper. She is a native Austin night from east Austin who is married with 4 children. She is very involved in community activities and is a firm believer in paying it forward and donating time, talent or treasure to the cause. She spends time assisting her church and several local non-profits with fundraising events and/or securing donations/volunteers. In her spare time she likes to spend it with family and friends and her hobbies include event coordinator, photographer and music.
Eric Clow, Project Coordinator, Opening Minds, Opening Doors
“I first became involved with VSA Texas in 2012 as a volunteer for the New Media Arts program. Music, film, and theater have always been passions of mine, and making the arts accessible for people with disabilities is very important to me. As a musician and screenwriter living with Muscular Dystrophy, I understand the challenges of producing and sharing meaningful and engaging works of art, and I am excited to help other artists with disabilities succeed.”
Larissa Buglewicz, Web Designer
Has over 13 years of experience working in the arts, from visual communications and community outreach to development and education. She holds a BSW from the University of Texas at Austin. As part of her fieldwork at UT, she was introduced to VSA Texas and served as a visual arts and movement therapy assistant through their partnership with Accessible Arts, working with both children and adults with disabilities. In addition to her work with VSA as web designer, Ms. Buglewicz is a dance coach and choreographer for the JCC School of Dance.
Goodwill Industries of Central Texas
Travis County Constables Office
National Federation of the Blind of Texas
VORTEX Repertory Company
Clifton Career Development School, AISD
Texas Parent to Parent